A. Planning and Possible Activities
1. Visit an historical home in your area. You might be prepared to have the students photograph or sketch the
home, or write a paragraph about it and its history.
2. Plan a 19th century night at your house, where you turn off the TV and see what it would be like to work for
a short time by candle or lamp-light.
3. If you plan to have students learn about American Architectural styles, consider purchasing one of the
Dover coloring books on this subject.
4. Allow students to research how many people in 3rd World countries live today. Many people still live in
simple huts, or even in “houses” made of cardboard and scavenged materials.
5. Make dip candles. This requires close adult supervision.
6. Small children may enjoy just playing with Lincoln logs or a similar toy. Explain how the settlers cut the
notches in the ends of the logs, so that the logs would stack together. They filled any cracks between the logs
with a mud-mixture.
7. Have children measure out the size of the log cabin mentioned below. What would it be like to live in a house
that size? How much furniture could you have? How could you make best use of space (shelves, storage under
the bed, etc?)
architecture balloon framing gable interior
exterior clapboards shingles shakes (a type of shingle)
adze froe broadax hew
rush lights kerosene scullery parlor
drawing room gallery chinking latch-string
mudcat chimney pie safe tester bed chimney sweep
insulation spring (water source) cistern
C1. Reading for Youngest Students
What is your house like? Can you count how many rooms are in your house? How many windows does your
house have? Does your house have a kitchen and a bathroom? What is the outside of your house made of?
How do you light and heat your home?
In the past, houses were different than many of our houses today. Many houses in the past were very simple.
Many people did not have running water, electricity or an indoor bathroom. Their homes were heated by
fireplaces or stoves, and were lit by candles or lamps. In the winter their homes were cold and in the summer
the house might be very hot.
Rooms had different names then, too. Homes did not have a "living room." Instead, they had a parlor. In large
houses, young children might live in a room called the nursery.
As you color the pictures and complete the activities in this unit, you will learn more about what houses were
like in the 19th century.
C2. Intermediate and Advanced Reading
The house we live in tells a lot about our family. It can show our values, our social position and our heritage.
Sometimes, as with the Amish people, our homes reflect our religious beliefs. The architecture of our house
can also reveal when it was built and sometimes who designed it.
Our houses may be adapted to the area in which we live. In the North, the steep roof sheds snow, while the
thick walls of the New Mexico adobe house are perfect for a hot, dry climate. Homes may be built of logs,
stone, cactus stalks, brick, leather, sawed lumber or sod, depending on the building materials available in the
Q. What materials were 19th century homes built from in your area?
Houses also affect how we live. Some houses are very small and are built just for basic shelter. Today, some
people live in very small houses to conserve energy and materials. Some houses are large and can host
grand parties and dances. A few houses, like the White House where the President lives are more like
palaces and contain governmental offices as well as a place to live.
Housing varied greatly in the past. The first houses in an area were usually small and relatively simple. Often
they were only one-room cabins. As time passed, the wealthier members of the community added more rooms
or built larger homes. On the East Coast, people were living in relatively fine houses when people in the
western frontier areas were still living in rough cabins.
By today’s standards, many 19th century homes might be considered small, dusty, dark. They were hot in
summer and cold in winter. Their layout and furniture was also different than our houses are today.
As you work through this chapter and learn about different architectural styles, household technology, and
furniture, compare and contrast the differences between your home and a 19th century house.
Lighting: Houses were much darker than they are today. They might be lit by rush lights, which were plants
dipped in wax. Grease lamps might be simple, saucer-shaped bowls with a place for a wick. Wealthier homes
used candles or whale oil lamps. Kerosene lamps were invented just before the Civil War. Later, some homes
were lit by gas lights. Many of these produced only a small amount of light, and some of them, rush lights and
whale oil, smoked and smelled.
Glass windows were a luxury item in frontier areas, although they were common in towns. Homes without glass
windows might used oiled paper, or simply have open holes in the walls with wooden shutters to close after
dark or during storms.
