Be sure to check out all of the other posts in the How To Homeschool For Free series too!
If you like to do thematic units, this one is for you. Autumn in all of its glory is in full force here in Texas. It’s the perfect time for nature walks, park days, and maybe even doing school work on the back porch. My kids love it when I tell them to take their reading outside to the big swing. I actually get cheers when I say it. So, here’s to autumn and the freedom that comes with schooling at home with nature at your beck and call.
It is almost the end of October, which is Fire Safety month. Field trips to your local fire station should be available to free of charge. To relate this to autumn, you could take that field trip and when you get home, discuss lessons from the Smokey Bear website. There is a section just for kids, with easy-to-understand information, activities and games. The teaching resources page has a variety of printable resources and lesson plan ideas.
Why Leaves Change Color is a great resource for around 3rd grade and up. It explains in Q & A format why and how leaves change colors.
Biology for Kids also has a page about photosynthesis, along with other activities about plants.
The US Parks has a page where you can find out which colors are dominant in your state and when you are most likely to see them in the fall.
The NeoK12 site also has a lot of videos, quizzes, and other fun information on photosynthesis.
Learn about the rotation of the earth from EarthSky. This website has real-life pictures of how sunlight falls on the earth during the spring & autumn equinoxes and solstices. If you scroll down the page linked above, you will find videos taken from space & put on YouTube by NASA.
Geography and Science
Learner.org has Journey North. This program introduces the three sets of investigations that are featured in the Journey North program: Seasonal Migrations, Plants and the Seasons, and Sunlight and the Seasons. This is an interactive website where students observe nature’s patters and report it to the database. Right now, students are tracking monarch butterflies and hummingbirds in their winter migration. Students will continue to check this site until spring, when they watch the migration change direction to the north.
Agriculture and Math
Find out what your local harvest foods are. Once you know, you can find recipes for your favorite foods!
SeasonalRecipes.com will also tell you what is in season as well as provide recipes for using them. Letting your kids weigh produce at the store and estimating the price is real-life math. In the kitchen, measuring amounts of recipe ingredients and is also math. One of our family’s favorite fall recipes is Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins. It uses canned pumpkin, but if you wanted to use a store-bought pie pumpkin, (get the smaller ones, not the ones used for Jack-o-Lanterns) you could make it into a memorable teaching unit. Here is a guide for using a fresh pumpkin in your recipes.
There are several autumn-themed math activities over at MathWire too!
Here are a few books that are great for the autumn theme and typically available to check out for FREE at your local library!
Top Secret by John Reynolds Gardiner
The story of a boy who decides to solve the mystery of photosynthesis for a school science project.
By Jacqueline Farmer
Here is a book that explains all about how apples are grown and harvested. Students can compare different varieties of apples, as well as learn health and nutrition tips.
How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?
By Margaret McNamara
This book is full of nifty facts about pumpkins with the story of a little boy who doesn’t like being the smallest in his class.