Celebrate Fall With Your Kids: Autumn Equinox

Autumn is my little family’s favorite time of the year. My daughters and I try to make the most of it with outings, crafts, baking, learning, and lots of celebrating. As a child led homeschooling mama, I find the changing of the seasons are a great guide to creating yearly flow, learning opportunities, and happy little traditions.

Learning

Emergent learning is all about letting the curiosities about the environment take the lead in prompting learning! Seeing pumpkins, leaves falling, apples on trees, and all the fun fall themed environmental changes can be a great prompt for your child’s learning. Children learn better and more effectively when when the learning process is hand on and interest based!

“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.”

Fred Donaldson, Ph.D., play researcher

We love to integrate supplemental curriculum in our fall activities to learn more while having fun! Carving a pumpkin? Learn about the pumpkin lifecycle and parts of a pumpkin!

A pumpkin patch outing is the perfect way to learn about a pumpkin life cycle and what a pumpkin plant needs to grow!
Help your littles learn new words and phonics with these cute autumn cards you can get on my Etsy here.

[Not an affiliate for this craft guide, just love it!]

Gifts

I do my best to not make celebrations all about consumerism, so the gifts I choose are second hand or something the girls need or can learn with. For Autumn equinox, I am gifting my little ones organic fall pajamas and lovely fall books I want to read with them this season. You can also find lots of fun fall themed gifts at your local thrift or toy stores! [click the image to purchase]

Comment and let me know what fun activities you’re doing this fall!

Enjoy the free fall memory matching game and the fall scavenger hunt!

For support on your child led homeschool journey check out my Unschooling Course & Unschooling Podcast!

What Is Unschooling?

“All I am saying can be summed up in two words: Trust Children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.”

John Holt

Unschooling is a method of homeschooling that is child-led and interest based. It does not follow a set learning schedule, it does not have a set curriculum, and it doesn’t have learning goals the children are supposed to reach. Unschooling is allowing a child to take charge of their education through the pursuit of their own interests and curiosities. Unschooling is the lighting of a fire rather than the filling of a pail – it is creating intrinsically motivated learners who know their own passions. Unschooling is play. It allows children to dive deep into subjects, work on long term projects, and learn the interconnectedness of the different topics they pursue.

How to unschool Wild school homeschool

This idea that children won’t learn without outside rewards and penalties, or in the debased jargon of the behaviorists, “positive and negative reinforcements,” usually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we treat children long enough as if that were true, they will come to believe it is true. So many people have said to me, “If we didn’t make children do things, they wouldn’t do anything.” Even worse, they say, “If I weren’t made to do things, I wouldn’t do anything.”

John Holt, How Children Fail

We all know the importance of free play (or is that just my child development degree speaking?)- it supports emotional, cognitive, and social development. A child can not develop to their full potential without unstructured play. But at what age did we decide this is no longer valuable? As children age, we step away from seeing curiosity and play as a necessity. But the truth is, even as adults, play is healthy. The New York Times even wrote an article on adults needing to play, stating play has immense benefits, “including improved stress management and an improvement in our overall well-being” (NYT). Depression and anxiety are at an all time high in adolescents, yet research has found that number is lower in homeschooled kids. We have to take the pressure off children and adolescents and allow learning to unfold.

“Our rapidly moving, information-based society badly needs people who know how to find facts rather than memorize them, and who know how to cope with change in creative ways. You don’t learn those things in school.”

Wendy Priesnitz

Unschooling focuses on allowing the child to develop their critical thinking, research skills, and their role within the world. Unschoolers learn real world, life skills daily, rather than memorizing or regurgitating old information from a worksheet or text book. Learning is hands on and builds on past knowledge rather than following a set curriculum. This allows children to engage deeper and create useful life skills.

It is important to note unschooling IS NOT leaving your child alone. It is not isolating a child. It is not ignoring their needs. Unschooling can only be effective when a child is well cared for and has support in their learning process. The unschooling adult should be available regularly to answer questions, provide resources, or to scaffold learning.

Ready to Unschool but don’t know where to start? Check out my resources!

Unschooling Course: Raised To Thrive
Unschooling Handouts: What You Need To Know & Getting Started
Unschooling Podcast
Creating An Unschooling Environment
Shop Organic Kid’s Clothes

Creating An Unschooling Environment

Unschooling is all about the child learning through engaging with their surroundings and then pursuing more deeply the concepts that spark curiosity and interest. The environment is key for learning to be a natural and smooth process. The environment should encourage children to explore their interests, learn from experiences, and pursue project based learning. Everything in the learning environment should encourage experimentation, problem-solving, creativity, and open-ended play.

The space should inspire children to direct their own learning. To create an engaging environment there are a few key areas to focus on – aesthetic, loose parts, natural materials, and basic resources. 

The space should allow time and space for a child to linger with an idea or project they are interested in.