*Lamps in the early 19th century were often lit by whale oil. The oil for these lamps was provided by the New
England whaling industry. Upper high-school students may consider reading or even just watching a version of
Moby Dick, Herman Meville's classic story of a sea captain consumed by his desire for revenge against a white
Heating: Most home were heated by open fireplaces or stoves of some type. The former was very
inefficient, as much heat escaped up the chimney. The chimney itself was a problem. If incorrectly built, it might
not "draw." That it, the smoke might come into the room rather than rising up the chimney! Many settlers built
quickly-made mud-cat chimneys, which featured sticks plastered with mud at the top of the chimney. These
sometimes caught fire. Of course, any chimney which has not been cleaned can catch fire. In the cities,
cleaning the chimney was a job for a chimney-sweep.
Stoves for cooking or heating might burn wood or a type of coal. These produced smoke, ashes and soot,
which sometimes stained items in the room. In the winter, smoke from fires caused pollution in larger cities.
Cooling: Homes were kept cool by being shaded by trees, and by being built so as to catch the wind. High
ceilings allowed hot air to rise. A few homes in the South had punkah fans over the dining table that helped
circulate air and keep away flies while the family ate.
Insulation: Today we have material called insulation in the walls and ceilings of our homes to help keep the
house cool in summer and warm in winter. 19th Century homes did not have any insulation; often there was
only the thickness of a board or log between the inside room and the outside air. Chimneys and stoves could
only heat the area immediately around them. It was not uncommon for water in the wash basins to freeze
overnight. Snow or rain might come through a cabin’s roof, and wind sometimes blew through the spaces
Kitchen: Cooking might be done in the main room, a basement, or even in a separate building in the back.
Toilet facilities for all but the wealthiest were outside in a privy or outhouse. These were simply small
buildings built over a large hole in the ground. A chamber pot was used at night. In the morning someone
had to empty and scald (wash with hot water) the chambers.
Running water was an unknown luxury in many homes. In towns, people sometimes had to fetch water from a
community pump or fountain. In the country, they might have to go to a stream, pond, or well. Some people
had hand-operated pumps, and a few even had pumps in their houses.
Lucky farmers had natural springs. Sometimes they channeled these springs
into water-troughs or into a spring house where the water kept food cool.
Some people had huge rainwater containers called cisterns. If the cisterns
were up high, then gravity could bring the water through pipes into the
house. Cleaning out the cistern was a yearly job.
Iron windmills were invented in the mid-19th Century.
These pumped water into a trough as the wind blew, and were convenient
for supplying animals with fresh water.
At some point in the study, either here or in Lesson 8, consider having the student carry a gallon of water,
which weighs about 8 lbs. Imagine carrying enough water for a bath, or for washing clothes (approximately 40
Hot water had to be heated in a pot over the fireplace, or in a large pot in the yard. Some cooking stoves had
built-in reservoirs for hot water. A few people had a system of pipes that ran through their stoves and
provided hot water.
Rooms for Live-In Servants Very few of us today have a servant living with our family, but this was not
uncommon in the 19th Century. If you have read Little Women or almost any 19th century book, you know that
servants were much more common then than they are today. Servants often slept in rooms in the attic; hired
men might even sleep in a barn or bunkhouse.
Parlor or Drawing Room- Instead of a living room, 19th Century houses often had a formal room in which the
family received guests. This room was called the parlor, or in very fancy homes, the drawing room.
Scullery 19th Century cooking was rather dirty. There were vegetables to be washed, fowls to be plucked
and dressed, and pots to be scoured. Some houses had a room where this dirty work could be done separate
from the main kitchen.
Pantry Farm families often stored a great deal of food for the winter. This might be kept in the pantry. Some
homes were fortunate enough to have spring-houses where water kept foods cool. Other families stored
foods in a root cellar or part of their basement.
Nursery In large homes, young children might have a room or rooms in which they lived and played.
Sometimes there was a day-nursery or playroom and then a night-nursery for sleeping. Older children might
have a schoolroom.
Specialty Rooms- A few very large homes had special music rooms, libraries or ballrooms. Some had
glass-roofed or glass-enclosed conservatories where plants could grow all year. There were billard
rooms, offices, smoking rooms and other rooms designed for men. Rooms designed for women were
usually the morning room or the parlor/drawing room.
Many 19th century homes had outbuildings of some type. These might be limited to an outhouse or privy, or
might contain a number of outbuildings for farm use. Outbuildings might include: kitchens, loom houses, corn
cribs, barns, dove cotes, stables, tobacco sheds, carriage houses, sheep folds, wash houses, or houses for
servants or slaves.
D. BIBLE LESSONS
Day 1) The Light Shines in the Darkness
Read John 1:1-5 Have you ever been camping or been in a blackout (a time with no electricity?) The night
seems VERY dark, doesn't it? People in the past knew about darkness. Especially if there was no moon, the
night was REALLY dark.
With your parent's help, light a candle in a completely dark room. The candle may only give a little light, but it
is enough for you to see by.
People in Bible times valued light. When John wrote about Jesus being a light shining in the darkness, they
understood how valuable this is.
Day 2) The Light of the World
Three of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) are what we call the synoptic Gospels. These three books
are VERY much alike and have many of the same stories and sayings of Jesus. Read Matt. 5:15; Mark 4:21;
and Luke 11:33.
Now go ahead an continue reading Matthew 5: 4-16 (it is always important to read verses in context, so that
we understand what they are saying.) Jesus was telling the Jewish people that they were the light of the world,
and that they should do good works, not to bring glory to themselves, but to bring glory to God.
What good works can we do that will bring glory to God?
What is the difference between doing something so that people will praise us, and doing something so
that people will praise God?
Day 3) The Sure Foundation
Read Luke 6: 48-49. Smaller children might sing "The Wise Man Built His House Upon a Rock."
When builders start a house, they know it is important that the foundation of the house be solid. If the ground
is soft and wet and sinks, or if the ground moves, then the house will not be stable and may collapse.
Here, Jesus is comparing our lives to a house. If we build our lives on a firm foundation (Him. Remember Jesus
is sometimes compared to a rock.), then our lives will be stable and secure. If we build our lives on a weak
foundation, then our lives may be unstable.
Sometimes people build their whole lives on something very unstable:
other people's opinions
beauty or fashion
a certain job
a false religion
When these things fail, the person may feel as if his or her life is ruined.
Jesus NEVER fails, though.
People's opinions may change. Money, beauty, health, fame, and jobs may disappear. False religions may be
shown to be untrue, but Jesus will always be there for us.
Day 4) Abundance of Possessions
Luke 12:15 And [Jesus] said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth
not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
We have talked about building our lives on a solid foundation and in another lesson we talked about the fact
that God does not love the wealthy more than the poor. Here, Jesus is giving us some serious advice: our
quality of life does NOT depend on how much we own. We are to use the good things of this world in order to
further the Gospel; but we are not to be enslaved to always wanting more. (coveting things)
Another shaky foundation is to depend on things like big houses and expensive cars for our self-worth. Some
people do not feel good about themselves unless they have the most expensive home in the neighborhood or
the fastest car on the road. Sometimes two families get into a competition over who can build the biggest
house. This is foolishness, as there is always going to be someone who has a bigger home or a more
expensive car than.
Our worth does not depend on what we own. God loved us so much that he sent his Beloved Only Son to die
for us. We have been bought by the precious blood of the Son of God! That is how much we are worth!
Day 5) An Eternal House
Read 2 Corinthians 5:1
2 Corinthians 5:1
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house
not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
The NIV is a little easier to understand:
5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in
heaven, not built by human hands.
Do you know what a metaphor is? There are lots of metaphors in the Bible. A metaphor is when you say that
something is like something else. If we say that Jesus is a shepherd, or that he is the Door to the sheepfold,
those are metaphors. When Jesus called King Herod a fox, and the Pharisees vipers, he was using metaphors.
In this verse, our bodies are being compared to a tent (tabernacle). A tent is not permanent, it can be taken
down. One day our earthly bodies will get tired and stop working, if Christ does not return first. But we don't
have to worry. Even if this "tent" is taken down, we have an eternal HOUSE in heaven. One day God will give
us new bodies, bodies that will be eternal and will never be "taken down."
