Thursday, June 9, 2011

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…

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