As you may already know, I love living and homeschooling to the rhythm of the seasons as a focal point of our lessons and daily life.
Autumn is no exception. As the season approaches, I get giddy with excitement over the books we will read, the spiced foods we will eat, the projects we will do, and the nature we will study. Each autumn I love revisiting traditions and memories that bring a sense of belonging and connection to my children.
In this blog post, I’m sharing some of our favorite books and activities for autumn as a springboard for you to be intentional and slow down, making room for connection and beauty this season. While this blog post is directed toward homeschool families, all of these ideas are also perfect for families with traditionally schooled children who want to be intentional this autumn with traditions and family time.
Create an autumn atmosphere in your home
Some of my favorite scents are the warm spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. I love diffusing essential oils throughout the house and burning beeswax candles during Morning Time to set a calming, cozy atmosphere. We also love playing classical instrumental music or worship music in the house to set the tone for calm, inspiring days. In our school area, I love decorating with apples and pumpkins in the autumn season. These banners coordinate with the nature themes in Treehouse Nature Study and are an easy way to change up the decor in a simple way on a weekly basis. I like to print them on cardstock, punch holes in the tops, and string twine through the holes. Another easy option is to hang the banner with little clothespins. The other thing I do each week to keep our school area fresh is hang the pretty display sheets in Treehouse Nature Study. We refer to them during our lessons, but they also double as a pretty backdrop with images of apples, pumpkins, forest trees, and more.
Gather autumn books and stories for seasonal inspiration
Grab a big basket (or two) from the thrift store and fill them to the brim with the coziest autumn stories filled with colorful leaves, woodland creatures, and pumpkins. I like to put baskets filled with books right next to every area in the house where my children cozy up and read. To fill our baskets, I refer to the book list each week in Treehouse Nature Study: Autumn to gather books related to the nature theme we are studying. Each week of Treehouse Nature Study: Autumn focuses on one nature theme such as apples, deciduous trees, or birds of prey, and includes a book list of fiction, non-fiction, and reference selections that coordinates with the theme. Along with those books, I have discovered many wonderful books that I have purchased to use in the autumn. Here is a list of 20 of my favorite autumn picture books I've gathered for you:
Prepare autumn meals and treats
Autumn is the perfect time for soups, stews, fresh warm bread, and hot drinks! It seems I always have something baking or in the slow cooker. Smells of freshly baked bread and warm spices fill the house all day long. Here are a few of my favorite recipes for autumn:
- Fall Breakfast Hash
- Sourdough Pumpkin Bread
- Old-Fashioned Easy Apple Crisp
- Curried Butternut Squash Soup
- Amish-style Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
Go on autumn adventures
The weather in autumn is just glorious! When the weather is lovely, we love taking our school work outside on a picnic blanket or taking days off from formal lessons and adventuring instead. We love going to a mountaintop apple orchard, visiting a pumpkin farm, and going on lots of hikes in autumn. My family usually travels a lot in the autumn season to go leaf peeping! We love biking on the Virginia Creeper Trail and going on our annual camping trip with our homeschool community. Our weekly nature walks with Treehouse Nature Study are so exciting as we gather acorns and various colors of leaves, and look for animal tracks.
Become immersed in autumn songs, poetry, and art
One thing that is super special for homeschoolers is studying themes that connect to the seasons. We love to explore beauty subjects through the lens of nature. We use Treehouse Nature Study as the guide for these studies. Each week of Treehouse Nature Study: Autumn focuses on one autumn nature theme and provides songs linked to Spotify, hand rhymes linked to YouTube, and selections of poetry and art. You can pick and choose from the guide how much or how little to use each year. Here are some ideas from Treehouse Nature Study to get you started.
- Sing autumn-themed folksongs like "Oh Apple!" by Michelle Stewart and "That Owl" by Cowboy Jared & The Bright Blues. Dance or play instruments along with the music.
- Read and study autumn-themed poetry such as "October’s Party" by George Cooper and "The Moon" by Robert Louis Stevenson. Do a poet study of their life and work. Use poems for copywork and vocabulary lessons.
- Display and enjoy autumn-themed art pieces such as October by Carl Larson and Little Miss Muffet by Sir John Everett Millais. Learn more about the artists and mediums they use. Replicate the art!
Engage with an autumn nature study
Enjoy some seasonal learning through the beauty of autumn. If you are looking for ideas to explore nature through the seasons, Treehouse Nature Study: Autumn has an easy-to-follow lesson plan for each week, complete with book lists, handcrafts, nature walk inspiration, and more. Here are some activities from Treehouse Nature Study that you may enjoy this season.
- Perform an apple dissection and tasting.
- Collect colored leaves and identify, sort, and make a collage.
- Make a mushroom spore print.
- Go on a deciduous tree hunt and tally up what you find.
- Dissect an owl pellet and identify what you find.