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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Unit Study Intentionally Uncluttered

Thanksgiving Unit Study Intentionally Uncluttered-The Unlikely Homeschool


As is my habit with all major holidays, when Thanksgiving approached, I took a "pause" from our normal history curriculum to weave together a holiday unit-study.

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Typically, I am a "jazz hands" kind of unit-study planner. I like to incorporate songs, and games, and videos, and hands-on crafts, and books...lots of books..., and field trips, and, and, and...

But this year, as I gathered my resources and made my final preparations, my tone was more meditative...more reflective. While handprint turkey paintings and construction paper pilgrim hats are fine, I purposed to de-clutter our holiday. With my children seeing advertisements of the BIG BOX STORES opening their doors earlier than ever on Black Friday creating a Black Thursday, I wanted to refocus our family on what truly matters about this national holiday.   

I wanted to put THANKS back into Thanksgiving and spend two weeks directing our attention to THE ONE worthy of it.  

And so, I scrapped the cute acorn cookies.  I scrapped the paper bag Native American vests. I scrapped the homemade cornucopias. In truth, none of these ideas were all that bad.  They just weren't the BEST for my family...for THIS Thanksgiving.  


Thanksgiving Unit Study Intentionally Uncluttered-The Unlikely Homeschool

In my effort to provide meditative reflection for both the history and the true purpose behind our national day of thanks, my selections were SIMPLE.  

Simple activities and simple resources.  

Muted BUT intentional!

SIMPLE.

Theme verse

Together as a family, we voted on a theme verse to memorize for our two weeks of thanks.  It was a unanimous decision in favor of...
"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what He has done." I Chronicles 16:8

An attitude of gratitude

For the past two weeks, we have spent our dinner-time family devotions focused on nothing but worship and praise.  Each night, we have gone around the table giving words of Thanks for specific attributes OF and blessings FROM God. While it is nice for children to respond to a "What are you thankful for?" prompting with a curt, "My mom and dad" or "My toys", The Hubs and I wanted our kids to begin to grow a SPECIFIC and PURPOSEFUL list of gratitude.  Our evenings have been filled with thoughtful and thankful discussions of undeserved grace and goodness.

Thanksgiving Unit Study Intentionally Uncluttered-The Unlikely Homeschool

Thankfulness tree

We've made a tree of thanks in some form or another for many years.  This year ours was gifted to us by a group of treasured motherly mentors.  Each paper leaf bears TRUTH...a passage of Scripture intentionally chosen to provoke a heart of thanks.  

I plan to bring this thanks GIVING tree to our annual family feast and with the children's help will encourage each extended family member to pick a leaf, meditate on the gift of TRUTH it gives, and write a note of gratitude on the back. We will spend time sharing our thoughts of thanks before the meal is served. 




Living literature

The historical piece of our unit-study came from a handful of exceptional living literature books. While I ALSO checked out a few simple and whimsical Thanksgiving-themed books for our read-aloud time, the bulk of our reading came from historically-accurate ANCHOR books read during our bi-weekly history study.  (As a side note, I reserved so many Thanksgiving books from the library that when The Hubs lugged them all home for me, his exact words were, "This is a bit excessive!" No worries.  In true "book snob" form, I weeded through the junk and only kept those that deserved our attention.)

Here's a list of my favorite Thanksgiving-themed books in rough chronological order.

Most of these are classics.  A few are out of print.  

Here is a short list of my recommendations for Thanksgiving-themed chapter books for kids to enjoy on their own.

Family movie night

For the sake of my littlest ones, we enjoyed a family movie night featuring A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving which is surprisingly historically accurate.

In a world filled with discontented people clamoring to get a better deal on the NEXT BIG THING, I wanted to take two weeks and be intentional to GIVE. THANKS.  I wanted to simplify in order to clarify.  I wanted to be plain on purpose.  

My plans were simple.
My plans were purposeful.  

A Thanksgiving unit study intentionally un-cluttered.

6 comments:

  1. I have to thank you for all the info you share on your blog! I have much to learn from you!!

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  2. Thank you for sharing these ideas. It's not too late-I'm going to incorporate some of these into our Thanksgiving week.

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  3. I can ALWAYS find inspiration on your blog! Today's post is perfect timing. Often during this busy holiday season our eyes are focused on "things" and not Him. This is a gentle reminder to our kids AND us. Can't wait to see what ideas you have for Christmas?? Maybe a week long series on your favorite activites and resources...hint hint:)

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  4. This is great! Going to use this for Thanksgiving this year! Thank you.

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  5. Love this! Thank you for sharing this simple yet effective unit study!

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