We're on our last chapter of By the Shores of Silver Lake in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series; it's all set for bedtime. The last chapter is only about 4 pages, so I'm betting we start the next one before the kids will go to bed willingly. Laithe really wants to read Farmer Boy, but Guthrie is loathe to not hear about Laura. I think the only reason Laithe is keeps asking for it is because there's a boy on the cover. Which, if you must know is the exact reason I never read that one as a child. We did read Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, and On the Banks of Plum Creek though.
We started the series in late October and I'm surprised Guthrie is as in love with it as she is. I tried it about a year ago, maybe right before Guthrie turned 5, and she was not at all interested. I'm so glad I tried again! I'll be super curious to see if she likes the next few - as Laura gets older.
I've been very cautious to not show her too much of Laura's "real life" via the internet or heaven forbid the show. I have nothing against the show at all - in fact I think I've seen every episode. I just really want these characters and the locations to hold a strong space in her imagination for awhile. We did get out the atlas though and trace their journeys. Our trip across the great prairie this fall certainly helped with our imaginations. Having seen that wide open, somewhat barren space in person really set the stage.
I didn't really give the kids any background information about the Ingalls' life - just that they were a family that lived a long time ago. It wasn't until On the Banks of Plum Creek that Guthrie figured out they had no tv or "electrics." I'm not sure what tipped her off. We do frequent an Amish community outside of Iowa City - they have a great grocery store - so I guess it wasn't completely jarring when I talked about lighting lamps and having to use a wood stove to keep warm and traveling by horse and wagon or buggy. Or maybe it just didn't occur to her at all. I didn't question her too much about it.
I have edited out some of the content. I figure my kids have their whole homeschooling career to be taught about massacres and we don't need to start just yet. The racism has been interesting though, as has the corporal punishment, as has ma's requiring Laura to be a teacher. Really I would expect any chapter books we read to bring up subjects that we don't talk about in our every day lives. I would also expect us to be able to have discussions about values and differences of era and the Laura books really fit the bill for that.
Today Guthrie asked me if Ma and Pa ever argued. I said that they do, it just sounds different than when mom and dad do, or when her and Laithe do. She asked why and I talked about how Ma and Pa have a different relationship than mom and dad do and that Pa makes the final decisions in the family many, many times and Ma doesn't question him. She mused that it would be nice if I would just let John make most of the final decisions.
I mused that children should be seen and not heard. Ahem.
I think one of my favorite things about reading the series as a parent is that almost every chapter ends with the family going to bed. The chapter might include a number of days, or even weeks, but it almost always ends with pa getting out his fiddle and singing with the family until bedtime. We almost always read before bedtime and rest time and the few cliff hangers have resulted in excited kids and multiple chapters read, which isn't bad, but every night would be a bit much.
I think I'm going to try and convince Laithe to wait until after The Long Winter to read Farmer Boy because I really want to read it while it's cold, you know? And then maybe Guthrie will be interested in reading about Almanzo and his horses.
Though this totally sounds like a sponsored post it isn't. Although, the bindings on all of my books are falling apart, so if someone would like to make this a sponsored post, I would be all about it!