Saturday, September 27, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Not So Simple (Prairie Primer: Little House Week 1)

Welcome to another week of school with the Taulmans!

Whoa, doggy, things have really picked up around here! It seems as though we are just running from one thing to the next these days. A couple of days a week we are having to start school about an hour and a half earlier than the norm. I leave my house in a mess more often than I would like and find myself having to reconstruct it at night before I go to bed. I am having to really schedule our days so that we get everything done and somehow manage to have dinner before we run out for our nightly activities. It's the busy season! But things are good.

This week we started reading Little House on the Prairie and doing the Prairie Primer activities associated with Chapters 1-6.

Conestoga Wagons

We learned all about covered wagons, most particularly Conestoga wagons, by reading Conestoga Wagons by Richard Ammon and making covered wagons of our own. A couple of interesting facts: The modern day Teamsters Union for truck drivers comes from the "teamsters" who drove the conestoga wagons with their teams of horses. Also, the phrase "I'll be there with bells on" comes from the conestoga wagons because the horses wore bells around their necks to alert others that they were coming. (We are never too old to learn, folks!)


Learning about Wild Mustangs was interesting, as well. We read Mustangs by Pamela Dell and watched a couple of videos on Youtube: one where someone recorded wild mustangs running in New Mexico and one that showed stories of individuals who adopted mustangs needing to be saved from the wild because of over-population. They are beautiful creatures!

California Gold Rush

We read about the California Gold Rush with Gold Rush: Hands-on Projects About Mining the Riches of California. We didn't do any of the projects, just read about it. And then the kids watched a stop-motion video called Lego History: California Gold Rush.

Prairie Life

They also read Molasses Man by Kathy L. May and watched Molasses Making an Old Appalachian Tradition. I am hoping to get us some Lincoln Logs to build our own log cabins, but for now we watched a video called Alone in the Wilderness where we were able to see exactly how the logs were cut, notched and stacked to build a nice log home.

Blood Cells

Learning about blood cells was a lot of fun. We read the book A Drop of Blood by Paul Showers and all about plasma, platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. We made a model of a drop of blood with karo syrup, lima beans, lentils, and cut up cherries (I didn't have any skittles, and they would have definitely worked better) and they also made playdoh models. We looked through a virtual microscope at a healthy drop of blood and then one of someone with cancer.

Simple Machines

Life on the Prairie was made much more easy with simple machines. Levers, pulleys, wedges and the like were easy to build with ordinary items found on the homestead. So, we made a few! We used the book Experiments with Simple Machines by Salvatore Tocci (really great hands-on book!) to learn the basics about simple machines. An activity we made from the book was a lever. First the kids tried to lift books with their pinkies. Then they used a pencil as a lever to help.

Later they used a pencil as a wedge to pry apart two books. Then we turned to Supercharged Science to make a catapult .. another lever.

The Everyday Subjects

In our everyday subjects things are moving along nicely. We are easily complete a full lesson in Math U See each week. This week we learned about averages. We studied Esther in our Bible studies. We completed Week 5 of Fix-It Grammar, and I will have a review coming on that product on Monday. Every day we make sure we start our day with CNN Student News (the present) and end our day with an episode of Little House on the Prairie (the past). The kids are reading for anywhere from 15-30 minutes a day out of books of their choice. Eli has started reading the Middle School books by James Patterson and Brynne is reading One White Dolphin by Gill Lewis.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Gardening class ended this week, but a new nutrition class starts in a couple of weeks. Brynne is also in the thick of volleyball. Like I said, we are crazy busy!


  1. Great week!! I know how you feel about trying to schedule everything in- it is a constant battle.

  2. wow.. cool way to pull things together. Well done! :) We done lever studies as well.. never thought to combine it with little house on the prairie though. :)

    I am Annette @ a net in time
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  3. Ooh, I can't wait to start reading Little House and doing the Prairie Primer with my girls! We're not starting for 2 years (TWO YEARS!!). It looks like you had a very full and fulfilling week :)

  4. Love love love the Science this week! We have not done Little House yet, but waiting for my girls to get a little bigger and really get into it...

  5. Love the wagons. I seriously wish we could join you for school! Last week we were over scheduled and lost out on an activity this week because of exhaustion. I need to do better. Just because the calendar has an empty spot doesn't mean we are available.


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