The Four-Story Mistake - Introduction
Welcome to the delightful world of the Melendy Family! The Four-Story Mistake is the second book in this series by Elizabeth Enright. (If you would like to begin with the first book, The Saturdays, there is an in-depth unit study already written by the Lamberts of Five-in-a-Row. It is found in Beyond Five in a Row Volume 3).
If this unit turns out to be a blessing to families, I will continue with Then There Were Five, the 3rd book in the series (and my very favorite!) This unit study was written to correspond particularly to the EXCELLENT unabridged audio version of the book, but it is perfectly wonderful as a read-aloud if you don't choose to invest in the audio CDs**.
How to Use this Unit Study...
This unit is suited to all ages and will be most enjoyable when used with children of different ages. However, if you have an only child, it can be enjoyed just as well between a parent and one child. The units are divided into the 12 chapters of the book, and it is suggested that you enjoy as many chapters as you want at first. You can even *listen to the whole story through once -- just to enjoy it -- and then go back and listen to each chapter again, stopping at the end of each chapter to do the activities, questions, and discussions. Actually, you can do it any way that fits YOUR family!
You will find 12 vocabulary words for each chapter, a total of 144 for the entire book. I tried to pick words that were a combination of unfamiliar, interesting, and useful. Some words are obsolete, but I thought discussion and research about them would be fun, too! You can use these words for spelling or any other supplemental language arts -- that is up to you. I have just provided what I think are the best 12 words from each chapter.
Next, I have chosen a few sentences from each chapter that demonstrate metaphor and simile. You can simply discuss which is which, labeling each either "M" or "S", or spend more time discussing the imagery evoked by each use of these 'picture phrases'. You can use them for copywork... or even as a jumping off point into a deeper study of your favorite poetry! Elizabeth Enright was a master of metaphor. If you end up listening twice, try to find metaphors and similes I missed! (Technically, a simile is a type of a metaphor, but it is a common way to introduce the differences. Do whatever you would like with the phrases -- from simple discussion to sentence diagramming, etc. I have just provided them for you!)
For a further language arts emphasis, I have weeded out examples of poor grammar throughout the story. Your children can be creative in the way they 're-word' each incorrect phrase or sentence. They can be as fancy or as simple as they want -- just as long as the finished example is now demonstrating correct grammar!
For nature study, we are using (as a primary source) an online version of Dorothy Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study. In most cases I have linked to the exact pages you will want to read/study. Where the author does not have a reference, or it is not in depth, I am linking to a current website for information. If you enjoy notebooking your unit studies, feel free to start a notebook for the nature study portions or even a larger notebook encompassing the whole unit!
I also have science, math and history extras, as well as questions for discussion. There is also a section with links to pictures and more information about topics that come up in each chapter.
Although I have tried to touch on as much as possible in each chapter, I strongly encourage you to follow all those little bunny trails you and your children may want to wander down. Some of the topics for discussion might not interest you or your children as much, so disregard those and spend more time on what interests you most. Adapt the unit to fit your child(ren)'s personal bents and learning styles. Most of all, enjoy the richness of the literature and HAVE FUN! :-)
Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net
Links to each chapter mini-unit:
Chapter One - The Last Time and the First
Chapter Two - A View Apiece
Chapter Three - Ali-Baba Oliver
Chapter Four - The Back of the Bus
Chapter Five - Rock-A-Bye Rush
Chapter Six - Clarinda, 1869
Chapter Seven - The Show
Chapter Eight - NoŽl NoŽl
Chapter Nine - The Light in the Woods
Chapter Ten - The Caddis House
Chapter Eleven - Addition and Subtraction
Chapter Twelve - Oh, Summer Night!
A Four-Story Mistake Word Search!
** This unit study was designed for use with the audio book and I will say -- the audio book is OUTSTANDING. If you'd like to purchase the audio versions for all 4 books, there is a substantial discount -- 30% off retail - about $80 if you buy all 4 together.