Our Studies with Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder


Who would have thought I would become an advocate for unit studies after years of training and teaching one subject- science. However, it is a wonderful way to introduce topics of all kinds at a young age and works very well for our kids.

Farmer Boy is one of their favorites. Who can’t identify with this young boy and all the food he gets to eat?! The bonus is that he grew up in NY state and we’ve been able to take some local field trips to get a chance to see some of the things she describes in her book.

We got the chance to discover more about the phases of matter by discussing how the Wilders handled their bath routine in the very cold winters. Almanzo and his brother have to go out and gather the water from a tub that is filled with ice on the porch. They have to break the ice and scoop the water out to bring it in and warm it by the fire. They always leave a hole in the middle so the ice doesn’t break the barrel apart. R was really good at remembering that part. They listed what they already knew about solids, liquids, and gases and whatever questions they had. Then we did some reading and experimenting. We observed evaporation by leaving some water in a dish near the window. Then we experimented to see which molecules moved faster- the hot ones or the cold ones. We used food coloring in hot and cold water to prove that when the temperature increases, the more energy the molecules have and this moves the coloring around faster. Everyone enjoyed that demonstration.

We observed ice and water and how one will fill any space and how one holds its shape. They had the chance to write down their observations and list what they learned and we added them to the notebook. Our next step is to differentiate between the phases in everyday items. That will have to wait for next week. The weather is getting nicer and baseball calls to us more than our book work some days! We plan to set up our official weather station as well.

E- 8.5 copies a design originated by his sister.

R 6.75- is very creative when it comes to artistic expression.

I 4.75- likes to join in on the fun activities and I usually require less writing from him (for now!)

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