6 Simple Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving in Your Homeschool
Post contributed by Time4Learning.com
Welcome, Thanksgiving! The Thanksgiving holiday is the time we celebrate the harvest and gather with loved ones to give thanks for all the wonderful things we have in life. Homeschooling is one of those things we are thankful for! And, one of the beauties of homeschooling is being able to add holiday-inspired lessons to your program. Thanksgiving is a cornucopia of history, geography, botany, art appreciation, and so much more. So, welcome Thanksgiving into your homeschool with these fun, educational activities.
Start with a heart of gratitude. Fostering thankfulness in your children is a great foundation for celebrating the spirit of Thanksgiving in your homeschool.
Here are some simple ways to encourage thankfulness:
- Read books about gratitude together and take turns sharing your blessings.
- Complete I am thankful for…writing prompts.
- Ask your kids to write just because thank you notes. Kids can write thank you notes to special people in their lives such as coaches, co-op and music teachers, librarians, helpful older siblings, and grandparents.
- Do acts of kindness. A great way to express thanks for your many blessings is to give back to your community. Consider volunteering together as a family at a holiday soup kitchen, make and give food to shut ins and lonely neighbors, and buy and donate canned goods to a local food pantry.
- Make A Just So Thankful Jar: Grab some popsicle sticks and a marker and have your child write down some of the things they are thankful for this year. Throw them in a jar and read them aloud on Thanksgiving!
Plan a Thanksgiving Unit Study
Thanksgiving unit studies are a great way to study core subjects while learning all about the Pilgrims, Wampanoags, the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and the history of the Thanksgiving celebration. And, thankfully, there are a variety of pre-planned unit studies available. Gather inspiration from fellow homeschool moms, Jamie and Jill:
- Thanksgiving Unit Study Intentionally Uncluttered by Jamie from the Unlikely Homeschool
- List of Free Thanksgiving-themed unit studies by Jill from Blessed Beyond a Doubt
You can also easily create your own unique Thanksgiving unit study for your family. Here are some great resources to help get you started:
Enjoy a Thanksgiving Read-a-thon
Reading aloud is a great way for your kids to learn while spending quality time together. So, cozy up on the couch with your kids and have a Thanksgiving read-a-thon. Scholastic, Inc. has this handy grade-level specific list of books about Thanksgiving.
Or, let your veteran readers read independently in their favorite reading spot, while you read to your young ones
Dabble in Thanksgiving-themed Art Appreciation
Studying art is a great way to learn about history and culture. And, dabbling in a little art appreciation sparks imagination and creativity and also helps strengthen observation, verbal communication, and critical thinking skills.
Enjoy a Feast of Learning Opportunities
The Thanksgiving feast itself is the perfect setting for hands-on learning and celebration. When you invite your children to join in the planning and preparation, you lessen your workload while giving your kiddos oodles of learning opportunities.
Your children can learn both educational and practical living skills:
- Meal planning and preparation a.k.a. Home Economics 101
- Art: make homemade decorations, placemats, and place cards
- Mathematics: measuring ingredients (bonus points if your young chefs need to double or divide measurements in half)
- Real-world skills: time management, budgeting, teamwork, creativity, and thinking skills
Games are the perfect learning tool! When learning is fun, kids are actively engaged and will absorb and retain so much more than if they simply read about a topic. For example:
- Create and Play a Turkey Day Trivia Challenge
- Put your kiddos into research mode and have them make up questions and answers about the first Thanksgiving. Then, when everyone is gathered around the table for the Thanksgiving feast, spark conversation by encouraging your kids to challenge guests with their newfound Thanksgiving knowhow. Maybe hand out some candy corn as a reward for correct answers!
- I Am Thankful For Alphabet Game
- A good conversation starter while eating the delicious turkey dinner. All you have to do is have each person share one thing they are thankful for, but it has to start with the next letter of the alphabet! The first person will start with the letter A, the next person will share something they are thankful for starting with B, so on and so forth.
Celebrating Thanksgiving in your homeschool can be such a delight! As you study the first Thanksgiving, you may discover that you are drawn to some of the ways of the Pilgrims and their neighbors, the Wampanoag people. So, create some new traditions and bring a little bit of history into your homeschool and family Thanksgiving celebration.