Thanksgiving Books, Resources

I went to the library to pick up some Thanksgiving books just as I found out that I had to quarantine due to my youngest son testing positive. I may not have wanted to say out loud in a quiet library, “Oh great! My son has COVID!”, but I did. Oh, well. So, right before I skedaddled out of there, I picked up a couple of Thanksgiving books. That is one blessing with COVID- I found some awesome books that are usually difficult to find.

P is for Pilgrim by Carol Cane- “Across the Atlantic Ocean, a lone ship on a vast sea. Ablaze with new hope, all praying to be free.” From the lives of our early settlers, who established the foundations for American freedoms and ideals, to today’s celebrations, P is for Pilgrim colorfully examines the history and lore of Thanksgiving.”

Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast by Kate Waters is one of my favorite Thanksgiving books. It was published in 2001 and continues to be a popular book. “Told by Dancing Moccasins, a 14-year-old Wampanoag boy, and Resolved White, a 6-year-old English boy, a fascinating historical book brings to life the harvest celebration between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people in 1621.”

More books by Kate Waters are:

On the Mayflower “Journeying towards the promise of the New World, young pilgrims William Small, the ship’s apprentice, and Ellen Moore, a passenger, form a bond that helps them weather their long, harrowing passage.”

Tapenum’s Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy In Pilgrim Times “Chosen to become a special warrior prince in 1627, Tapenum prepares himself for the great honor by hunting, fishing, and sharing a day with friends and family, in a story that is complemented by photographs of Plymouth Plantation.”

You can take this amazing virtual tour either through video or slideshow of Plymouth Plantation with Scholastic Books called The First Thanksgiving. They have guides for grades K-8 and additional resources.


As a new venture I began an Instagram in the fall (schoolmarmohio). Please consider following me. I have more pictures of some of the books I featured today.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving! ~Lisa~

Language Arts Ideas for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving lends itself to fantastic Language Arts projects. Poetry, copywork, essays and letters are all fun things to do that don’t seem much like the usual writing assignments. You can use these projects for handwriting and copywork. You can discuss capitalization, punctuation, parts of speech and can incorporate art too with decorating borders or placemats. How about doing one or all of these things as we approach Thanksgiving?

Poetry There are all sorts of poems you can write. Have you heard of a lune? I hadn’t either! There are two types that you can create. One is called Collum and the other is Kelly. If you have a writer who is just beginning then I would do the Collum lune with them.

Collum lune poems have the following structure:

  1. First line: three words
  2. Second line: five words
  3. Third line: three words

Kelly lune poems follow this structure:

  1. First line: three syllables
  2. Second line: five syllables
  3. Third line: three syllables

Here is my feeble attempt at a Collum lune:

Our Thanksgiving Feast

Turkey, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie

Family, blessings, laughter

Copywork Here is a scripture to copy. Here is a Thanksgiving border with lines for your daughter/son to use. CLICK HERE

Psalm 107:1

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Read books about Thanksgiving and write a summary. Scholastic has a list of books with descriptions. CLICK HERE

Write a list- For what are you thankful? create a running list that each person can contribute. It will be fun to read it on Thanksgiving.

Write a letter, send a card- If you can’t see your extended family this year, what about writing them a note or card? It will be a happy day for the recipient to get a card instead of a junk mail, don’t you think?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! ~Lisa~

Map Resources for Geography

Sometimes you just need a good map that you can touch, label, color. It’s hard to get a sense of a place if you just read about it. Just exactly where is Africa? Having a map can help kids make connections.

Years ago I picked up Map Trek by Terri Johnson and it was a purchase that that paid for itself many times over. It has maps that begin with the Ancient World and go through the conflict in Iraq. There are also individual state maps of the United States. The major cities are labeled and show the bordering states. This hardbound book has all colored maps and a CD-ROM is included in the complete collection for you to print off black and white copies of the maps. You may want the e-book instead to print off what maps you need.

Masterbooks curriculum is carrying the Map Trek line and you can get your own copy here: Map Trek. Amazon, Rainbow Resource, and Christian Books sells it too. Here are other features that are included with Map Trek:

  • Full-color teacher answer maps.
  • Blank outline maps for the student.
  • Instructions for how to use the maps
  • Lesson Plans
  • Glossary of terms

On another note: If you are curious about the picture, The basket in the background is from Ethiopia, courtesy of a dear family whose children I taught. The colorful stones of African animals are carved on a rock known as soapstone.

