Thanksgiving School–Day Six

This is a short school week for us–only three days–but we still have some fun things planned. We’re taking a break from our regular Language Arts program (which we did use all of last week), but we’re still working on math review. We’re also still learning about the Pilgrims, Indians, and Thanksgiving traditions in America.

We started with the last of Kate Water’s books about life in colonial America: Tapenum’s Day. This is a fictional story of an Indian boy, who is trying to prove that he is a man. Turkey and Bunny were very interested in how an Indian boy might have spent his day (lots of hunting), and they were surprised (and kind of appalled) at how little supervision he had as he traveled around the area in which he lived.

We also read Native Homes, which is a really cool book about the different types of houses different Native American tribes used to live in. Of course there are the familiar teepees and wigwams, but also some less-known structures such as chickees. It was interesting to see the commonalities in many of the homes–for example, the shape of a wigwam is seen in other types of houses, even though different methods were used to construct them. Turkey and Bunny were also very curious about what would happen to the fire in most of the houses if it were to rain through the smoke vent (we did learn that at least some of the homes had special covers for the vent, but that meant that the house would fill with smoke).

No Native American craft for us, but I found directions for a traditional Native American “stick game” for us to play. I got the directions for making the playing pieces, plus the rules of the game from a really cool book called More Than Moccasins, which is part of an excellent series of craft/activity books called “A Kid’s Guide.” I used this book last year, too, and I got ideas for games (like the stick game, and another we played last year called hubbub), crafts (grocery sack Indian vests and Indian headbands), and food (last year we made Indian fry bread from scratch, and it was amazing!). There are tons of ideas in the book, and I’m sure we’ll keep using it until–well, I don’t even know. I can’t imagine a time we *wouldn’t* want to use it!

Thanksgiving School–Day Five

Since we learned about the life of a Pilgrim girl on Thursday, it seemed only fair that on Friday we learn about what it would have been like to be a Pilgrim boy in Samuel Eaton’s Day. This is, naturally, set up very much like the book we read about Sarah Morton, but Samuel’s day is quite different as he is a boy, and has different responsibilities. Like the other book, this was also photographed at Plimoth Plantation, and it also gives a great idea of what it was like to be part of a Pilgrim family.

In keeping with our “boy” theme, as well as continuing to learn about real people, on Friday we focused on Squanto, in Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving. This is a beautiful book, because of the way the author makes parallels between Squanto being sold as a slave, and the same thing happening to Joseph in the Bible. It is easy to see God’s hand in way the whole Thanksgiving story unfolded when reading this story.

We also read another book in the “If You…” series: If You Were at the First Thanksgiving. There is some overlap between this book and the Mayflower story, but there is enough detailed information to make it worth it. The question and answer format continues to be popular, and I look forward to using more of these books in future unit studies.

Our craft for the day was a Pilgrim boy to match the Pilgrim girl we made on Thursday. They can both ride in our paper plate Mayflowers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they also hunt the turkeys we’re going to be making next week!

This was also field trip day–we went to the St. Louis Art Museum to view their pre-Columbian and Native American art collections.

Thanksgiving School–Day Four

On Thursday, we learned about the lives of people (both real and fictional) who lived around the time of the first Thanksgiving. We started with another book by Kate Waters: Sarah Morton’s Day. These books are very popular with Turkey and Bunny, because they really show what it would have been like to be a child in Pilgrim days, and because the children featured in them were actual residents of Plimoth Plantation (although these accounts are likely fictionalized). They learn everything from how they ate (children standing up), to what they wore (lots of petticoats for the girls!), to what kind of chores they had (lots of them!). And the photos are all set at Plimoth Plantation, so they really get a feeling for what the homes looked like.

As long we were learning about a Pilgrim girl, we also decided to also learn about an Indian girl in The True Story of Pocahontas. This is a “Step Into Reading” book, which made it perfect for Turkey and Bunny to practice reading aloud. They really like learning about real people, so this was a good book for them, even if they were once again confronted with some of the injustices found in history.

CPH publishes a book that we read every year–Thanksgiving: A Harvest Celebration. I really like this one because it doesn’t shy away from mentioning God, and the fact that we should still be thankful to Him, not only on Thanksgiving, but every day.

Since we had focused on Pilgrim girls, our craft was a Pilgrim girl which will eventually go into our paper plate Mayflowers. I found a package of these crafts at Jo-Anns for around $1 on clearance, and I’ll be able to use them for a few years, including with Ladybug when she starts school, so I’m very please with my find!

Thanksgiving School–Day Three

Wednesday found our focus on the Mayflower. We started with On the Mayflower, a book I’ve been hoping to get for the last two years. I managed to grab a used copy on Amazon this summer at a great price, and it was great to finish the series by Kate Waters that we’ve been using since Kindergarten (more on the other books in following days!).

We also got to read a book that I remember reading over and over as a child–If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. I love the “If You…” series, because the books manage to answer all the questions children have about different events in history. We learned how clean (or not) the Pilgrims were, what they ate, what they were allowed to bring onboard, and many other things.

We read a second book in the “You Wouldn’t Want To…” series as well: You Wouldn’t Want to Sail on the Mayflower. Even with all they learned about life on the ship, Turkey and Bunny thought that maybe they would have done it, anyway. They never cease to surprise me!

Our craft for the day was making a paper plate Mayflower. It will be partnered with later crafts from the week–we’ll be adding a pilgrim boy and girl to the ship. I love paper plate crafts!