Homeschool Ideas for Thanksgiving

Wow, I was just looking at Pinterest for Thanksgiving ideas. Overload! I have some favorite activities that I would like to share with you, and maybe you’ll find one or two things that interest you. I always go for simple. So, if you’re like me, these easy, inexpensive ideas will be doable and not overwhelming.

The first thing I recommend is a book to read aloud, of course.

A book about William Bradford, the first governor of The Plymouth Settlement. Here is a blurb from the website:

“The New World beckoned as a land of freedom and possibility. Yet wild waters, icy winters, Indian attacks, starvation, and treason threatened the European settlers’ very existence. Through William’s vision and steadfast leadership, the people of Plymouth Colony would endure, their future descendants forming the cornerstone of a great nation (1590-1657).”

This is a great way to remember the Pilgrims and the struggles they went through to settle this nation as a bastion of freedom for all.




A very short video about Bradford designating a day for Thanksgiving.


If your kids like Charlie Brown, they might like this video. It’s actually a demonstration of an app, but I think it’s pretty entertaining.


This is a good telling of the story of the Mayflower featuring Peanuts characters. It’s part of a series called “This is America, Charlie Brown”.

This is a varied playlist of Family Thanksgiving Movies. There’s an old black and white movie about children being thankful even though they couldn’t afford a turkey that year. It’s a good reminder of some of the things we have to be thankful for. It’s very old, but we can learn from it how things were a generation ago. And the lesson about being thankful in spite of temporary circumstances is always in order.

And there are several cartoons, including Berenstain Bears, Care Bears, Mickey Mouse, Martha Speaks, Maya and Miguel, Sesame Street, and a TV movie from 1986, among others. Tell me the ones you watched and liked!

There are several good picture books about Thanksgiving.

A really good book about Squanto is “Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving”.

Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving

Another good book about Squanto, who played a vital role in the survival of the Pilgrims, is “Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving”.


Here’s a book to read for fun:

“‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving”

‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving (Scholastic Bookshelf)

A very funny story about a turkey named Thelonius is “Thelonius Turkey Lives”.

Another fun book to read is A Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin. It is a very popular book. Here’s a summary of the story:

“Every year Grandmother invited a guest for Thanksgiving dinner and allowed Maggie to do the same. “Ask someone poor or lonely,” she always said. Thanksgiving was Grandmother’s favorite day of the year. The cooking was done and her famous cranberry bread was cooling on a wooden board. But she wasn’t happy to find out Maggie had invited the unsavory Mr. Whiskers to dinner. Would her secret cranberry bread recipe be safe with him in the house? After a long absence this delightful 1971 classic is back. So is Grandmother’s secret recipe!” The recipe is included at the end of the book.


There are some good lapbooks available, too. I really like using lapbooks to study topics we’re interested in.

Here is a good list of some good ones.


I wrote a post with a few more suggestions here:


These are our favorite cookies to make for Thanksgiving. We make cookies that look like turkeys. We use Fudge Stripe cookies, candy corn and bonbons. And put them together like this:

I hope these ideas help you to find some fun and educational things to do to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the holidays with your family!

History Through Great Books for a High School Boy

History for a High School Boy


“Gathering the Storm” by Joel Clarkson


I was asked for a list of good books to read to make studying History much more enjoyable and thorough than a textbook, so I put together this list of books that we have loved and learned the most from.

For American History

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes


Amos Fortune Free Man by Elizabeth Yates

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane


The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Boys’ War by Jim Murphy

World War 1

The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy


Hero Over Here by Kathleen V. Kudlinski

World War 2

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry


Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan

Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen

I also recommend books by G. A. Henty. They are fantastic!

Books about seafaring adventures that the whole family will love:

Books by R. M. Ballantyne are full of adventure, pirates, sailors, storms, intrigue, and being stranded on islands. Rollicking adventures, I guess you could say! The Coral Island is one of his best-known stories. But he wrote over 90 books, so there are many to choose from!

Carry on, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham. I have heard so many people say that they really enjoyed this story. And we did, too!

Horatio Hornblower by C. S. Forester. This is a whole series about a young man who starts out as a seasick midshipman and works his way up to Admiral of the Fleet during the time of the Napoleonic Wars.

These are some of my favorite books to cover American History and some World History. I hope you can find something from this list that will inspire and inform you and your young men.

Happy History Reading!

Safe Haven News – Our Homeschool and Life News

Safe Haven News for November

Last month was eventful for our family. We have had some things to clean up. We have found some cracks in our relationships, so we decided to start working on fixing them up.

Have you ever discovered thought patterns, feelings, or beliefs that are negative or damaging inside yourself? Have you noticed these kinds of things in your children? How should we deal with these kinds of things?

