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All About the Songs from Pa and Laura online course from Music in Our Homeschool (E7)

Years ago when I first started creating online music appreciation courses for Music in Our Homeschool, I made a list of all the interesting course ideas. I also received requests from homeschoolers for what they’d like to see at the site. Almost all of those were created except for one. And, now that one is here! Welcome to the brand new course called Songs from Pa and Laura.

Songs from Pa and Laura online course from Music in Our Homeschool

Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through affiliate links in this post.

The Little House on the Prairie books

If you’ve read the Little House on the Prairie books from Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957), you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who haven’t read the books yet, Pa is Laura’s father. The book series takes us from the time that Laura is a very young child until she marries. The names of the books that Laura wrote starting at age sixty-five (from 1932-1943) are Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy, Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, and These Happy Golden Years. (An additional book was published after her death from a manuscript she had started working on: The First Four Years.)

True Pioneers

Laura’s family were true pioneers moving from place to place for a decade until they finally settle in De Smet, South Dakota. She lived in Wisconsin, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. The family experiences more amazing adventures than I can expect a single family to experience, such as fires, a grasshopper plague, serious illnesses, and near-starvation. The way Laura tells the stories is riveting. Seriously, if you haven’t read the books yet, pick up a set from the library or listen to the audiobooks!

Pa’s Fiddle

Pa has a cherished fiddle, which I had the pleasure of seeing at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Missouri where Laura lived most of her life with her husband Almanzo. Throughout all the books, there are songs that Pa would play and sing with the family. He played hymns on Sundays when they were far from a church. He played happy, joyful tunes in the evenings when everyone rested from their day’s labors and enjoyed a respite. He played in the evenings under the stars when they were traveling in their covered wagon. He played at a square dance. And, he harmonized with the blizzard’s wails during the many storms they experienced.

Songs from Pa and Laura online course from Music in Our Homeschool

Laura said this of her father,

“He was always jolly, inclined to be reckless and loved his violin.”

Pa was probably a self-taught musician, and you can tell that throughout their lives, music brought them joy, hope, and feelings of togetherness.

Laura learned much from her father and his violin.

Laura said, “Whatever religion, romance, and patriotism I have, I owe largely to the violin and Pa playing in the twilight.”

One of the most heart-breaking paragraphs in the entire book series was in the book The Long Winter when the family and entire town were cut off from the train bringing food supplies because of continual blizzards and many almost starved to death.

Laura wrote: “But every note from the fiddle was a little wrong. Pa’s fingers were clumsy. The music dragged and a fiddle string snapped. “My fingers are too stiff and thick from being out in the cold so much, I can’t play,” Pa spoke as if he were ashamed. He laid the fiddle in its box. “Put it away, Laura, until some other time, he said.

Songs from Pa and Laura online course from Music in Our Homeschool

The Songs from the Books

The first time I read the books aloud to my kids many years ago, I didn’t know many of the songs, so when I’d get to the lyrics, I would just make up a melody.

That’s what gave me the idea to write an online course so that families reading the books would not only be able to listen to what the songs sounded like, but be able to learn to sing or play them yourself!

The Songs from Pa and Laura online course

The Songs from Pa and Laura online course contains 40 songs from the 8 books in the Little House series. Included is sheet music with the melody, lyrics, and guitar chords; a video of me singing each song; an audio midi track of the melody; and when possible, other videos of the song.

My desire is that your reading of the books will be enriched with this course because you can enjoy the songs with your family, just like Laura, Mary, Carrie, Grace, and Ma enjoyed them with Pa!

Which Songs are Included

In the books, Laura refers to 127 different songs! I couldn’t include all of them, but here are 40 of my favorites that I included in the course.

From Little House in the Big Woods:

  • Pop! Goes the Weasel
  • Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
  • Buffalo Gals Draft
  • Home Sweet Home

From Farmer Boy:

  • Yankee Doodle
  • The Star Spangled Banner

From Little House on the Prairie:

  • Old Dan Tucker
  • Green Grows the Laurel
  • There is a Happy Land
  • The Blue Juniata
  • Bean Porridge Hot (Pease Porridge Hot)
  • Oh Susanna
  • The Gum Tree Canoe

From On the Banks of Plum Creek:

  • Wait for the Wagon
  • The Girl I Left Behind Me
  • My Sabbath Home
  • Mary, Put the Dishes On (Polly, Put the Kettle On)

From By the Shores of Silver Lake:

  • Beware!
  • A Railroad Man for Me
  • Buy a Broom
  • Jingle Bells
  • Billy Boy
  • Camptown Races
  • Three Blind Mice
  • Ben Bolt
  • Oft in the Stilly Night
  • The Beacon-Light of Home

From The Long Winter:

  • The Floating Scow of Old Virginia
  • The Old Chariot
  • Sweet By and By
  • Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

From Little Town on the Prairie:

  • America
  • Sing a Song of Sixpence
  • Whip-Poor-Will’s Song
  • Rock Me to Sleep 

From These Happy Golden Years:

  • Polly-Wolly-Doodle
  • Golden Years are Passing By
  • Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You
  • In Dreamland Far Away
  • Come in and Shut the Door

Companion Resources

Songs from Pa and Laura online course from Music in Our Homeschool

See the YouTube Video “All About the Songs from Pa and Laura online course (E7)” here:

Listen to the Podcast Episode here:

Listen here or subscribe and follow The Music in Our Homeschool Podcast through your favorite podcast app!

Find the transcript here.

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Songs from Pa and Laura online course from Music in Our Homeschool

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