I’m not sure about you, but for me the months seem to be flying by so quickly. Already we are approaching the holidays even though it feels like it was just yesterday that we were splashing in the creek and enjoying warm days in the sun. It’s amazing how quickly time passes.
When time seems to be moving at such a fast pace I always find that it’s easy for me to miss the forest for the trees. The mundane tasks of the everyday start to take precedence and the whole reason we do those things gets forgotten. I’m guilty of letting the laundry, dinners, vacuuming, schooling, etc. steal my joy from time to time. I fail to recognize that the reason I do these things is because I have a family I get to make dinner for, children I get to home educate, a home that I get to decorate and take care of, etc. In the doing, I forget to recognize and say “Thanks” for the people, places, and things that are so very precious to me.
Thankfully, I know I am not the only one who is guilty of such things. Abraham Lincoln, the day he proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise for the American people made mention of the same behavior.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. – Abraham Lincoln, The Proclamation of Thanksgiving, October 3, 1863
He knew that the habit of giving thanks would soften the hearts of mankind, which are “habitually insensible to the providence of God in our lives”.
I love that our nation has set aside a day of Thanksgiving. I know it is often encroached upon by Christmas festivities or possibly to some has simply become a day for football and pumpkin pie, but I can’t help but think that the word “Thanksgiving” itself causes all of us, even for a moment, to consider those things for which we are grateful.
It may seem cliche for the month of November, but this month our focus is going to be that of thankfulness; remembering the gifts that God has given us and acknowledging them. Just as Abraham Lincoln continued to say in his address on that October day in 1863.
They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged.
I hope that you will join us.
Joseph Brackett, an Elder in the Shaker church, wrote our song for the month in 1848. This song was written as dance instructions, but more than that it summed up core Shaker beliefs. The song was only two verses long and celebrated the Shaker principles of simplicity and humility.
Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
’Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
’Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
When Simple Gifts was written, in 1848 there were merely 6,000 Shakers in the country and Brackett was not expecting for his song to have a large audience. The song gained popularity outside of the Shaker community when Aaron Copland in 1944 used it’s melody for the score of Martha Graham’s ballet, Appalachian Spring.
The arrangement we will be using for our study is Simple Gifts arr. by Steve Millikan if you would like to add an arrangement that includes words with the tune, I also like this one featuring Alison Krauss.
The poetry this month is from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Though it is a poem, it can also be used as prayer of thanksgiving to our creator.
For flowers that bloom about our feet,
Father, we thank thee.
For tender grass so fresh and sweet,
Father, we thank thee.
For the song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in Heaven, we thank thee.
Our art selection this month comes from an artist named Jessie Willcox Smith. Although Smith never married and had no children of her own, she is considered by many to be the greatest children’s book illustrator. Many of her pieces are on display at the Library of Congress.In addition to children’s books she also illustrated advertisements for Kodak, Procter and Gamble, Ivory Soap, and painted over 200 magazine covers for Good Housekeeping alone.
Although Jessie Willcox Smith actually had a distaste of interacting with children, her imagery of childhood and motherhood is tender and idyllic. Because of this, many parents sought her work for images of their own children.
This print we will be observing was the cover of the November 1928 Good Housekeeping cover.
There are lots of words in this months morning time plan. Between the poetry, the music, and this Psalm it may appear overwhelming at first. I just want to re-encourage you that your little ones can learn this! They are learning things every day, whether consciously or subconsciously. Remember: all it takes is a few minutes of daily reading for these things to stick.
This month the learning of Psalm 100 will reiterate our thankfulness and praise to God. It is important to express our thankfulness to God, not only that it is important that we set an example for our children of what it means to “worship the Lord with gladness”. How often do we encourage gladness in our homes? How often do we worship the Lord in this way? For me, this is much easier to do when I keep my mind focused on all the things I have to be thankful for. When I am tuned in to the gifts I have received my natural response is to express gratefulness for them.
C.S. Lewis in Reflections on the Psalms says:
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with….The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.
This month we will be using pages 611 – 617 in The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock to help guide our study of pumpkins. If possible, I encourage you to purchase a pumpkin so that you can complete these lessons tangibly. In the download you will receive a simple guide that accompanies The Handbook of Nature Study and a botanical print of a Pumpkin (neither one pictured here).
The handicraft activity this month was inspired by Miss Mustard Seed‘s Mini Landscape Placecards she shared back in August. I knew immediately when I saw these that they would be a perfect activity to do with our children. If you are hosting Thanksgiving this year, or if you would like to do something special for your own immediate family, I think these are a really sweet way to involve your children in the Thanksgiving preparations.
