fire!

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I’ve been asked several times now how I plan our homeschool schedule, and I have to admit, it’s not a very scientific or even a very informed process. I try to plan two to three weeks at a time, choosing a central theme for the week and then building around that topic – library selections, art projects, activities and worksheets, etc. Those themes have mostly been seasonal so far, observing what’s happening in our yard and in nature. However, like so many other school children, we focused on fire safety and prevention earlier this month. I clearly didn’t take very many pictures, but I think the girls learned quite a bit.

We kicked off the week with a visit to a local volunteer fire department. They were having an open firehouse day, so we went to see the ladder truck extend and look at the boots and helmets. I was hoping for more activities and hands-on stuff, so we will have to pick a day to visit another department, but it was still neat to get inside and say hello.

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My usual plan of reserving library books backfired when I realized someone else had the same idea for this week so most of the appropriate titles were already checked out, but we were still able to grab a couple. My favorite was Gail Gibbons’ Fire! Fire! (affiliate link) because it talked about fire fighting in different settings: urban, rural and forest. Most other books I paged through focused on big city firehouses with professional firefighters, and that’s just not our reality so it was helpful to see something relatable. We also liked New York’s Bravest as we’d just finished listening to tall tales on CD in the car – Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed, and so on – and so it was nice to tie that aspect into something we’d already talked about. I was able to pick up a couple more books during our regular weekly trip (they’d been returned – hooray!) and the girls enjoyed Stop, Drop and Roll, with Beanie demonstrating the proper technique she had learned from Firefighter Chris at nursery school the week before. Daddy lit a fire in our outdoor fire pit and demonstrated what a fire extinguisher does, and then took us inside to locate and test all of our smoke alarms.

The free printables I found on Pinterest were the real winners for us this week. We used a play phone to learn how to call 911, and reinforced the new skill with coloring pages that are now hanging next to the landline phone, just in case. Both girls liked the number game – rolling the die and coloring the number. I thought it would be over Beanie’s head, but she counted the dots on the die just fine, and only needed a little help identifying the corresponding number.

Since we heat with wood, fire is a very rational concern for us. We are going to extend these lessons and make an evacuation plan as a family, and J is looking into fire ladders for the second and third floors. We practiced all the information the girls would need to give to the dispatcher – street name and house number, mama and daddy’s real names and ages, etc.

Overall, a solid week of learning practical skills. We will certainly need to stay on top of refreshers, but I think they got the basics down. Now to hope they never need to use them.

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