This week we have been "rowing" a charming book called "A New Coat for Anna." Speaking of funks, as I was in my last post, I think Charlotte & I had gotten into a bit of a funk with the selection of "Five in a Row" books. This is the "backbone" of our homeschool experience right now, so her attitude (and mine) toward our book each week is a huge influence on how our week goes.
We had a rocky start, I think in part because Charlotte has been predisposed to not like my selection of books. But I knew I had a winner here, the story is about a young girl, Anna, and her mother in an unnamed post-war European country. Her mother had promised Anna that she would buy her a new coat, but when winter came there were no coats in the stores and no money to buy them. So Anna's mother made a loving and sacrificial choice to part with some items of monetary value, in order to barter for what she needed to get a new coat for Anna, starting with the wool, progressing through spinning, dyeing, weaving, and tailoring. The first reading Charlotte sat through but then said she didn't like it. I overruled her, though, and the second day I let her work on a project while I read it to her, and I noticed her work fell by the wayside as she was drawn into the story. The second reading was "Language Arts" and Charlotte was eager and able to remember the order of the steps and what Anna's mother bartered. She also noted that the time between each step got shorter, ending with the tailor requiring one week to sew her coat. She enjoyed it so much the second time that she begged me to read it again. (I reminded her we would read it again- the next day!)
Wednesday was art, and she enjoyed making a woven paper place mat. She saw how the way she wove the paper really did make her mat stronger or prone to fall apart. Today was math, and we noted the measurements that the tailor made, and then replicated those measurements on her "mini" Kit doll. Then I made a pattern for a longer coat and cut out some cheap felt, and we both worked on sewing a little coat. I have never made doll clothes before and think I have a bit of a learning curve, I took a shortcut that let to the sleeves being a bit long & tight! Then Charlotte had fun modifying the felt and coming up with some of her own original outfits (sticking them on the actual doll with pins!) It was a fun activity, and is whetting my appetite to figure out how to make doll clothes and maybe try some simple projects with the sewing machine. I should take another look at Amanda Soule's books and see if I can find some simple projects.
This is the actual "coat" I sewed, dressed up and accessorized by Charlotte.