We followed Miss Mustard’s Seed’s tutorial for these. One thing that she mentioned in her post is that she tried not to get too fussy with each of the paintings, trying to completely them in 5 minutes or less. I think sometimes we over complicate things, especially as we work through them with our children. Keeping the 5 minutes or less idea in mind helped us. One thing that I might encourage, especially if you have younger children, is that you mix the colors prior to gathering your children for this project. Not only does this help you keep a consistent look for each piece, but I also found that it helped us not waste paint or make big messes.
Civics/ Character Studies
This month we will be studying our nations 3rd President: Thomas Jefferson. I am using The Big Book of American Presidents: From George Washington to Barack Obama as a guide. He is also the 3rd president we will be studying since adding the presidents to the Morning Time plan. I hope to eventually pull the President portion of these aside and create a guide specific to them, but time has not allowed that yet. If you would like to catch up with George Washington and John Adams you can find those here and here.
Thomas Jefferson was responsible for quite a lot in the birth of our country. The contributions he made are endless as are the possibilities for study. The study of his life can also lead to other topics of study: The Declaration of Independence, a state study of Virginia, or The Louisiana Purchase and the Corps of Discovery. Below, in the additional resources section, you can find some resources for each of these options.
- 1743 – Thomas Jefferson was born at Shadewell on April 13, 1743
- 1760 – 1763 – Attended the College of William and Mary
- 1767 – Admitted to practice law before General Court
- 1768 – Elected to House of Burgesses.
- 1772 – Married Martha Skelton.
- 1775 – Elected to Continental Congress.
- 1776 – Drafted the Declaration of Independence.
- 1779 – 1781 – Served as Governor of Virginia
- 1782 – Wife Martha died.
- 1783 – Elected Delegate to Congress.
- 1797 – 1801 – Served under John Adams as 2nd Vice President.
- 1801 – 1809 – Served as 3rd President of the United States.
- 1803 – Louisiana Purchase concluded. Lewis and Clark expedition launched.
- 1809 – Retired from the Presidency and public life.
- 1825 – Died at his home in Monticello on July 4, 1826. John Adams also died on this day at his home in Quincy.
The recipe this month is a Pumpkin Zucchini Cake with Caramel Drizzle. You all are in for a really big treat, especially if you love caramel, this recipe is delicious.
For this recipe I splurged and purchased this really sweet Nordic Ware Autumn Cakelet Pan so that I could make some cakes in the shape of pumpkins. When we prepared the pan we were careful to make sure each cup was liberally brushed with melted butter. Each cup was only filled about half way (leaving room for expansion). They turned our as cute as mini pumpkins can be and came out of the pan very easily. If you would rather make a full size Pumpkin Zucchini Cake (which I think I will be doing for Thanksgiving) I added a note at the bottom of the recipe card with adjustments and heating time.
Hymn Study with Happy Hymnody
- Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of An American Feud
- Meet Thomas Jefferson
- The Big Book of American Presidents: From George Washington to Barack Obama
- The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents
The Louisiana Purchase and The Lewis and Clark Expedition
- How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis and Clark
- Seaman’s Journal
- Lewis and Clark for Kids: Their Journey of Discovery with 21 Activities
- Lewis and Clark and Me: A Dog’s Tale
- The Lewis and Clark Expedition Coloring Book
- Lewis & Clark – The Journey of the Corps of Discovery video by PBS
- Lewis and Clark – Great Journey West video by National Geographic
Jessie Willcox Smith
- Jessie Wilcox Smith
- Jessie Willcox Smith (1863 – 1935) by Julien Coallier
- Jessie Willcox Smith, American Illustrator
- Good Housekeeping Early Magazine Covers: 1920 – 1929
Autumn and Thanksgiving
- Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak
- Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
- Autumn by Gerda Miller
- Autumn Story by Jill Barklem
- Fall Leaves by Loretta Holland
- Woody, Hazel, and Little Pip by Elsa Beskow
- We Gather Together by Wendy Pfeffer
- Thanksgiving in the Woods by Phyllis Alsdurf
- Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall
- Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story by Pat Zietlow Miller
- Visit a local pumpkin farm.
- Carve a pumpkin house.
Thank you all so much for your continued support of the Morning Time Bundles. I hope this month if full of overwhelming gratefulness as you focus your attention to all of the incredible gifts you have been given. Happy Thanksgiving!
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