I think that I, like so many other adults my age (and now children following in our footsteps) learned about Thanksgiving in a very superficial way. You know what I mean: pilgrims, Indians, turkey, the voyage to America - that's it. I could tell you dates and reasons to be thankful, but I don't think I ever quite understood the true motivation behind the first Thanksgiving.
True, our little ones (like my five year old son) think Thanksgiving is all about turkeys and a fancy dinner, but I'm really hoping that through our studies this year we are getting at the heart of what it means to be an AMERICAN, and the importance of Thanksgiving. In our home this year we also have much to be thankful for. We have family coming (who we don't see often) and it is my father's 80th birthday.
Since we have been homeschooling I've learned so much, and I'm thrilled to be learning alongside my children. Here are two of my favorite Thanksgiving resources (and one of them is FREE!):
- Stories of the Pilgrims: You can read this online at the Baldwin Project for free. It is a beautiful set of stores following the pilgrims from England to Holland (how come I never learned they stopped there first?!?), then on to America. Last night we learned about water barges in Holland. The pilgrims have escaped "scorn" in England and are spending some time in Holland. Each chapter is full of tiny gems about the pilgrims, and also gives us a glimpse into ourselves. The chapters are short and packed with interesting adventures, so a little one can sit through the reading, but an older child will still be interested as well. Both my five and nine year old LOVE it. After dinner each night they ask me to sit down and "see what the pilgrims are up to now". Thank you to Tristan at Our Busy Homeschool for blogging about this resource!
- The Thanksgiving Story: This book is part of Sonlight's Core 3. It is an accurate, interesting story of the first Thanksgiving. We read it last year and it will read it again this year the day before Thanksgiving.
In addition to these resources, I'm thankful we get to keep God at the head of this celebration. When we were in public school God wasn't mentioned during this holiday. I didn't understand at the time what a travesty that really was and how much my daughter was being deprived of a real education at this time of year. I'm thankful we homeschool.
1 Chronicles 29:13