A Summer of Little House Living: Learning the Hows of Cleaning with Spar-Klean Science

For all other posts related to our Little House on the Prairie Summer see here

Meet our summer science curriculum!  Spar-Klean science is the sister of Incr-Edible science and will make up our entire science curriculum this summer.  I wrote Spar-Klean Science with the goal of teaching the children about the science of cleaning.

It always fascinates me how, without any planning or forethought on my behalf, things come together so well.  This happens to be one of those times.  I have had the Spar-Klean idea in my head for a while and it fits in so well with our summer learning (we will only be focusing on the simple, natural cleaning chemicals, many of which we looked at during our Incr-Edible learning sessions), using materials which were around during Laura’s time.  In addition, we have wanted to get into making our own frugal cleaners in line with the Angelicscalliwags challenge.  T11 is learning about herbs and essential oils at the moment which fits in so well with the ethos of the cleaning curriculum.  You see?  It all dovetails!

I will be including as much chemistry as possible, introducing the children to new words and concepts as well as revising the scientific method of experimentation.  However, it will all be done with a primary goal of figuring out some cleaning/laundry powders we can use in our own home.  Whilst I have found a good laundry recipe, thanks to Tonya, we’re going to see if we can improve upon it.  I want my children to design one especially for us!

My primary goal for them is to discover how cleaning agents work.  We will look at the chemicals needed, the thermal effect and the need for some sort of mechanical energy.  I will introduce the terms hydrophilic and hydrophobic, and will show both in action.  The children will research how cleaning and laundry were done in Laura’s day and with what.  This is all part of my ‘Home Economics for Scalliwags’ curriculum.  The children so enjoyed all the ‘Incr-Edible science lessons I thought I would extend it to cleaning!

Whilst I am hoping they will learn from this, it will not be a very serious learning time, just lots of mixing and experimenting.  The kind of learning my children like the best.


  1. I love this kind of real-world science. I know nothing about the science of either food or cleaning, but it’s so important – and fascinating! I’m looking forward to learning from you all this summer 🙂
    Oh and after I showed her your recent Little House posts, C(9) has announced she wants to make curtains for our playhouse – eek!

    1. Good luck with the curtains! It’s funny, I used to make my own clothes but I’ve really been back pedalling with teaching the girls to sew. I look at a pattern now and I may as well be trying to translate Chinese for all I understand of it. I’m even unsure which way up it goes!! Ah well, I shall (wo)manfully do my best!

  2. Well get T to bring his essential oils over here cos Grandad in Ireland keeps getting a stiff neck! It all sounds brilliant.

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