All Those Secrets of the World



” A touching picture book about a family drama and the mysteries of near and far, big and little, war and peace.”

Social Studies:

We read this story and did our unit studies right around Memorial Day.  I explained to the boys the significance of the holiday, which of course went mostly over their heads.  Even still, they got some exposure to the idea, which can build upon itself over time.  We talked briefly about life during times of war and learned about the character quality of loyalty.  Why is it that citizens are willing to go off and fight in wars for their country?

We put the story disk up on our map near the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.


I taught the boys how to do butterfly kisses!  “Daddy gave me a hundred butterfly kisses and whirled me around and around.”

I found the song “Over There” on YouTube and we listened to it together.  “There was a band playing “Over there, over there,” with a tuba making oompah-pahs.  Mama sang along.”

Language Arts:

We used the Five in a Row manual to talk about foreshadowing.  In All Those Secrets of the World, Jane Yolen gives a clue to the final happy outcome of the story when the children hear the bedtime story: “Once upon a time,” it begins and “happily ever after,” it ends.  As the reader turns the page, he sees a happy ending as the father returns home!


“Grandpa bought us ice cream cones, chocolate with jimmies, and Grandma used her handkerchief to wipe our mouths and hands.”

So we went ahead and made our own chocolate ice cream cones with jimmies for dessert one night!



We discovered that the jimmies really made the dessert, so when we ate them all from the top, we just added more!


We now keep our leftover jimmies in the spice cabinet so they are ready to be sprinkled on food at a moment’s notice.   🙂



The art medium used in the book is watercolor, so we pulled out our watercolors and I told the boys to try and make a beach scene or water scene with their paints.


Hmm, I guess the green could represent water.




They quickly became more fascinated with creating new colors in their water cups and the usual shenanigans began to ensue.


Final product:


Yeah, so these weren’t exactly the beach masterpieces I had in mind, but they were clearly not in the mood for structured creativity!  They graced the fridge for approximately 24 hours and then went to the trash can (Gasp!…yes it’s true, I don’t keep every scribble they ever make…only the ones that are sentimental, spectacular, or show signs of progress.)


We packed up our family and drove six hours to the beach so that we could really get a feel for the story.  Ha ha, just kidding!  We did go to the beach, but the trip was already planned, and being able to incorporate parts of this story into our trip was just a bonus.

Distance Perspective:

“”I’ll tell you a secret of the world, the kind you’ll know when you’re older.  They only look small because they’re so far away.  Stay right here and watch.”  He ran down the beach, leaving a trail of wet footprints.  When he was far away, he called, “Am I small now, Janie?”  I nodded because he was no bigger than my hand.”


I used a ruler to show the boys how things measure differently when viewed from up close vs. far away.


I measured the spectacular sand castle, hand-carved by my brother-in-law, from the comfort of my shady beach tent.  One and a half inches tall.

Then I continued to sit in the shade and sent the boys out with the ruler to measure the sand castle up close.


“What does it say?!?!”  I shouted.  (By the way, those are not my manly-looking toes at the bottom of the picture…just want to be clear about that one!)


“Ten feet” replied Logan!

“Yayy for homeschooling!” shouted my sister with a cackle.

The next morning was Father’s Day and we awoke to this sign written on the beach with sea-debris.


So I told them to measure it with their fingers from way up high on our balcony.


Then we went down to the beach to see how big it looked up close.



And finally, I found a little seashell printable on-line that talks about the five senses.  We picked a seashell from the beach and…


looked at it, listened to it, smelled it, touched it, and tasted it…



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