Plum Creek Week 1

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Out of all of the Little House books, On the Banks of Plum Creek is may favorite. I don’t know if it is because this book is so much like the tv series, or if it is because we get to see the not so perfect side of Laura. Either way this book is my favorite.

Throughout the book AJ will be learning all about the classification of living things. We have touched on this topic before so we will just do a little review. The major project from the book is for AJ to sew a small 9 patch quilt. We tried to sew a quilt before and she lost interest. I think this time she will finish the project.

Week one started off with AJ tracing a possible route that the Ingalls might have taken from Wisconsin to Minnesota. Then we learned all about water purification. We read the book The Magic School Bus At The Waterworks Just like every other Magic School Bus book, AJ really enjoyed it. After reading the book she created a little booklet about water purification.

The Ingall’s lived in a dugout without heat so she did quite a few science experiments to learn about the transfer of heat. She learned the difference between conduction, convection, and radiation using the book,  A New True Book: Experiments with Heat. We both really liked the different experiments in the book and how easy the book was to understand.
The first experiment involved putting both a metal and a plastic spoon in a glass of boiling water to see which spoon was a better conductor.
Then she learned about convection. Convection is the transfer of heat from one place to another by the movement of fluids. One experiment was to see how water in the pan could heat up the side of the pan that was not under the flame. This was one of those experiments where I saw her have that “ah ha” moment.After reading the book she had an idea about convection, but after doing the experiment she really understood it.

Next she learned all about the life cycle of butterflies. Here is an article I wrote for Home and School Mosaics all about exciting ways to study butterflies. Since we have learned about butterflies before, we decided to take a different approach. After reading about butterflies and drawing the butterfly lifecycle she made a butterfly stepping stone. Last year I found the stepping stone kit on clearance for $3 and tucked it away until we were ready to do the project.

We learned a little bit about plums, wheat, and milch cows. We also learned about obedience, sin, and being sneaky in our Bible study.

This weeks chapters foreshadowed the grasshopper plague later in the book, so we learned what foreshadowing was. Unfortunately, that literary element is a little too abstract for AJ to grasp at this time. Once the grasshopper plague happens we will re read chapter 8 and see how things in that chapter foreshadowed the plague.

AJ had a great time learning this week. She even said that so far she likes this book the best.

Experience History Through Music

Oh, Susanna, Yankee Doodle, Home on the Range, you  know the songs but do you know the stories and history behind the songs? There is so much history to be learned while learning about the music from the days of our ancestors. This year one of AJ’s assignments was to learn about the history of the song Yankee Doodle. I was surprised that there was not anything kid friendly that explained the history behind the song. Sure there were song books, but nothing that explained the song. We used a few different things and AJ understood the basics behind the song, but I really wished there was a better way to learn. Fast forward a few months and I was offered the opportunity to review Diana Waring’s Experience History Through Music. From the description it seemed as though these books would be exactly what I was looking for, and they were.

Experience History Through Music is a fun way to do just as the title states, learn history through music. There are three titles available in the Experience History Through Music series; Westward Ho! The Heart of the Old West, America The Heart of a New Nation, and  Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Each book  is soft covered and contains beautiful stories and pictures. The books each have between 13 and 16 songs and the stories behind them. Included in the back of each book is the sheet music and lyrics for the songs discussed in the book. There is not really an age requirement for these books, but older teens may find the music a little hoaky. AJ is 11 and enjoyed most of the songs.

Attached to the back cover of each book there is a CD. Each CD was professionally recorded with beautiful instrumental music and vocals.

AJ and I were given a physical copy of; the Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Westward Ho! The heart of the Old West, and all three CDs. We were given a digital copy of America The Heart of a New Nation.

Westward Ho! The Heart of the Old West contains music and stories that have a pioneer spirit. Songs include; Home on the Range, Gooey Duck, Westward Ho!, and many more.We both really enjoyed this book. It shows both the good and bad that happened during the times of the pioneers and really digs into American history. While we read the stories and listened to the songs AJ was learning so much, but she didn’t think of it as school work, she just thought we were having fun. Our favorite song in this book was Gooey Duck. Neither of us has ever heard the song before, but is is upbeat and entertaining. The story behind the song is really eyeopening to what the pioneers had to do to survive.

Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder was the book I was looking forward to the most. Songs include; Wait for the Wagon, Buffalo Gals, Pop! Goes the Weasel, and many more. The pictures and stories in this book would make a great addition to any Little House study. We loved being able to hear some of the music that Pa played for Laura while they were growing up. It is full of pictures of the Ingalls family and the places described in the Little House books. I do have to admit though that out of all the CDs, this one was the one we liked the least. Some of the songs were a little slow and in AJ’s words kind of boring, but that is just the type of music it is.

America The Heart of a New Nation was the book we spent the least amount of time on, mainly because we don’t really enjoy reading books on the computer. The stories were great and even include Yankee Doodle. Other songs included in this book were, Oh, Susanna, Polly Wolly Doodle, She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain and many more. This CD was a favorite around our house, and if we were only going to be able to buy one book I think this one would have been our pick. The music was upbeat and fun and the CD contains so many of the songs we already knew.

All of the books were full of great information to help you and your child learn history through music. The books are available separately for $18.99, but for this month only you can get all three books for only $50. If you are going to be learning about American history, or if you just want to add in a little bit of fun these books might be for you.

Learn more about Diana Waring and her other great programs here.

Bean Porridge

One of our favorite parts of the Prairie Primer is that the learning is hands on. In the book, Little House on the Prairie, Laura and Mary play “Bean Porridge” by singing the song below and keeping time with their hands.


Bean porridge hot.
Bean porridge cold.
Bean porridge in the pot nine days old.
Some like it hot.
Some like it cold.
Some like it in the pot nine days old.
I like it hot.
I like it cold.
I like it in the pot nine days old!

What would be more fitting than making our own bean porridge? After gathering all of the materials AJ did all of the work herself.

First she soaked the beans overnight.

Then she poured the beans into the colander.

She rinsed the beans.

She cut up the celery, garlic, and carrots. It was so hard not to help with this part…..I think it took close to an hour for her to cut everything up.

Then came the hard part, cutting up the onion. This was her solution.

After everything was finally cut up she put the ham bone in the crock-pot and added the beans, vegetables, seasoning, and water.

After waiting about 6 hours, the bean porridge was finished.

She did all of the work and was so proud of herself when we all sat down to eat dinner. The verdict…… we like it hot, we don’t like it cold, and it didn’t last to be nine days old. In all honestly it came out very tasty and since she originally made it we have made it two more times because it was so good.  It was also fairly cheep and easy to make.

I am linking up with Ben and Me and


Cooking With Kids Round Up

Little House on the Prairie Weeks 3 – 4

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#Prairie Primer

This marks the end of our study of the second book in the Prairie Primer. We finished reading Little House on the Prairie and wrapped up our study on Indians. It has been an exciting learning experience, and we can’t wait to read the next book.

We started off the week learning about the different foods that the Indian’s gave us. We used the book, The Indian How Book which was full of vivid descriptions about Indian life. It talked about what they ate from hunting to gathering and living off of the land. The book also described a few fun games they played and how they built their homes. We didn’t read the entire book, (we couldn’t renew it at the library because someone else put it on hold) but I would recommend it to anyone studying Indians. It gave a real life look into what life as an Indian would have been like.

Mary and Laura find Indian beads and make them into a necklace for baby Carrie, so AJ made a necklace as well. We soaked macaroni in water and food coloring for a few minutes, and then let it dry overnight. Then AJ strung the macaroni to make a necklace. It should have been a fun easy craft, but I never knew how hard it was to string macaroni. We actually ended up using dental floss to string it since everything else was too thick.  If you are planning on doing this I would definitely recommend salad macaroni!

#Prairie Primer

We learned about the Santa Fe Trail using a few different books and this website.

We took the opportunity to learn more about animals this week as well. We learned all about geese, panthers, buffalo, and horses.

