One of the advantages of homeschooling is being able to take an unexpected opportunity to make history really come alive for your children. When DH was scheduled for a training class for work in the Boston area, the girls and I got to tag along to explore the history-rich village of Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was the perfect timing to kick-off our Thanksgiving and Pilgrim studies for November!
Big Sis was in awe of seeing it all in person, soaking up the atmosphere as she imagined what it must’ve been like when the Pilgrims landed here. She was surprised to learn that they arrived in December, which must have made it even more difficult. She read every sign along the walkways and we discussed the details, making note of any questions that we wanted to look up later.
Big Sis treated the memorial with respect, commenting about the litter that others had thrown. I was proud to see her mature behavior and concern for the national landmark.
Her first comment about the Mayflower was, “All those people came all that way in a boat like THAT?” Can you imagine 102 people spending 66 days sailing into the unknown on a relatively small boat? Not exactly a luxury liner! Of course this is a smaller replica, but accurate in its details.
I wish I could’ve captured the look on her face as she learned about the conditions on the Mayflower, the sickness and death that the Pilgrims endured. All because they believed, they had faith, they had ideals. When she heard that half of the people died that first winter, her eyes got a little teary.
on a cold December day
a hundred and two pilgrims
sailed into Plymouth Bay.
Still wary from their voyage –
still bracing winter’s chill –
they kept their sights on freedom
with courage, work, and will.
Pilgrims did not stop to think
of riches, fame, or glory
while bravely playing starring roles
in our new nation’s story.
I’m thankful that those brave souls were determined enough to make the voyage. I’m thankful for the sacrifices they made to do it. I’m thankful for the freedoms we have in this country today because of their dedication. At Thanksgiving time, how can we not take a moment to think of these people who celebrated the very first Thanksgiving?