The Tree Lady


Kick-off Breakfast:

This was more like a wrap-up breakfast. Pancake art isn’t my specialty, but I managed to craft tree-shaped pancakes with Nutella frosted trunks. What they lacked in visual appeal they made up for in taste. It sugared-us-up enough to power through our last week rowing The Tree Lady.

Story Disk:

Parker colored the story disk and placed it on California.

Cover Art:

Parker drew BalboaPark as the cover art for this row.


Bible Lessons:

Having both the digital download and the new teacher’s manual which allows me to have access to Jane Lambert’s wonderful Bible Lessons. The tender talking moments about the Lord are just one more reason to love FIAR!

Memory Verse:

I created a Bible verse pack for The Tree Lady.

You can purchase your copy here at our TPT Store.

Parker traced his Bible verse and we added it in his FIAR notebook.


I brought out books about the U.S., California and San Francisco.

Northern California:

First, we read about California in The Fifty States.

Narrowing our focus on the Bay Area, we read This is San Francisco by Miroslav Sasek.

Forest – Redwoods:

We read about the giant sequoias and the majestic redwoods in our National Parks of the U.S. book.

We’ve had crazy windstorms that ripped huge branches off our redwoods tossing them to the ground. As a result, we hired tree guys to climb, trim and ensure these tree-giants stay healthy.

Southern California:

We read excerpts about Southern California from The Story of California.

We also read Our California on our Epic app.

Desert Regions:

I gathered a few books about the dessert, including Living Water in the Desert.

Parker completed the Story Review Desert worksheets while I read aloud from Wild Places, the dessert section.

What Defines a Park?

Parker and I watched an automated reading of this wonderful book on our Epic app. It was so beautiful, I bought a hard copy.

I brought out our Make a Picture Sticker Book Town so Parker could create his own town park.

He also drew a park in his FIAR notebook.

Timeline of Katherine Olivia Sessions Life:

Parker completed the Katherine Olivia Sessions Timeline from The Tree Lady Story Review.

Female Contemporaries:

We talked about how difficultread about Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor.

We also read Who Was Rachel Carson? We thoroughly enjoyed reading about this woman as we sat outside on a park bench.

Career Choices:

We approached this unit by talking about the jobs Parker would love to have. I found 100 Things to be When You Grow Up on our Epic app.

Parker found several jobs that sounded interesting, but he always seems to land back on “computer programmer”.

We also found a landscape architect which seemed like a modern title for the work Katherine did at Balboa Park.

World Expositions and Fairs:

We talked about world expositions and fairs. We read Corgiville Fair, which more about corgi dogs than fairs. Next time, Country Fairs by Gail Gibbons might have been a better choice.

Last year, we read about world fairs while reading The Great Wheel.

Fairy Floss is a fun book about the history of cotton candy – introduced at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.


We started our lesson on perseverance by reading Never Give Up.

As suggested, we read The Carrot Seed. It was fun rereading a BFIAR book from Parker’s preschool years!

He was so little when we rowed The Carrot Seed. I cherish all the early FIAR memories we made.

We also read another FIAR favorite, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. A great story about perseverance.

We made so many fun memories rowing Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel! I love any opportunity to peak through our old photos.

In my search for Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, I came across Maybelle the Cablecar, which was perfect since it took place in San Francisco!


Story Review:

I created The Tree Lady Story Review for Parker.

You can purchase your copy here at our TPT store.


I decided to read There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover since it was near St. Patrick’s Day.


Parker completed the vocabulary words worksheet from our Story Review.

Latin & Greek Words:

We started a “Latin and Greek Words” page in Parker’s FIAR notebook.



After changing our calendar, Parker completed his April worksheet and we read this month’s poem from A Child’s Calendar.


We covered fractions while Parker designed his spring garden. He designed his spring garden using the worksheet from our Story Review. I asked him what fraction of his plants were pumpkins. Then we discussed other ways to say that value in decimals and percentages. This was a real life example of fractions, decimals and percentages.


Tree Nursery:

After Parker’s ortho appointment, we stopped by our local nursery.

After stopping by Starbucks for a special treat.

While there, we looked at their succulents, picked out some seeds, and even found grandma’s favorite lilac bush.


We started digging into our garden unit by reading Growing a Garden and Tools for the Garden.

