Last night I finished reading my favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder book to my children, Farmer Boy. All of her books are just as interesting for me as they are for the kids. She explains the way that things were done so many years ago, and truly, I believe that I was made to be a farm girl!
In this book, as with them all, the children respect their parents. I respect the parents!
In my very favorite passage, Father teaches Almonzo about money. Almonzo is nine years old and in town with his family for the independance day celebration. He has asked his father for a nickle to buy lemonaide. This is his father's response:
"Father looked at him a long time. Then he took out his wallet and opened it, and slowly he took out a round, big silver half-dollar. He asked:
"Almanzo, do you know what this is?"
"Half a dollar," Almonzo answered.
"Yes. But do you know what half a dollar is?"
Almanzo didn't know it was anything but half a dollar.
"It's work, son," Father said. "That's what money is; it's hard work."
"You know how to raise potatoes, Almanzo?"
"Yes," Almanzo said.
"Say you have a seed potato in the spring, what do you do with it?"
"You cut it up," Almanzo said.
"Go on, son."
"Then you harrow - first you manure the field, and plow it. Then you harrow, and mark the ground. And plant the potatoes, and plow them, and hoe them. You plow and hoe them twice."
"That's right son, and then?"
"Then you dig them and put them down cellar."
"Yes. Then you pick them over all winter; you throw out all the little ones and the rotten ones. Come spring, you load them up and haul them here to Malone, and you sell them. And if you get a good price, son, how much do you show for all that work? How much do you get for half a bushel of potatoes?"
"Half a dollar," Almanzo said.
"Yes," said Father. "That's what's in this half-dollar, Almanzo. The work that raised half a bushel of potatoes is in it."
Almanzo looked at the round piece of money that Father held up. It looked small, compared with all that work.
"You can have it, Almanzo," Father said. Almanzo could hardly believe his ears. Father gave him the heavy half-dollar.
"It's yours," said Father. "You could buy a suckling pig with it, if you want to. You could raise it and it would raise a litter of pigs, worth four, five dollars apiece. Or you can trade that half-dollar for lemonade, and drink it up. You do as you want, it's your money."
Of course, Almanzo ends up with a little pig in the end.
For ways to use the Laura Ingalls Wilder books as curriculum go here to view the Prairie Primer and other books that go along with the Little House books... but don't try to get the Prairie Primer on Paperback Swap... I think I'm number 48 out of 64 or something on the waiting list!
Ah... I just love those books!