This time next Fall we will be a few months into our true home school journey. For the time being we are trying to find what works for us and when good times for lessons are. I love to incorporate learning into the time we already spend outside. The last few weeks we explored a “Fall” theme. At this age, exploring the world around us is a great way for Jasper to learn! In addition Jasper is very interested in writing, so I have found ways to incorporate writing into our learning.
Leaf Collecting – Multimedia Artwork
I’m not sure why I never realized this before we moved here. However, during our first Fall in Alaska it finally dawned on me that certain trees turn particular colors during the Fall. Growing up in the Midwest, with many different kinds of trees this consecrate just never occurred to me. Now, almost all the trees in our area (that aren’t evergreen) are birch. They all turn yellow! While many of the bushes turn red, and some other plants have shades of orange, most of our leaves in the Fall are yellow birch.
One afternoon we decided to go on a walk and collect leaves (and whatever else caught Jasper’s eye). Afterwards we came home and Jasper painted a tree trunk cutout that I had made form an old cardboard box. Once the paint way dry Jasper glued the items we had found on our nature walk onto the tree! He was very proud when I hung the tree in our playroom.
Balance – Gross Motor Skills
I am a firm believer in not helping my child to get higher than he can by himself. I often see parents hovering after they have lifted their children onto play equipment that they were unable to get to by themselves. This is not only stressful for the parents, but it is teaching the children nothing. Currently one of my favorite quotes comes from Pennie Brownlee, who states, “The irregular asymmetrical forms found in nature are ideal to challenge balance, judgment and risk awareness. Unlike fixed structure playground, nature offers continual change within the challenges, enabling the child to become expert in risk assessment. All we need to do is stand back. If we lift her up onto a branch beyond her capabilities she wont have an accurate body-map of what she is capable of anymore. That’s how accidents happen. So stand back and let her do the work, that’s true health and safety.”
Now I believe that playgrounds have their proper place. We do enjoy visiting them. However, I prefer finding our own natural “playgrounds.” What nature provides is so much more interesting and lends so much better to learning than that which is plastic, fixed and never changing. Jasper loves to climb. However, he hasn’t always had the best upper body strength. His has worked hard to develop his ability to pull himself higher and higher up. I am very proud at how far he has come!
Forest Themed Preschool Packet
As a home school parent I am an odd mixture of wanting my child to learn through experience and still enjoying what worksheets and textbooks have to offer. This likely comes from my equally unusual degree in theater education. Either way, I do love a good worksheet. Especially one with beautiful artwork on it!
I was excited to try out the Forest Bundle from Come Along and Play! This is a great packet that includes 25 different files! Our favorites were the beautiful alphabet leaves, the botany clip cards, the forest cut and paste game, and the scavenger hunt sheet! Jasper is so interested in writing right now! The worksheets included in this bundle added me in providing meaningful writing practice to aid in Jasper’s learning.
Fall Themed Alphabet Search
I adore sensory play and I think creating sensory bins is so much fun! Jasper has his upper case letter down pretty well for awhile now. Currently we are working on recognizing lower case letters and matching them with the upper case ones.
This bin was super easy to put together! Jasper has these great alphabet pebbles that we got off of Amazon. I traced the shapes of the upper and lower case letters next to each other on a piece of cardboard and labeled the shapes. Then I just put them in our sensory bin and covered them with fabric leaves, straw and some rice filler. Jasper had to search through the bin to find the letter pebbles, which he greatly enjoyed!
I thought the project turned out great! He struggled with matching a few of the lower case letters and he was able to use the shapes traced onto the cardboard to help him figure out which letter it was! I love to watch him work problems out on his own!
Living in Alaska we are lucky enough have a plethora of nature surrounding us! Wherever we go we are able to observe nature! (Even unlikely places, such as when nature -read moose- break into local hospitals.) This Fall one of the highlights of our nature study included observing moose (from afar) when they blocked our path and kept us from getting back to our car after a hike. In addition, we found many mushrooms, collected leaves, played with rose hips, and made stick/leaf structures!