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Weekly Wrap-up ~ Back to School! {Prairie Primer: Big Woods Week 1}

I am super excited to be back to our regular school days, especially since I decided to change up our style back to the way we used to do things. We are using Prairie Primer this year and are going to completely immerse ourselves in it! The kids are thrilled to not be strapped to the dining room chairs all day but, instead, to be roaming through the house from one project to another. Our first week back was enriching and I couldn't have been happier with the results. I had happy kids who learned a lot.

Reading and Watching

The first book we are reading is Little House in the Big Woods. We read the first four chapters this week. We used The World of Little House by Carolyn Strom Collins and Christina Wyss Eriksson which has drawn floor plans of all the houses the Ingalls lived in, so we could visualize their cabin. Everyday we are watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie, starting with Season 1. I am hoping that watching the television show doesn't completely mess up their little minds because it doesn't line up with the books. But I just can't stand not watching it!! My childhood is coming back to me! And now the kids are seriously hooked!

Grrrr ....

We spent a good portion of the day Monday learning all about Grizzlies. We watched a video on Youtube called "Grizzly River". Then we read the book Grizzly Bears by Molly Kolpin. I handed each of the kids a Web Report worksheet and a picture of a grizzly. While we were watching the video and reading the book I had the kids stop me if they heard an interesting fact they would like to attach to their web. This was greeted with great interest, even from Eli, my reluctant writer! (He didn't even realize that he was writing a report!)

Fact report on Grizzly Bears

Another day the story mentioned a panther so we looked at pictures of them on the internet and discussed which zoos we know of that have them. Since Jack was a brindle bulldog in the Little House stories, we looked at pictures of them on the internet and talked about Taylar's boxer, Piper, who is a brindle.

Whooooo Is It?

We got to revisit our study of owls by reading The Life Cycle of an Owl by Ruth Thomson. We have done owl pellets a couple of times in the past so we just talked about our past experiences. But then we did a little activity to demonstrate why owls need to turn their heads all the way around to look at things. They do not have peripheral vision. The blinders I made with a headband and two strips cut from a manila folder demonstrated that just fine.

How Dense Were They?

We studied density in preparation of reading about the butter making process used by Ma. We made a density rainbow using honey, corn syrup, dishwashing liquid, water, vegetable oil, and rubbing alcohol. This brought on some oohs and aahs.

Let There Be Light

Laura saw different colors in the flames of her fireplace. We explored how this could be by watching Bill Nye: The Science Guy Lights and Colours and doing an experiment called Release the Rainbow. I even learned some new things about absorbing and reflecting light.


We made homemade butter using the recipe from The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker. Thankfully we didn't have to spend an entire day churning enough for the next week like Ma and the girls had to do. We were able to shake our jar for about 15 minutes, while watching a video on cleaning a frontier rifle, and produce a full cup of butter. Wow! It tasted great! We even tinted it yellow with grated carrots cooked in milk. I am not sure I will ever eat store-bought margarine again.

Is That Dog Mad?

And I don't mean angry. We had an opportunity to learn about rabies. We read Rabies by Lorrie Klosterman, watched Rabies! by the American Veterinary Medical Association on Youtube, and did a Fact sheet about rabies. We started reading some books about Louis Pasteur, as well. We wrapped up our study of rabies by watching Old Yeller. Oh my, I forgot how sad that movie was. There were definitely some tears .. and the kids were pretty upset, too. To drown our sorrows we ate some homemade popcorn balls with molasses we made using the The Little House Cookbook. We were not fans. We should have used some good ol' melted caramel!

Fact reports on Rabies

Math and Grammar and Writing, Oh My!

As wonderful as Prairie Primer is, it does not cover math, grammar or writing. We have moved onto Math U See Delta this year and did the first five lessons this week. We did a lot of division last year so we just did these lessons as a refresher. We did learn about perpendicular and parallel lines which was a new concept.

For Grammar we are reviewing a product for the Schoolhouse Review crew from the Institute for Excellence in Writing called Fix-it Grammar. So far so good. It's a neat concept!

And writing will be a slow process for us this year with WriteShop because our days are so jam packed! I had lessons scheduled every day but we didn't get to any of them this week because we just ran out of time. I absolutely refuse to put in more than 6 hours of schoolwork a day. When we hit 4:00 p.m. we are done, regardless of whether we have completed everything.

And that was our week. We were busy, busy, busy, and go so much accomplished! I was thrilled with the attitudes of my kids and their excitement level in regard to our curriculum choices. It truly is going to be a fantastic year!


  1. What a GREAT week! I had always hoped that one of my kids would be into Little House, but none were/are! ::sigh:: There is SO much you can do with those books!

  2. Wonderful! We did Prairie Primer last year and loved it! You did some great activities!
    Blessings, Dawn

  3. This study sounds absolutely delightful!! We haven't started reading the books yet, but your post makes me want to dig the books out for the kids!

  4. You've once again inspired me! I'm going to add some Little House into our days. We finished 2 full weeks of homeschooling for the 1st year!!

  5. Sounds like so much fun! Stopping by from Weekly Wrap Up.


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