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Thanksgiving History Curriculum for Homeschool, and The Homeschool Club
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.
Our Very First Historical Thanksgiving Activity, 2007
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!
A Fall Favorite Becomes a Tradition
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
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
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.
Our Thanksgiving History Curriculum & Resources
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!
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!
More Thanksgiving Resources Online - Thanksgiving-related history curriculum and freebies for homeschoolers
- 7 Quick-Tips for Thanksgiving Time Travel Under $50 (Family of 8)
Get the help you need to be up and time traveling fast for Thanksgiving - your free starter list is here!
- How to Make English Serviette Napkins
Step by step instructions for making and using English serviette napkins.
This was our first website. It doesn't have any outreaches associated with it, but it does offer some historical how-to's that never made it into the book, The American Patriot's Treasury of Historical Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas. . .
Visit the Homeschool Club on Facebook
- The Homeschool Club on Facebook
Learn how to make your own web pages about your favorite homeschooling stories and resources. We're all gathered in the Facebook group. . .
P.S. What is The Homeschool Club?