The Learning Room – Part II: Henry David Thoreau

April 5th – 11th

We did a study  on Henry David Thoreau this week. I know, not something young elementary students usually study. Not even something I studied in high school! But I just found a fantastic kids book on it and it just fit in naturally after talking about John James Audubon. Both were from around the same time period (about 50 years difference) and both were pioneers in the naturalist/environmentalist movement for their times. I’m sure the kids won’t retain that much from their study but for me, personally, it was very eye opening. I have never read Walden before, though I have wanted to for years after I found out he was one of the first to move out of society into that – what we would call these days – sustainable lifestyle. He purposefully led a simple life. And it is to this movement that Adam and I feel drawn to. I will continue to read his book, even though we are technically done with him this week. Adam and I have proposed a little experiment to the kids based off this study (you will find out more details in an upcoming post!).

Lily’s biggest (and somewhat profound) question to his lifestyle was: “If he chose to live simply and wanted more free time then how did building his own house get that because then he just did a lot of work and had to cook and find his own food which is more work? How did he have free time?” Which I thought was a wonderful question that we should all contemplate on. What is real, purposeful work? And is that enjoyment in itself? And do our modern conveniences create more free time or put us in a continuous, perpetual cycle of bondage with respect to time and time management? Anyway, I digress. On to the work we did this week.


  • Read Henry David’s House edited by Steven Schnur (edited by is the important part here, as this book is all from Thoreau’s original writings about building his house by Walden Pond!)
  • Gabe and Lily did narrations (oral and picture to go with) on Thoreau.
  • Gabe independently read A Man Named Thoreau by Robert Burleigh


  • Read chapter 5 of Charlotte’s Web, which the kids are really enjoying…especially the goose who repeats everything. They think she is hilarious! We would have read more of this but kids being slow to pick up and tidy at night has earned some lost privileges.
  • Listened to the audio of Ivy & Bean Break the Fossil Record by Annie Barrows. (These are just so delightful to listen to…the kids love them and so do I!)
  • Read more of the Peter Rabbit series.

Language Arts

  • Gabe – learned about how to use quotation marks; cursive copywork; poetry reading; picture study; creative writing story
  • Lily – phonics practice; manuscript copywork; picture study; poetry reading; creative writing (wrote a wonderful story this week!); reading practice; more review of sentences and punctuation

Latin – Gabe

  • New words: amicus, specto, natura.
  • Reviewed flashcards.


  • Gabe – Math U See chapter 21 – multiplying with double digits, place value notation.
  • Lily – started her new Kumon workbook: Easy Telling Time (which she is very excited about)


  • Worked in the craft room making thumbprint art and decorating a wooden birdhouse.

One thought on “The Learning Room – Part II: Henry David Thoreau

  1. There’s also a lovely series about Henry David Thoreau for young children. We just read the picture book “Henry Works”. Basically, he goes out on a walk, and then comes home to write about it.

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