Homeschooling: Russian Unit Week 1

So this week was way more fun than I anticipated. Peter and the Wolf was a great way to kick off our Russian folklore and geography unit; Wyatt is such a music lover that he loved listening to the symphony (or symphonic folk tale as I have seen it referred to). And has kept listening to all week… lol.

We started the week by reading the book Peter and the Wolf by Ian Beck. There are multiple versions out there but after flipping through a few this was the one I thought would work the best for us. We then retold the story using little stick puppets that we made together. Wyatt loves doing our retellings with puppets or figures and props – I think there is a bit of a drama kid in my son. Then Tuesday we listened to and watched a cartoon version of the symphony narrated by the one and only David Bowie. We talked about the different instruments, and how each character had a specific instrument to represent them. We played with the versions of each family of instruments that we have in our house (we did not have any brass family, we will have to fix that!), then did a listening exercise. We listened to just the parts for each character, one at a time, discussing the tempo, and how the music made us feel. Interestingly, Wyatt did not like the music for the duck. He loved the bird and the Peter music though. Then we did another retelling worksheet. And called it a day for Peter and the Wolf.

Wednesday we didn’t do much with Russia, and focused mainly on our basics that we are also working on -reading and math, and started our map reading lessons. But Thursday and Friday we jumped back in, this time focusing on Kandinsky. I can’t recommend the book The Noisy Paint Box enough. I had no idea honestly who Kandinsky was before this week, and now I feel like I am going to do some reading for my own self. He was fascinating! Kandinsky started the abstract art movement, and also had something called synthesia. When he heard music, he saw color; when he saw color, he heard music. Fascinating! Art for the week was inspired Kandinsky of course. In the book we read how Kandinsky took art lessons and was told what to paint, houses and trees and landscapes, but it didn’t fulfill him. It was only after a trip to the symphony that he allowed himself the freedom to quit his day job as a lawyer and create art full time. So for Wyatt’s art lesson this week, we had a directed art project (the circles) and then I put on classical music and told Wyatt to paint how it made him feel. (I have to admit I loved how we talked about the instruments and the music and feelings twice this week, both with Peter and the Wolf and with Kandinsky. I love when that crossover happens)

He created two paintings – one with watercolor that he called the sun and moon, and another painting using tempera paints.

What do you see in his abstract?

This week has been a blast. We are obviously not delving into the history of the Soviet Union, Russia, or current events, but focusing on art and music, traditions and stories. It is perfect for these cold wintry days. I even saved a project for tomorrow, since we have been baking on Sundays. We are going to read The Bun by Marcia Brown and then try our hand at making Vatrushka buns!

Resource Round-Up!

Books We Read:

(this section contains Amazon Affiliate links)

Me on the Map || The Bun || Peter and the Wolf || The Noisy Paint Box

Printables and Videos:

The Masterpiece Studio – Adventures in Russia Week One (I am breaking this up and doing it over a few weeks)

Winter Math Activities – Place Value

Peter and the Wolf Cut and Tell Worksheet

Peter and the Wolf Listening Journal and Fact Sheets

I am looking forward to next week already!


11 thoughts on “Homeschooling: Russian Unit Week 1

  1. What a fun unit to explore Russian art and folklore! I have never listened to Peter and the Wolf (gasp!), but recognize the introduction to the symphony. Thanks for the Bowie link. I’ll watch later today. I think I see a bird in flight in Wyatt’s painting. Happy baking! I’ve never heard of Vatrushka buns, but after a google search, I think they look delicious! Yum.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to admit when I watched/listened to it as a kid I was not as excited about it as Wyatt was lol. I like it more now as an adult, and watching my son’s enthusiasm. Funny how that works sometimes!

      And yes, I saw a bird too!!

      We will see how they go! I had never heard of them until this unit study, but they do look delicious!


  2. Pingback: My Sunday-Monday Post – Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs..

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