Tuesday’s Choice: Peepo!

This week’s review comes with a little glimpse into our homeschooling life…

Peepo! is another classic that is one of my favourites, both because of its beautiful rhyme (I almost sing or chant my way through the book!) and the wonderfully detailed illustrations. We get to go through a day in the life of a little baby, seeing the world through his eyes.  He and the text are on the left-hand page and then just a glimpse of the picture through a circle on the right-hand page, before you turn over and see the full extent of his little world. I chuckle at one picture where his big sister is beaming close up, as it seems to me that JoJo must get that same view pretty often!

We love the repetition in this book, and yelling out together “Peepo!” as well as pouring over the different activities and sights in each page. The start of the book has a selection of pictures from different pages and it is fun to work out which one is found where.

As for using it in homeschooling, as I am discovering there are so many different ways and approaches so it can be quite mind boggling knowing which one to go for. I love routine and structure, so should I have the day laid out subject by subject? But spontaneity is great too, and I am learning that children learn best when they are interested and ready, so does that lead me more towards autonomous learning, or unschooling? I am still pondering these!

But one approach I do like very much is Unit Studies, where you take a subject or theme, and build all sorts of learning from that root. This particular approach is used in an idea I love called “Five In A Row”, a curriculum by Jane Lambert which involves reading a book (chosen for its quality of language and story) five days running and each day doing a different activity relating to the book, be it language related or maths related or art related etc.

The author has done all the work in finding the books and drawing up the related activities, but as ever the main disadvantages are that it is pricey and from an American viewpoint (not to mention most of the books seem to be out of print!).  Just like these posts were inspired by all the wonderful books that we have in this country that I never see mentioned on the US blogs and homeschool pages, so I wondered if I could put something together myself. I am making my first attempt this week and it is going well -yesterday we read Peepo! and then drew our own pictures and made up our own text (not quite as poetic!!):

LissaLou did a picture of Neverland and CassCass of…hmm, well! In her own words (spot her efforts at rhyming!):

He sees a hand, a finger

Nail varnish, abinger

And a crocodile in a jar and a apple and a pineapple

Baked in a car!

Today we discussed all the rhyming words, tried to replace words with alternatives that still fit the rhyme (LissaLou pointed out that the result was nonsense, which helped show how carefully authors craft their books!). LissaLou and I then sorted the ones spelt the same to the ones spelt differently but still pronounced the same (go on, remind me of the technical terms!). Another advantage is that CassCass can also get involved, and she was getting the hang of finding the two rhyming words by the end. I am still musing on the next sessions but I think one will be the historical element, as the book is set a while back, so we can look at how life has changed (rare to see outside toilets for example!). Any other suggestions or other good books to use would be most welcome!


6 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Choice: Peepo!

  1. I like Peepo too, love the detail in the illustrations.
    A favourite here at the moment is Madeline. It is lots of fun to read (rhyming again though) and nice scenes of Paris in the background. We have Madeline in London (Caitlyn loves being told which of the pictures she has been to even though she obviously can’t remember) which I don’t think is as good (could have done with a few less side story lines) but definitely lots to talk about (I usually skip the line about old horses being made into glue!) “that is the power and the beauty, in England everyone does his duty” always makes me smile 🙂

  2. I have so enjoyed reading this blog!
    You are beginning to understand why some of us older teachers hated the National Curriculum so much – it prohibits anything like your ‘Unit Studies’. i will put my mind to other books, but its better to use the books you have already.
    Cass cass’s rhyme is brilliant!

  3. Esther – lovely to hear from you! We actually had the Madeline in London book out recently and the girls loved it but I wasnt quite so fond of it, though I enjoyed seeing my hometown! I would like to read the original. We watched a film of it but it was aimed at older children (all the girls swooning at Pepito out the window!) then we found a cartoon version in french which was lovely, although it is strange to hear Madeline said the french way where it no longer rhymes with line!! What book would you recommend for getting to see beautiful NZ? – apart from Hairy Maclary of course! Better get back to doing my duty!!

    Mum – I feel for you! CassCass is most chuffed at the praise from you both!

  4. We adored our FIAR studies and I felt it was still compatible with unschooling as we only continued if the kids were enjoying it. I still have some FIAR books plus our lesson ideas/plans and folders so do email me if you want anything specific.

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