Thursday, November 26, 2015

Homeschool Highlights: Thanksgiving Feast

This is the second year I have been in charge of the Thanksgiving feast for our homeschool group. When I was growing up, my elementary school had a Thanksgiving feast every year. Kids were encouraged to come dressed up as Pilgrims or Indians and enjoy turkey lunch. Drawing on those happy memories, I love organizing our homeschool feast.

I started out by marking out the size of the Mayflower on the ground so the kids could see how big the Mayflower wasn't--approximately 106 feet long by 25 feet wide. There were 102 people on board, and the trip lasted 66 days. We also figured out how big the Mayflower would have been comparatively for a group our size--scaled down to about 18 percent. That was an eye opener!

Next we drew up our own little Mayflower Compact. One of the kids was John Carver and everyone threw out ideas for good rules for a new colony. I explained that the initial Mayflower Compact pledged the pilgrims' loyalty to God and the king of England.
Then we started our stations. The first was a fishing station. At the first thanksgiving we assume they ate locally available seafood--eel, bass, or shellfish. So the kids all got to take turns catching some fish for our feast.
The second station was target practice. At the first Thanksgiving they went out and shot fowl--probably duck, goose, turkey, or other birds. When they weren't feasting they played games and did some target practice. So we set up some targets and Nerf guns and let everyone take a turn.

The third station was grinding corn. We set some big stones and some popcorn kernels out and let everyone try grinding some cornmeal.
Everyone also got to sample some authentic dishes from the first Thanksgiving--nausamp (savory cornmeal mush) and pompion pottage (stewed pumpkin). For the nausamp I boiled about 1-1/2 c. cornmeal in 4 c. water till it was thick then seasoned it with parsley, green onions, and salt. For the pumpkin I mashed pumpkin with a bit of butter, salt, cider vinegar, and ground ginger.
The final station before our meal was a turkey poster. Everyone could write things they are thankful for on a feather and stick it on the turkey.
For the meal all the moms signed up to bring different items. It was a good feast
Before we went home we made fun candy pilgrim hats. Just stick a peanut butter cup on top of a cookie with some frosting. Use a piece of gum or candy (we used butter mints) for the buckle. Yum!
I love teaching my kids (and their peers) about the value of gratitude and our heritage of shared thanks--such beautiful, important concepts!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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