F.I.A.R. The Glorious Flight

After last week, we took it down a notch and only did Five In A Row, plus lots of play dates with friends.

We had a great time “rowing” this week.  The Glorious Flight, by Alice and Martin Provensen, is a true story about Louis Bleriot, a French aviator famous for flying his plane across the English Channel in 1909.  It was about this time that Orville and Wilbur Wright were perfecting their airplanes, as well.

After reading The Glorious Flight and learning more about France and England (building on our Madeline “rowing” from last week), we introduced several books about the Wright Brothers from our local library.  The library has many to choose from so I just let the kids each get a few and we read them.

We also made these airplanes.

I found the idea here.  The kids really loved this project and dove in eagerly, stunned at the sheer number of junk food products their mother was about to let them consume all at once.

Naturally, when I purchased the products at the grocery store, I ran into everyone I know in the entire universe. I was pushing a grocery cart containing only Twinkies, Fruit Loops, sugar wafer cookies and chocolate icing.  Oh, and I was wearing sweat pants to the grocery store, which is fine if you look good in sweat pants, but… I digress.

Our biggest fun by far was making gliders, then flying them over the English Channel, aka the bath tub.  I know it was a success because later that day, Firefly remarked, “Hey, Mom, we didn’t do any school today.”

I said, “Hmmm.”

I thought, “That’s what you think, Punkin’. ”  Wink.

We went all out on this project.  You could also use a plastic kid’s pool or really anything that could hold water.  Here’s what we did.

The kids made paper gliders with The Husband.  They practiced flying them and talked about what made them fly well and far:  weight of paper, size of glider, way it was thrown (nose up, nose down).

Then we set up the bath tub as if it were the English Channel.   We read the part of the book about the flight:

Twenty miles wide.
Black, tossing waves.
Fog and rain.
A very cold bath.
A long swim.
It is a dangerous prospect.
Just what Papa likes.


Now there is nothing but swirling fog.
No France, no England, no waves.
Papa is alone.

One side of the tub was designated France and the other England.  The Queen Bee came up with the idea to get her Little People and dollhouse people to sit on the “White Cliffs of Dover”, aka sides of the tub, and wait for Papa Bleriot’s plane. Don’t you just love it?

We used our British and French flags that we made earlier in the week to mark our countries.

The Queen Bee even discovered that one of our Little People looks much like Papa Bleriot. He does, don’t you think?

(Just ignore the cell phone the “Little Person”  is holding in his hand.)

Firefly decided we needed fog and came up with the idea to hang strips of white paper from the ceiling. We hung them high enough so they didn’t interfere too much with the planes.  Then we filled the tub with cold water and turned out the overhead lights.

Then I asked Firefly to get one of his toy boats to play the part of the destroyer, Escopette, that waits in the water to try to rescue Papa Bleriot, if needed.  I gave him my label maker to make the name Escopette and attach it to the side of the “ship”.

The kids decided that The Queen Bee would be the pilot and fly the planes while Firefly would be in charge of the Escopette and rescue all the downed planes.  In an effort to prevent any melt downs, we talked about how some planes would land in the water and we might be sad about that but it’s okay.  Some planes will make it to England and we can all cheer.  In the end, we can always make more planes, just like Papa Bleriot.

Well, lots of the planes made it to the cliffs and lots of them went in the water.

In the end, the kids didn’t want to be done, they were having such fun.

They both got into the tub and sloshed around with their feet amongst the downed planes and the Escopette.

What fun we had with this project! It really showed me how much they had both retained from the story and their creativity really tickled me.

Friday it was field trip day.  We went on a tour of the local municipal airport.  Three other families joined us, including  JavaMom, who pretends not to be a homechooler by sending her kids to public school.  A clever disguise.

The Director of the airport was a lovely gentleman who responded immediately to my email request for a tour, then gave us hours of his time, showing us around the airport.  He told us so much about planes, including the economic impact of municipal airports, types of planes, mathematics regarding flight and so on.  Unfortunately this was lost on a group of mostly four to six year olds, plus a squirmy toddler.

