Prairie Week 1 {Prairie Primer}

Welcome to Unit 2 of the Prairie Primer and Little House on the Prairie Week 1. :-) This week, we get a glimpse of Laura's life on the prairie. 

April 25th-28th

See what we are using and resources we use for more details. 

Day 1

Going West & Crossing the Creek 

One lesson today was to research our ancestors living in the 1870's. I found the oldest pictures I have and found that my great grandfather was born in 1876, according to the 1940 census. He was born in Minnesota and lived in Redstone, MT at the time of the census. He was my grandma's (Oma) dad on my dad's side. I was able to find a name for his spouse and names for my great grandmother's parents and siblings and her parents dating back to 1808. 

On top is my great-great grandfather - Oma's mother's father. He lived from 1850 to 1935. Oma was born in that house. The bottom photo on the left was taken on their farm in Montana. Her father (my great grandfather) on his palomino horse, and the four of them on Old Sealam (as written on the back of the photos). 

I also have a picture of my grandma, Oma, when she graduated nursing school - she was a pioneer nurse. 

My sister said my uncle traced our family history on my dad's side back to the 1600s. It was really neat to see, but I wanted to know so much more about each one, like their livelihoods.  

According to Wikipedia, a person's livelihood refers to their "means of securing the basic necessities -food, water, shelter and clothing- of life... for meeting the requirements of the self and his/her household on a sustainable basis with dignity." I suppose this is what endears us so much to the Little House books - how hard Pa worked to provide for his family and his good moral character. 

We read about conestoga wagons and mustangs. 

Packing Our Wagon

We laid out a blanket (about 4 feet by 10 feet - I didn't measure) and loaded our wagon with blankets, sacks of grain and corn (pillows in their cases), and "trunks full of dishes, cast iron pots and skillets" (empty boxes, ha). Each child got to pack one toy to take on our westward journey. I was surprised that they didn't pack a toy they play with, but rather one that was special - like Elli's pink elephant that she has had since birth and Malachi's stuffed bear. 

Day 2 

Camp on the High Prairie & Prairie Day 

We had pancakes (THM E) sweetened with molasses with maple syrup on top.  

Malachi found Independence, Missouri and figured a 40 mile radius. We guessed they were north of Independence by the river, but we didn't know until later that they were in Indian Territory. 

We started an illustrated dictionary of plants and animals of the prairie later this week (inspired by Lesson 8 today). 

Day 3 

The House on the Prairie 

We looked up providential. I loved this lesson because we don't believe in "luck." 

Ma sprained her ankle when a log fell on it. It was providential that her foot was in a small depression of the earth when it happened, otherwise her foot would have been crushed. Ma soaked her foot in warm water, and wrapped it tight. We talked about R.I.C.E. - the recommended treatment for a sprain today and also what caused Ma's ankle to turn red and blue and then yellow and green. 

Pa needed help lifting the heavy logs to build the house. We read about force, levers, and simple machines with Force & Motion and How Do you Lift a Lion? (a favorite from our Sonlight shelf). 

We made The Claw, a Kiwi Crate, for a simple machine activity. 

If you want to give your kids some quality hands on activities and crafts, these subscription boxes are the bomb. And if you use my referral link, you get $10 off your first box. Along with The Claw, we've done the Pinball Machine, the Jellyfish crate (along with Night of the Moonjellies!), and the Paint Pendulum. Malachi has also done a few Tinker crates - the Draw Bot, the Slime kit, and he is about to do the Magnetic Levitation. This was just a special way for them to get some happy mail of their own for a change. :-) 

On the Prairie

These books brought the prairie alive with their beautiful illustrations and pictures. 

I didn't realize the history of the prairie and the Prairie Reserve. I fell in love with the prairie when I read Sarah Plain and Tall... but I fell in love with the prairie that Sarah, and now Laura knew. The book The Buffalo are Back really opened my eyes to the fact that our prairie is not what it once was, but encouraging all the same that they are preserving a part of it to restore it.  

Pa brought home a rabbit and 2 prairie chickens, so we made chicken and dumplings (instead of stewed rabbit with dumplings). 

