I grew up in a small town in New Jersey named Oakland. There was good reason for its name: there were trees all over the town. I can think back (a long ways) to those September school bus trips, over the hills and rivers and railroad tracks through tree-lined streets decorated with colorful fall leaves. For those of us who live in temperate climates (This will become important later!), the spectacle of deciduous trees changing into their autumn finery is a common but nonetheless spectacular sight. Somehow, fall never loses it’s magic. Homeschoolers may say, “I don’t have those school bus trips; I travel from the bedroom to the learning space, and that’s it!” But, that doesn’t mean you can’t get out each day and enjoy all of the beauty and wonder that fall homeschooling has to offer. We’ve got the best fall homeschooling ideas that will get you outside and in the autumnal state of mind!
Combine critical thinking and fall homeschooling in every content area by encouraging questioning that leads to discussions, art projects, science experiments, and more! These fall homeschooling ideas can inspire fall homeschooling lesson plans in all subjects for all ages.
Science is all about observing and experimenting. Get outdoors this fall and begin a Nature Journal while encouraging scientific inquiry sprinkled with artistic expression. Fall homeschooling lesson plans can include assignments for young minds to draw pictures of the leaves, plants, animals, clouds, bugs, and anything else they notice. These can be labeled and bound in a book for future reference. Little eyes and big eyes can see what is around them and discover answers to questions like:
- What color are leaves really? The answer may surprise you! Researching how and why leaves change color makes a great fall lesson plan! Hands-on ideas include leaf rubbings and leaf pressings!
- Why do some trees (like deciduous trees) lose their leaves while others don’t? This is a great opener for a fall homeschooling lesson on types of trees.
- If the sun is closer to the earth in the fall than in the summer, why is the temperature cooler? Good question for an astronomy lesson plan!
- What happens to plants in the fall? Will they come back? A botany fall lesson plan can include research and pressings and even a trip to the local garden center to purchase a plant or two! The care and feeding of plants can teach lessons of responsibility and patience (and a yummy reward if fruits and vegetables are involved!)
- What is an “equinox,” and how many are there?
- Do you see anything unusual about birds and animals in the fall? Keep a journal of what has come and gone, and find out why that happens.
Fall homeschooling lessons can take students on a trip around the world as they research why the fall season is different in different locations (yes, climate is part of the study of geography!). This is a great jumping-off point for fall lesson plans on biomes, continents, and climates. Students can ask:
- Why are fall temperatures different in different parts of the world?
- Why are there different plants and animals in other parts of the world?
Math is almost too easy to incorporate into fall homeschooling. From counting how many seeds are in a crunchy apple to what is the volume of the largest pumpkin ever grown, it’s easy to make autumn the muse for your math lessons.
Take a trip to a farm or orchard to count how many different types of apples there are, or figure out how many trees there are, using multiplication or area or other calculations. If there are 10 apples in a pound, and you buy 5 pounds, how many apples will you have? What will they cost? There is a cornucopia of fall-themed manipulatives for little hands to help them grasp simple math concepts. Here’s one for the older, adventurous student: Visit a corn maze and use geometry to figure out how to get through it.
Social Studies and History
These lend themselves to fall homeschooling lesson plans, at least in the United States. The story of the Pilgrims and Native Americans can teach young and old alike about cultures, religion, customs, race relations, friendship, immigration, and other life lessons. Students can explore what fall festivals and rituals are practiced in cultures other than their own and draw or write about what it would be like to live in that culture.
This subject can take your fall observations and make them come alive for other people! Journaling is a way to record observations, thoughts, and feelings, that can entertain and inspire a student for years! Younger kiddos can draw and label pictures while writing fall stories about leaves, foxes and other fall animals, etc.. Older students can use their learning and imaginations to write stories about what they have learned. They could write a diary entry about a day in the life of a Pilgrim or Native American. They can make trees and animals talk about life in the forest. What does a leaf do every day before it “leaves” the tree?
The arts have documented the fall season for centuries. Flaming leaves have graced the canvas of many famous artists, and poets and songwriters have been just as busy. A quick Internet search of fall and autumn themes will yield a crop of ideas and works as varied and flavorful as fall fruit. As your student listens to songs and admires paintings and poems, he or she can draw or write about how they feel and what these things make them think about. How do the artists and writers evoke ideas and emotions? What words and colors do they use? What worlds open up in the student’s imagination?
Have a theatrical child? Why not work in some stage time during this season? Besides writing and drawing, students of any age can act out stories from history or their own imaginations. They can put on a Thanksgiving play or enact a scene from a favorite fall-themed story.
And, of course, don’t forget to keep little fingers busy with hands-on activities to complement any subject!
As children wind down from the summer and gear up for fall homeschooling, it can seem a big letdown or a drag. You won’t have to drag them into learning if you follow these tips for fall homeschooling lesson plans!
What works for you? Please share your ideas with us!