Have you heard of Map of the Month Club? These maps are excellent and I highly recommend them. My seventh grade World Geography and eighth grade World History students enjoyed working on them. They are well done and have geographical, political, and historical maps. They are extremely reasonable, only $1.00 each, but the S & H is $8.00. You purchase individual maps so you could order maps for the entire school year and save yourself some time and money. Ranging in skill level from elementary through senior high, these 16″X20″ maps can serve your entire family. They come in a sturdy flat box and can be stored safely in it until you need them. MAP OF THE MONTH CLUB I know the image isn’t that clear, but it is just to give you a general idea of the map.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Schoolwork: Keeping Kids on Track

“I have to feed the dog. “

“Oh, look! There is a squirrel in the yard!”

“This is too hard; I can’t do it!”

Have you heard any of these comments when you are teaching your son/ daughter? There are times when kids find every kind of excuse not to do their work. I have even had the kids volunteer to do chores they normally detest in hopes that I would forfeit their assignment.

“Haha! Nice try!” I would tell them.

So, how do you keep them on track without losing the battle or your mind?

Go over the day’s lessons and what you will be doing. We all do better if we know what will be happening.

Talk about your expectations. There are certain non-negotiable things you want from your child when doing schoolwork. This could be a good attitude, legible handwriting, etc.

Start with success. If your child is having difficulty finishing their work, it could be that they didn’t know how to do the lesson. Begin your lesson by reviewing something s/he knows. For example: If the short <e> is difficult, then review the vowels that are already know and teach to the level of success.

Do the lesson together. After you have taught the lesson, make sure you do enough of the problems that they can successfully complete the rest themselves.

Set a time to finish the assignment. Be sure that it is a reasonable time. If your daughter/son is having difficulty staying on task, redirect and set a timer.

Save it for tomorrow. If the task is not finished within a reasonable time, review the lesson the next day and see if the lesson was understood. If not, reteach, do some of the work together until they are successful and can do it independently.

Reward for completed work. We all have tasks that we don’t like to do and give ourselves a treat when we are finished (chocolate comes to mind lol). Of course, I am not talking about rewarding them for every little thing they finish, but if it has been an issue, then a small reward will help.

Praise your child. Draw attention to the fact s/he has completed their work and celebrate! It’s a big deal!

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Establishing a Schedule

Photo by Mat Brown on

You may have been homeschooling for a few weeks now and noticed that you need some type of schedule or routine. In my early days of homeschooling I thought that I should set up a schedule like I did when I was teaching school. It looked something like this:

Math 8:00-8:50 Language Arts (Reading, Spelling, Grammar) 8:50-9:50

Snack/ Break 9:50-10:00 Writing/Handwriting 10:00-10:30

Social Studies 10:30-11:15 Science or Health 11:15-12:00

Lunch 12:00-12:30 Quiet Time/ Silent Reading 12:30-1:30

That schedule lasted a couple of weeks before I realized that school life at home is quite different from a classroom setting.

Consider blocks of times and subjects instead of specific beginning and ending periods. You will see that sometimes you breeze through subjects, so you might wrap up math is 30 minutes and other times you get involved with a topic (like dinosaurs) and just want to keep on going.

Choose a routine. Things run more smoothly when your daughter/son knows what to expect. For example you may choose to have these things be done prior to school: breakfast is eaten; bed is made; teeth are brushed, and bed is made. You can have an order of subjects that you follow each day, a snack time, and lunch is at/ around 12:00. You can vary this according to what works best for your family and schedule.

Plan a starting and ending time. Do you need to start precisely at 8:00? Of course not, but pick a time that is good for your family’s schedule and aim to start and finish at that time every day. I liked to start early so we could be done early. I also told the boys as they got older that I was available to them all morning, but after that, they were to wait until the next day to ask questions. Any work they did not finish during our school time was their “homework”.

Pick a place to keep school books and supplies. This may seem strange to put this under scheduling, but I thought it important to mention. Having a designated place for items will cut down on them being misplaced and time lost in looking for them. You can have a certain color for each of your child’s things if you have more than one child.(notebooks, binders, folders, etc.) If you don’t have the room for a lot of things, then purchase a milk crate or stackable cubes to put textbooks and binders in them.

Expect the unexpected. Some days things are not going to go the way you want or planned. That’s okay! There might be a lesson that is difficult and your daughter/ son just isn’t understanding it. Put the lesson aside and come back to it. You might need to look for additional resources to help with the concept, or just some time for it to make sense. There might be an unexpected opportunity to go on a business trip with your spouse; a family member comes to visit; a cool display is in town for the week, and so on can disrupt your school day. Take advantage of the opportunity and make it a learning experience.

Have a great week! ~Lisa ~