The Rag Coat

We had  a wonderful time rowing The Rag Coat. Although we read this book several times over the course of two weeks I could not manage to get through it once without tearing up a bit. It was beautifully written and the illustrations are vibrant.


We made butter during the course of our study which has nearly replaced the purchase of butter at the store. My dear husband has decided that it is the perfect compliment to his homemade bread. So now we are not only blessed with the wonderful wafting aroma of bread baking, we are also privy to the “butter dance” as he excitedly shakes the cream past it’s frothy prime and into a nice yellow clump of butter.

While we did have lofty ideas of putting together a quilt we decided to settle for making rag dolls as Minna does in the story. We made our dolls out of knit gloves by cutting off all but the middle two fingers for legs and then sewing it together.

I was quite impressed with Hailey’s manual dexterity with a needle and thread. Just a couple of months ago I recall trying to explain cross stitch with one of those plastic needle kits that you purchase at the craft store. We both ended up getting frustrated and decided to put it away. So when she managed to sew the arms together and then attached them to the body I was quite proud of how well she did.



I did purchase the Hands of a Child project pack to go with this book, however the majority of the items within the pack require answers to be filled in. While perfectly suitable for children a bit older it did not suit our needs at this time.

As Minna’s father was a coal miner in Appalachia I took the opportunity to discuss the formation of coal. We decided to place our story disk on West Virginia after discussing where the Appalachian Mountains were as well as our top coal producing states.

We also covered three of the basic formations of rocks – igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. Hailey had a difficult time understanding the word “sedimentary” so I filled a glass with water and sprinkled in some sand, dirt, and leaves. We watched it settle on the bottom and discussed how it could eventually turn to rock.

We also made igneous rocks by watching our chocolate “lava” cool off. Although we did speed up the cooling process by popping it in the freezer!

In order to solidify her understanding of the variations of rocks how the earth is constantly changing, I explained the rock cycle. I tried to find a basic illustration, but all of the pictures seemed to be too complex for the early elementary level. I ended up making my own illustration for her to color and labels to place . Please feel free to download it for your own personal use.


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