After learning about Indians, animals, and a few other fun subjects we started to learn about descriptive writing. We aren’t using a grammar curriculum this year, so we took this time to talk about adjectives and adverbs. Laura Ingalls uses such descriptive language throughout the book that learning was easy. I photo copied a page in the book and had AJ use colored pencils to underline the different parts of speech. She seemed to enjoy it and I think it was a great review on the parts of speech.

In the book Ma makes bean portage and one assignment was for AJ to make bean portage for dinner, she did and it turned out great! I will be writing about that in a different post.

One highlight we had was learning about how the Ingalls family spent Christmas. The girls were so excited with a cup, penny, and piece of candy…… it really makes you realize how good we have it these days. The family faced so many challenges and stuck together. We are excited to find out where there journey leads them in the next book. Most people would read Farmer Boy next, but the Prairie Primer schedules Farmer Boy near the end of our studies after These Happy Golden Years.

AJ has learned so much while reading Little House on the Prairie. The book was quite different than the TV series, but we still enjoy watching it. Thanks for coming on this journey with us!

Little House on the Prairie – Week 2

After an exciting week full of hands on activities the week before, week 2 was not nearly as entertaining. We still learned a great deal and enjoyed reading the story, but there was not a lot of hands on learning that happened.

A weekly wrap up of the second week of Little House on the Prairie.

Week two had us read chapters 7 to 13 of Little House on the Prairie. We noticed quite a few differences from the show that we love to watch and did a little comparing and contrasting. The bigest difference we have found is that the show leaves out a major character that is in the book, the Ingall’s neighbor Mr. Scott.

This week we learned about a few different animals and plants that the Ingall’s family came in to contact with while living on the prairie. We studied wolves, mosquitoes, and snakes in depth and touched on rabbits, mice, mules, wildflowers, daisies, and goldenrods. I found a fun and informative site that we used to learn all about wolves called Wolf Country.

This week we learned all about malaria (known as fever n ague in the olden days) and how it is spread by mosquitoes. We watched a few videos on YouTube about the subject, but every time I go to post a video it seems as though it has been taken down for some reason or another. After watching the video and doing some research,  AJ wrote a short report about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of malaria.

The sun was another major topic that we covered this week. While I was looking for a good science curriculum for next year I stumbled upon Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Astronomy. When I viewed the sample chapter it happened to be all about the sun. So we read through the chapter and learned all about the sun. Most of the activities that were suggested in the chapter AJ had already done when we previously studied the solar system, but we enjoyed learning a few new facts. We talked about sunburns and the importance of sunscreen even though I seem to burn every year no matter how much sunscreen I use.

Making quicksand was one activity that we were suppose to do, but that we just didn’t have the time or materials.(it calls for cornstarch, and since I am allergic we don’t usually keep corn in the house)  Here is a fun website to learn how to make quicksand. We also watched a few videos about how to get out of quicksand, this video and information at was definitely a hit at our house.

Indians is the major theme of our study throughout the book and this week we focused on Indian clothing. We learned about moccasins and head dresses. We were fortunate to attend a wonderful free activity all about Indians, archaeology, and paleontology a few weeks before starting this book. AJ had the chance to learn so many things. She was able to weave a basket, listen to a Native American story, and learn about their/her culture.

Prairie Primer week 2

Even though there wasn’t a lot of hands on learning this week, AJ  had a blast learning new things. She worked on her binder builder and read about so many different topics. Next week looks as though there will be more hands on learning.

Little House on the Prairie Week 1

Out of all of the Little House books, Little House on the Prairie is the only one that I ever read as a child. Both AJ and myself love to watch the TV series, so I expect this to be a favorite book to read and explore. I was surprised to find out that in reality the events that happened in this book happened before the events in Little House in the Big Woods.

To start our journey we mapped the possible trail that the Ingalls family took on their journey. Then we learned all about covered wagons and what it would be like to travel in one. AJ even made a covered wagon out of paper using a free worksheet found here. It turned out cute and she was able to play with it for about a week before it broke.

We compared daily life and chores that we do with those that the Ingalls had to do. It took Ma and the girls a long time to do laundry, so AJ tried washing clothes by hand. She even carried the bucket of water up and down the back yard a few times since Mary and Laura had to carry the water all the way from the creek. She had fun, but said that she was glad that all she has to do is put her clothes in the washer.