We’ll explore more in the garden with our next row, Grandpa Green.


We read excerpts from All in a Drop and brought out our microscope.

I brought out plant slides for Parker to check out.


We read about trees, leaves and photosynthesis in Why Do Leaves Change Color?


In addition to seeing the succulents up close at the nursery, we came across a “xeriscape” page while reading A Gardener’s Alphabet by Mary Azarian.

We found some succulents at the store. Parker chose one along with a mister.

Critical Exposure:

Parker and I love taking walks, getting fresh air and exploring our creek. There is such a pull inside with electronic devices, but I try to encourage my kids to venture outside and enjoy God’s great creation!

Types of Soils:

After reading a couple of books about soil, Parker completed the Parts of the Soil worksheet from our Story Review.

What Do Plants Need?

I used sunflowers to introduce this experiment.

We read How a Seed Grows to review what plants need.

More specifically, we read From Seed to Sunflower on our Epic app.

Parker wrote his predictions and set up his experiment. We waited about a week and our seedlings started sprouting.

Things don’t always work out as we expect, but they provide wonderful talking points. The cup without water still sprouted, because the soil had moisture. He also saw that his plant without sunshine was yellow. We talked about they “Why” behind this phenomenon. We placed the yellow seedlings in the kitchen window and the following day they were happy little green sprouts! Parker sketched his findings and hopefully we’ll be able to transfer the sunflower outside.

We also read Let it Grow and Little Sunflower for fun!


Tree Mixed-Media Art:

I thought it would be fun to create a mixed media art project.

We read several books about trees. Personally, love Tell Me Tree by Gail Gibbons and Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing the Trees by Jim Arnosky.

First, I guided Parker through the process of drawing a tree with pencil. Then I showed him how to fill in the tree with oil pastels, blending several colors together.

Next, I brought out some watercolors for Parker to paint a nice blue sky. We set it aside to dry.

Lastly, I brought out our tempura paints and some leaves collected in our yard. He painted the underside and pressed them onto our tree, making leaf prints.

The tree looked absolutely beautiful with the various shades of green leaves pressed onto it.

Kate’s Wild Mushroom Soup:

Parks helped me prep the mushroom for our soup. We modified the recipe slightly and served grilled cheese on the side. It was delicious!


Pinterest Board:

You can find most of the activities, ideas, and printables from this post on The Tree Lady Pinterest Board.

Youtube Playlist:

As with our other rows, we created The Tree Lady Playlist with read-alouds, music, science, and other clips.

6 thoughts on “The Tree Lady

  1. Thank you for sharing all of your FIAR rows! You do a great job! I was wondering…how much time do you take to row a FIAR book? And how long do you take to do a Beyond FIAR? Do you find the Beyond FIAR more difficult to do since it is a chapter book? Thank you!!!

  2. Hi Karyn! Thanks for stopping by. We definitely take our time rowing each book. Typically, each book takes about 3-4 weeks, but some rows go even longer, especially on the vol 4 & 5 books. The Beyond FIAR rows look completely different for us. Last year, I wanted my 12 year old son to row independently. We had a bit of a learning adjustment, but he successfully rowed two chapter books and a picture book all by himself. Next year, he will work through Volume 6. I’m hoping to row all four. Using The Boxcar Children and Betsy Ross as an example, he was able to cover 1-2 chapters each week. I added supplemental reading and coordinating activities to accompany each chapter. I blogged those rows by chapter in an attempt to help other homeschoolers navigate an independent study approach. Feel free to look through those posts under our FIAR Volume 5 page. Wishing you all the best!

  3. I JUST saw this! Thank you so much for your response! It is really helpful!!!! So when your child rows the book himself, he is alone doing it…the activities etc? I hate having to end FIAR ….this is probably my last year and then we will move onto the chapter books. I have a 12 year old too and she is not ready to go on her own yet.

    1. Hi Karyn! Yes, Jordan is rowing it on his own. I mark which parts of the manual he needs to read every day. He reads each chapter on his own and works through any activities, worksheets, and/or extra reading on his own. We usually review his “daily agenda” at the end of the day, to ensure he’s done everything. I guess you could say the FIAR chapter books have been our way of preparing him for independent learning for high school. My soon to be 12 year old isn’t ready either, so we’re still working through volumes 4 and 5.

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