Monday, June 13, 2011

PP: The Long Winter

This is probably one of my favorite Little House on The Prairie Books.


Memory Work:

Psalm 34 or Psalm 37


Activities, Studies and Crafts:

weather patterns, including natural disasters such as tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc) We will utilize The Handbook of Nature Study and Considering God’s Creation with this study.

modern agencies that help victims of storm-related disasters (FEMA, Red Cross, National Guard, etc)

make a plan of action for the common natural occurrences in your region…include emergency bags and kits, safety plans, etc.

learn about Samuel Morse (online here and here) and Morse Code and the telegraph (online here and here)


the water cycle

Indians of South Dakota Souix, Blackfeet

The Battle of Wounded Knee

Earth’s rotation, effects on sunrise, sunset, climate, etc.

heat index and wind chill

Chicken digestive system

medicinal properties of ginger

light, effects of light deprivation

crude oil, kerosene, coal…for heating and lighting (where does it come from)

grind wheat and bake bread

study verses on complaining, use a Concordance

learn about the effects, prevention and treatments for frostbite

the importance of vitamins, the effects of vitamin deficiency

braid straw (how a straw hat is sewn here and here) a bracelet using straws, but could be done with straw


Word List:


whiffle characteristics of trees

Friday, June 10, 2011

PP: By The Shores of Silver Lake

Memory Work:
Romans 8:31-39
50 States has a nice site, including this chart on Statehood order.

Activities and Studies:
Read a biography on Fanny Crosby  online here, and here, and here
learn some causes of various diseases
learn about germs and infections and how they work online here and here
Meningistis, Measles, Scarlet Fever, Immunizations, Tuberculosis
Your own State history
Dissection and study of a cow eye online here, here and YouTube
study the anatomy of an eye
steam engines, trains, history of the railroad
study the purposes of United States territories/states
read about Helen Keller, Loius Braille and the Braille system
bird migration
discuss the uses and structures of root cellars in food preservation/storage
study the Timber Culture Act
cottonwood trees,

Word List:
literary terms: setting, plot, characters, conflict, climax

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Topics Covered by The Prairie Primer

As mentioned before, you don’t have to have a copy of the Prairie Primer. It isn’t a hard fast rule for enjoying the Little House on The Prairie books. It will, however, give you a great direction to follow to get as much out of the books as you can. Here are the Topics and their entries, as listed in The Primer itself.
Bible Concepts/Character Builders
Bible Memory
History, Government, Social Studies and Geography
History – Biographies
Literature and Language Arts
Living (as in conservation, manners, music, gun safety)
Science (bacteria, viruses, light and prism, heat transfer, food chain, electricity, energy and fuel, distillation, pollination, properties of fire, rust, simple machines, trees, telegraph, water table, water purification, weather)
Science – Animal Kingdom (animal classification, tracks, and a wide variety of animals)
Science – Human Body (digestive systems, ears, eyes and eyesight, genetics, blood, heart and vascular, immune system, lungs and breathing, nervous system, reproduction, skin and taste)

Some additional suggestions shared in The Primer are creating a historical timeline on butcher paper. We have several kits from Homeschool in The Woods History Time Travelers that we love, but you don’t need anything fancy.  Use what you have :)  Also making note of your memory work along the way, on index cards kept in a file, or worked out with drawings and copywork or as lapbook coponents. 

You can also add in some good old fashioned (and so often better) math and handwriting curriculum to give a complete schooling adventure. For a curriculum from the 1800s, try Ray’s Arithmetic and the Spencerian System of Practical Penmanship.  Folks just don’t teach good handwriting anymore. Most schools have worked over the past few years to cut cursive writing altogether. It’s a shame. I suppose in an age of computerized everything from ebook texts for school and assignments handed in on flashdrives, folks just don’t need to use real penmanship anymore :(
So there you go.  The Primer has all the guidance and direction you need to get the most from your Little House on The Prairie series. You can add and subtract at will, the ideas throughout the Primer will certainly spur your creativity along…but it will carry you along very nicely on those hectic days when gathering and planning just aren’t going to happen.

Enjoy! I look forward to hearing from everyone joining the summer reading series!