We learned all about prairies and the animals and plants that live there. We will be studying different prairie animals throughout the book. This week we focused on rabbits, gophers, dickie birds, hawks, and prairie chickens.
There was a lot of science to learn this week. We studied simple machines and read quite a few books about them. We also used this neat website that has a lot of videos and worksheets. Then we learned all about blood and the circulatory system. To learn all about the blood I went to my favorite science videos, Bill Nye. After watching the video she completed a worksheet and did the experiment that was in the video that shows how you can see that blood is flowing through our veins.

Then we learned about the history of the post office and the Pony Express. We read a great book, You Wouldn’t Want to be a Pony Express Rider! It was a fun book that gave a lot of information about the dangers of the Pony Express and was full of great pictures. I plan on using other books in this series throughout the year because AJ really enjoyed it.

Throughout the book we will be learning about Indians. This week we focused on Indian homes. We made a tipi out of construction paper, and then made a wigwam.

For the wigwam we took an empty bowl and covered it with a mixture of dirt, flower, and water. After the bowl was covered she added leaves, branches, and sticks. We left it to dry overnight and it held up fairly nicely, but then it rained and we had to throw it out.

It was a very full week of learning. What did you learn about this week?



Holiday Fun

I’m back! I took a little time off from my day to day blogging in order to enjoy the holidays with my family. I had quite a few reviews during that time but now I am ready to get back into the swing of things. We actually just finished Little House on the Prairie and are starting on On the Banks of Plum Creek. We learned a great deal and did a lot of fun things during our Little House journey so I am going to break up what we did over a few different posts.

I wrote two guest posts during the holidays as well, you can check them out here:

Resolutions vs. Goals – on Home and School Mosaic
Homeschooling and Only Child – on Bow of Bronze

Here is what we have been up to since Thanksgiving that was not school related.

Christmas is my favorite time of year! I have loved it ever since I was a kid. This year was a little different. Last year we were home with all of our Disney Christmas stuff, this year we were with my grandma. While I love my Disney ornaments and nick knacks it was nice to see the older Christmas stuff that I grew up with.

We decorated stockings together. (See those reindeer on the mantel, those were hand made by my Great Aunt who has passed away)

We decorated gingerbread houses two times! The first time AJ and her friends decorated them together. They had a blast and did a great job. It was so neat to see the ideas that they came up with for decorating their houses.

A few days later my friend came over and we kept with our tradition and decorated gingerbread houses together. I think that both sets of houses turned out great!


We made tons cookies to give as gifts. For about three days all we did was bake and decorate. We made sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, mint cookies, and chocolate drop cookies. We received many complements about the cookies though, so it was well worth the effort.


We were able to look at lights and watch a lot of Christmas movies. Grandma wasn’t up to doing too much, but we were able to take her to Knott’s Berry Farm for breakfast and the craft fair. She was having a good day that day and seemed to really enjoy herself.
We had a really nice Christmas and I felt very blessed to be able to spend it with my grandma, I think this will more than likely be the last year that she is able to fully communicate and enjoy the holidays. I hope you had a great holiday season.

Little House in the Big Woods – Recap


We finally finished our study of Little House in the Big Woods! It took a little longer than I had planned…… but that is the joy of Homeschooling! We were able to cover everything that we needed to and spend more time on the subjects that interested her. I blogged a lot while we worked on our study of Little House in the Big Woods, but here are some of the things I missed sharing while we completed our study.

The curriculum called for us to study gun history and gun safety. I didn’t see the need to study the history of guns at this time, but I did think that gun safety was very important. I found this site that will send you a free gun safety video. It was short and cute but to the point. AJ really enjoyed it.

When we learned about rust she watched this short video and did some research in the encyclopedia. The video says it is for seventh and eighth grade, but she seemed to understand it with out any problem.


