Learning With Little House Books {Our 2016-2017 Curriculum}

I started gathering our curriculum for this coming school year over a year ago with the intention of doing The Prairie Primer last year, but I wasn't ready. I wanted to give Eliana one more year to mature to get the most out of it, and I think we're ready! Since The Prairie Primer is designed for grades 3 through 6, the timing this year is perfect. Eliana is entering the 4th grade, Malachi is entering the 6th grade, and my youngest, Bo, is entering Kindergarten, and all will tag along with us for a family study of the Little House books.

Getting ready to "meet" Laura - Eliana on her 9th birthday.
I hope they will become fast friends!

I'm pretty excited because while I grew up watching the Little House on the Prairie series on TV, I have never read through all the Little House books! 

So, what is The Prairie Primer?

The Prairie Primer is a "A Literature Based Unit Study Utilizing the Little House Series" and consists of nine units - one corresponding to each of the nine "Little House" books.

Each unit is divided into 4 weeks.

We will read 1-2 chapters each day  - 4 days a week and do reading comprehension questions and activities/lessons from the manual.

Comprehension questions are to be asked aloud and answered orally in complete sentences (this is taking some time to get in the habit!). Some activities take more than one day to finish, but for the sake of sharing and documenting our journey here on the blog, I will post them on the day we started the activity or on the day it is scheduled in the manual. (This will also help anyone who may come here for inspiration for each week of the Primer, too).

Praire Primer topics include:
  • Bible Concepts and Building Character 
  • Bible Memory
  • Crafts
  • Health
  • History, Government, Social Studies, and Geography
  • History - Biographies 
  • Literature and Language Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • Music
  • Science
  • Science - Animal Kingdom
  • Science - Human Body 

Each unit also has "General Activities." Generals include long term projects like handi-crafts, memory work, a timeline, or reading a biography.

There is so much in The Prairie Primer, that we will not be able to do everything. But, we will have fun trying! :) Even so, there will be weeks that are great (good books, hands on activities, and real life learning), and weeks that are simple (just reading good books while cuddled on the couch or on a blanket out in the sunshine and fresh air). I'm not planning to add anything (the manual has plenty of ideas), but I may substitute an activity or recipe, go down a rabbit trail if we feel like it, or do activities from the recommended reading as we are inspired, however...

While many spread the Primer out over two years, I am planning to do The Prairie Primer in one school year or 45 weeks - 36 weeks for the actual curriculum and one week off in between books. While we usually school through the summer and take it easy in the winter, I did schedule a 6 week break this summer - I thrive on the energy and light the long days give me, but a trip to Kansas City and summer camps (Y soccer camp, Challenger soccer camp, theatre camp, volleyball camp, and bowling camp) will keep us busy those 6 weeks. I also scheduled 3 weeks off in fall (fall break and the Feast of Tabernacles), one week off in winter, and two weeks off in the spring (spring break and Passover week). That should put us finishing by the beginning of May 2017 if we stick to the schedule. :) 

1800s Curriculum:

While I have Ray's Arithmetic, and have applied some of these methods with my children, we will continue 21st century math. We will also continue on with our regular handwriting.

I do have the Webster's 1828 Dictionary, though! :)

Praire Primer Resources

Here are the resources I will be using. Many go-along books will be gathered from the library, but I'll include some of my favorites on my resource page as well as primary resources and recommended reading from The Primer.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Young Pioneer
Laura Ingalls Wilder Country
My Book of Little House Paper Dolls
My Little House Crafts Book
My Little House Cookbook
The Little House Cookbook 

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Songbook
Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Arkansas Traveler
Happy Land

The World of Little House

I will be adding resources for each unit to my Primer Resource page as I go.

Notebooking Through the Primer

Malachi and Eliana will each have their own (bare) notebook to fill with narrations, copywork, and illustrations - just a little something each day to have a record of our learning. When they fill the books, I will have them decorate front and create a table of contents on the first page. 

Bo will learn about the characters in the Little House series, the places they traveled to, and the pioneer lifestyle. 

My Little House ABC
My Little House Book of Family
My Little House Sewing Book 

My First Little House books can be found at CBD as a set (and probably at your library as well!). 

American History

History topics are included in the Primer, but we will fill in the gaps for our 2nd year of American History - American History 1815 to Present.

Eliana and Malachi will use the beautifully written and illustrated A Child's First Book of American HistoryThe Landmark Book of the American People II (if needed), Pages of History Volume 2 (a fun and quick moving living book covering 64 major events of modern History), and Malachi will do Veritas Self-Paced History 1815 to Present.


To learn the states and capitals, we'll use "To State it Simply, It's a Capital Game" (these make my kids laugh) and States and Capital Songs (great for car schooling!). My kiddos are enjoying these so far. :)

Language Arts & Math

Starting this August with the traditional school year, we will use:

Malachi: Getty & Dubay Italic D, BJU English 6 Writing and Grammar, All About Spelling 6, and MUS Epsilon.

Eliana: All About Reading 4, All About Spelling 4, G&D Italic D, BJU English 3 Writing and Grammar, Math Lessons for a Living Education 4, and MUS Gamma.

Boaz: G&D Italic A, All About Reading 1 Second Edition, and (not pictured) Math U See Alpha (completed) and Beta.

While I started gathering books almost a year ago now, they have been off limits. "Box day" around here is when I pull them out for the kids to look at to their hearts content. Then they go on the shelf until we use them.

Whenever I think of a prairie school, I think of Three Names, so we made a paper chain to celebrate the start of a new school year. :)

While we usually do something like Italian cream sodas for Box Day, I thought a meal of fried chicken and mashed potatoes in pie tins would be more old fashioned. :) After we started Big Woods, I wished we would have had a simple picnic of bread and butter and cheese, hard boiled eggs and cookies like Laura and her family had at the shores of Lake Pepin in "Going to Town." But oh well. The mashed potatoes were good! :) 

These pictures of the boys make me smile... nice hugs, then little Bo reaches up to give Malachi a noogie, then Malachi lets him have it. :)  

We had peach pie and ice cream for dessert - just because. :)  

We are on the 2nd unit in the Primer and I'm just now making time to write this post. The Primer is full (and life is full), but I miss documenting our journey, so I hope to be back soon with regular updates to share our learning with the Little House books!

P.S. You can see links to all our units here!

1 comment

  1. Aww, Oh my goodness.. How wonderful!! It would be so great if you would be able to post vids on YT of your curriculum & homeschooling endeavors. Thank you so much for sharing right here though.. What a blessing (: