Today we learned about Thanksgiving in the 1800s, particularly the Civil War/Pioneer era.
One of our favorite books to read every year at Thanksgiving (maybe even one of our favorite books to read, period!) is An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, written by none other than the author of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott. This is a sweet Thanksgiving story about a group of siblings determined to carry on with the holiday for their parents, after they were called away for a family emergency. There are funny moments as you might expect when children are attempting to prepare a large meal, but in the end, they all enjoy a festive dinner together.
We added a new book this year, as well…Sarah Gives Thanks. This story details how Thanksgiving became a national holiday, and focuses on Sarah Hale, who is famous for writing the poem “Mary had a Little Lamb,” as well as editing several popular magazines. This is a good book because in addition to providing the background of Thanksgiving as a national holiday, it also illustrates the struggle a widow had in the 1800s to support her family, at a time when there weren’t many options available to women.
We even learned about a Canadian Thanksgiving in A Pioneer Thanksgiving. The celebration in this story is very similar to American Thanksgivings at that time (and even today!)…if you hadn’t read A Pioneer Sampler, you might even miss the setting of this story, and just assume it takes place in the US. The family is gathered for a meal, everyone has a job to do to get ready, and there is a sense of urgency as they work to get everything prepared. Many of the foods are the same, and, of course, the feeling of thankfulness and family love are just as present in Canada in the 1800s as they are today!
We also did our first turkey craft of this Thanksgiving season. I finally broke down and ordered some craft kits from Oriental Trading…these cute turkey coasters, as well as a few things for Christmas. This was a fun project, and will come in handy when we set our Thanksgiving table…I love a craft that is both fun and useful!
We only have two more days of Thanksgiving School. Next week we’ll be learning about more modern Thanksgiving traditions, as well as reading some “just for fun” stories, and doing a few more fun activities.