We learned about bees when Pa cut down a bee tree and brought honey home for the family. When it came time to learn about bees I really wanted to visit a bee hive. That wasn’t able to happen, so I did the next best thing. I had her watch the Bee Movie. I know it is not accurate, but it really drives home the point that bees are essential to the planet. To go along with the movie she watched a few you tube videos and enjoyed some honey.

Throughout the books we studied Louis Pasteur and rabies. One thing we did was watch “Old Yeller”. Before we watched “Old Yeller” I had checked out the book and audio book from the library. It was the first time that we had used an audio book and it went very well. AJ hates to read so when she found out that we were reading another chapter book along with all of her other reading she was not too happy. I started out having her read along with the audio book, but it was too fast for her. We ended up having her listen to the book while she was coloring. It worked very well! She remembered the story and enjoyed it. After we read/listened to the book we watched the movie. She is a huge dog lover so it was a hit. It is now one of her favorite movies.

Learning about wasps was a very quick study. We read a few things about them online and compared them to bees. Unfortunately she was able to see a wasps nest because they decided to make our house their home this year.

To our surprise we learned about oats right before national oatmeal day. The assignment was to make something out of oats, AJ decided to make oatmeal. A couple of months ago she was out of her instant oatmeal packets so she grabbed the Old Fashion Oatmeal, added water and stirred. The look on her face when she tasted it was priceless. She wanted to know why it tasted so disgusting. We laughed so hard at that one. I was surprised when she wanted to make oatmeal. She did it all by herself and it came out great. Then we decided to make homemade granola bars. (That is for another post)

Pa sings “Old Susanna” and that prompted a study about the Gold Rush. At first I wondered what the song had to do with the gold rush. We soon heard the original version of the song which was all about the gold rush. I learned quite a few things too! When she learned about the California Gold Rush, we checked out a lot of books. She read and read, watched videos, made charts, and then gave her very first oral report. She practiced and practiced for almost a week. Then her grandma came over and she gave her presentation. She did a good job for it being her first report. I videoed it but she asked that I not put it online, so I can’t show it.

Little House in the Big Woods was a great book. We learned about so many different things. Here is a recap of the things we learned about and did while studying the Little House in the Big Woods.

  • She learned all about bears and completed her first lapbook
  • She learned about manners
  • Made a corn cob doll
  • Studied density
  • Drew a picture of a bull dog
  • Made homemade butter
  • Learned about Jack Frost
  • Studied all about lights and prisms
  • Learned the history of the song “Yankee Doodle”
  • Did a lapbook on owls, dissected owl pellets and made owl cookies
  • Learned the science behind rust
  • Learned about gun safety
  • Learned about breathing and made a fake lung
  • Learned about whittling and did some soap whittling
  • Made molasses candy
  • Watched “Old Yeller” and read/listened to the book
  • Studied Louis Pasture
  • Learned about tree sap and compared pure maple syrup and pancake syrup
  • Learned about animal tracks and made her own
  • Learned all about skin
  • Tasted honey and learned about bees
  • Learned about the moon
  • Made homemade cheese
  • Learned all about oats, how they are harvested and foods that are made from them
  • Learned about wasps and how to treat a wasp sting
  • Learned about horse power
  • Studied the California Gold Rush and did an oral report all about it.
  • There were also  a lot of different character qualities talked about throughout the book as well as Bible verses that we went over. Overall I feel she learned a great deal through this study. There was also quite a few different language art skills worked on like; cause and effect, dictionary skills, similes and metaphors, and sequencing. Throughout the book she worked on the Prairie Primer Binder Builder, here are some pictures from it.

    Here are the posts I already did if you would like to check any of them out:

    Prairie Primer Day 1
    Corn Cob Doll
    Yankee Doodle and making butter
    Soap Whittling and Lungs
    Molasses Candy and Maple Syrup
    Dissecting Owl Pellets
    Animal Tracks
    Making Cheese

    Now we are starting Little House on the Prairie. I hope that we have as many great learning experiences in that study. You can follow my blog to make sure you don’t miss a post!

    We made Cheese!

    We have had the amazing opportunity to do a lot of great projects while working our way through the Prairie Primer. We were even able to make cheese.

