The Prairie Primer…Our year with Laura Ingalls Wilder

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During the school year of 2014-2015, I did the The Prairie Primer (by Margie Gray) unit study on the Little House books with my two oldest, Popstar and Flash. Popstar was in 5th grade and Flash was in 3rd grade that year. I had bought this the year before and so I had been preparing for it for all year. I was very excited about doing this study, especially because I LOVE anything to do with Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House on the Prairie.  So I thought I would tell you a little about our year with Laura.





This study is based on the original 9 books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder:

  1. Little House in the Big Woods
  2. Little House on the Prairie
  3. On the Banks of Plum Creek
  4. By the Shores of Silver Lake
  5. The Long Winter
  6. Little Town on the Prairie
  7. These Happy Golden Years
  8. Farmer Boy
  9. The First Four Years



The Unit Study is broken down into 9 units, one on each of the 9 books. You study each book for 4 weeks except the last one, The First Four Years is shorter, so you only spend 2 weeks on that one.

Each week is broken down into 4 days of reading and activities, then you have the 5th day to catch up on anything you didn’t finish. In our case, we typically just took Fridays off of school and that worked well for us.

For each book, you are given a planning guide for each week so you know what you are going to need for each day. Then for each day, it tells you what chapter to read, has comprehension questions and a list of activities to go along with the reading. I would go through and choose which activities that I wanted to do and circle them. Some days had more activities than others and you have the option of choosing what works best for your family. There was also unit long projects to complete during each book, like reading a biography of someone or working on a project like the 9 patch quilt pillow.

We always started with the reading then comprehension questions and activities last. The subjects covered is huge…Bible, Character, Memory, Arts & Crafts, Health, History/Biographies, Literature & Language Arts, Living, Science, Animal Kingdom and Human Body.


Here are some of the extra books we used:





I bought them each a 2 inch binder and used this free printable coloring page for the cover:

Free Laura Coloring Pages

I also went ahead and bought the coloring book that the same artist made. I don’t normally spend much on coloring books, but this one was well worth it. The pages are very detailed and beautiful and the illustrater (Cheryl Harness) even autographs each book personally! There were coloring pages in this book that went along with each of the 9 books and the kids worked on coloring them in while I read the chapters each day.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Coloring Book



I put dividers in the binders for each book to put all the worksheets, art and any other things we did for activities so they could have somewhere to keep them all.


Here are some of the activities we did with Little House in the Big Woods:


Corn Shucking                                                             Making Butter


    Gun Safety Lessons (from a friend)


Corn Husk Dolls



Potato Experiment                                                         Johnny Cakes



Washing Clothes by hand



Gold Rush Party



Field Trip to Reed Gold Mine


Here’s one of the activities we did with Little House on the Prairie:



Colored noodle necklaces


And with On the Banks of Plum Creek:







9 Patch Quilt Pillow Project


Unfortunately, as we went along I didn’t take quite as many pictures as I did in the beginning. Also, towards the end of our school year we ended up moving and so that really made it hard to keep going with all the fun activities. We had planned on making a trip at the end of the school year to Laura’s house in Missouri, but our plans for that changed as well. My sister was living in Idaho at the time and we ended up taking a cross-country road trip with my mom in September 2014 instead and were able to stop by two of Laura’s homes on the way back.

The first one was the cabin in Kansas (from Little House on the Prairie):








After that, we headed to Laura and Almanzo’s farm in Mansfield, Missouri:








The trip was awesome and it was so great for the kids to see where a few of the Little House books had actually taken place. Of course, I think I loved it more than they did! It was definitely worth it.


Around Christmas that year, we made the Clove Apples from one of the Little House craft books.




In February 2015 during that school year, we decided to do a Little House Birthday Party for Popstar and Flash to celebrate their birthday. It was so much fun to plan and we had a blast!











The party was so much fun and I was glad we were able to make the trip to see the two houses where Laura lived. I think those things really made it a fun year. I wish I had been able to take our time and do all the fun activities for the rest of the year, but with the move it was too hard. We got through the reading and did some of the activities at least. I’m looking forward to doing the study again in a few years with Hulk and Princess. We hope to make a trip up to South Dakota when they do it to see some of Laura’s other houses.

I really loved this Unit study. If you love Little House and enjoy Unit Studies for your curriculum, I would definitely recommend this program. It was so worth all the time and effort planning it and really, you didn’t have to plan that much more than what was already in the manual. I can’t wait to start planning it for my younger two!




Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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One thought on “The Prairie Primer…Our year with Laura Ingalls Wilder

  1. Love this. Wonder if I could use it for my rising 2nd grader and just let the other two sit in on some stuff? I don't feel Cooper (rising 5k) will be ready for most of it & I feel my rising 6th grader needs more structured material.

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