Day 6) A Contentious Woman and a Leaky Roof
Proverbs 27:15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. 16 Whosoever
hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.(KJV)
Here is an easier to understand translation:
Proverbs 27:15 A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping
of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind
or grasping oil with the hand. (NIV)
Yesterday we talked about metaphores. A simile is a special type of metaphor. In a simile, we say that
something is like something else.
How is a quarrelsome woman (or man) like the dripping of a leaky roof?
Day 7) Enter into thy Closet
Matthew 6:6 (KJV)
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father
which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
When we read the Bible, especially the King James Version, we have to remember that we are reading a very
old form of English (Early Modern English). The KJV was written in 1611, and English has changed a LOT
since that time. When we read the KJV, we need to be sure we understand what the words mean or we might
not understand what God is telling us.
The word "closet" here means a private area or room, NOT a place where you store your clothes! Jesus is
telling us to go into a private room to play; not to pray in public just in order to be seen. Of course, we often
are to pray in church and with our family, but we are never to pray just to "look good" to other people.
E. English Practice
E.1. Pronouns take the place of nouns. Some pronouns you may know are I, me, you, he, him, she, her, and
it. Substitute a pronoun for the noun or nouns in bold print.
1) Jenny washed the lamp chimneys.
2) Mark groomed the horses.
3) Mother gave Lucinda the book.
4) Did Father give the blacking-brush to John?
5) No, he gave it to Matilda.
6) The seamstress sewed clothes for Luke and Mildred.
7) She brought the dress to Mother.
E2) Possessive Pronouns: Circle the correct spelling.
1) That lamp is (mine, mines).
2) The carriage with red wheels is (our's ours.)
3) That crochet hook is (hers her's).
4) Is that (his his') fishing pole?
5) The horse rubbed off (its it's) bridle.
6) That is (my mine) hat.
E3) Possessive Nouns. Make the noun possessive.
1) Johnny_____ shoes need polishing. (Johnny's)
2) Mother ____________ dress is finished.
3) I brought brother ___________ horse into the stable.
4) Lucy brought father_______________ slippers to the parlor.
5) The maid _________________ apron was blue gingham.
6) The horses________________ harnesses had brass hardware.
E4) Homophones. Homophones are words that sound alike but are spelled differently and have different
meanings. Circle the correct spelling.
1) The horse's (bridle bridal) was black leather.
2) Mary's (bridle bridal) gown was cream satin.
3) Catherine swept the (stairs stares).
4) The people's (stairs stares) embarrassed the students.
5) A pony is a small (hoarse horse).
6) When he was sick, father was too (hoarse horse) to talk.
7) Yesterday we rode (to too two) the store.
8) I wanted to go, (to too two) !
9) The (to too two) of us rode on Old Nell.
10) Is that (there their they're) gig?
11) We are going (there they're their) after church.
12) (There They're Their) building a new cabin.
E5) Contractions. Write the contraction.
1) we are (we're)
2) you are
3) he is
4) they will
5) it is
6) will not
7) can not
10) she has
F1. Science: Hands-On Experiment: The Light Shines in the Darkness
A. Until the past century, the night seemed MUCH darker than it is now. There were few lights, and people were
much more accustomed to the dark.
An adult or older teenager can light a candle and turn off the lights. How much light does a candle put out?
Not a lot! There is actually a unit of measurement for light- it’s called a “foot candle.” If you stand 1 foot
away from the candle, you are experiencing 1 foot-candle of light.
How much work do you think you could do by candlelight?
Do you think your house would look as dirty as it does by bright light?
How differently do you think you would look?
How different would colors appear?
If you have a fireplace or kerosene lamp, you can also compare the light of the fireplace or lamp.
B. You can also easily make an early lamp, sometimes called a button lamp. Take a large button, cut a large
square of 100% cotton fabric so that the fabric will cover and stick up from the button. Put the button on the
square of fabric, (flat side of button down), then pull up the fabric equally on all sides. Secure the fabric with a
bit of thread wrapped around close to the button. Set the button and fabric in a saucer (an old, thick one) that
has lard in it. Rub some of the lard on the fabric all the way up, twisting the fabric as best you can into a thick
"wick." Light the top of the fabric.
