aka Welcome March! or Get Lost February!
Right, so, Little House on the Prairie.
Why do I never feel like it's the right time to blog about Little House on the Prairie, when Thomas (I'm sure) feels like I ALWAYS think it's time to talk about Little House on the Prairie?
When I was a kid, I hated those books. Boring! Boring! BBBOOOOORRRRINNNG. Seriously.
The only thing I remembered about them from being a kid was when the little boy got stung by all those bees. Cause that kind of freaked me out.
But two years ago I was having trouble finding something to read to my class in the afternoons that would be appropriate for all ages between 4 and 12. So it seemed long and educational, and not too freaky for my little guys, so I started reading it. And totally fell in love. Now it's a staple of my year. I plan it around the pioneers unit and the kids love it. They call it "Mary and Laura Time."
I'm just so fascinated by all that the Ingalls had to endure. And I'm not talking about farming or sleeping on straw ticks. I'm talking about blizzards that last 7 months when you have no food. I'm talking about crossing the country in a wagon having no real idea where you're going or how to know when you've gotten there. Lost crops. Tornados. Malaria. Diptheria. Scarlet Fever. Tell me, how did these people survive? And it makes me proud, in a way, at the ferociousness of those early Americans, that they were brave enough and sure enough of their own abilities to try to go and live where no one else was, to carve what is now our country out of open prairie.
But it's weird too for me as a teacher and as an American to remember that they did so by stealing all that land from the Native Americans. And I try to make my class aware of that. There's a lot of confused sentiment about the Indians in Little House on the Prairie and I try not to gloss over it.
Did you all play Oregon Trail in school? It was this really early computer game in which you picked your family and pretended to be on the Oregon Trail, but you'd be plagued by disaster the whole way. Members of your family would die of sickness and starvation. Your horses would go lame; your wagon would throw a wheel. It's partly that, I guess, that makes me so crazy about LHOTP, just the unlikelihood that they could make it at all, let alone record it so beautifully.
I hope that if there's any kind of afterlife, that Laura Ingalls Wilder knows that a class full of students in 2007 looks forward every day to hearing about her life and that their crazy teacher goes home to marvel at her on the internet.