It’s almost Fall here in Texas. It’s that time of the year when we Texans start compulsively checking the 10 day weather forecast for that first 89 degree high along with a 50% chance of rain. The autumnal equinox means little to us. It’s all about that first real cold front. While we impatiently await the return of fall, I’ve put together a little fall homeschool bucket list of sorts.
Since we homeschool our children, we really have a lot of freedom. Some times during the year, the weather gets so nice that you just have to take advantage of that freedom…at least a little! But, alas! We have to make sure we get our work done, too! We’ve been cooped up in the house quite a bit because of the dangerously hot conditions. So, we are really anxious to get out and enjoy some nice fall weather! Here’s my little fall homeschool bucket list of activities to celebrate the return of fall, but also get some learning done in the meantime.
So, what are some good ways to take advantage of the change of seasons in your homeschool?
A Fall Homeschool Bucket List
1. Plan a fall-themed unit study.
Make one yourself, or find one online. A quick web search will pull up plenty of options. Some are free, others will cost a few dollars, but it’s a great option if you just don’t have time to create something of your own.
T is for turkey, P is for pumpkin…there are plenty of phonics games you can play. Count leaves for some math time. Head outside and do some plant identification for science. The possibilities are endless!
2. Use fall-themed notebooking pages.
As luck would have it, I have some you can download for free. Print them out, use them for your family.
Using themed pages really helps us get in the mood for fall, even if the weather hasn’t quite gotten there yet. These pages would work wonderfully to learn about the history of Halloween and the first Thanksgiving as well!
Click here to download your free Fall-themed notebooking pages.
3. Take school outside for the day.
The sun is shining, there’s a soft, cool breeze blowing. You know full well that no one is going to pay attention to their work while they look out the window, longing to be outside. So, pack up your books, grab a blanket to sit on, and sprawl out on the lawn for lessons. The fresh air works wonders for keeping the mind focused!
4. Take a nature walk.
What better way can you think of to celebrate the arrival of Fall than taking everyone on a nature walk? Collect some leaves, watch some insects busily preparing for the coming of winter. Enjoy the beautiful weather. You don’t have to go far…your backyard is probably teeming with life you never take the time to notice! Have everyone slow down, and take a look at the world around you. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
5. Learn a little plant biology.
Why do leaves change color in the fall? Why do they lose them? For that matter, why does that cedar tree get to keep its needles? Do a little research project as a family and find out the answers to all those fall-related pressing questions. This one is easy to adjust for different age levels, too. Your preschoolers will enjoy making the collection (on your nature walk!), and you can turn it into a full-blown biology research project on photosynthesis for your middle or high schoolers.
6. Plant a fall garden.
Turnips, broccoli, carrots…lots of things grow wonderfully in the fall. Make a little fall garden. Learn all about root vegetables. You can even make observations about growth. Keep a lab notebook and take measurements. When the project is done, you’ll have a nice little salad!
7. Make some leaf rubbings.
Ah, the classic fall art project! It brings back memories of my own childhood! This is the kind of project that even the smallest of your pupils can enjoy. Plus, the mess is minimal…definitely my kind of art project! Just gather several different kinds of leaves (on your nature walk, remember?), then put them under a sheet of paper on a hard, flat surface. Turn a crayon on its side and rub back and forth. The results really are quite nice.
8. Make a Thanksgiving tree.
You can approach this one several different ways. You can use sticks that you may find out in your yard, or you can make a paper tree on your wall. Then, use leaf shaped cutouts, to write (or draw a picture of) something that you are grateful for each morning. You could even cut around your leaf rubbings and use them for the leaves on the tree.
9. Keep your eyes to the skies for birds that migrate.
This is the time of year you will start seeing all kinds of migratory animals moving around. One afternoon, why not grab a blanket and find a nice spot on the grass to spread it out and watch for birds.
While you’re waiting, make up stories about the cloud shapes moving by.
When you finally see a flock of birds moving by, notice the kinds of sounds they make, and the way they fly by. Use your observations as a jumping off point for a research project if you like.
10. Start a nature journal.
A nature journal doesn’t have to be fancy. We just use a $.25 spiral notebook (I stock up on these, though, when they’re on back-to-school specials for $.20 each…we use them for a LOT of things!). It’s a blank canvas. Bear likes to draw pictures of things she finds outside. Once, she found a bunch of snails and had them make trails all over a piece of paper. She glued the paper inside the spiral. Then, she wrote all kinds of observations about them on the facing page. She also writes nature-themed poetry. It’s quite a collection!
11. Start a weather journal.
This time of year is famous for its weather changes. Keep a record of them this year. It’s fun to look back the following year and watch the differences, too. Chart the temperature (pick a specific time to record each day), write observations about storms or cold fronts, and note the wind. Again, you don’t have to be fancy. A simple spiral will do. If you want something a little cuter, a web search will return plenty of options!
12. Take an outdoor field trip.
My kids love going to the zoo. But during the summer, at 105 degrees in the shade, it just ain’t gonna happen! After that first glorious cold front, however, it’s time to load up and go to all those outdoor spots.
Don’t forget about historical sights, too. Here where we live, we’re only about an hour from Washington-on-the-Brazos which is full of our rich Texan history!
I also have a couple spots to see dinosaur fossils, and a cave trip on the radar.
Do a little digging to find some cool spots in your area. Lots of places even offer homeschooler discounts, or special homeschool days. Find out all you can! It’ll be worth it!
13. Take a trip to see family.
We always take a trip to see my side of the family over the week of Thanksgiving. It gets us out of the house a little. It’s also a great time to take advantage of all those cool places the Dallas area (where my family lives) has to offer as well.
Take advantage of your time with family, too. Make sure your kids get to hear plenty of embarrassing stories about you as a youngster! But, also make sure that they hear stories about life when your older family members were growing up too. It helps bring history to life!
- My great-grandparents met during the 1918 Flu epidemic…my great-grandfather’s family was particularly hard-hit.
- My grandfather hunted a crocodile while he was stationed in New Guinea during World War II. He was later sent home after experiencing complications from yellow fever.
- My great uncle trained pilots during World War II.
- My grandfather’s family were sharecroppers. His parents had 5 kids, just like we do.
These were real people…my people! Your kids will never tire of hearing family stories. Just make sure you’re paying attention, because they will want to hear them over and over!
14. Make a work day to rake up all the leaves in your yard.
Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from working those brain muscles to flex some skeletal muscle instead. Have a family work day to rake up all those leaves in yard. You’re giving your brains a break, enjoying the weather, and practicing some important life skills all at the same time. Just don’t forget to jump in the piles when you’re done!
15. Learn how to make a fall treat together.
Working in the kitchen with small children can try your patience. But, it can also be a great bonding and teaching experience if you let it. So roll up those sleeves and find a fall treat to cook all together!
So, what’s on your fall homeschool bucket list?