Well, it has been a much longer than intended break from the blog.  Our lives have been so busy, there just hasn’t been any time!  However, I’m trying to get back into the habit of posting our unit studies, if nothing else. Most of the ones from last year never made it on the blog, so maybe, MAYBE I will be able to play catch up on those too.  Finally, because I am writing this post late at night after a very long day, I guarantee typos and grammatical errors. 😉

Our back to school “row” was How To Make an Apple Pie and See the World.  While I wasn’t really thrilled about this book at first, it turned out to be so much fun.  Autumn loved all the humor in the book and read it to herself over and over again before we even started the unit.  Apple Pie is a crazy jaunt all over the world and we had a lot of fun with geography projects this unit.

I made extensive use of youtube for various videos on how things are made.  Autumn did a lot of other read-aloud books, too.  We used lapbook templates from homeschoolshare.com and combined the lapbook for Apple Pie and the Johnny Appleseed lapbook into one big lapbook with lots of extra items that we put together.  You can check out my Apple Pie pinterest board for links to many of the videos, books, and activities we used. Here is her completed lapbook with photos of a few of the projects we did:

We did so much stuff with this unit that it’s hard to know where to start!  I guess I’ll just go over some of the highlights.

Johnny Appleseed

I learned just about as much as Autumn did about the real life Johnny Appleseed, John Chapman.  We read several books about him, talked about stewardship and character, mapped his travels, his place in history, talked about myths and legends vs. facts, learned the “Johnny Appleseed Grace” and even watched the classic Disney short on youtube. 🙂


In addition to marking each country on our world map, we made a passport to record each place we “visited” during the unit.  I think this might have been Autumn’s favorite part as we got to pretend she was bringing all of her items through customs at each country check-in.  As you can imagine, the customs agent was getting pretty concerned by the end of the book when she was checking through a cow, chicken, wheat, cinnamon, sugarcane, salt, and apples!  She also did a “where in the world” book for each country and colored their flags.



Italy’s stop included a review of Italy (we studied with Papa Piccolo in the past) and an online tour of a pasta factory (via youtube) as well as discussion of how Semolina (Durum) differs from other wheat. We made a little booklet on how wheat is grown, harvested, and processed.  Autumn has helped me grind wheat for bread many times!


For France, we did a review of the books we have already studied about France (Madeline, Mirette on the High Wire, The Glorious Flight) and then started learning about chickens.  “Facts about Chickens” came from a chicken lapbook on HomeschoolShare.  Autumn told me step-by-step directions on how to make an omelette from a cooking demonstration we attended last year…and then made omelettes for dinner all by herself for Matt one night while I was away from home!   We also got to see baby chicks hatching when we went to the fair and she got to hold them, too.


Sri Lanka/Cinnamon

This was the first time we had studied Sri Lanka.  I was grateful to find lots of youtube videos on how cinnamon is grown, harvested, and dried.  I’m pretty sure I learned more than Autumn with this one – it was fascinating!  After watching all the videos, we made a booklet on cinnamon and made some gluten free cinnamon toast.  A trip to a grocery store catering to the international community was in order, so we headed out to buy cinnamon sticks, sugarcane, and various apple varieties.  (True, the cinnamon and sugarcane are from the U.S., but I still think we got close enough!)



Since we have studied Englad already (Peter Rabbit, The Glorious Flight), this was another review country.  Autumn loves to help with the milking any time she is in Indiana, so she was pretty familiar with that side of things. We decided to make our own butter – all she had to do was shake heavy cream in a jar until it turned into butter.  Then she got to eat it on her grits – yum!  (This southern girl LOVES her grits!)  We also visited a machine milking demonstration at the fair and learned about how butter is made commecially.



Jamaica was another first time “visit” for us. We found some great videos of the sugarmaking process and saw lots of different methods: from juice extraction using oxen and boiling the juice in a huge pan over an open fire, to modern production. Autumn made a book about how sugarcane is made into sugar. We also got some fresh sugarcane from the grocery store and Autumn loved it!  (On a side note, it was pretty funny when Autumn started watching one of the videos that was made in Jamaica and suddenly discovered where her soccer coach’s accent comes from. :-))


It was a happy accident that just as we started talking about Vermont, we started reading Justin Morgan Had A Horse out loud.  And what do you know, in the very beginning of the book is a lesson on how the first settlers in Vermont gave it it’s name. I love when things just fall together like this!

Science – Evaporation/Salt

One of the concepts that comes up in Apple Pie, is evaporating sea water to get salt.  We have studied salt and evaporation before, but did a simple experiment as a reminder.  We also talked about how sugarcane juice turns into sugar as the water in the juice evaporates from cooking.


Math – Fractions and Measuring

We did lots of word problems introducing fractions and measuring and Autumn helped me measure out ingredients for several recipes.

Language Arts

Autumn learned lots of new vocabulary words and did some apple-related copywork. We had a lot of discussion on Language Arts topics too, especially how the author uses humor to keep the story interesting.


And of course, the star of the show: apples! Let’s see…we learned about and labeled the parts of an apple, colored the stages of an apple tree throughout the seasons, cut open apples to see how many seeds they have, and did a blind taste test of five different varieties to discover which ones we like the best. Autumn likes Granny Smith! While we have NOT managed to make an apple pie yet, Autumn is planning on helping make pies at Thanksgiving when “the uncles” come to visit and can help eat them. 🙂