I'm really going out of my comfort zone this year with homeschooling. We finished last year dragging and burned out. I knew I had to do something different. Workbooks weren't cutting it. I decided to switch our math curriculum to "Life With Fred", and our spelling to "Phonics Zoo", so far with great success.
Several other homeschooling friends of mine were feeling the same way, so we decided to band together and take the plunge into a unit study based on the "Little House on the Prairie" books. We are all new to unit studies and co-ops, but so far, I have to say it is going beautifully. While there is definitely more preparation time involved, it has spiced homeschooling up for us. I think I'll stick with at least one unit study from now on. It will take us 9 months to finish the Prairie Primer. We all do it on our own 4 days a week, then meet twice a month for group activities and presentations. I love that the kids are developing some great friendships through this, as well as us moms.
The cool thing about the Prairie Primer is that we are already doing a lot of the things they talk about in our own home, or my kids are at least familiar with it. For example, making butter! It was good for them to see how much work goes into it when the KitchenAid isn't doing its magic.
Josiah and Hailey talking about how to make maple syrup. Each family does some sort of presentation on a different subject. This is nice because then I don't have to go into depth on each of these subjects on our own.
We start with a prayer. Josiah is so busted in this picture, LOL! We also learn a song each time as well as recite a scripture passage.
I had just enough time to make cheese during our second meeting of the month. I just made basic queso fresco cheese curds, unpressed.
Josiah and Hailey talked about the history and different kinds of nutcrackers. They showed off the two we bought at Leavenworth, WA's Nutcracker museum last year.
The lovely Christine, getting ready to serve our "Little House in the Big Woods" style potluck. Each dish was from the "Little House Cookbook".
Going clockwise around the plate: pumpkin pie, hasty pudding, johnnycake, sage sausage with gravy, fresh cheese curds and fried potatoes. I was surprised the kids seemed to like all this food even though some of it was really different from what they are used to. There was very little left over. We all agreed pioneer food was really plain and they didn't get much variety. We are definitely spoiled in this century.
I'm going to try to post some of the highlights from each of our meetings throughout the year as a record for what we did. If you are new to the Prairie Primer and have any questions about it, please leave a comment and I'd be happy to answer any questions. This study can easily be done on your own, but I have to say joining the co-op is keeping us on-task and motivated. If any of you have a favorite unit study they would like to share with me, I would love to hear about it as I know about very few.