Around the World with FIAR: Henry the Castaway

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Geographical Theme for Term: South America

We read through this book again:

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Henry the Castaway is a story about a boy who imagines going for an adventure on the Orinoco River.  This river runs through Venezuela and Colombia:

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As we had already covered Columbia in a past study, we focused primarily on Venezuela this week.  We looked it up in our normal atlases, and I read out all the pertinent information regarding Venezuela:

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Theme for Henry the Castaway

The main theme would be rivers:

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In My Book Box

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These are the books my girls would have in their quiet time basket each day.  I chose books which had rivers as an integral part of the story as well as books they were both familiar with.  We had already used Going on a Bear Hunt for study a couple of years ago, and we used Paddle to the Sea when we were learning about the Ojibwe tribe.  They know the Story of Ping because I have read it many times to them.

Bedtime Reading

Throughout Henry the Castaway are allusions to other literary pieces of work and well known people.  An allusion is a reference to something or someone well known.  This literary device is used to give depth to a description.  Robinson Crusoe is alluded to in Henry Castaway when Henry names his cat Mrs Friday.

As Robinsoe Crusoe is a book about a castaway and how he manages to survive on a deserted Island near to the mouth of the Orinoco River, it is the perfect book to read as a go along to Henry the Castaway.  I read this book to the children during their lunch time and before bed so that I could get it finished within the week.


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One of the larger lessons in the FIAR book was to do with rivers and their currents.  We read the above book which gave the girls a great understanding of the typical layout of a river, from its source to its mouth.  We followed the Orinoco river from its source to its delta using google earth.  How I love google earth!  We clicked on all the photos so we got a really good idea of how huge the river actually is:



We talked about how currents in a river always flow downstream.  We found the chapter in their Winnie the Poo books which talked about Pooh playing pooh sticks with Eeyore.  We gathered some pine-cones and took them to out local stream and played pooh-sticks together 🙂


They watched the cones float downstream:


I took photos of them walking upstream:


And walking down stream:


It was lovely to be out and about with my little girls:


Arts and Crafts

There are lots of art opportunities with Henri the Castaway.  We looked at the expressions which are drawn on both the faces of the people and the animals, and discussed how they change throughout the book.

One of the main reasons for doing this study is to learn a bit about South America, and in particular Venezuela.  So I looked up famous Venezuelan art and was chuffed to come across Venezuelan artist Santiago Pol and his beautiful rain forest art:



His art really captured my attention and I felt it would be fairly easy to replicate.  You can see how I did it here, but for now I will leave you with a photo of the girls beautiful replicas:


Just as an aside, if you scroll down to the bottom of the post linked above you will see that the artist himself visited my blog and left a message in Spanish expressing his delight in me using his art to teach my children!  How incredibly cool is that?!  I tell you, blogging is by far one of the funnest hobbies I have ever had 🙂

Home Economics

This week was simple.  In Venezuela having a hot chocolate with your breakfast is common practice.  So we decided to do the same (much to the utter delight of all five children).  I bought some very special Venezuelan chocolate:

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I served it with marshmallows and doughnuts:

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More Inspiration



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