One thing that has helped me identify toxic thinking is teaching by Dr. Caroline Leaf. She has written several books that address changing our thinking so that our actual brains are healthier. Some of her books are “Switch on Your Brain”, “The Perfect You”, “Think and Eat Yourself Smart”, and “Think, Learn, Succeed”.

Another helpful source has been the book “Keep Your Love On” by Danny Silk. This book made a huge impact on me. I think it actually saved my marriage. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I buy extra copies of this book to give away.

You can get your own copy here:


On another subject, I have been observing some disturbing trends in the discussion of women’s roles. I saw what John Macarthur said about women teachers like Beth Moore. He told them to go home. I agree that women should be home with their children nurturing them. If they don’t, then who is going to? And who did God really give that role to? If we go all the way back to the pattern that God set for families and the reason He put us in families, we see that God made the man, then made the woman, and he gave them the ability to reproduce. He gave women the anatomy to carry and feed the child, and the general disposition to nurture young children.

So I agree that women should be the primary caregivers for children in most cases. But I disagree with him about his contention that women should not teach or be in ministry. I believe that God has gifted women with teaching and organizational and other talents that He intended them to use in the church. The verses he uses are culturally-based directions to the people of that time and not stated as a commandment.

I read what some women said in rebuttal. They said that women should be in the workforce just like men. They are saying that they should not have to stay at home with their children.

Men and women are equal, but they are not the same. We have different roles based on our strengths and gifts.

Nancy Campbell of Above Rubies enthusiastically endorses women staying at home with their children. She sees it as a mandate. God’s order and plan is for men and women to marry and have children, and then for the women to raise the children at home. It’s even better if the husband can work from home and be there to help teach and train the children, too.

I realize that this scenario seems almost impossible in the modern world, but I know that there are many people who are so determined to raise their own children that they make it work. They find a way to make a living from a business they can run from home. And God multiplies your finances and resources when you are trusting Him to provide.

It didn’t used to seem so impossible in generations before ours. Life seems to be very expensive now, and living frugally is more difficult now because of the demands of our modern world. So some couples feel like they both have to work to make ends meet.

But, however we feel on the subject of women staying home to raise their children, the other subject that MacArthur brought up about prohibiting women from being preachers, I don’t think we can let that pass.

Here’s what I read on the website Pulpit and Pen:

“Beth Moore is a feminist who is in grave rebellion against God. She travels the country preaching to mixed audiences when the Scriptures are clear, women can’t preach.”

But I don’t think the scriptures say that women can’t preach. The women who were addressed in 1 Cor. 14:34 and 1 Tim. 2:11,12 were not women in authority but women in the congregation who were unruly and noisy during services. The many women that we read of throughout the scriptures who obviously filled positions of authority in the early church were not the ones being addressed by Paul in these letters.

I found this article very helpful: https://bibleresources.org/women-in-ministry/

I think it’s important that we all think through and study these issues so that we can develop a clear understanding of the real intent of these scriptures telling women to stay silent in church.

I think we need to think deeply about the roles of men and women.

We need to take an honest look at how children are being affected by the current trends in child care. And we need to realize that the Bible says that there is no male or female. We are all one in Christ.

Each of us must decide what we believe, and we have to ask the Lord how He wants us to raise our children. But we also need to interpret the Bible correctly and conduct our family affairs in a way that is biblical and pleasing to God. Even when we are going against the tide of popular trends, we need to ask the Lord for His leading and obey Him and trust Him to take care of us and our families.

By the way, guess who is scheduled to preach at our church one Sunday next month?

Little ole me! And I’m pretty sure I’m not in rebellion against God!

Pray for me. I have no idea what I’m going to say.

But I’ll study and pray, and I’m sure the Spirit will give me something good to give to the people that day. I don’t think the Spirit minds that I’m a woman.

Thanks for reading our news! I pray that your homeschool journey is full of love, adventure, and learning all that your family will need to fulfill the call and purposes that God has for you.

Remember to enjoy the journey! 

Penney Douglas at Safe Haven Homeschooling

Add This to Your History Curriculum


If you are studying history but are finding it a little dull and irrelevant, I have a suggestion that will take your history studies to a new level. Why not study Christian heroes, Christian character, missions, faith, different countries, cultures, and world history all at the same time using YWAM Publishing’s biographies. They are also available in Spanish!

These books have it all!

From the website:

“Readers of all ages love these fast-paced adventures that take them to the heart of a nation, an era, and what it means to live a life dedicated to serving God and those He loves. Parents report that even kids who have never liked to read have eagerly read all of these – sometimes more than once!”

If this sounds like something that you and your children need in your homeschool curriculum, check out YWAM Publishing at http://ywampublishing.com/default.aspx?affiliateid=11633