Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Little House on the Prairie Wrap-up

We have spent this year in a small co-op with the Prairie Primer. For those of you who might not be familiar with the curriculum, it is written to spend a year going through the Little House on the Prairie books. It is written like a unit study with all subjects based around these books. We had an awesome group this year and had prairie dresses and lunch pails that we used each week in co-op. There were some awesome field trips...nature center, square dancing, weather center, train ride and many more. As a final trip to wrap up the year we decided to take a four day vacation as a group and go to Independence, KS and Mansfield, MO to visit two of the locations that she lived in.

We started met up and were ready to hit the road at 7:00 am. OUCH!! We are not early birds.

After a brief stop in Bartlesville, OK for a break, we arrived in Independence, KS at the site that the book Little House on the Prairie is based on. There is a replica of the house the Ingall's lived in based on the description given by Laura Ingalls in her book and others that lived in the area and had similar cabins.
Reagan just couldn't believe that all five of them lived in a house smaller than her bedroom. We also took a wagon ride out to the prairie where we had a guide talk with all of us about the differences that would have been found on the prairie back in Laura's days in comparison with what we were seeing now. It was really interesting to hear.
We then drove in to Joplin, MO for the night and spent the evening swimming in the hotel pool. We got up on Saturday morning and drove into Mansfield, MO to the home that Laura shared with Almonzo and also the place that she wrote the Little House books. She actually did not start writing these books until she was 65 years old. We were not allowed to take any pictures inside the home, but were able to take several outside the home.

When Laura's daughter Rose was an adult, she used money she received from selling one of the books that she wrote to have a retirement home built for her parents. This home was purchased from the Sears catalog for $2,000 dollars and put on another area of the farm. Rose had many extras added on such as running electricity from the city of Mansfield to this home (they were the first outside of town to have electricity). In the end, the home ended up costing $11,000, which was a huge sum for that day and time.
We then took a side trip to Branson, MO for one night and then to the Tulsa Zoo and Oklahoma Aquarium on the way home.
This was a REALLY great trip. It was both fun and packed with so much history! We had a great time and I highly recommend visiting these sites if you get the chance.


  1. That is ALL ver interesting information. I did not know about the curriculum. Also, I have never given thought to the possibility of any of the houses still being around. My kids are alll young (under 8), but I have given some thought to reading this series to them in the future, but now I am going to check into that curriculum beforehand.

  2. Those 2 sites are by far, my most favorite. Well, they all are! Altho-the hotel in Burr Oak, IA is rather cool cuz it is original too-and if your daughter thought the cabin was small, wait til she sees the room where they all slept-it is teeny! I would have gone insane in that small spot! There is also the graveyard Laura ran about in, the town is pretty much the same (altho the store where they lived above is now gone, and the house Grace was born in as well). The only one I have yet to see if the SD home. But that is on my list of to dos by 2010-11...so very glad you have spent time learning about, and visiting Laura's homes. She truly was a remarkable woman-
    We have had the pleasure of meeting and hearing William Anderson (he lives near us) speak on a couple occasions as well. He is such a wealth of knowledge about her (he knew Rose, is/was the Pres. of the foundation that maintains most of the homes) so hearing him speak on her truly brought her to life even more. Did you know there is one recording of Laura's voice? IT was so weird to hear her speak! I have it. I believe I bought it from the Plum Creek/Walnut Grove museum-it was a radio show recording-you may want to see if you can still get it-

    Can ya tell I love Laura? LOL

  3. I want to go, I want to go, I want to go!