Week 5 of our curriculum, Winter Promise’s Children Around the World, took us to both Switzerland and the Netherlands. We enjoyed Switzerland so much that the Netherlands didn’t get the attention it deserved, so I think next time I do this curriculum, I will plan for an extra week in the Netherlands.
The highlight addition I made to the curriculum this week was listening to a dramatized audio recording from Librivox of Heidi. You can find it here as well as a non-dramatized version by Kara Shallenburg, our favorite Librivox reader. The story of Heidi really captured my 3rd grader and my kindergartner’s imagination. They spent the week retelling and re-enacting the parts they’d listened to the day before.
They wanted to know if there was a movie, and I made the mistake of borrowing the Shirley Temple version. They hated it! It didn’t follow the book and was really scary for them towards the end before ending abruptly. The only redeeming feature of it was that there is a completely random dream sequence in the first half of it in which Heidi does a dance in the Netherlands in a traditional Dutch costume and then in England in Victorian clothing. While not at all a part of the Heidi story, that scene was a tidy little reinforcement of our studies of those two places, and I would consider showing just those scenes as well as a few of the beautiful Swiss scenes and their traditional costumes on our next go-round with this curriculum, but we will not watch the whole movie again! Lesson learned.
I stumbled across a fantastic book on my Kindle called All Along the Rhine by Kay Shaw Nelson. It is also available as a paperback. It is a travelogue of the author’s visits to all the countries that the Rhine flows through – Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. We are studying many of these in the coming weeks! In it, the author gives all sorts of information about geography, history, and culture along with recipes and other fun tidbits. I could hardly put it down, and my 6th grader is enjoying it too. She’s planning to read the chapter that corresponds to the countries we are studying each week. The book follows the path of the Rhine from South to North – Switzerland to the Netherlands, but it is easy to jump around from chapter to chapter following our studies as each chapter doesn’t really build on the others.
Our cultural gathering at the end of the week was a celebration of Switzerland. The girls decorated our dining room with snowflakes and we feasted on poached salmon and cheese fondue with crusty bread and veggies followed by a chocolate fondue with fruit, banana bread, and more crusty bread for dessert. We did make our fondue out of one Swiss cheese and one Dutch one so as not to completely leave the Netherlands out of the celebration!
(For anyone interested, I was able to THM-ify this meal as well! I used Serene’s Transformer sauce and added extra cheese to make it a solid S, passed on the bread, and used my Healthy Chocolate for the chocolate fondue. Here in Malaysia, my healthy chocolate is a liquid until frozen so I didn’t even have to worry about keeping it melted. It was so easy and beyond delicious! Dipping berries in it as well as sugar-free marshmallows and pieces of my chocolate waffles would have kept it in S territory, but I crossed over and had some of the other fruit and a piece or two of crusty bread because I forgot to thaw the berries and make the other things for myself after a busy day with a fussy baby. Honestly, I didn’t even feel guilty because I had healthified this meal so much already.)
The icing on the cake of our virtual week in Switzerland was that Grandma and Grandpa called to tell us they just found out they have to go to a “work” conference in Switzerland in October. Boy, were we jealous!!! 🙂 We’ll look forward to some snail mail love in the form of chocolate and lots of pictures!