Holiday Curriculum - Thanksgiving and Advent

wifeofadamwifeofadam member
edited September 2013 in Homeschooling
I set up our homeschool year so we take off the end of November and all of December up until Christmas.  We don't really take that time off - the kids still do their math and phonics work - but we take a break from our MFW curriculum and focus on the holidays for the rest of our work. 

I'm putting together my Thanksgiving and Advent units right now, because before I know it the time will be here and I don't want to be rushed. 

I was wondering if anyone has any great ideas or resources for Thanksgiving and Advent lessons.  Our Thanksgiving unit will last two weeks and we plan to spend a day covering the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, the Native Americans, the First Thanksgiving, Turkeys, and then other fun stuff, as well as doing a 20 days of thankful project.  Does anyone know of any good books or videos for kids on any of these topics?  Any fun projects?

As far as Advent goes, we have always done a Bible verse a day relating to the Christmas story.  Whatever the verse that day is about (angels, shepherds, manger, etc.) we usually do a fun craft or bake something, like Christ's birthday cake, for that day.  This year I picked a theme for each of the 24 days that starts with a different letter of the alphabet so we can do review for my middle two.  We are going to work on learning Christmas carols that relate to the letter or topic for the day.  I'm also teaching the kids one name for Jesus each day that begins with the letter of the day or relates to the Bible verse, and we will make an ornament to put on a mini tree in our foyer.  Finally, I have identified a kids' book that relates to each topic and we're going to wrap them up so the kids can unwrap one a day to read before bedtime.  Does anyone have any good advent-related videos (besides Veggie Tales - we have all of those)?  I found this one last night for our magi day, but I can't find anything else.

I figure if we all start planning now we will have plenty of time to purchase what we need and to get everything ready.  I look forward to hearing everyone else's traditions for these holidays relating to your homeschool :)

Re: Holiday Curriculum - Thanksgiving and Advent

  • I forgot to add, we also incorporate secular elements of Christmas into our homeschool.  We have an elf on the shelf, but he's an evangelizing elf.  lol

    Last year we told the kids that the elf was in our house to learn about what a Christian is and who Jesus is so he could go back each night to the North Pole and teach his other elf friends.  At the end of every day the kids would gather around wherever the elf was in the house and go around teaching him something they had learned about Christ that day during school.  Then, on Christmas Eve we send the elf back to the North Pole with our copy of the Christmas story that we had been adding verses to every day of Advent. 

    I know not everyone does secular Christmas stuff, especially among religious homeschoolers, but if anyone else has good ideas for making the secular stuff more focused on Christ, please share.  That is our goal with our kids - since we can't escape the secular stuff, we try to turn the focus on them toward Christ.
  • What wonderful ideas! I'm impressed that you even have that much planned.  I'll think on the topic and get back to you with anything I can came up with.

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  • I love the letter idea! I plan to homeschool DD, and have been meaning to do some more focused work with her(I keep putting it off, she has literally been sick for a month). I plan to go shopping for some supplies this weekend. I am going to try and think of some ideas for including religious aspects to secular things. I want to do some stuff like that with dd. she currently will tell you Santa and the Easter bunny brings present and eggs, occasionally along with Mickey Mouse. And apparently angels live in th trees. So in other words, I have some things to explain to her.
  • I have seen some GREAT ideas about Thanksgiving on Pinterest-- I think coincidentally on MFW boards, also under American history,etc. Are you on there? I'm CALawMama


  • tamarar5tamarar5 member
    edited October 2013
    I love your ideas for Advent and Thanksgiving! I have been reviewing Ceilidh's curriculum and she doesn't really have a "history" book this year.  We're getting married the week before Thanksgiving so I don't really have a lot of time to invest in a full unit, but what are some of the activities you are doing with your oldest for Thanksgiving? C is 1st grade. We've got a number of Zondervan published Thanksgiving books that we're going to read and review, but I'm terrible at the crafty stuff because I hate hate HATE letting her do art and make a mess! I know, I'm so terrible.  (Art is Grandma's thing.)
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  • National Geographic Kids has great information on Thanksgiving that I've used with second graders: I find it useful to compare/contrast the Pilgrim's Thanksgiving with how we celebrate the holiday today.
    For Advent, have you ever created a Jesse tree? You read about a different people and events in the Bible leading up to the birth of Jesus, and create an ornament to signify each person/event. This can be with a small traditional Christmas tree (I like using the Charlie Brown tree-it just reminds me of Linus reciting the birth of Christ) or several twigs put together. The ornaments can be pictures you print from a website and this kids color or constructed out different materials.
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  • Did you out this together all on your own? It sounds amazing, but makes me feel like a slacker lol. I don't know that I could pull it off. How do you do it?
    Honestly, I have a baby that won't sleep anywhere but on my lap, so I often spend naptime (when the older kids are all sleeping from 1-3) to sit on the couch and do stuff on the computer.  It took about a week of naptimes to come up with that.

    I actually feel like a slacker wasting naptimes that way when I should put the baby down and clean my house or something ;)

    I wrote about how I came up with it here.
  • Thanks for all of the ideas, ladies!

    Chichigo - Thanks so much!  I'll be using that for our Thanksgiving lessons!
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