Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19
  1. #1
    Senior Member Arrived TFZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Blog Entries

    Default What kind of Thanksgiving? Resources?

    What type of Thanksgiving do you teach/celebrate? Do you talk about the history at all? Or just being thankful, generally?

    I've noticed a lot of people online asking for resources more geared toward the Murderous Europeans variety of Thanksgiving. Others asking for kid-friendly versions seem to be getting the beat down for perpetuating the Thanksgiving lie.

    We are going with the traditional version of Native Americans helping the Pilgrims in need and being thankful for the friends and family around us, turkey handprints, Pilgrim hats with buckles, Charlie Brown, etc.

    What are you doing? What are you using?
    I'm a work-at-home mom to three, homeschool enthusiast, and avid planner fueled by lattes and Florida sunshine. My oldest is 6 and is a fircond grader (that's somewhere between first and second, naturally), my preschooler just told me she wants to learn how to read, and my toddler is a force of nature.

    I gather all kinds of secular homeschool resources and share them at

  2. Thank You Leaderboard
  3. #2


    I don't teach Thanksgiving around Thanksgiving. I think it's okay to separate the supposed reason we started Thanksgiving from what it is today. We've discussed the problems with different European settlers before, as it has come up, and we will delve more into next year. I LOVE Thanksgiving, and I think it is a holiday we finally got right. I don't want to spoil that with, "Yeah, but the pilgrims were murderous idiots."

  4. #3


    I try to find a balance in both the history (accurate, yet gentle, highlight the positives, minimize the negatives) and thankfulness.

    I like to read stories about what the natives did to help the pilgrims. I like to remind my son that we too descend from immigrants, some fairly recent, others rather old. My grandparents on one side of the family immigrated here and I have their stories. On the other side my family immigrated here in the 1630s, shortly after the pilgrims.

    I use this holiday to emphasize helpfulness of others. Our state takes in lots of refugees (much to the chagrin of the state government) and I want to make sure that my son understand our own personal history interwoven with the national stories.

    We have watch BrainPop Jr. videos to discuss it. We also watched the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. I love the Charlie Brown series, but DS is not impressed.

    In the end though I think I focus on thankfulness because I don't think we talk about that enough.

    That all being said, here are my favorite sources:

    Charlie Brown Thanksgiving show
    Brain Pop Jr. Thanksgiving video
    For older kids there is Crash Course on Thanksgiving

    Squanto's Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving
    Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message
    The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
    Thanksgiving is by Gail Gibbons

    For something silly, I like the Mad Libs Thanksgiving.

    Here are some resources from Scholastic
    The First Thanksgiving: Virtual Field Trips, Videos, and Slideshow

  5. #4


    I just skipped it when ds was very little, but I got a lot of flak from family about it and it "otherized" us too much.

    We do hand turkeys because it's fun. He knows the happy pilgrims and friendly indians myth because it's all around us and just too much trouble to avoid, but so is the name of the xtian diety since people tend to yell it at the top of their lungs when they hit their fingers with hammers.

    We do old family recipes that are too much trouble for more than once or twice a year, talk about gratitude, those who are less fortunate than ourselves, and the harvest season in general.

    If we use it as a springboard for American History at all, I am more likely to read articles from Reminisce Magazine about how the holiday was celebrated in the 20th century and how important large extended family gatherings were back then than I am to talk about early colonization/the European invasion.

    Funny story for you, TFZ and lurkers with littles:

    My little is mixed race with some great-great-great grands who were slaves and other great-great-great grands who were slaveowners. I felt this horrible pit of the stomach fear when he brought up the Civil War out of the blue and I was totally unprepared to discuss it with such a young child despite all of the overthinking posts I've started here when he was preschool/kindy/1st gradeish.

    I tried to deflect him with some sort of comment about how it was very complicated and that I promised we'd talk more about it when he was older, but he wasn't buying it.

    It turned out that he was talking about this:

    Have a great holiday and have fun!

  6. #5
    Senior Member Evolved Deli76's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Blog Entries


    I dont know how to exactly describe it. We do talk about the Pilgrims, Native Americans, and the Mexicans. My Oma and Opa came with their kids (my mom and her sibs) in 1963-64. My dads side goes back to the Native Americans an Spaniard explorers. Lots of comparisons for both sides of the isle. We talk about the reasons for the pilgrims to come here. We talk about the reasons some native americans were accepting and others were hostile. I also remind them that the mexicans and the native americans were fighting with each other as well. It wasnt just the pilgrims. My father has told us stories that were passed down from his grandfather. The Native Americans would watch him from the tops of the mountains. He was always on guard, protecting his cattle and his family. He would say that during the lean times the Natives would eat, vomit, and save it for later. My Oma, after my Opa passed, told us they came to the states for opportunity. Back in Germany they had been living with her parents since they had been married. There werent enough jobs, housing or opportunities. So they came here. She told us about Hitler and the war. This was not talked about while my Opa was alive. He had a hard time during the war. So the United States was a place of opportunity, freedom and growth.
    I try to remind my kids that societies rise and fall. You have the conquered and the conquerors. I try to teach them to be greatful for the hard fought freedoms they have. To respect those freedoms as well as to fight to keep those freedoms. Be thankful for family and health.
    Bobo 13 yrs old - marches to the beat of her own drum, driven, out going and loud, yet she loves nature
    Booger Boy 21 yrs old - quiet, self assured, confident and laying his own path

    umbers cucumbers!!!!

