Host a homeschool Thanksgiving celebration

Nov 11, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Each year our homeschool group hosts a Thanksgiving celebration to teach the children about the true spirit of Thanksgiving. We enjoy the time of fellowship with other homeschool families in our community and the children have a great time learning about the early settlers and creating crafts.

Thanksgiving homeschool co-op

With some early planning and collaboration amongst homeschool group leaders, you’re sure to have a successful Thanksgiving celebration. We normally have between 70 and 100 children — however, with organized stations this event always runs surprisingly smoothly.

Pick a location

Find a location (church, home or park) where tables can be set up for different learning stations, preferably covered, just in case the weather doesn't cooperate. You might want to have the option of moving the festivities indoors as well. Decide whether you want to charge a small fee of $3 to $5 per child for crafts and supplies. You can purchase some Thanksgiving craft supplies and other items in bulk via Oriental Trading.

Plan your feast

Have each family bring a dish to complete the ultimate Thanksgiving feast. Depending on the size of your homeschool group, this could be quite a bit of food. Make sure you have enough counter space to hold the number of dishes you expect. Be sensitive to children with allergies — you might want to make a "no nut" rule when it comes to food.

Give back

Encourage each participant to bring food items to donate to the Salvation Army or a local food bank that feeds the hungry.

Set up stations

Include stations that groups of children can rotate to or have sections of activities for the children grouped by age. Have a parent and one parent helper in charge of each group of children that will be rotating. You will also need a parent teaching each station activity. We usually rotate around to five activity stations. Here are just a few examples of Thanksgiving stations we have chosen in the past:

  • Thanksgiving story — One parent will read the Thanksgiving story and start a discussion and a question and answer session about Thanksgiving.
  • Oreo turkey and pilgrim hats — You can substitute the peanut butter cups with Rolos if you have a child with peanut allergies.
  • Cornhusk dolls — These are fun for both boys and girls.
  • Thankful tree — Each child will create a leaf of thankfulness, listing all the reasons why they are thankful, and then add their leaf to the life-size tree.
  • Make pilgrim hats.
  • Discuss the uses of corn, pumpkins, wheat and chickens.
  • Color your own place mat.
  • Bake bread and/or make butter
  • Create aprons, candles, picture frames or other items.

The possibilities are endless as to the kinds of Thanksgiving crafts you can use for your stations. Lastly, as your homeschoolers arrive to take part in the festivities, be sure to have parents sign an emergency release form if you are holding the function at someone’s home.

If you put together a Thanksgiving homeschool celebration for your group, I promise it will become your group’s favorite event of the year. Happy Thanksgiving!

Image credit: Tiany Davis

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