Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Finding the Fun in November

Are you thankful that November has arrived with its cornucopia full of educational, family fun? My family has had an awesome October, and we look forward to a nostalgic November.  Take a moment to ask God which opportunities will have the most lasting value for your family, and enjoy your choices.

November has several holidays for which you might choose to make plans. November 2 is Election Day. My daughter recently turned 18 and registered to vote, so that’s going to be an exceptional day for us as she takes her first turn in the ballot booth. If you have enough children at home, you might choose to hold a mock election as a fun way to teach them about elections. (Update: We did vote, we got stickers that say we voted, and then we celebrated with lunch at Bojangles. Memory made!)

November 11 is Veterans Day. This is the day we remember Grandpa and watch our old home movies from when he was young. There may be parades or other functions to attend to show support for our veterans. Ask your children for their ideas for honoring some veterans that they know.

Of course, the holiday of the month is Thanksgiving. Now, if you can’t think of something fun to do that involves Pilgrims, Indians, and a feast, then I’ll shake my head and wonder about you! Many of you will have opportunities to be an active participant or spectator at family gatherings, feasts, football games, and the Thanksgiving Day parade. Much of it is fun, and much of it can lend itself to educational fun. It helps to have a plan, so plan ahead to make the most of the opportunities that this month offers your family.

Because so much of the month is devoted to the past, November is a great time for nostalgia. Invite your children on a trip down your own memory lane and share old toys and games from your childhood with them. Did you play Red Rover, Too Late for Supper, or Drop the Hankie? Old-fashioned candy can be found if you know where to look. I enjoyed taking my kids to Mast General Store and pointing out Grandma and Grandpa’s favorite candies in the candy barrels. (I enjoyed buying a selection of candy to share as well!) Get older relatives involved. Talk about the past, especially the historical moments that you or your parents lived through. Look at old photo albums. How has fashion changed over the years? How have places changed over the years?

Interest your children in a blessing game. To play, participants should form a circle from eldest to youngest. The eldest goes first and names a blessing in his or her life. Continue around the circle until everyone has offered a blessing. Then go around again! The point of the game is to remind your family of the many blessings they often take for granted. As individuals run out of ideas, they leave the circle. The winner of the blessing game is the one who offered the most blessings. Honestly, an abundance of blessings makes a winner out of all of us! After this game, your children should have plenty of ideas for writing an essay or a poem on blessings and Thanksgiving.

So many of God’s blessings are evident this month. Give thanks for His goodness and mercy! Let your kids act out the drama of what we call the first Thanksgiving. Ask God to make other teachable moments happen as well.

Happy homeschooling!

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