As a child, I learned the usual about the Pilgrims…how they left England and arrived in America. Then, after a couple of difficult years…they had a big feast with the Native Americans…and all was good!
What I did not learn…was the story behind the story. Well, the many stories. Stories about William Brewster, William Bradford and the many other brave men, women and children…who were tired of being told how they could worship God and were persecuted for doing so.
Why would I ever doubt what I was taught…how would I ever really know the truth….if we had not decided to homeschool our children. Now, I realize many of you learned these stories…and maybe I was told about them…and do not remember them. However, the truth is not there for me to find in my memory…so, I am thankful that homeschool is bringing me to a love of learning and an opportunity to go back…and learn (or relearn) everything…I either forgot or never had my mind opened to…..so, join us on our journey…..
We began with William Bradford: Pilgrim Boy This book by Bradford Smith…tells the story of William Bradford. A young man born in England… His Father died while he was very young…so, he lived with his Grandfather, until he passed away. When he died, the boy lived with his mother and her new husband…until she passed away. At an early age, he was orphaned, yet lived with his Aunt and Uncle in his Grandfather’s home. He had a deep desire to read…especially the Bible, a legacy passed onto him by his GrandFather, who sat in the evenings reading to his Grand Son. William was fortunate to go to school for a while, yet had to leave. When he left, he was blessed to be mentored by William Brewster…a prominent figure in England at the time. Yet, their love of God and departure from the church of England…brought them into the place of being called and persecuted as Separatists. They joined with others from the area of Scrooby…and eventually left England for Holland. In Holland, they found refuge and 12 years of peace, in which they grew a strong love of God based on the truth of the Bible. Yet, that peace was disrupted and they had to find help in England….to help them attain true freedom of Religion on America. They left Holland on the Speedwell…and arrived in England. Once the Adventurers came to an agreement with them, the Separatists, now Pilgrims were well equipped to work for the company 4 days a week, themselves 2 days a week..and one day of rest for the Sabbath in America. They left Englad on the Mayflower and the Speedwell…yet after many delays and problems, the Speedwell returned to England and did not make the voyage. William Bradford made the trip with his wife, leaving their son behind….and eventually became the Governor of Plymouth. William Bradford took his time in the evenings to write about his adventures and desire to follow God’s word in his book: Plymouth Plantation.
We read many excerpts of William’s Book: Of Plymouth Plantation in: America’s Providential History. It was a bit difficult to read, as it is written in the original, old English Text…and there were no spelling rules then. It was amazing to hear how many times God’s hand was truly upon the Pilgrims as ships would sink…yet rise to the top, they would be arrested, yet freed without being put to death ….and the many obstacles they had to overcome to reach their freedom! Something we take for granted….something so many are being persecuted for today. It was heart wrenching to read the tales in this book and see how it is paralleled in so many areas of our world today!
We did not stop there, though…we went on to read: The Landing of the Pilgrims. This book has taken us deeper into the trials of others on this trip. The vocabulary has truly grown each of us (including me)…and given us a true sense of what it was like to be upon the ship….travel across the sea and begin a new life…. a new life not based on riches, but one based on the soul purpose of truly worshiping God without any religious bias or persecution!
Now…I could not quite find the notebooking paper I wanted for William Bradford’s book. So, the children used normal notebook paper and wrote down somethings they learned (while I read)….so they could show Daddy at night! (This new method of Raising Leaders is REALLY paying off!)….
And I found this amazing Reading Records for the Landing Of the Pilgrims from CurrClick to pull it all together! This is a GREAT Literature guide…that pulls out various vocabulary words, questions and other ways to help guide the children through each chapter of The Landing of The Pilgrims!
Recently, while we were at the Library, I found several of the Drive Thru History DVDs, including the ones about the Pilgrims! Wow! These are FANTASTIC! It was wonderful walking through Scrooby and Boston, as we traveled from the beginning of the Separatist movement through the American Revolution! If you have not watched those, I highly recommend them….
Of course, no lesson would be complete…or fun without some hands on activities. So, if you remember….I recently wrote about our Log Cabins and Sod Houses. So, I explained to the children that the log cabins would have been the types of homes the Pilgrims would have built and lived in. This was explained in great detail in the books we read…how many homes were built, how many people had to live in each and how…those living together were not always relatives due to the arrival in winter and how many died before and soon after arriving in America. William Bradford, himself…lost his wife and raised several of the orphaned children in his own home!
And….it’s Thanksgiving…time to give thanks and have some fun with the little gobblers. So, my little guy created this fun Thankful turkey! I found the idea at Enchanted Learning
Now…to bring it down a notch, we love reading this book every year! It is a fun read by a local Author…
This is the Feast by Diane Z Shore
This is one of my favorite pages in the book:
“These are the baskets of plentiful crops, spilling with tassels and vegetable tops
and brimming with berries and chestnus and plums that ripened in forests where golden deer run-
a harvest of plenty, all gathered with price.
“Thanks be to God, who doth us provide?”"