This week we gathered with our homeschool support group for a Thanksgiving celebration, and I was overwhelmed by the richness of the place to which the Lord has brought us in this season. As the kids delighted in relay races and fun crafts, I soaked in the joy of living life with an amazing group of friends. My cup truly overflows.
Thank you, Lord…
… for a country where we are free to gather together to worship openly in public.
… for the opportunity to homeschool, allowing us to disciple our children day in and day out.
… for friends who are more like family in many ways.
… for Your steadfast love that truly does endure forever.
This year we spent the whole month of November immersing ourselves in the history of the first Thanksgiving. It was somewhat familiar to Ian because we did touch on it last year, but this year I wanted him to be able to connect more with the story of the Pilgrims who were willing to sacrifice so much for the opportunity to follow their hearts in worshiping God. We got off to a strong start, but then our house got hit with sickness so things didn’t go exactly the way I had planned. I do think we accomplished my objective, however, so I’m not too upset.
We read lots of “living books” and watched several videos throughout the month. My plan was to spend each week focusing on a different part of the story, and although that got a bit disrupted by illness, for the most part it’s what we did. So here’s what we did week-by-week:
Week 1 – Setting out for the New World
Week 2 – The First Year/Squanto
Week 3 – Colonial Life
Two other books we enjoyed this year were This First Thanksgiving Day by Laura Krauss Melmed and Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness.
We also created a Thanksgiving notebook over the course of the month that included Ian’s copywork from the hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth,” some writing prompts, coloring pages, and a printed copy of Psalm 100 (which we read each day and worked on memorizing all month). And we culminated our Thanksgiving study by feasting at the park with some homeschool friends (complete with homemade costumes)!
For more Thanksgiving ideas check out my Cranberry Thanksgiving post and Thanksgiving Devotional from last year.
Like many other Five in a Row families, we spent last week (actually more like the last two) with Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin. Ian really enjoyed the story and requested it to be read to him over and over. For days he looked forward to making Grandmother’s cranberry bread, though he wasn’t too thrilled with the results. (I think the problem was that our cranberries were so big and tart, you got a huge bite of sourness without enough bread. He had opted for all cranberries instead of half raisins, so it was pretty intense. All the adults loved it, but next time I think we’ll use the raisins and maybe use sweetened dried cranberries or at least cut the fresh ones in half. )
We had a few of the discussions from the Five in a Row manual (Vol. 1), but mostly we just learned about cranberry bogs and the story of Thanksgiving. We found Cranberries by Inez Snyder at the library and read it a few times. Ian really enjoyed watching How It’s Made: Cranberries on YouTube. We also watched the Reading Rainbow episode “Summer.” As it described how the cranberries are harvested, it showed a picture of the air pockets inside the berries that cause them to float. To follow up on that, we read The Magic Schoolbus Ups and Downs: A Books About Floating and Sinking.
We spent quite a while talking about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving. Last year at this time I was only a couple weeks away from delivering Arianna, so we didn’t do a whole lot, though I had collected a number of books and printed/ laminated some activities. This year it was so nice to pull out my Thanksgiving file and have all sorts of things to do! We enjoyed playing with Thanksgiving dominoes and memory cards from www.dltk-cards.com. We also did some activities from the Thanksgiving Preschool Packs at 1+1+1=1 and Homeschool Creations and Pilgrim maze.
Combined with the Thanksgiving Devotional we did during Bible Time each evening (see this post for more on that), a basket full of books both from our family collection and the library, and a couple Thanksgiving movies (A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and William Bradford: The First Thanksgiving, both big hits that we watched over and over) I thought the boys got a pretty thorough Thanksgiving education!
To see what other FIAR books we’ve rowed, see my “Index of FIAR Posts.” Also, a great place to see what other people have done with FIAR books is the FIAR Blog Roll at Delightful Learning.