Thankful For The Simple Things

Little HouseWith school portfolios out of the way, December leaves me yearning for a break from all the bookwork, and a desire to learn new things with a fresh excitement. So, that is exactly what we’ve been doing. Since I’ve decided to ‘Simplify our Christmas’, our unit study has taken us on some very interesting places. Pioneer1We’ve read excerpts out-loud from the following books: A Little House Sampler – by William T Anderson, Little House on the Prairie– by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Way West: Journal of a Pioneer Woman – by Amelia Stuart Knight, and On the Banks of Plum Creek– Laura Ingalls Wilder. After delving into some of these books it isn’t hard to be extraordinarily thankful for the things we have. I must admit, I was somewhat romanticised by the whole idea at first. I had visions of an easier, much simpler life than what we have today. I wondered if the modern conveniences of our life today have really helped us to live a simpler life. The answers I have found are rather interesting. (more later)

Road signThough the pioneers did indeed live a much simpler life, their life was far from easy. I knew that going in, but chose to leave it in the background. However if you really were a pioneer in the mid 1800’s, you could not choose to leave that in the background, so to speak. Though simple and rewarding, their life was incredibly labor intensive. Not only did it take many months to travel to the new frontier; for there were many perils along the way, but there were also many months to follow establishing a homestead. This was no easy task. If you were fortunate enough to have neighbors near by, you may have had some help putting the roof on your house or building a stable for your livestock. If not, you had to depend on the help of your wife and children. Bugs attacked, snowstorms froze, the sun scorched and prairie fires threatened.

Wagon & OxenPerils aside, I did observe this. With all the hard work to be done on the homestead, there was plenty of time to work side by side one another and share stories. There was time to learn a trade from either parent. There was time to help one another. There was time to play together. There was time to pray together. There was also plenty an opportunity to be thankful for ones health and family. The simple things. The important things. I think I can learn something from these people. 

What do you think?

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4 Comments

Filed under Books, Encouragement, History/Socials, Learning, Unit Studies

4 responses to “Thankful For The Simple Things

  1. We just finished Little House on the Prairie, and the end left me almost shell-shocked, when they packed up and left their new cabin, leaving the garden, the plough, and the cow behind. Just like that. Add to that the meeting they had with the couple who’d lost their horses in the night, and were just sitting by the way, waiting for who knows what. Talk about stress.

    I find myself wondering more at what wasn’t said, especially with Caroline (Ma). What did she think about all those packings and leavings? They seemed to stew about things less than I would have thought, or at least, far less than I would have!

    Enjoy your December.

    cheers / sheila

  2. How interesting to read these books as a way to gather thoughts on simplifying Christmas. I have read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books (a long time ago). It would be fascinating to reread them now. Sheila above offers some insightful thoughts!

    Their life was so very hard, yet perhaps that harshness made them appreciate the little things all the more. Most of us, in the US and Canada anyway, have it easy now (in terms of life’s comforts). Humans will always need to find a stress, either real or invented. Nowadays we invent much of our stress, yet it seems very real to us nonetheless.

    Great post!

  3. Homeschoolingthruhighschool

    Another great book along these lines is O!Pioneers! by W. Cather. Great for advanced readers or those in 7th grade and higher.

  4. Pingback: Gratefulness - Where Does Yours Lie? « A Day In The Life Of Our Homeschool Journey

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