ABCs of Thanksgiving

how to simplify your homeschool

Complaining: A Disease Like “Leaven”

Have you ever noticed how when you wake up with a bad attitude and start complaining (come on, I know you do it, too!), it’s not usually your spouse’s or children’s cheerful demeanor which influences you to start giving thanks, but rather your complaining which influences them to start griping, too? It seems to be a disease that infects the entire household! Let’s make a change with the ABC’s of thanksgiving.

ABCs of Thanksgiving FREEBIE

Complaining is one of those sins that I have struggled with for most of my life. My father was a complainer and his father before him, and it just seemed normal to me. It’s one of those sins that I felt I had a “right” to at certain times, and I didn’t want anyone taking away my right to be grumpy!

But of course, if my children or husband was negative, that was not acceptable. One of my favorite verses to pull out and quote at my children was (and still is), “In everything give thanks,” and “Do all things without murmuring or disputing.”

Hmmm… Hypocrisy much?

I didn’t like how I was (I mean, God wasn’t too cool with the children of Israel on the way to the Promised Land), but I also didn’t quite know how to change. I knew it was a big deal to God, yet it didn’t seem like such a big deal in my own mind. And, honestly, I just kind of liked expressing how I felt and spreading gloom.

The Epiphany That Changed Us

At a conference my husband and I attended last year, we were challenged with this powerful truth from the evangelist, William Wood, that was something like this: “When you sing praises to the Lord, you invite the Holy Spirit into your midst. Complaining is the praise music of hell. Who do you think you are inviting into your home when you complain?”


Inviting demonic activity to our home is definitely something I would like to avoid at all costs! This truth has helped me more than anything to recognize exactly what I’m doing by complaining.

ABCs of Thanksgiving FREEBIE

Eliminate and Replace with ABC’s of Thanksgiving

Rather than focusing on the negative behavior that we want to change, we should help our children (and ourselves) stop complaining by replacing it with a positive behavior.

And that would be giving thanks! This season of Thanksgiving is a special time when we are forced to stop and focus more on being intentional with giving thanks. And that is helpful because like most things in our homeschooling and discipleship journeys, being thankful takes intentional effort for most of us.

So having tools to help us accomplish this is extremely helpful! That’s why I created the Thanksgiving Through the Alphabet printable that I want to give to you today. NOTE: If you are reading this later and the printable is no longer free, you can still implement these tips using a blank sheet of paper (it just won’t be as cute 😉), or pick up a copy in my store.

This printable is intended to be used during the entire month of November, but it’s no problem that you’re getting a later start! You can let the focus continue on into December…and beyond. I hope it helps your children (and you!) build a pattern of giving thanks, not just during this season of Thanksgiving, but every day of the year.

How to Give Thanks Through the Alphabet

ABCs of Thanksgiving FREEBIE

You can get the Thanksgiving Through the Alphabet printable by leaving your name & email. We’ll zip it over to your inbox.

This printable is, obviously, designed specifically for your younger learners, but you can use it to start a conversation with the entire family. We can all use a prompt that gets us thinking about what we’re grateful for! Whether you have the printable or not, here are some creative ways for ABC’s of thanksgiving … thanking your way through the alphabet:

– Focus on one letter per day, starting at the beginning of the alphabet, and talk about the sound the letter makes.

– Next, give examples of things that start with this letter.

– Ask if there is anything special to them that starts with this letter that they can give thanks for. They can write it in the blank or at the top of the sheet of paper, or you can help them. (You can even encourage them to give thanks for the “bad” things).

– Then, they can draw a picture of that item or idea.

– Put each day’s letter in a binder.

I think that last step is crucial to building an attitude of gratefulness, as you can bring it out on days when extra encouragement to be grateful is needed. Are they complaining about something specifically related to an item they gave thanks for? Now is the time to pull it out and remind them of their thanks!

Another fun, creative idea is to keep your ears in tune to any complaining you hear throughout the year, and pull out a letter of the alphabet that corresponds to the complaint. For example, if your child complains about math, pull out the “M” (or write an “M” at the top of a sheet of paper) and ask them to find an “M” word that they are thankful for.

Or, you can ask them to find something about math that they are thankful for and ask them what letter it starts with and to fill out that letter’s page. There are so many variations to the ABC’s of thanksgiving. Make it a fun challenge! The more they practice thankfulness, the more it will become second nature.

I hope this ABC’s of thanksgiving printable and the practical tips for thanking your way through the alphabet are helpful tools in your lifeschooling journey! If you need more tools or encouragement, check out the links in my bio and stay in touch!

Danielle Papageorgiou has been homeschooling, or “lifeschooling,” for 21 years (she counts birth as day 1!) and has blogged, spoken, and run her own conference for many of those years. She has a passion for helping other homeschoolers learn how to homeschool in a way that does not compete with family life, but actually enhances it…homeschooling done in a spirit of freedom, not legalism.

Learn more about Danielle at her website Life as a Lifeschooler, join her private Facebook community, and follow her on both Facebook and Instagram

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