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5 Ways to Have a Homeschool Thanksgiving Celebration

by David Engle | Nov 22, 2023 | 4 min read

Thanksgiving is here, and that means plenty of food, lots of family time, and the opportunity to reflect on what we’re truly thankful for. You and your kids may be excited to finish the school week and start the holiday, but here are some activities to do in the last few days of school before Thanksgiving. Or bring these activities to your homeschool Thanksgiving celebration! Here are five ways to celebrate:

1. Write and recite Thanksgiving poems or letters of gratitude.

A great exercise for students of all ages is asking them to write an original poem or a letter expressing what Thanksgiving means to them, what they’re thankful for, and why. It’s a great way to practice writing, spelling, and grammar!

This is a good time to teach about different types of poems. Some examples include haikus, limericks, odes, free verse, letter writing, and more. When they are finished, ask your student(s) to read their poem or letter aloud to you or the entire family during Thanksgiving dinner.

2. Read Thanksgiving-themed books aloud.

If you have younger students, they’ll love hearing Thanksgiving stories–fact or fiction–during school time. Some great titles include:

  • I Am Thankful
  • ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving
  • How to Catch a Turkey
  • Llama Llama Gives Thanks
  • Turkey Trouble
  • Balloons Over Broadway
  • Gobble Wobble
  • Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story

These colorfully illustrated stories are a wonderful way to take a break from classwork while entertaining and informing your student. You could even create quizzes or activities based on the books, or have your student read the story to you as part of a reading lesson. You can find all these titles here.

3. Make (and eat) some Thanksgiving treats.

One of the best parts about Thanksgiving is the dinner table with delicious food. Why not get your baking or cooking done and involve your student? The kitchen provides so many learning opportunities for kids–not to mention fun and a tasty treat at the end!

Start by finding an easy recipe for a Thanksgiving favorite, like this one for pumpkin pieLet your student read over the recipe and gather the ingredients in the kitchen as you prepare the rest. Once the ingredients have been collected, have your student measure everything. Learning how to measure ingredients and understand the fractions involved are important skills to master–for school and in life. Help your child follow the rest of the instructions, then explain the baking process as a lesson in kitchen science. Your student will find it all fun, informative, and–soon enough–delicious!

4. Take a virtual field trip back to Plymouth.

There are plenty of stories about the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Some are true, some fiction. You and your student can travel back in time and see for yourself. No, not in a time machine, but through a virtual field trip!

If you have an Elephango subscription, check out this lesson on the Plymouth settlement and learn all about the colony back in the 1600s. If you can’t use Elephango, there are many online resources that can teach you about colonization times. Here is a video from National Geographic, one from the History Channel, and one from PBS.

You and your student may be surprised by what you learn–including the actual main course at the first Thanksgiving. Hint: It wasn’t turkey!

5. Enjoy some Thanksgiving activities!

Crafts, games, coloring pages, puzzles, treats… you name it, you’ll find it here! There are 50 enjoyable activities for children of any age that you can plan and do before or during your homeschool Thanksgiving celebration.

Whatever activity you decide to do, you can work a little bit of learning into the activity, whether it’s some problem-solving skills, a writing, reading and spelling exercise, or arts and crafts. Last year, we shared awesome Thanksgiving STEM activities for science, technology, engineering, and math. Check them out here!

No matter what type of activity you and your student try, you’re sure to have fun–and you’ll have something festive to show for it at the end! Thanksgiving is a favorite time of year for millions of families across the country. Your student can learn about Thanksgiving‘s true meaning and explore other holiday topics, along with fun facts.

Take these last few days before and during the holiday to enjoy your own homeschool Thanksgiving celebration. We hope you have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving Day with your loved ones!

David Engle
Hello, and thanks for reading! I’m David Engle--dad, husband, sports fan, and writer/editor. As a father for the last 18 years (father of two for the last 14), I consider myself to be pretty well-versed in all things related to education, childhood, and parenting, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to share some insights and knowledge with fellow parents. I have been a professional writer and editor for a quarter of a century (it pains me to admit that) and have been writing in the educational space for a number of those years. I reside in southern New Jersey with my wife, two kids, two dogs, and three cats. Never a dull moment.
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