If you are able to experiment with different types of lighting, one thing you’ll notice is that people look different
in dimmer light. Dim light can be very gracious to those of us with a few wrinkles. When the first gas lights
appeared, many people were concerned about their brilliance and were also shocked at how they actually
F2. SCIENCE AND RESEARCH
Why is a fireplace often not an efficient way to heat a home? What happens to a lot of the heat?
Why was a stove more efficient?
What is radiant heat?
What is insulation?
What is it used for in your home?
What is modern insulation made of?
F3. Fire Safety: Which Materials Burn Easiest?
Discuss fire safety in your home. Discuss how to exit your home in case of fire and where you would need to
meet outside. For older teens, discuss using a fire extinguisher.
B. The danger of catching on fire. When we were in an antique store, we saw a child’s synthetic coat catch fire
from just touching hot metal. Plastics and synthetic materials create a real hazard when children are working
around campfires and open hearths. In the past, many women wore wool aprons, which helped to prevent
their clothing catching fire.
With an adult’s help, test some different materials to see how they burn and how quickly they catch fire. You
will need: A candle, a pot or bowl of water in which to extinguish the lit yarn, some long tongs (like barbecue
tongs) if possible.
Test some synthetic yarn, wool yarn, cotton yarn, paper, and other items that you can find. Be careful
burning plastics, as some of these can give off dangerous gases.
Record your results.
See how many seconds it took for the material to catch fire.
Did the material catch on fire, or did it melt?
F4) Running in the house. Today most mothers tell their children not to run in the house because they
might get hurt. In the past there was even more danger: overturning a candle or lamp. What might happen if a
running child ran into and overturned a lamp or candle?
G1- Addition with carrying, addition of columns of figures
1) Mr. Drags cut 73 logs on Monday. He cut 59 logs the next day. How many logs did he cut in all?
2) Mrs. Pritchett ordered some glass windows from New Orleans. The windows traveled 173 miles up the
Mississippi, then were carried overland 29 miles to her home. How many miles did the windows have to be
3) Caroline's horses pulled the wagon 18 miles on Monday, 23 miles on Tuesday, and 14 miles on
Wednesday. How many miles did they travel in all?
4) Jimmy's father hewed 16 logs one day, 18 logs the next, 15 logs the next, and 10 logs the next day. How
many logs did he hew in all?
G2) Subtraction and Subtraction with borrowing.
1) Jimmy cut 12 logs to use in building a barn. He used 6 of the logs already. How many logs does he have
2) Jimmy has _________ logs left. He needs 19 logs to finish his barn. How many more logs does he need to
3) Mr. Braezel hauled lumber for the new house 15 miles on Monday. On Tuesday he hauled lumber 10 miles.
How many more miles did he haul lumber on Monday?
4) Catherine's house has 430 shingles. A storm blew 29 off. How many shingles are left?
1) Mr. Davis has a fence that is three rails high. (Each section of fence has 3 rails). How many rails will he
need if his fence must be 24 sections long?
2) Joe has 3 pens in his barnyard. Each pen contains 8 sheep. How many sheep does he have in all? (Small
children might want to draw this or make pens with toy animals.)
3) The Smith family has 4 windows in their house. Each window has 4 panes of glass in it. How many panes of
glass are there in all?
4) Millie works for the Sims family. Every morning she has to wash the dishes. Each member of the family uses
3 dishes for breakfast. The Sims family has nine people in it, not including Millie. How many dishes does Millie
have to wash?
If Millie also uses 3 dishes for breakfast, how many dishes does she have to wash in all?
1) Mr. Hughes bought 27 pieces of wood for fence rails. If each section of fence has 3 rails, how many sections
can Mr. Hughes build?
2) Jonathan can carry 1 ton (2000 lbs.) with his wagon. He has 4 tons of lumber to move. How many loads will
he have to make?
3) The Atterns are deciding whether to build a house or rent. The building materials for the Atterns' house
would cost $213.00. If the Atterns live in this house for 5 years, how much is it costing them to live in the
house per year? (not counting repairs)
G4) Time & Logic
1) Henry and Susan worked 4 consecutive (not skipping a day) days last week. They don't work on Friday or
on Sunday. Which days of the week could they have worked?
2) John and James are working for Mr. Hughes. It takes them 30 minutes to put up one section of the fence. If
John and James have to put up 10 sections of fence, how long will that take?