Let me just again say, this gentleman was kind and wonderful and he really, really, really, really was passionate about airplanes and the mommies all learned a lot.  The kids mostly ran around in the grass next to the runway, sticking their arms out and pretending to be planes, until actual planes came to land or take off and then all the mommies began shrieking at them to GET AWAY FROM THE RUNWAY!!!!  Then the kids went back to pretending to be planes or playing with rocks in a drainage ditch.

They did get to see a medi-vac helicopter take off, which my son thought was pretty exciting, especially since it may be the same helicopter that my mother-in-law was transported on last Spring.  My daughter’s favorite part was the terminal building “because it had stairs”. Okie dokie. (She’s four. What can you do?)

Here are some other things we did this week with The Glorious Flight:

  • Watched clips on YouTube of Bleriot’s actual flight and one where his flight was simulated and you can pretend to be the pilot of the Bleriot XI. That was a kid favorite.
  • Watched A Daring Flight:  The Epic 1909 Flight of Louis Bleriot Across the English Channel, which I found at our local library.  I highly recommend this program, as it ties in what Bleriot and the Wright Brothers were doing during the same time period.
  • Learned about Roman numerals with this craft.
  • Talked about the character trait of perseverance. Firefly came up with his own story of perseverance, learning to ride his bike without training wheels.  Just like Bleriot, Firefly persevered even though he failed many times, and even got injured.  This is a concept that seems to have stuck with him all week and he was able to use it in several situations in which he felt frustrated. [please hold on one sec, while I do a dance of joy!]
  • We will finish up The Glorious Flight over the holiday weekend by taking a trip to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. where they have the actual plane that belonged to the Wright Brothers.

    And,  the reason I scheduled this book for rowing right now, is that later in the month, we will actually find ourselves in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where the Wright Brothers made their famous flights.  

    Next week:  We’ll take a break from F.I.A.R. to begin our science program, do another few pages in the Draw Write Now book, lots of read alouds (we just started The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary), as well as celebrating with friends over a Not Back To School Breakfast, as public school kiddos in our area return to school.

    This entry was posted in F.I.A.R., homeschooling. Bookmark the permalink.

    14 Responses to F.I.A.R. The Glorious Flight

    1. Husband says:

      Great post dear! Love the people on the white cliffs of Dover!

    2. That would be your daughter’s idea. 🙂 She’s a people person, you know.

    3. Wendi says:

      Looks like you had a fun week 🙂 The airplane snack looks pretty cool…my kiddos would be shocked if I allowed them to eat all that food also, I’d win mom of the year for sure!

    4. Margaret says:

      You did some very cool things with The Glorious Flight! We have fond memories of that book from our own FIAR days.

    5. Thanks for your comments, Wendi and Margaret!

    6. Nikki says:

      This post made me smile! 🙂 Learning is definitely an atmosphere and fun in your home! Way to go, Mom!

      • Thanks, Nikki! We really did have a very fun week. Sort of disappointed that we won’t be rowing a book next week but have other stuff I want to do with the kiddos so we’ll take a FIAR break.

    7. Catherine says:

      What a great week you had! Our family loves that book, too. I don’t know that my kids did as many fun things with it as you did. (My husband was the homeschooling parent when the kids were little and they were doing Five In A Row.) Enjoy the trip to Kitty Hawk!

    8. Nichole says:

      I love your flights over the English Channel! That’s just too cute & clever. We did “The Glorious Flight” last year, and it was one of our favorites.

    9. Erin says:

      I love those airplanes you made out of cookies and chocolate. My kids would LOVE those. Thanks for the ideas and I really like your blog!

    10. Pingback: Fringe Benefits | Creekside Learning

    11. Michelle says:

      Julie, this is fantastic! I searched your blog in my reader but this did not show up – I’m bummed! Love that your kids did not know they were doing school! What a great way to cement that Bleirot flew over the English Channel!

    12. Christine says:

      I love all your funs ideas for this book! I will be using some of them for our upcoming row this spring. I’ve passed through your site a while ago while getting my lessons prepared for the year and I’m sorry I didn’t stop to say Hi. Well here I am again and HELLO! Thanks for stopping by my site the other day!

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