Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Prairie Primer

Product - The Prairie Primer - Pack A

Company - Cadron Creek

This Christian based package includes four resources:

1. The Prairie Primer, written by Margie Gray

This large paperback book contains more than 330 pages.   It is a "literature based unit study." [You will need a set of "Little House on the Prairie" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, sold separately.]  This program can be used as the main foundation of your curriculum, since it includes ideas and plans for most subjects (other than math), or it can be used to supplement your current educational plans. The study is rich in 1800's history.

2. Historical Timetable

This small brochure gives a list of events which happened throughout the life of Laura and her family. You will see dates, as well as fascinating facts. An Example: The year Betsy Ross died was the same year Laura's father (Charles) was born. You will also see the rise of our federal debt from 53.2 million in 1810 to 370.1 billion in 1970, the year before Laura's final book (The First Four Years) was published.

3. Laura Ingalls Wilder Country

This large book is packed with vivid,  full color and black-and-white photographs. It was written and compiled by William Anderson. It is described as "The people and places in Laura Ingalls Wilder's life and books." The pictures are gorgeous and fascinating! There is background information and little known facts throughout. You will see pictures of the current Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove Minnesota.

There is an actual wedding picture in here of Ma and Pa Ingalls! You'll also see the family Bible, Grace as a baby, the three oldest girls when they were little and Ma and Pa when they were older. They are not at all what I imagined! They look so real! This is a wonderful resource to understand the history of the family and the background of life in the 1800's, in general.

4. The Little House Cookbook

This charming book includes plenty of recipes and information about what people ate in the 1800's and how they prepared their food.  The book is subtitled as: "Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories."  You'll learn about social customs, food storage, and how they prepared a variety of recipes. You'll also get to try these out for yourself since modern explanations are included. Two of my favorite recipes are: Heart Shaped Cakes (p. 200) and Light Biscuits (p. 72)!  In Chapter 8, "Thirst Quenchers and Treats," starts with a charming sentence:

"The world Laura entered in 1867 was a world without wrapped candy bars, canned soda pop, packaged ice cream and frozen layer cakes."

Readers get quite an education from this valuable book!

How The Prairie Primer worked for my family:

There are many ways to use the Primer, depending on each family's situation. Some may have young children and use it daily. Others may have older children, and use it occasionally. It can be used for a history program or a full curriculum since it presents plenty of daily activities in Bible, Science, Art, Literature, Music, Writing, etc.  You can find many of the suggested books and resources at your local library.

As for my family, I used it with my young teenage son, who is dyslexic. He is not a strong reader and would not have been able to read all the books. It would have been very hard for me to teach him history if I only depended on his reading abilities. I have found the Prairie Primer, and this kit, to be an amazing resource.

Here is what we are doing, a few nights a week:

1. I read one chapter from the assigned book. (One of the Little House books.)
2. I ask him the comprehension questions from the Primer.
3. We pick one or two of the activities to do (or discuss).
4. We look through the book by William Anderson to see all the pictures and get an idea of the setting.
5. We read a recipe or description from the cookbook (if it was mentioned in the book.)
6. We read the Timeline and talk about historical events and compare them with today (when applicable).

The result:

My son is extremely interested in what he is learning. He loves to hear about how Pa is out hunting and working on the farm. He enjoys the funny stories about home and family life, and has developed a tremendous understanding of what life was like in those days.

We have come to love our quiet reading times and do them in the early evening.  We are using this mainly as a history curriculum. He does all his regular schoolwork during the day. We do the Prairie Primer a few nights a week. It is relaxing and pleasant and gives us a break from the events of the day and the worries of the world around us. There is enough assigned work here for one or two years. We intend to take our time with it. Overall it is an excellent resource which I highly recommend.

Cadron Creeks offers many other resources including The Webster's Dictionary of 1828 (which we have owned for many years).  Their Victorian-era program looks delightful as well!

*Disclosure - I received this product from the publisher for review purposes.*

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