A Typical Primer Day…

Cadron Creek's award-winning curriculum has been utilized by government, private, and home schools for both regular academic programs and as a summer supplemental course. Although developed for students in grades 3–6, it has been used successfully with younger as well as older students.
I definitely agree that the Prairie Primer can be easily adapted to children younger, as well as older.
For example, in Little House in The Big Woods, Week 1/Day 1 we are reading chapter 1.  Your child isn’t ready to read Big Woods on their own? No problem! I don’t know about you, but even at my age (ahem) I still enjoy reading the Little House books.  I want to be involved in this curriculum as much as they do. I will do most of the reading, the children will read bits and pieces.
Some comprehension questions are asked….how old was Laura when the book was written (it’s right there on page 1, so if they listened to the reading, they know the answer). What made Laura feel safe when the wolves were howling? Retell how the Ingalls preserved their meat (a great opportunity to narrate, have Mom write out some sentences for copywork, draw pictures showing the process…). What was Mary’s doll like? What was Laura’s doll like? What did Laura and her family do in the evenings? How did Pa keep the coals alive until morning? What was the hogs bladder used for?  All of these are simple comprehension questions.  Whether you do the reading or the children read for themselves, even a younger child listening can come up with suitable answers to the questions.
A typical day looks like this, after reading the chapter or two required and discussing the comprehension questions, the fun part comes in. You will find crafts, writing and vocabulary work, science applications to dig deeper into, perhaps geography, a Bible lesson and more.  The work for the day varies, but you are getting most areas covered aside from math.
(Literature) is this a fiction or non-fiction book? Biography or auto-biography? Who is telling the story? These are great ways to talk about true stories vs made-up stories.  You might even end up in a discussion about lies vs truth :)
(Science) We learn about bears and their habitat.  Maybe your younger children aren’t interested in bears, but my 5 and 6 year olds are.  We can look up any number of books about bears, even picture books for those younger than mine. Another topic for science is preserving food using means like dehydrating, freezing, canning.  Even if you don’t do these activities yourself, the foods you buy at the local store are preserved in one way or another.
(Vocabulary) This is the fun part.  The Primer shares some word suggestions, but obviously any word your children don’t have a clear understanding of can be used.  We will be making an on-going dictionary as we work through the books.
(Bible) Laura’s father was an important part of her life. What does Malachi 4:6 say?  Good manners help a person to carry out biblical principles. In the book Laura interrupts Mary, displaying poor manners. There are several good resources for discussing manners with young children, and countless Bible verses you can utilize in the discussion.
(Living) They suggest eating cracklings or adding them to cornbread.
(Art) Make a corn cob doll. If you don’t have access to  corn on the cob to strip and dry for yourself, you can alter this craft and make a simple rag doll, a yarn doll, a pillowcase doll…be creative! The Primer is a great guide, but it’s not set in stone.  Sure, a corn cob doll is mentioned in the book and making your own would be great, but if you can’t, no point skipping such a great project altogether.  The same goes for making a balloon from a pigs bladder :o) You can certainly locate one somewhere, either local or online, but I don’t know…I think we’ll go with an ordinary balloon and just smile at this one! LOL

That’s it.  Big Woods Week 1/Day1 has many possibilities, even if you can’t follow the Primer to the letter.  I love my Primer, and I definitely suggest getting a copy for yourself, but with some imagination and a bit of planning, you can do a great deal with just the book series on its own.
Next I’ll share the Topics covered by The Primer…

LHOP: Big Woods, Week 4

The Gold Rush tops this week’s study. See our resources in the first unit as well.

A Gold Rush Poem from History-for-kids
PBS GO! WayBack Files: The Gold Rush
Huntington Education interactive story page on the Gold Rush
American History Kids Page and here for teachers
The History of The Gold Rush
California Gold Rush for Kids….and scroll down to the bottom for additional related articles The Gold Rush
study the refining and processing of gold and its uses
study mining techniques
Have a Gold Rush Day: layout a ‘claim’ with your Bible memory verses written on yellow paper and crumpled up (gold nuggets), eat yellow foods (cornbread, jell-o, pears, bananas, yellow squash, honey, lemonade, etc)…

some fun movies and documentaries:
The Gold Rush…maybe not historical correct, but Charlie Chaplin is a classic!
American Experience: The Gold Rush
The History Channel’s documentary on Gold

PP: On The Banks of Plum Creek

According to the Primer, we will begin to dig a bit deeper into nature with things like classifications: plant, animal, fungi, protista, and monera.

Kingdoms are divided into a classification’s pattern from the largest to the smallest categories. As an example, the animal kingdom categories are: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species.  Each plant or animal is specifically identified by its genus and species name. This is called binomial nomenclature.

Whew….ok, I was never a big science major I’m afraid.  I know alot more than I realize I know, but still… Here are some varied websites you might find useful in planning through this book

Our favorite find: Sorting and Classifying Organisms for Kids

Kingdom to Subphylum

Experimental Biosciences introductory pages

The (Modern) Six Kingdom Classification  this would be a decent chart to print for a notebook or lapbook

Kids Biology site using an example of classifying candy. Another good page in the Kids Biology site

We will also be putting out Considering God’s Creation workbook and teacher guide to use.


Also touched on for some extra study, the grasshopper plagues between 1873-1877


We will work on our study using our favorite must-have homeschooling resource for science, The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock.  You can download it free here, but I definitely suggest getting a copy of your own.

Also, you might want to get the Outdoor Series over at the Handbook of Nature Study Blog.  Barb has an incredible collection of goodies shared, some free, some in her great ebook form.


Our Memory Work for this book is Psalm 51.

Other activities include:

reading a biography of Noah Webster

making a 9-patch quilt

a study of trees

water safety

tobacco, use, cancers related to tobacco

learning about Bees, Moths, Butterflies, Mammals in general, leeches, beavers, leeches and their old time medical uses,

preserving fruit by dehydration

learning about water purification

a study of Plains for geography

the history and origin of American Folk Songs

crafting window stars


Some of our study words include:

conduction, convection, radiation, butte, mesa, plateau, plain, preservation, idleness (both a dictionary definition, as well as using our Strong’s Concordance, and For Instruction in Righteousness books), knoll, snipe, belfry, cravat and more.  We generally add any word that is new to the children to their on-going list.