Monday, September 23, 2013

Pioneer Studies = Fun School

A few weeks ago, I blogged about our plans to study the life and times of the early Canadian pioneers. Since then, we have learned and explored so many interesting and fun aspects of living during the 19th century. We especially enjoyed spinning wool, dying yarn and making cheese.

When we first decided to study pioneer times, I thought it would be great to do a lot of hands on learning. I really want this year to be memorable for the kids. Two years ago, we suffered a miscarriage and an intense pregnancy with lots of ups and downs. Last year, we had a newborn and a paper route. We quit the paper route a while back and decided to really focus on learning after two years of craziness and chaos.

At the beginning of the year, I laid out the following plan:

Pioneer Study in 17 Weeks

Pages to Read
A Pioneer Story
Day 1: The Robertsons & Signs of Spring pp. 6-19
Day 2: Maple Sugaring pp. 20-31
Make Egg Pudding online recipe
Activity on page 30
A Pioneer Story
Day 1: School Days pp.32-45
Day 2: Baby Animals pp.46-59
Activities on pp. 44-45
Grow a Potato Plant
A Pioneer Story
Day 1: Finding a Honey Tree pp. 60-67
Day 2: Granny’s Story pp.68-75
Make Honey Butter and Look at Bee Books
Make a Breadcloth & Paint a Picture of Voyage
A Pioneer Story
Day 1: Milking pp.76-85
Day 2: Sheep Shearing pp. 86-103
Make Cheese
Dye some wool from Knit Picks
A Pioneer Thanksgiving
Day 1: Cranberries pp. 6-17
Day 2: Nutting pp. 18-29
Make cranberry sauce
Play games in the chapter & make nutting basket
A Pioneer Thanksgiving
Day 1: Festival Bread & The Corn Dolly pp. 30-35
Day 2: The Hungry Year pp.36-41
Making a Corn Dolly
Make a Weather Vane
A Pioneer Thanksgiving
Day 1: Gathering at the Table pp.42-47
Plan the Thanksgiving Menu
A Pioneer Story
Day 1: The Peddler’s Visit pp. 104-119
Make a Punched-tin Picture
A Pioneer Story
Day 1: Fishing pp. 120-133
Play the game on page 133
A Pioneer Story
Day 1: Harvesting the Crops pp. 134-145
Day 2: A Visit to the General Store pp. 146-157
Make Pa and Laura’s Hay Sticks
Make Pioneer Envelopes on page 157
A Pioneer Story
Day 1: Building the New House pp. 158-171
Day 2: The Corn Husking Bee pp. 172-185
Activities on pages 168-169
Drying Apples on page 179
A Pioneer Story
Day 1: Shadow Stories pp. 186-195
Day 2: Lost in the Woods pp. 196-205
Make Shadow Puppets on pages 192-193
Make Laura’s Bear’s Track Quilt Pillow
A Pioneer Story
Day 1: Moving Day pp.206-219
Day 2: Christmas Visiting pp. 220-229
Stencilling on pages 216-217
Do Candle Dipping on page 226
A Pioneer Christmas
Day 1: Christmas is Coming pp. 6-17
Day 2: An Unexpected Visitor pp. 18-21
Make a Pomander on page 16
Make cookie Decorations
A Pioneer Christmas
Day 1: Christmas Caroling pp. 22-27
Day 2: Let the Festivities Begin pp. 28-33
Sing Christmas Carols
Play the game on page 33
A Pioneer Christmas
Day 1: Christmas Garlands pp. 34-38
Day 2: Christmas Eve pp. 39-47
Make a garland
Make Eggnog in Little House Cookbook
A Pioneer Story
Between Christmas and New Year’s read Hogmanay pp. 230-237
Make a Jumping Jack

Books Used in this Study:    
A Pioneer Story by Barbara Greenwood
A Pioneer Thanksgiving by Barbara Greenwood
A Pioneer Christmas by Barbara Green
My Little House Crafts Book by Carolyn Strom Collins and Christina Wyss Eriksson
The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker

Last week, we dyed some yarn, learned how to spin on a Turkish drop spindle and made cheese. I bought some wool from KnitPicks to dye. I like that they have a wide varieties of yarn to choose from that are "bare" and ready to dye. I really wanted to try using a natural dye, but I found that using kool-aid is easier and kid friendly. Unfortunately, we only had one color of no name kool-aid in the house and it happened to be orange. We don't drink usually drink kool-aid, I just keep it in the house in case I want to dye something. Yeah, I'm weird. The yarn turned out a really color of orange. It is in the process of being crocheted into an infinity scarf, if I don't frog it first.

For my own personal development, I really wanted to learn how to spin wool. This has been a wish of mine for some time. I bought a Turkish spindle when I bought the bare wool. After watching a number of YouTube videos and purchasing a craftsy spinning course when it was on sale for $14.99, I finally got the hang of it.  The following is one of the many videos that I watched. It was interesting and demanded that I not skip ahead and assume anything (like I usually do). This is an art like no other that I have ever tried or learned. It is simple enough, but the learning curve at the beginning is enormous. I really had to pay attention to every detail.

Here are some pictures of us spinning on our Turkish spindle. The kids were able to manage spinning, but I attached the leader, always wound on the yarn and made the half-hitch for them. If this sounds strange, that's ok. I didn't know what any of these meant either. When you learn to spin, you learn a new language.

Last week, we also made cheese. It was a herb cream cheese. The herbs were all fresh from our garden. 

We Marie added fresh garlic, lemon juice, honey, salt and freshly ground pepper. It was delicious. If you have never made your own cream cheese, it is worth a try. You just need to strain 2 cups of yogurt and add herbs to taste. I use a fine mesh sieve lined with a paper towel instead of cheese cloth to strain my yogurt. If you have cheese cloth, you can put the yogurt in that instead.

I am really enjoying school this year. A lot of other things (the Etsy shop, quilting, knitting etc.) get put on the back burner right now. I have so many projects on the go and presents for Christmas to be made. I have some rosaries to be put in the shop, too. All in all, I can't complain. Being busy is a good thing. The days are short and I really have to work on planning and allotting ME time a little better.I love spending time with the kids and learning along with them and all of those other things aren't as important.

Thanks for stopping by. 
God Bless, Friends.
Holly Hobbie - friends


  1. I love that color! So autumn like! We have a drop spindle, but I still haven't tried it. Do you know if it is different to a Turkish spindle? I have never heard of or seen a Turkish spindle.

  2. There are many different types of drop spindles. The Turkish spindle is just one of many. The neat feature of this particular spindle is that wrapping the yarn creates a center-pull ball of yarn. I have yet to try anything else out. I hope to be getting a bottom whorl drop spindle tomorrow in the mail. I will see how that goes and possibly post some pictures.

    1. Interesting, I didn't know there were so many different specific names for drop spindles. I need to take a look at ours.


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