We learned that Tympanuchus cupido, the Greater Prairie-Chicken, are in the pheasant and grouse family and they thrive in the native tall grass prairie.

We finished with the song Old Dan Tucker. 

Day 4

Moving In

We read several accounts of the Pony Express

Our favorite was Whatever Happened to the Pony Express. Eliana read Riding the Pony Express as a reader. The others were great for a visual of the history of the Pony and were a part of our book basket. 

One of the General books for this unit is The Pony Express by Samuel Hopkins Adams. 

This book is not in circulation so we walked to the library M-Th for two weeks to read it. We read 2-3 chapters each trip. I'm glad we did. The note in the front is from the author who was alive during the Pony. 

We learned about the different types of Indian homes and made a model of an indian home. Elli and I made and decorated a paper tee-pee. 

My First Little House books for Prairie. 


We sang Psalm 8 from Sing the Word, Great in Council and Mighty in Deed. It has been wonderful to be memorizing Scripture and hiding God's word in our heart with through singing. I type the lyrics and hang them around the house until we learn the words. 

We are plugging away with Indian Boyhood. We started this on our break week to get a head start.

(We will dig into The Indian How Book next week). 


We started Week 5 in AE Anatomy - The Muscular System. Malachi continued on with Module 11 in General Science (he mostly finished this last unit, so he sat in with Elli to review).

We also worked on the lyrics for the Muscular System in Lyrical Life Science, Vol 3 (The Human Body). I don't make the kids memorize the song, but we learn the lyrics and sing it often during a unit.

Nutrition 101 Joints and Muscular System

For joints, we learned about the importance of eating foods high in antioxidant rich nutrients such as carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, peaches, and dark leafy greens. Antioxidants help fight free radicals, which may be damaging to joints. We learned what foods are high in Vitamins A, C, E, and the mineral selenium, which are known as antioxidant vitamin and mineral powerhouses.

The highest known antioxidant substance is actually a spice - clove, with clove essential oil boasting the highest ORAC score of all at 1,078,700 (one of my must have oils to keep around). The highest known food is the NingXia Wolfberry coming in at an ORAC rating of 33,000 (an easy and yummy way to get this in us is with NingXia Red from Young Living).

One of the activities was to try to unscrew a jar lid with a stiff hand - not easy! So thankful we have joints. :-)

We'll cover nutrition of The Muscular System next week, but I peeked ahead to make the hummus dip. Don't worry, we'll make it again next week (and maybe the next day). :-)

Muscular System Power Recipe - Traditional Hummus Dip with Basil

My little muffin lost his first tooth this week. 

He has another wiggly tooth right next to it.

I still haven't picked up My Little Primer since we made the rag dolls, but I am including plenty of picture books to go along with our learning. There's just no time left for extras.

Bo is zipping through MUS Alpha. I bought the digital pack and the test/activity book and used the digital blocks online with him for the first half of Alpha. I wasn't happy with the digital blocks, and Bo asked me all the time to get the real blocks, so I finally did. He was able to go back and do the exercises using the blocks that we skipped. 

He admitted that he really just wanted the blocks to build and play with, but I think they will be helpful, especially now that we are to subtraction.

Bo knows all of his single digit addition facts from watching the videos and doing an online drill and/or worksheet. I bought the activity/test book because the online drill and worksheets do not cover all the concepts. It is perfect for Bo - not too much writing or repetition, it moves quickly and I'm covering all the concepts with him from the program. We were all the way through single digit addition when I got the test book and he is sometimes annoyed that I am making him go back and do the tests. He sighs and says it's too easy. I sometimes do the tests with him orally to get through them quicker.

I may not remember to include this, so I'll mention that Bo finished Alpha by the end of Prairie and he asks me several times a week when we will start Beta. (I'm in no hurry to start.)

Bo continued on in Lil' Kickers soccer and swimming lessons this week. It was our last week of swimming lessons until soccer is over.

It's not exactly soccer weather though, haha.

It snowed again this week (on April 24th). Then it rained and was cold all week. C'mon spring! We're ready for ya.

Until next time... thanks for reading!