Homeschooling provides us with a great tool and countless opportunities to get to the heart of our children. We also have a myriad of ways to better understand how they think and how they learn and then to tailor their educational experience specifically to them. That’s one of the reasons why so many homeschooled children truly do develop a love of learning that serves them well for the rest of their lives.
Sometimes around October, though, we become a little weary with what we’re doing. The excitement of the new homeschool year has worn off for us and for our kiddos alike. If we’re not careful, we run the risk of losing our wonder that God actually allows us to do this with our children, and homeschooling can actually become drudgery.
So, this week’s Big Idea is all about having a little fun together, while we’re still learning and growing and staying on our mission as home educating families. You’ll find that Autumn is a great time to focus on creative writing and doing all the fun fall things!
These fall writing themes will foster writing fun for even reluctant writers– and they’ll give you some great insight into the hearts and minds of your kiddos! Here are some writing prompts to kick off the season in your home, along with some ideas of how they could direct your activities and conversations this season as well.
Describe Fall with your Five Senses – Ask your child to explain how their senses work by challenging them to describe the season using their senses. How does their favorite fall treat taste? What are their favorite fall sounds and smells? Go for nature walks and have them use adjectives to describe the sounds they hear. Note how sound carries differently now than during other seasons. Encourage noticing tiny details to get creative juices flowing.
As a parent on mission, this will give you great insight into some of the things they love most and why. You can use the things you learn about them to surprise them, plan dates with them, and generally make the days special in small ways that let them know how you love them in big and small ways alike. Never underestimate the impact these little things will have on your relationship with them in the days ahead.
Make a List of Fall Activities – What does your child like to do in the fall? Go to the apple orchard? Go on a hayride? Jump in a pile of raked leaves? Have your student write about their favorites and add as much detail as they can.
Then, see which of those activities you can do as a family to build great memories together and deepen those relationships!
Describe your Favorite Donut – Have them get creative by pretending to be the donut, what flavor would they be or maybe describe their favorite donut and why. Write about a day in the life of a donut from 1st person. How does it feel to be eaten?
Why not cap off the activity by making donuts to celebrate the writer’s efforts? You could even have a baking contest to see which of your children’s favorite flavors turn out the best.
Write about Baking a Pie – If your child loves baking, encourage them to bake their favorite and then write about the experience. Describe what it took to actually make the pie, so a friend could make one too. Have students rate the results by describing how it tastes, what the texture was like, etc. Develop a survey sheet for family members to rate their pie eating experience.
This activity is not only a great writing exercise, but it also gives you a unique platform to spend some time teaching great skills to your kiddos and even passing along family recipes as you go.
Describe your Favorite Fall Outfit – What does your child like to wear during the fall season? Encourage them to write details on why they like it and why they chose colors, etc. If they are sensory defensive, ask them to describe how certain new fall fabrics irritate them vs which clothing items comfort them and why.
If you are trying to gain a deeper understanding about how they process things and what may be at the root of what they love or of what irritates them, an exercise like this can be golden! If writing is a struggle at this level, you can turn this into a conversation over a nice cup of hot chocolate.
Thanksgiving – Have your children write about Thanksgiving and what they like about it noting sights, sounds, textures, and smells they remember from one year to the next. What are they most thankful for?
This is a great tool to reinforce traditions, explain why your family does what it does, and to help them foster a habit a gratitude and thanksgiving while they’re young. David’s Thanksgiving in the Psalms journal is a great tool to use for devotions as you’re focusing on gratitude and enjoying the benefits that comes from that. PLUS, hearing what your children are thankful for is a great way to better understand what’s in their hearts. For those for whom it’s really hard to think of anything they’re thankful for, you’ll want to start encouraging them in that way. Bring up things you’re thankful for more often to model a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving.
Fall writing prompts are endless. You can get really silly and creative as well. Encourage your older children to come up with writing prompts for younger siblings and have them all write using that prompt — then compare the responses. That’s another way to strengthen relationships within your family and to give your children opportunities to express themselves in ways that will give you a lot of insight into what’s in their hearts.
For a homeschool parent on mission, every academic tool we have can help us build relationships and foster conversations that we can use to give our children a foundation for their faith and give them the education they need to help them excel at whatever God calls them to do in the days ahead.