Thanksgiving School 2012–Day Two

Today in school it was Mayflower Day! We started by reading the actual Mayflower Compact from the History of US Sourcebook. No craft this year, although I did consider making paper plate Mayflowers again. Instead of a craft, I had Turkey and Bunny write letters “home” from on board the ship, detailing their journey (unpleasant, according to both of them!), and wondering what their lives in the New World would be like. Ladybug drew a picture of what her Mayflower voyage was like, since letter writing is beyond her…she also agreed that the journey was no fun!

We read a few favorite Mayflower books, including one I remember from my own childhood, …If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. Turkey and Bunny giggle every year looking at the ship schematic in the book, because the “poop deck” is clearly labeled, and to be honest, I remember doing the exact same thing! They also enjoy the question about troublemakers on the ship, especially the “Boom! You wouldn’t be reading this book” part. Another humorous book we read was You Wouldn’t Want to Sail on the Mayflower. This whole series is very popular because of the lighthearted tone, and yet, the books always manage to impart a lot of knowledge. We also read On the Mayflower, a book in my favorite Pilgrim-era series (yesterday’s book about Tapenum is another book from that line).

Tomorrow we move on to pilgrims/colonists…another three books, plus a craft!

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!

Thanksgiving Unit

We began our Thanksgiving studies on Monday, although the bulk of our unit will be done next week, Monday-Wednesday.  We began with the book, If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620.  I love this book.  I remember reading it as a child (and I’m pretty sure I got it from one of my prized Scholastic book orders).  I had mostly forgotten about it, but when I stumbled across it again this fall, I knew we had to read it.  I have not been disappointed.  The Q&A format makes it very easy for Turkey and Bunny to follow, and it’s in keeping with their attention spans.

If You Were at the First Thanksgiving is another title in the same series of books.  Like the Mayflower book, it has proven very interesting to both Turkey and Bunny, is easy for them to understand, and is just an enjoyable book for all three of us.

This Friday, we also did the first of our Thanksgiving crafts–a thankfulness wreath.  It was very interesting to see the things Turkey and Bunny are thankful for–and not all of them were toys!

Next week, the real fun starts!  We’ll be reading five more books (it’s a good thing my children like reading so much!).  The first is Thanksgiving: A Harvest Celebration.  This is a nice, Christian telling of the first Thanksgiving, with an emphasis on God as our Provider, especially when He provided His Son to be our Savior.

We’ll also be reading two books that go hand-in-hand.  Sarah Morton’s Day and Samuel Eaton’s Day are books about real children that lived at Plymouth, and while I’m sure they must be fictionalized accounts, they are excellent stories that give a real feeling for what it was like to be a Pilgrim child.  The best part is the pictures–color photographs of the lives of Sarah and Samuel, from their clothing to their chores, and the town in which they lived.  I’m hoping these books really help history come alive for Turkey and Bunny, and help them imagine themselves residents of Plymouth around the time of the first Thanksgiving.

Another look at Thanksgiving of days gone by (but not so far gone), is Milly and the Macy’s Parade.  This is a story about the first Macy’s Parade in 1924.  It’s a work of fiction, but like the others, has it’s basis in fact. It’s a really touching story, and the illustrations are quite whimsical, and quite unusual for what you often find in children’s books.

And, just for fun, we’re also going to read The Night Before Thanksgiving.  A cute take-off on The NIght Before Christmas, it hits on current Thanksgiving traditions of cooking, baking, family gatherings, parades, turkey, and, of course, leftovers (but not one of *my* favorite traditions, the watching of Friends Thanksgiving episodes–not really child-appropriate, though, still, it’s something *I* look forward to every year!).  Surprisingly, there’s no mention of football, although the children in the story do go out and play dodge ball.  A game of football, and the family actually praying before dinner would have made it a much better book in my opinion, but it’s still cute, and let’s face it, I tend to overthink things a bit.

We also have a few craft activities planned for next week, including hand and foot turkeys, which I think will become an annual activity.  It will be a really cool way to see how the children have grown each year, if I can remember to do them every year.  I’m hoping to get even Moose and Ladybug in on that one (if I can get them to stand still long enough to trace their hands and feet!).

Turkey and Bunny are also going to make turkey hats, which they are already planning on wearing on Thanksgiving.  They’re also trying to convince me that Moose and Ladybug need those, too, but I have visions of Ladybug just eating hers, and besides, she gets to wear the famous “I’m a little turkey” shirt.  But maybe we’ll make a hat for Moose–he’s really into hats right now (although, it appears he may have made some kind of Indian headdress in school, so if he gets to bring it home, he can wear that!).

And, if we have time, we’re going to make Pilgrim hat cookies, which are way easier than they sound, and will be a great activity for little hands.  I’m going to have to substitute chocolate filled Oreos for the chocolate wafers, because I can’t find those anywhere around here, but I’m sure they’ll still be delicious.

Yep, the next week is going to be super busy, not to mention the shopping and cooking and cleaning and baking that need to get done.  I just love the holidays!