Key Loose Parts

Wood Blocks

Play Silks

Stainless Steel Bowls

Sensory Bin Tools (Scoopers & Tongs)

Art Supplies

Modeling Clay

Watercolors

Chalk

Math Tools

Size Relevant Block Numbers

Counting Puzzle

Weaving Loom

Color Pie Puzzle

Play Clock

Play Money & Cash Register

Market Stand With Scale, Clock, and Cash Register

Magnetic Number Board

Geography Tools

Magnetic World Map

World Map Puzzle

Science

Anatomy Magnet Puzzle

Human Body Puzzle

Pretend Play

Wood Pretend Dentist Set

Wood Pretend Make Up Set

Farm Animals

Play Kitchen

Sensory Silks

Organic Baby Doll

Early Literacy

My Favorite Kids Books List

Alphabet Matching

My Favorite Board Games

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The Nature Books You Need In Your Homeschooling Library

Whether distance/online schooling, home schooling, or unschooling, a good home library is key to the learning process for any child. Every child can learn on their own with a good book, even if they’re not reading yet!

Findings published in the journal Social Science Research show that raising a child in a home filled with books positively impacts her future academic growth and job attainment.

Scholastic

These books, with beautiful images and lots of easily digestible information, will allow your young learner to grasp the science of nature in a more relatable and meaningful way.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

Nature Books You Should Own

The Big Book of the Blue (The Big Book Series)


The Julia Rothman Natural Anatomy Book Set

Curious Kids Nature Guide: Explore the Amazing Outdoors of the Pacific Northwest (Books)

The Wonders of Nature

The Big Book of Bugs

Botanicum: Welcome to the Museum

The Big Book of Blooms

In The Garden

A Kid’s Herb Book: For Children of All Ages For Children of All Ages (Books)

Foraging with Kids: 52 Wild and Free Edibles to Enjoy With Your Children

The Magic and Mystery of Trees

The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-Ups

What are your favorite homeschooling or nature books?

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What You Need To Read Before Homeschooling Your Child

Whether you’ve always planned to homeschool your child or have newly decided to homeschool due to changes from Corona Virus, homeschooling is a consequential and life-changing endeavor for the parents and child(ren). It’s important to be informed and change your view from mass schooling and typical education to individualized and personal learning.

Public school is intended to easily educate a mass of people, so when you choose to homeschool, it does not make sense to follow the typical teaching and learning methods used in the education system. In order for you, as an educator & guide, and your child to thrive in homeschooling, it is necessary to learn the research behind natural, child-centered learning. This list of books will give you more than enough information to become an expert (and happy) guide in your child’s home learning process.

As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend, at no additional cost to you, for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Books to Read for Homeschooling

Unschooled by Kerry McDonald

If you read just one of these books, make it this one. This is a research and experience filled book that reveals the importance of taking an alternative approach to education that allows children to learn according to their own interests as well as how to support and optimize that learning process.

Passion-Driven Education by Connor Boyack

One of the reviews I read for this book talks about how it broke the mom’s heart that she didn’t read it before homeschooling because she felt she wasted years not igniting her children’s passion for education. A must read before homeschooling in order to change your approach and get your child(ren) engaged and passionate about what they’re learning.

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Brave Learner by Julie Bogart

Written by a mother who homeschooled her own children, this book teaches parents how to make homeschooling a part of daily life rather than forced and scheduled curriculum. It invites parents to live curiously and role model for their children how to learn by exploring interests and adventures. It provides practical and applicable ways to make homeschooling easy and effective.

Free To Learn by Peter Gray

A developmental psychologist discusses the importance of shifting learning away from structured and forced schooling to children pursuing their own interests through play to become passionate and curious learners.

Balanced and Barefoot by Angela Hanscom

Learn the importance of unrestricted outdoor play on your child’s health and development. The book also provides helpful strategies on helping your child thrive regardless of where you live.

How To Raise A Wild Child by Scott Sampson

A research filled informative book on why and how to get your child interested and engaged in being in nature and outdoor learning.

“The best education does not happen at a desk, but rather engaged in everyday living – hands on, exploring, in active relationship with life.” ~ Vince Gowman

https://greenmamalife.com/2020/01/27/20-quotes-for-world-schooling/

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How To Grow A Creative Child

Five Ways to Encourage Creative Play In Your Child

Why Is Creativity Important?

Creative play supports cognitive development, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking skills.

Creativity involves cognitive processes that transform one’s understanding of, or relationship to, the world.

The Conversation

Children explore their roles in the world and their impact on the world around them through creative play. It’s important for children to process and understand their world as well as express their emotions through creativity for emotional well-being.

Follow these easy tips to support your child’s development through creative play and building the skill of creativity!

Set Up The Environment

The environment is key in encouraging creative play. It is important to create a “no” free zone that children know they can engage in without criticism or many limits.

If it’s not possible to always have this space set up, you can get a large baby gate to section off an area that you can add toys or art supplies the child can engage with freely. Providing a playroom, if possible, is a great option as well. 

Simple Toys and Supplies

Research actually found children engaged more and formed more cognitive connections when using simple, wooden toys rather than electronic “learning” toys.

Keep simple toys that can be used for multiple purposes and imaginative play available at all times.

Schedule Free Time (or Don’t Schedule)

Always make sure there is time in the schedule for your child to engage in play without direction or a goal.

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Give Children Space

Simple, give children space to play on their own without direction. However, ignoring children or forcing them to have alone time will only create children to be more “needy.”

A child’s emotional and attachment needs must be met before they are interested in solo and imaginative play.

Role Model

Show your child how to use their imagination! Read some fantasy books together or grab a stick and pretend it’s a wand.

Teach your children it’s ok and even encouraged to engage in creative play and use things in creative ways.

 “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.”

– Maya Angelou

Finn + Emma Organic Baby

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