Friday, March 13, 2015

Sugaring Time: Learning about Maple Syrup

Spring is the perfect time to learn about the process of making maple syrup. If you live in the right climate, then it's a great hands-on activity. If you missed my post Dad-schooling Spring Edition, read it and see how we tapped trees. If you live in a warmer climate, you can still get a wonderful look at maple sugaring through picture books. Here are some of our favorites.
Sugaring Time by Kathryn Lasky won a Newbery Honor in 1983. The book is full of documentary style black and white photos that follow a Vermont farm family in each step of the process of maple sugaring. The book is longer than most picture books with beautiful writing.
Sugaring by Jessie Haas is the story of a little girl sugaring with her grandfather and their horses.A sweet story.
Sugarbush Spring by Marsha Wilson Chall is another story of a little girl sugaring with her grandfather. The whole family gets in on the fun in this beautifully illustrated story. I love all the little details about the process of making syrup.
The Sugaring-Off Party by Jonathan London has been my eldest daughter's favorite this year. The Sugaring-Off Party is set in Montreal and is tells the tale of a family's annual party at la cabane a sucre. French phrases are scattered throughout the story and the story comes alive with the fun characters in this big French family. 
Sugar Snow is part of the My First Little House Books series, which we love. It's a picture-book version of the chapter in Little House in the Big Woods when Pa helps Grandpa to make maple sugar. The illustrations are done in the style of Garth Williams and are lovely.
Sugar on Snow by Nan Parson Rossiter is a more modern look at a New England farm family making maple syrup. If you like your story with tractors instead of horses, this is the book for you.
A Farmer's Alphabet is one of the most beautiful alphabet books I've ever seen. Mary Azarian's black and white woodcuts of farm life are more art than illustration. Guess what? M is for Maple Sugar!

If you are looking for another fun maple project, our kids loved making the free Maple Syrup Lapbook at Homeschool Share. The project really made me realize how much practical math is involved in tapping trees: everything from measuring diameter of trees to converting gallons to quarts totracking temperatures. Math has been really fun this week.

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