3) Mr. Atterns started building his house in January. It took him 3 months to build the house, barn and
outbuildings. In which month did he finish his work?
G5) Measurement & Geometry
1) Mr. Atterns ordered some wainscotting that is 36" tall. 36" is the same as 1 __________________.
2) _____________ inches are in a foot. Three ____________ are in a yard.
3) Measure a windowsill or door at your home. How wide is it?
4) Measure your kitchen or bathroom counter. How far off the floor is it?
5) Measure out a square 24’ by 18’, the size of the log cabin pen mentioned in the advanced reading. How
many square feet would a room of this size be? (L X W)
How many square feet of space is in your home? Ask your parents.
How much MORE room do you have in your home than was in the log cabin?
6) If you are buying carpet or flooring for your home, you will need to know the square footage of the room or
rooms. Measure one room of your home and calculate the square footage.
7) Using the measurements of the log cabin (24’ X 18’), what is the perimeter inside the room? L + L + W +
W (or 2L + 2W)
If you were buying wooden molding to go around the ceiling or floor, you might need to know the perimeter of a
room. Calculate the perimeter for a room that is 12' X 10'.
3) James has built a round pen to train his horses. He needs the radius to be 40'. How large does the
circumference need to be? (R= ПRsquared)
G7) CREATIVE WRITING/NARRATING
A) Imagine that you are a young governess living in a wealthy home. You have had a very good education,
but your father has died and you must now you must make your own living. Every day you see the girls of the
family dressing in fine clothes and planning parties. The oldest daughter is getting married. How would you
feel? How could you respond to this as a Christian?
B) You have just arrived at your home in the wilderness and are planning to build a log cabin. Write a
paragraph describing the steps you took to build your log cabin, and the tools that you used.
C) If there is an historical home in your town or community, write a paragraph about it. Include a description,
when it was built and, if possible, the name of the family who lived there.
D) Imagine that you are living in an historical home. Describe a cold winter evening in the North, or a hot July
afternoon in the South.
H) ART PROJECT
Architecture Assignment. There are many different styles of architecture. Here are some common 19th
century styles. Try to find photos of each of them and compare them. You might also want to create a lapbok
or notebook page showing the different styles, or styles used in your area.
Some Early 19th Century Styles
Dog-Trot is a house with an open central hall. Sometimes these were called "dog-run" houses.
Carolina I or Four-on-Four
Log Cabin (1 pen or more)
Sod House or Dugout
Some Later 19th Century Styles
|LESSON IV. HOME SWEET HOME: ARCHITECTURE, HOUSES
AND HOUSEHOLD TECHNOLOGY
A c. 1890s-1900s group in front of a dog-trot house. You can see the family horse through the
open "dog-trot" hall. Houses like this were very common middle-class homes in the 19th century
|A Queen Anne-style House popular in
the late 19th Century
A. Planning F. Science
B. Vocabulary G. Math
C. Reading H.Art/Architecture
Left: a 19th Century whale-oil
lamp (apparently later converted
Right: A common kerosene lamp
from the 20th Century.
|Click HERE for advanced readings.
|Some Woodworking Tools
In addition to a regular ax, a pioneer in the
wildnerness might have used these tools.
A froe, a type of wedge used to split
wood into shingles or shakes.
A broadax head. Broadaxes were
used to hew (flatten) timber rather than
to cut down trees. An adze (footadze)
was another tool used to hew timber.
This image is from Wikipedia.
There were different kinds of saws for different
purposes, some for cutting down trees and some
for sawing the trees planks. Like today there were
saws for one person and saws for two-people to
use. This is a modern two-man saw similar to the
saws used long ago.
For cutting wood into planks, sometimes the
workers would dig a pit and put the log over the pit.
One man would stand in the pit and pull the saw
down, while the man on top of the ground pulled it
The courthouse in Claiborne Parish,
Louisiana is an example of Greek
Revival Architecture. Notice the large
The Autrey dog-trot
house in Louisiana is
made of hewn (flattened)
logs. Some log cabins
were made of round logs.
Some dog-trot houses
were made of planks
rather than logs.