Fall: an ideal time to get outdoors

fall leaves

Fall is here, my favorite time of year.  The cooler weather and sunshine are beautiful, and make it an ideal time to get outside with your kids. Nature is an excellent teacher, and your kids will learn almost effortlessly!

 Take advantage of fall to get out of the house and go on a  nature walk. Your kids can collect the beautifully colored leaves and use them to identify different types of trees for science, draw and color them in a  nature notebook with charcoal or colored pencils, pastels, or even crayons or paints, or use thin paper to trace over them.

When drawing from things in nature, whether it’s leaves, flowers, trees, birds, nests, squirrels, butterflies, etc., have your children pay close attention to details and draw it accurately.  These should be labeled and dated. You can protect these drawings with acid-free sheet protectors.

Right beside the drawing, they can add a few scripture verses, such as Matthew 6:24-34: ” Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will He not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?” 

Or they can write a few poetry verses, illustrating their nature notebooks like Edith Holden did so beautifully in The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady.

Many outdoor parks have flowers, bushes, and trees labeled. Include these in their notebooks. Your kids’s nature notebooks can be an art book with blank pages, a photo album, or a scrapbook. They can personalize their notebook with elegant calligraphy, stickers, or cute stamps. Encourage them to take pride in their notebooks. They will be a treasure chest for you and them years later to look through.

Charlotte Mason encouraged teachers and parents to get students outdoors every day if possible, to get in touch with God’s creation.  Children who live in big cities, where there isn’t a lot of “nature,” can  plant windowsill gardens of flowers and herbs, and visit natural history museums, planetariums, and zoos. Visit the library each week to check out books on nature, especially books with colorful photos. 

Buy a bird feeder and bird seed. You and your kids will love watching all the different birds visit it every day. Our bird feeder is outside at a perfect view from my kitchen window as I’m washing the dishes. Today I discovered a new treasure of a website, and loved this article on birds by homeschooling mom, author, and speaker Sherri Johnson.

If you can, try to get some fresh air outside  with your kids during this beautiful season!  “Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” – Stanley Horowitz

“Let them once get in touch with Nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life. We were all meant to be naturalists, each in his degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things.” (Charlotte Mason, Vol 1, II, Out-Of-Door Life For The Children, p.61)

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