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Saturday, September 10, 2011
The pioneer spirit
The 10th anniversary of 9/11 has reminded me of the pioneer spirit of this country. This week's curriculum tie-in is Heading West: Life With the Pioneers, 21 Activities by Pat McCarthy.
This wonderful book has so much to offer. It provides an historical overview of how pioneers settled the country, beginning with the Appalachian Mountains and continuing to the Pacific Ocean. Join Pat as she journeys with the settlers in their covered wagons and the hard work they encountered during the trip: the cooking, the hunting. Learn about the native Americans they met.
Then when they arrived they had to build themselves shelters. A dugout would be constructed by digging into a hill or creek bank until there was enough space for one room. Next they contructed a front wall using blocks of sod.
Laura Ingalls Wilder's family lived in a dugout for a time. She wrote about that in On the Banks of Plum Creek.
Pioneers were the original do-it-yourselfers. Pat includes a number of activities for you to try. Try making maple snow candy, like Laura Ingalls Wilder did.
Try churning your own butter. Back then toys were handmade. Would you want to make a doll out of a clothespin? Some little girls did.
If reading Pat's book makes you and your family hanker to visit pioneer sites, this article from The New York Times will give you information about visiting places Laura Ingalls Wilder lived.
If you can't visit, read Laura Ingalls Wilder Country, a photographic book of Laura's homes.
If you want Pat to visit your school to give a program about the West visit her at her web site.