Monday, November 5, 2012

Living and Breathing "Little House" at Home

I wanted to post pictures of some of the "Little House" activities we've been doing from our home. This Prairie Primer unit study has prompted us to learn more homesteading skills.

Michael was inspired to learn how to tan hides naturally. Josiah loves helping him and it has been a good father/son activity. Michael was using our bathtub to rinse off this deer hide until I suggested he use the wheel barrow instead. He liked that idea, so now the hide is currently soaking in a salt/alum solution in the wheel barrow. He is learning from a book called, "Tan Your Hide". The title just cracks me up. 

But first he had to wash the hide and he used my washing machine. I don't think Pa would have used something like this, but I guess that is the beauty of homesteading with modern conveniences. Washing by hand is extremely labor intensive.  I told Michael he better be on the look out for an old washing machine he can put out in his shop if he is going to continue to tan hides. Don't worry, we washed my machine out good when he was all done.

Hailey was getting stubborn with me one day about making her bed, so I've learned the best way to get her to do something without a fight is to turn it into a game. I asked if she could make her bed "blind" like Mary. She loved this game!

After making her bed, she wanted to see if she could put the silverware away "blind".

Then she wanted to help me cook "blind". In this picture she was smelling each spice as I put it in and trying to guess what it was. I love it! Since then, we've played the "Blind Mary" game a lot.

We made vanity cakes one day. Click here to see the post about that adventure. Yep, mistakes and all. Keepin' it real on this blog.

We had a tea party with Dad and practiced our manners. They wanted to use the woven paper mats we made while studying about the Indians.

Now that cooler weather is setting in and we are almost done putting up all the food, we've started playing games like the Ingalls did in the winter evenings. "Bibleland" is Hailey's favorite game.

I made the mistake of introducing Josiah and Michael to "Monopoly". We are currently playing an on-going game where I'm getting my bum kicked by both of them. They're animals! I'm loving the fact that instead of watching something on the Roku in the evenings, we are spending time as a family and keeping our brains sharp.
The place where we get our raw milk and eggs from also sells raw honey. We were able to watch them extract a little bit of honey from the hives. It was a very interesting process, although they were having some trouble keeping the honey warm enough to flow. 

Still, we got the idea. You can put up to 18 slats of honeycomb into this extractor. It spins the honey right out of the honeycomb and they filter it out into a bucket. Fresh, raw honey is the result. We bought a gallon from them. Good stuff!

This was not a really great field trip for the kids as it was a slow, sticky process, in a small space. Trying to keep the kids from getting all sticky and it getting on the beekeeper's furniture and floor was a bit stressful, since they were extracting it in their living room. Plus, I had my three year old niece visiting with us that week, which was really hard for her to stay out of the honey. After watching this process and listening to all that goes on with beekeeping, I decided that it wasn't a homesteading art I wanted to try to do, but more power to those who do. Now I know why honey is so expensive! It is a very labor intensive process.

The kids made "sun catchers". Haven't had much sun to catch lately, but they look cool taped to the window.

The Prairie Primer suggests we read a book on manners. I actually started "Every Day Graces" by Karen Santorum last year. We are continuing to read it at meal times. The kids love the little stories and poems, all relating to manners and how to treat people. I would highly recommend this book.

We started making button necklaces again. This time we are going to give them to kids in Operation Christmas Child boxes. Hailey is really into this. It is so easy and keeps her occupied for a long time. We made button bracelets at Hailey's "Little House" themed birthday party. I'll have to do a post sometime on how to make these. 

I absolutely love the day to day variety of this unit study. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what we are doing. We are also making an ongoing picture dictionary, with many of the "Little House" terms we come across. There is a lot of art the kids are doing for this that I never would have done on my own. My favorite part of this study though is the bible application to each chapter. There are so many great biblical principles found in these books. There is a lot of scripture to look up each day, but because it applies to what we just read, it is interesting to my children. Josiah is getting really familiar with how to look things up in the bible and where all the books are. We are also doing scripture memory and copy work to improve handwriting skills. The science part is wonderful, too. We've been doing a lot of experiments I haven't heard of before. These have complimented the "Creation Science Class" I help teach once a month. History and Geography are being covered, too, of course. The only other things I add to our homeschool schedule are math ( I use Life With Fred), Spelling (Phonics Zoo) and Phonics/Grammer. Even music is included in the Prairie Primer.

I will continue to take pictures of our little house experiences and post about them every now and then. I don't ever want to forget this incredible unit study. I think it is going to be hard to top this one!

God Bless,


Camille said...

You know Jackie, I long ago read about the Little House Curriculum and thought I would want to do it when the time came...with Emma. Well...the time would be now!! And, we are not doing it. Thank you for letting us join you in some of your adventures! I think you are doing a great job with it!! Now, that skin in the washing machine...that is NOT something that appeals to me at sireee! LOL! I agree...Michael should locate an old machine that could be hooked up outside for that job!!!! :)

Love to you!

Anonymous said...

I began reading with EEEWWWW! then went to AAHHH!

"Blind Mary" is such a creative solution, love it!

It amazes me that so many can be doing the same curriculum but emphasize different activities and have varying experiences.

Loved seeing prairie life in your home!

Jill said...

I'm coming to your house! This really looks like so much fun and such wonderful learning ideas. I had to pass over the hide/furry part as I vegetarian I'm a bit squemish there, lol. Thanks for sharing these great resources, I don't know how you do all that and cook and manage your home! Great job!


Grandma Becky said...

I read the Little House on the Prairie books to my kids when we were doing homeschool. Not too long after reading one, we were visiting Phil's family in PA. We had stopped into a grocery store for cold cuts, more than once. One time there was head cheese in there. We looked at it and thought about it. The lady at the deli wanted to know if we wanted a taste. "No, we didn't we knew what was in it after reading Little House on the Prairie and knew what was in it." Megan proceeded to tell her what was in it and she didn't think she'd like it either! I enjoyed unit studies where you could incorporate alot of other skills in with it. I'm sure you are enjoying the teaching. Sounds fun!

Ellen said...

I have to admit I thought EW at first with the washing of the hide...but how creative! It looks like you are really enjoying the Primer and you have given me refreshment to kick up what we have been doing and "go all out".

His bondservant said...


Wow, that curriculum looks wonderful! What a great thing that you are doing such hands on things with your children. They will remember it so much more. Love looking at all the activities. You're a great homeschool Mom! So glad to catch up with you again!


{Simply Cozy Nest} said...

This is just so sweet!


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