We’re focusing on American history this year in our homeschool.
I don’t waste my kids’ time forcing them to write gratitude journals or notebooking through thankfulness lists. If they desire to do those things, great. It kind of defeats the purpose when we make gratitude a chore.
We try to practice being thankful all the time. I copy Scripture each month with the handy calendars from Sweet Blessings. We read the Bible together every evening and my kids do morning devotions and Bible workbooks together every day as part of their homeschool work.
We live far from family, so we don’t really look forward to a huge meal and football with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. We’re quite alone during holidays and the rest of the year.
We used to spend Thanksgiving at church – a huge potluck dinner. We often have turkey and fixings during Rosh Hashanah. Several family members don’t really like turkey. (gasp!)
When Aaron was deployed, we ate just eat ham and played games together during the quiet long weekend.
We like to learn about the reasons Europeans colonized the Americas.
Most Americans celebrate our national day of Thanksgiving with turkey and football, but millions of people were and are being treated so poorly around the world. I want my kids to understand real history and not some whitewashed version written by people who consider themselves the winners. It’s sometimes hard not to get overwhelmed.
It wasn’t all a pleasant experience during that time of American history. We also learn about the tensions between colonists and natives with lots of books and documentaries. Native Americans are still around! Don’t let our public school educations fool us into thinking they’re just a stereotype from TV or all gone and assimilated into White culture.
November is also Native American month, so we learn about the tribes who inhabited the land and area we now call home. Here is a great list of books about and by Indigenous People.
We love the scene in Addams Family Values when Wednesday changes the script for their pageant.
We can change the script too – for our families. We can learn about and teach Truth about American history.
We can still celebrate gratitude, decorate with pumpkins, eat turkey and pie – and even watch football if that’s a thing that’s important. We can volunteer or give of our abundance.
We can make new traditions with our kids rather than highlighting Pilgrims and colonization. We can honor all ancestors and the land we live on with charity, love, and peace.
How we celebrate Thanksgiving
We snuggle up on the sofa and read together in the mornings and evenings. Hygge. With candles and kitties. We love our new basement gas firelogs.
We get through these cold, dreary days when it gets dark at 4 PM with warm tea and cider, baking delicious cinnamon-scented goodies – like pumpkin scones, trying new soup concoctions, diffusing essential oils, and wearing fuzzy slippers.
We try to get outside for walks unless it is very, very cold or icy.
We used to do fun crafts and activities when the kids were younger, but now that they’re older and no longer interested, we often just read and discuss and bake and watch movies together.
- FREE Thanksgiving Notebooking Pages
- Makahiki – Thanksgiving in Hawaii
- Favorite Thanksgiving Books
- Redhead Mom Thanksgiving and Pilgrims Unit
- Early Elementary Unit from Ed Snapshots
- Countdown to Thanksgiving by Amy Puetz
- The Homeschool Mom Thanksgiving Resources
- Amanda Bennett Unit Study
- Thanksgiving Lessons from Meet Penny
- Thanksgiving Activities from Joy-Filled Life
- Real Life at Home PreK and K Thanksgiving Unit
- The History of Thanksgiving for Little Ones from The Modest Mom
- Pilgrim Unit Study from In All You Do
- First Thanksgiving Unit Plans from Scholastic
- Harrington Harmonies Colonial Unit Study
- Blessed Beyond a Doubt Cultivating Thankful Hearts Unit Study
- Thanksgiving Build-a-Unit from Homeschooling in Detroit
- Oklahoma Homeschool Pilgrim/Thanksgiving Unit
- Hubbard’s Cupboard The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving
- Moms with a Blog The Night Before Thanksgiving
- Just Mommies Pilgrims Unit Study
- Thanksgiving Turkey Unit Study by The Homeschool Scientist
- Give Thanks! A Unit Study About Gratefulness from Crosswalk
- Fields of Daisies Old Fashioned Thanksgiving
- Draw Write Now Book 3: Native Americans, North America, Pilgrims
Books we Love:
I go to the library often and request all the books I can on our topics of study. Here is a list of our favorite Thanksgiving books!