Autumn is the perfect time to introduce to your homeschooler a unit study on leaves. The golden colors of fall will enrich a child’s senses which encourage thinking and expression. This type of homeschooling study is unique in that it can include nature, allowing you and your child to get outdoors and hands-on into the lesson.
Learning about deciduous trees is a great way to incorporate science into a unit study on autumn leaves. Deciduous trees are those that drop their leaves in the fall. Your child may also be interested in why the leaves change colors during the autumn months which opens up the discussion of photosynthesis. Science Made Simple offers several science projects to incorporate fall leaves into your science unit study. With these projects, children can learn how plants prepare for winter and how light affects the color development of leaves.
Leaves are perfect for math studies as you can use them for teaching measurements, symmetry, estimation and probability. Younger children can use autumn leaves for pattern lessons. Mathwire offers a simple addition worksheet which young children can use after collecting a variety of leaves. The leaves are sorted as either “big” or “little” and the data is recorded on the provided sheet. Probability, graphing and symmetry lessons for older children are also available at Mathwire.
Autumn leaves are also an excellent resource for geography lessons. Referring back to deciduous trees (science), your child can learn about the different regions of the world that have deciduous and coniferous trees. If you live in a region that is not known for a variety of deciduous trees, such as South Florida, this is the opportunity to research different regions of the United States to see where these types of trees grow in abundance. You can also use books and the Internet to compare fall leaves in your backyard to those from around the world.
Many books are readily for different age groups on autumn leaves. For children ages 2 and older, “Autumn Leaves” by Ken Robbins provides a visual album of autumn leaves. This book displays over a dozen trees in full color for children to see. Young children will also enjoy Steve Metzger’s “We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt” which features a rhyming story of three friends going on an autumn adventure. Older children can learn about the seasons of the moon in “Autumn Moon” by Jean Craighead George. From September to November, the author lets readers see autumn through the eyes of animals in America.
A unit study on autumn leaves could not be complete without a craft project. Fortunately, there are many ideas available for homeschoolers. A popular craft project for fall is a leaf scrapbook. For this project children collect a variety of fall leaves and label them using a tree identification book. Younger children can complete a leaf book project like the craft project offered by Family Education. Older homeschool children can create a beautiful autumn leaf project from the assortment offered by Better Homes and Gardens.