  7. #6


    I'm with CrazyMe. Never taught the dynamics of Thanksgiving around Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, Easter, and Xmas all get the same secular/cultural/seasonal treatment around here. Food, Family....and in the case of Thanksgiving, Football!!!

    And little kids are too little....but that's an argument for another day.....

    Thanksgiving, for us, gets the focus of a harvest festival....and since it's a food holiday, that's great! We raise our turkey, grow some veggies of our own, and visit local farms to buy the rest of the supplies. No StoveTop and Mrs. Smith's pie allowed.

    However, take heart, I believe you can do this holiday without feeling that you are misleading your young child about the realities of Pilgrims/Early European settlers and Native American relations that came soon after that first feast.

    The history of the actual multiple day feast has it's origins in being thankful that you managed to be productive over the growing season with help from all of your community, and managed to put up enough to survive through the winter ahead. The fact that within 10 years of this "first Thanksgiving" things became really a discussion for another day. They weren't killing each other at the first one.

    And it wasn't even a real holiday until toward the end of the Civil War, thanks to Lincoln being lobbied by the nice ladies in Boston. Folks in Massachusetts, in the 1850's, had finally found that the Bradford book still existed (which holds the only written record of the 1621 feast) in England. It was reprinted around 1856. The North wanted a way to assert that the "Northern" history and cultures were the "American" way...tell that to Jamestown...and wanted to bring unity.....*shrug*...a shared day of giving thanks....Ta dah!!! Thanksgiving!

    Here's a decent article.... Thanksgiving in America but it may bring the red screen of death! LOL!! cut and paste
    Homeschooling two sons (14 and 16) from day one. Atheist.
    Eclectic, Slackschooler covering 8th and 10th grades this year.

  8. #7


    The other thing I forgot was that DS created placemats for the meals on wheels program. We actually do some pretty simple ones. We use stickers and he will pick out a poem which I photocopy and cut out. We make quite a few, but it involves more cutting and pasting than drawing on each placemat.

    I want to teach him to do things for others, but it is hard because he doesn't like to interact with people much. So I try to find ways that we can do out own thing from home.

    I also updated my list of resources for thanksgiving. Choosing Our Own Adventures: Thanksgiving (United States)

  9. #8
    Senior Member Arrived RTB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012


    I'm with Mariam, a balance.

    Last year DD (who was 2nd grade-ish) made a poster, and one of the sections she had on it was about the foods that would have been eaten for the first one and how it was prepared. That was interesting and fun to work on - having more to do with food history vs. political history.
    Last edited by RTB; 11-08-2016 at 09:23 AM. Reason: spelling
    DS 15, DD 13
    Year 9

  10. #9


    Thanksgiving for us is bizarre. We have 3 birthdays in November so thanksgiving is usually a huge birthday bash (2 of the 3 are usually within a week of thanksgiving). As far as what I'll teach Tech, well, I haven't actually decided yet. My family can trace our ancestry back in this country pretty freaking close to the first thanksgiving. (they've traced back as far as the early 1600's here). Plus we have a significant strand of native american in us. So, probably some bizarre mix of historical truth/myth/modern truth.

    IEF, we're such geeks here that if my son mentioned "Civil War" this year, I'd have assumed it was the Captain America one. :-) When we DO teach the American Civil War, it promises to be interesting as my husband is from NY and I'm from GA, and we've discovered over many discussions, that we've learned different sides of the story. And I've read even more into it to find out there is a 3rd, 4th, and 5th set of sides.

  11. #10


    What kind of Thanksgiving? Resources?
    Teaching of Thanksgiving. When the children were little we used the convenient history taught in the public schools. Heck that was what we were taught from little up.

    As the children got older we moved to Abe Lickey version, then the Thanksgiving Massacre. Always in search for how to really explain the event. Finally now that we are home schooling, I think we can teach the Wednesday Version.

    You do know the Wednesday Version? Take a look!
    Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet...Napoleon Bonaparte

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
About us was created to provide information, resources, and a place to share and connect with secular homeschoolers across the world. aims to be your one-stop shop for all things homeschool! We will be highlighting information about wonderful secular homeschool resources, and keeping you up to date with what is going on in the world of secular homeschooling. But that is only the beginning. SHS is your playground. A place to share the things that are important to you. A place to create and join groups that share your interests. A place to give and get advice. There are no limits to what you can do at Secular Homeschool, so join today and help build the community you have always wanted. is a community and information source where secular homeschoolers ARE the majority. It is the home for non-religious homeschoolers, eclectic homeschoolers, freethinking homeschoolers AND anyone interested in homeschooling irrespective of religion. This site is an INCLUSIVE community that recognizes that homeschoolers choose secular homeschool materials and resources for a variety of reasons and to accomplish a variety of personal and educational goals. Although, and its members, have worked hard to compile a comprehensive directory of secular curricula, it does not attest that all materials advertised on our site, in our newsletters, or on our social media profiles are 100% secular. Rather, respects the aptitude of each individual homeschool parent to fully research any curriculum before acquiring it, to ensure that it holistically meets the educational, personal, and philosophical goals of each homeschooler.

Join us
What kind of Thanksgiving? Resources?