Homeschooling Kids Magazine

Book Review: The Little House Series

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By Tab Olsen
Laura Ingalls Wilder is well known for her Little House series of books. She wrote the heartwarming series based on her own experiences growing up on the Western frontier. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both an unforgettable story and a unique glimpse into America’s pioneer history.
Laura’s parents always saw to it that their children received a consistent education wherever they lived. Even so, Laura does not go to school in the first few books of this series. Back when Laura was growing up, it wasn’t unusual for parents to serve as their children’s first teachers. Ma Ingalls, a teacher before her children were born, taught her children using old primers.
It’s not until the fourth book in the series, On the Banks of Plum Creek, when Laura is eight years old, that she first goes to school. Still, Laura was often taught at home when school attendance was impossible because of bad weather or long distance. Like when the family moved to new territory where there was no one-room schoolhouse nearby.
Although these are children’s books for ages 9-12, you’re never too old to enjoy them. I love them all, but I’d have to say my favorite is These Happy Golden Years because it’s such a sweet tale about teenage life, first love, and old-fashioned courtship. In this story, 15-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. She doesn’t even really want to teach, but she understands the importance of helping her family. So she does what she has to do in order to earn enough money to keep her sister Mary at the college for the blind.

Laura’s first teaching job was a difficult one. She boarded with a family that was always arguing. The children she was expected to teach were nearly her own age, and Laura felt that she had little control over her pupils. Laura was also extremely homesick. So she was very grateful when a man named Almanzo Wilder offered to drive his horse-drawn sleigh through snow, blizzards and freezing temperatures to bring her home every weekend.

Although Almanzo Wilder was ten years older than Laura, he seemed to take a special interest in her from the start. As time goes by, their friendship blossoms into a loving courtship. Their courtship continues, they get married, and in the romantic conclusion, Laura goes off to Almanzo’s homestead to have her own little house. Laura’s new life as a pioneer wife and mother begins in The First Four Years.

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