I grew up on a farm 40 miles from De Smet, South Dakota, one of the settings for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series. I always loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Those books naturally became an important part of our homeschooling.
In fact, the books were woven throughout our homeschooling for years. We read aloud through the entire series more than once. And Will and Christina used to say that I used Little House on the Prairie books as examples for almost anything (such as the beauty of showing gratitude for the simplest presents).
Even if Little House on the Prairie isn’t such an important part of your homeschool, it’s a great topic for a multi-age unit study during the summer as well as any time during the school year. We still enjoy Little House on the Prairie activities even though my kids are adults now!
Because we lived in South Dakota until Will was 11 and Christina was 6, we had easy access to lots of museums and activities related to pioneer life on the prairie. In 1989, Will and I even rode a few miles in an actual covered wagon in the South Dakota Centennial wagon train.
If you’re ever able to visit De Smet, South Dakota, there are Laura Ingalls Wilder historic homes, Ingalls homestead, Loftus store, Laura Ingalls Wilder pageant (three weekends in July), De Smet Depot Museum, and Harvey Dunn School. With my parents, we attended The Long Winter pageant in 2002 and By the Shores of Silver Lake on July 8 this year.
Curriculums You Can Purchase
For ideas of activities, we used the KONOS Character Curriculum Volume III unit on Resourcefulness: Frontier Life.
Laura’s Prairie House has information on inexpensive resources.
But you can create your own unit study with just the Little House books and the resources available online.
Free Online Resources
Squidoo has a Little House Unit Study with many links to multi-age resources. Here you’ll find links to the settings of the books before and after the Ingalls family settled in South Dakota.
Homeschool Share has a Little House on the Prairie Story Study Lapbook.
The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum has a Laura Ingalls Wilder Website and Laura Ingalls Wilder Teaching Unit. For younger children, check out the online One, Two, Threes of Pioneer Life: A Little House Counting Book.
A to Z Home’s Cool Homeschooling has lots of resources for a Little House Unit Study.
Mothering has a forum discussion with resources for a Little House on the Prairie Unit Study.
School @ Home has a Little House on the Prairie Lesson Plan.
Mrs. Smith’s Fifth Grade has Little House on the Prairie: An Adventure (for 4th grade).
National Archives has Teaching With Documents: Little House in the Census – Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Cape Girardeau Public Schools has links with discussion questions, author sites, and activities for Little House on the Prairie.
Simply Necessary tells about their Little House on the Prairie Lapbook Unit Study.
Daffodil Lane tells about their Homeschool Laura Ingalls – Little House Unit Week
Laura-Ingalls-Wilder.com has a shop with CDs of the Little House music that can be purchased (see comment below from Kristi). It also has a free multi-media page with videos and the NPR special Arkansas Traveler: Little House Music and Tales.
Easy Fun School has an Index of Lesson Activities to go with ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Books.
Homeschooling @ Suite 101 has Little House on the Prairie Art Project Ideas
UPDATE: Wordplayhouse tells about their complete Little House on the Prairie unit study starting with “chapter 1″ and linking to “chapter 2″ (photo) of their study. Cheerios Underfoot and Craft Phesine have Little House peg dolls.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with Little House on the Prairie!