This school year has been full of delight for our family. Having done the hard work of gathering resources for The Playful Pioneers ahead of time made each week so simple and fun and full of learning. This was my third or fourth time reading through The Little House on the Prairie series, but because I had the projects all planned out ahead of time, it felt like a first time, and yet, the beautiful attitudes that Ma and Pa displayed through adversity, spoke to me as much now as they did when I first read the books aloud so many years ago.
Another aspect of The Playful Pioneers that was helpful for me this year was the integrated poetry and artwork. I love learning with Charlotte Mason principles, but in past years, it had seemed haphazard to pull poetry and art into whatever time period we were studying. I was very deliberate about the pieces I selected for the year, and was delighted again as we read through such beautiful pieces as "A Cherokee Traveler's Greeting", "Hope is a Thing With Feathers", and "Picture Books in Winter". The art and poetry made so much more sense when it was connected to what we were reading in our chapters for the week.
While I wrote the curriculum with 5-8 year old students in mind, my children, who turned 9 and 11 in December 2018, were challenged and engaged with the lessons. I added All About Reading and Spell to Write and Read for my 9 year old, along with an Analytical Grammar workbook and I.E.W. U.S. History Based Writing Lessons curriculum for my 11 year old. I also added math resources such as Teaching Textbooks, Right Start Math, and Smarttick for both of them.
We even added a few extra read alouds from the included independent reading list. I had read some of the Little House on the Prairie series aloud last spring as I was writing the curriculum so this year while we were doing our copy work, we listened to some of the stories on Audible. This bought me some extra read aloud time which I used to read several other titles. My daughter and son added several more of their own independent reading books.
- Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims
- Of Courage Undaunted
- The Freedom Train
- Sarah Witcher's Story
- The Matchlock Gun
- The Cabin Faced West
- Sam, The Minuteman
- Indian Captive
- Anne of Green Gables
We also engaged in lots of hands on learning this school year, following prompts in the curriculum to sew moccasins, grow a garden, bake bread, shake butter, sew a doll, build a tipi, and generally have fun while learning valuable engineering and comprehension skills.
Hands on learning isn't just about having more fun; it's a valuable way to teach children to actually do something with all they are learning.
We are closing in on the end of the school year, and at the same time gearing up for our upcoming school year with The Precious People, but our study of American History has been a delightful one, and has shaped our understanding and compassion for the people who shaped our nation, and given us excitement about how we can be pioneers in our own time.
What others are saying-
"I'm the mother of three little boys, my oldest is only 6 and between K and 1st grade academically. I wondered if Laura Ingalls would interest my boys the way it did me as a young girl. I have been in awe at how this curriculum transformed our home. We read the books as a family, bake together, memorize poetry and find comfort in bringing a bit of pioneer life into our home. This curriculum has helped us to slow down, let learning happen organically and encouraged us to spend more time outdoors, many times with our book in hand. This is material for the whole family! There are so many ways to adapt or expand this material for your child's needs, which is why I look forward to using it again in the future!" -Nicole
"We have used the Playful Pioneers this year as the foundation of our curriculum for my three 2nd graders. Each of my children is at very different levels. This beautiful curriculum has worked for all of them. We have enjoyed the read-aloud time, the gentle narration prompts, all the history and science activities, and most especially the enrichment crafts, recipes and art. On days when we have more time, we have had opportunities to explore, and on days with less time, we have been free to do a minimum, and still feel like the day wasn't wasted. My children and I have really enjoyed the journey with Laura and her family! This has been our best homeschool year yet! Thank you, Peaceful Press for your vision, and heart for us, homeschool mamas and kiddos!"
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