    It was surprisingly an easy task. It only required three easy ingredients and a lot of patients. It takes one quart of whole milk, 3-5 tablespoons of vinegar, and a teaspoon of salt. (recipe is an adapted version from the Prairie Primer Binder Builder and the Little House Cook Book)

    First you bring the milk to a simmer and remove it from the heat just before it starts to boil.

    Then add the salt and vinegar.

    Stir slowly for about 5 minutes. Curds will start to form.

    Create a strainer out of cheese cloth and pour the mixture through the cheesecloth. The curds will stay on top of the cheese cloth and the whey will be in the container.

    Put the whey into the refrigerator to use later or discard it. (We fed it to our dogs and they loved it)

    Scoop the curds out of the cheesecloth and squeeze out the excess whey.

    Continue squeezing out the whey until the cheese becomes a solid.

    Then wrap in cheesecloth and place it in the fridge with something heavy on it to press out the whey. We started with the jelly jar then added some large rocks and left it over night.

    Store in the fridge.

    We had a lot of fun making the cheese but I was surprised with how little cheese it actually made. After looking online though, I found out that our results were normal. We put 4 TBS of vinegar and after tasting it I think 3 would have been plenty. It also needed a great deal more salt. When we tasted the cheese right after making it, the vinegar was about all we tasted. It has been about two weeks since we made the cheese, and the vinegar taste is almost all gone. It is farmers cheese so it is fairly soft and spreadable. If we make it again we will use less vinegar, more salt, and probably add something else to it for flavor.

    Cheese is definitely one thing that we are glad that we can purchase at the store.

    We are linking up with Ben and Me for Blogging through the Alphabet.

    Molasses Candy and Maple Syrup

    We have been making our way through the Prairie Primer and learning so many things. Last week we watched Old Yeller and started to listen to the book on CD. We finished up our in depth study of Louis Pasteur, and learned about rabies. She also worked on her owl lap book some more. If everything works out she will dissect an owl pellet this week.

    Throughout Little House in the Big Woods there is a lot of figurative language used and that was a topic that we learned about this week. Figurative language is a hard thing for AJ to grasp because she is such a literal thinker, but each time we go over it she seems to understand a little bit more. She can tell the difference between a simile and a metaphor, but has trouble making them up on her own. After watching the video above and a few others we played a game of making up silly similes and metaphors. She had fun and it got her out of her literal way of thinking. AJ then worked on dictionary skills and wrote a poem about Laura. She also did some cause and effect and sequencing worksheets. This week was a little heavy on writing so AJ didn’t complete any work in her Writing Strands book.

    For Bible we have read and discussed a lot of Bible verses and talked about jealousy, mercy, and fear. This week we also went back to our regular math program and started back up with spelling.

    One fun project that we did was making molasses candy. It was one of the first recipes in the book that didn’t contain corn so I was able to help make it and taste it. (I am allergic to corn) It was very easy to make. AJ measured out brown sugar and molasses and cooked it over the stove until it was at the right consistency. Then she dropped the candy over crushed ice. The recipe called for snow but it doesn’t snow where we live. I think it would have been better over snow and a lot less of a mess, but the overall idea came out well.

    The candy started to stick to the ice in some places and melt the ice in others. It was a sticky mess to clean up but AJ had fun and it was a good learning experience. We both tasted the candy and it was actually pretty good. No where near as good as the candy we have today but something we would possibly try again if we had snow or shaved ice.
    She also learned all about maple syrup. We read a book called, From Maple Tree to Syrup. The book was a little too easy for AJ, but it explained the process of how the sap becomes syrup very well. I decided to make a worksheet for AJ to complete that compared pure maple syrup to pancake syrup. It compares calories, price, and ingredients. It is the first worksheet that I have ever made, and you are welcome use it. Click to download the worksheet.
    Overall we had a good but busy week. She worked hard and learned a lot. AJ had her first gymnastic meet of the season on Sunday. I will write about that in another post.
    This post is being added to the School House Review Crew’s Round up of Free Printables. Click the graphic below to see even more free printable resources!

    Free Printables Round-Upl