What could be better than strolling through multi-colored leaves on a mild fall day? Letting nature create your next lesson plan for you! This is the best time of year to use the educational resources that are at your fingertips. But how do you incorporate nature into your homeschooler’s everyday learning? Don’t worry, it is easier than you think! Below is a list of activities that highlight the fall season, good for students across multiple grade levels. Activities are categorized into specific subject areas, so you can pick and choose what will enhance your homeschool curriculum and give your lessons a boost.
Depending on the grade level and interest of your child, a reading passage or short film about the history of Halloween or Thanksgiving, or even a look into the Salem Witch Trials, may spark some great discussions! History is filled with diverse populations seeking religious freedoms as well as people trying to flee from oppressive governments. A study into the historical significance of these fall holidays may just trigger some more in depth discussions about the trials and tribulations of modern civilizations.
Get out of your house and set out on a hike. It’s time to get hands on with nature. As you walk through the woods (or even your backyard), have your child collect leaves and acorns along the way. Take these “treasures” back home or take pictures to create a scrapbook for later. Have your child conduct a little research to identify the trees from which the fallen leaves descended from. If you have a student in a higher grade level, have them research the reason why each leaf is a certain color and then have him or her categorize them into their respective subgroups. Younger students can discuss the types of foods animals store for the winter prior to leading them into a discussion about hibernation.
Stories about ghosts and witches are great, but there are so many other books to enhance your ELA curriculum. 10 Turkeys in the Road by Brenda Reeves Sturgis is an excellent book to teach about sequencing and rhyming. The book is written at a first grade level and is great for ages 3-8. Similar books that focus on sequencing and rhyming include There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves and There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat!, both by Lucille Colandro. In November, you may also want to focus your child’s attention to Election Day. Students can write opinion pieces expressing their thoughts about which candidate they feel is most qualified or would address the needs of the people in their community the best.
Time to break out the pumpkin pie recipe! Students in grades 4-6 need a lot of practice with fractions, and what better way to do that then to whip up a classic pumpkin pie. Teach students the difference between halves, quarters, eighths, and thirds using visual tools like measuring cups. Make smaller pies by dividing the recipe, showing your child that knowing how to divide fractions is necessary when cooking for smaller crowds. Along with fractions, time and temperature are always challenging areas for students. Elapsed time activities and calculating the average temperature for a week in November hits standards across multiple grade levels.
Take advantage of area fun runs and 5Ks this fall. Many races are back in person, but you can still find a few virtual races if that makes you feel more comfortable. Many kids love to run, but maintaining a quick pace can be difficult due to the lack of stamina and focus. Build up to these activities by combining running and walking into your daily routine, keeping the finish line in mind.
Classic leaf drawings are great for the younger students, but what about the upper grades? One size does not fit all when it comes to artists and their craft. Choose a particular artist that interests you or your child, perhaps even someone who is local. Find out their technique and incorporate that technique into a fun fall painting or project. Teaching your child to use mixed media to create an iconic fall landscape or how to focus on different objects in the foreground when photographing subjects will .
Even though holiday or Christmas music is more familiar with most kids, creating a playlist of spooky Halloween music can be fun too! Another original way to enhance your arts block is by researching classical musicians that wrote songs in minor keys. Discuss with your child how that music can affect a person’s mood. Then use the previously created spooky-playlist as background music for a slideshow showcasing the life of a classical musician.
They might be too old to trick or treat, but sewing simple Halloween costumes for younger siblings or pets is a great way to get your middle schooler into the Halloween spirit! Many patterns can be found online or by shopping at your local fabric store. Upcycling old clothes into creative costumes is a great way to satisfy the urge to create and save the planet at the same time!
No matter what the skill or subject matter your homeschooler is working on, using the fall season to spark creativity and promote learning will engage the most reluctant learner. Incorporating authentic activities that directly relate to course objectives will give your child the motivation they need to persevere and continue their academic journey into the new year!
Melissa L. Quinn