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Thanksgiving History Curriculum for Homeschool, and The Homeschool Club

Updated on November 15, 2012

I'm a Thanksgiving History Reenactor, and a Member of The Homeschool Club

I am a veteran homeschool mom and foster parent with a continuing heart for greater community education. I am a confessed history nut, but this is actually a more recent development. I loathed history as a K-12 student, and unfortunately that continued as I became a young homeschooling parent. I have since come to understand that my distaste for history studies was a natural reaction to the dry, whitewashed, "good ol' boy" remembrances I was routinely fed in school. It's sad to me to realize how my generation was robbed in this regard, but at least now I know that real, uncensored history is fascinating. I like to compare it to our society's more recent discovery of Reality TV as interesting; it's interesting because it's not censored! Well, Reality History has been the same sort of discovery for me.

My new-found enthusiasm for Reality History has opened up many doors, including doors in history reenacting and teaching. I am now the author of several K-8 history-related titles, and I teach Thanksgiving living history as a community-wide, potentially year-round American hobby.

In this lens I will simply share some of my family's Thanksgiving living history hobby activities and adventures, and perhaps inspire your family to join us in what we believe is a positive cultural movement for upbeat holiday change.

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Our Very First Historical Thanksgiving Activity, 2007

thanksgiving history curriculum for homeschool
thanksgiving history curriculum for homeschool

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New England grapes are mentioned in Mourt's Relation (a journal record of the Pilgrims' first year in Plimoth), and in early explorer journals, and are described as being good for making "verjuice" (a type of sour juice that was used much like lemons are used today - there's a recipe in The American Patriot's Treasury of Historical Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas). I decided grape stomping would be fun, so we took a family vote on which set of feet we could most tolerate in our juice (tee hee), and then we gave 'er a go! Here is my darling middle child - the nominee - putting on quite the show as we forgot to warm the grapes to room temperature before stomping. Ouch! (We laughed our heads off!)

...We Have Since Graduated to Proper Stomping!

Thanksgiving history curriculum for homeschool
Thanksgiving history curriculum for homeschool

A Fall Favorite Becomes a Tradition

thanksgiving history curriculum for homeschool
thanksgiving history curriculum for homeschool

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Fall is now traditionally celebrated at our house with the cooking of wild plum, squash and venison stew in a dutch oven in our back yard. The plums give this stew a natural sweet and sour flavor without added sugar. Plum, squash and venison stew is a historically feasible dish for 1621 Plimoth reenactments.

Our Family at a Community Mawe Event, 2008

thanksgiving history curriculum for homeschool
thanksgiving history curriculum for homeschool

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Mawe is an Elizabethan era card game, and IF any decks of cards came across on the Mayflower (it is very much within the realm of possibility), the New England immigrants would have definitely spent winter hours playing Mawe. Mawe is reported to have been King James' favorite card game. The neatest thing about playing Mawe today is that you can purchase period reproduction cards which add a flair of fun and interest. We also like to add period language in the form of insults and threats, which easily turns into hilarious dialogue!

Rough instructions for play are found in, The American Patriot's Treasury of Historical Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas. We also have a few mini-recordings of period language at 3SunThanksgiving.com.

Invisible Ink Riddles, 2010

thanksgiving history curriculum for homeschool
thanksgiving history curriculum for homeschool

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Here we used one of two period authentic "invisible ink" recipes and quill pens to write riddles on faux velum (recipes and instructions are in The American Patriot's Treasury of Historical Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas). With this particular kind of ink the letters become visible when passed over fire. Everyone got a kick out of this activity, and next year everyone wants to learn how to cut and use a quill pen so they can write their own riddles. We also want to try the other ink recipe, which requires the paper be soaked in water to make the writing visible. The ink recipes are both from a document compiled in the service of queen Elizabeth I.

You can also see in this picture the bowl of clay pipes (our kids are older so pipe smoking is fun for us), and the stove top clay "oven" used to make strawberry corn cakes.

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Our Thanksgiving History Curriculum & Resources

Thanksgiving history curriculum for homeschool
Thanksgiving history curriculum for homeschool

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All titles are available in print through Amazon, or in budget-saving digital format through TeachersPayTeachers.com

Homeschool never ends:

No family grows too old to laugh and learn together!

Thanksgiving history curriculum for homeschool
Thanksgiving history curriculum for homeschool

3 Sun Thanksgiving: A Postive Holiday Change

Our family has launched 3 Sun Thanksgiving, a national year-round Thanksgiving holiday hobby movement that seeks to restore the true spirit of 1621 Plimoth. Through group and community living history activities, 3 Sun is making it enjoyable - even fashionable - for patriotic Americans to celebrate our unique melting-pot heritage with honesty and compassion.

The hobby movement website, 3SunThanksgiving.com, coaches members through the start up of this new year-round holiday hobby. 3 Sun provides members with a free how-to e-magazine, plus members get free teleconference coaching throughout the year. Members also get access to free period source document downloads, and beautiful complimentary graphics that can be used for personal or commercial purposes (great for group fundraisers).

Best of all, while members are busy having a blast in the past, 30% of their membership dues are going to culturally relevant initiatives that reflect the original spirit and meaning of the 1621 thanks-giving event. It was a celebration of hard-won mutuality, not just a food fest.

We hope homeschoolers from across the nation will join with us in this wonderful outreach and hobby, and help bring the Thanksgiving holiday into all it's greater potential.

New for 2012: Join 3 Sun Thanksgiving on facebook, and help create awareness of the cause and our real history!

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P.S. What is The Homeschool Club?

THE HOMESCHOOL CLUB is real parents and kids sharing their best resources for great homeschooling. Each day we celebrate learning by opening doors to a world of creativity, knowledge and discovery. In the car, at the kitchen sink, and down by the frog pond - the whole world is our classroom and we explore it with creative projects, games, and activities. This club is a place to share, organize, and discuss how and what we learn in the world. Make a free page to tell your own homeschooling story and share your favorite resources. We can't wait to hear from you!

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Your Comments are Welcome! - If you agree Thanksgiving has room for positive change, please social us. Thanks bunches!

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    • DianaHarper LM profile image

      DianaHarper LM 6 years ago

      I am looking forward to checking out your lens on planning history-based group activities. Blessings!

    • ngio64 profile image

      ngio64 6 years ago

      Very interesting. Blessed by a Squid Angel.