Autumn is a lovely time to start a year long tree study. We begin our homeschool nature study on autumn leaves by watching the leaves slowly change colour and learning about why that happens.
Once all the leaves have dropped and revealed the tree trunk and branches its offers us a chance to study the structure of the tree in a way that is not possible in the summer. Winter is when the trees set the following seasons leaves and by the time spring arrives we watch as day-by-day brand new bright green leaves emerge.
The autumnal change is captivating no matter your age which makes it a popular study with our young ones. But there is value in looking at this again when your children are a bit older in order to dig a bit deeper into the chemistry behind the changing colours.
During the autumn the attention of the children should be attracted to the leaves by their gorgeous colors. ~ Anna Botsford ComstockThe Handbook of Nature Study page 622
We are embarking on a year long tree study as advocated by Charlotte Mason and I would encourage you to do the same. We have a spectacular tree in our garden that creates quite a picture from our schoolroom, in fact we have a rather unusual situation where we have two trees that were planted rather to closely together. As a result we have branches of red and green leaves intertwined which creates a beautiful picture.
Homeschool Nature Study on Autumn Leaves for Older Students
Around our village some trees are turning before others. Some keep to yellow hues while a few are showing reds coming through – I really love this season!
I asked the girls if they remembered why the leaves change colours and I got half an answer. This told me that they are not clearly understanding the chemistry of why leaves change colour.
My focus for our autumn leaves lesson can be found in Anna Botsford Comstocks ‘Handbook of Nature Study’, Lesson 172 in Anna Botsford Comstocks .
As I am pitching our autumn leaves nature study at the older student we we start off our lesson watching this video that is aimed at older students and focusing more on the chemistry. Now I’m really not a chemistry buff but thankfully there are some very clever people who have written books and made wonderful YouTube videos explaining the wonders of this natural annual occurrence.
After we watched the video together we had a brief discussion so that I could make sure that they understood what had been said.
We discussed our year-long study of our tree and some ideas that I had for this study. One of those ideas which has been milling about in my head has been to photograph our tree each season so that we can put all our photographs together at the end of our year and remember what it looked like throughout the year.
For our autumn focus we are going to do the same sort of photographic challenge. Here are some suggestions from The Handbook of Nature Study:
- make a note of the first day you notice the leaves on your tree changing.
- Take a weekly photograph of your tree right up to the point when all the leaves have fallen.
- Note the date the last leaf falls.
We will be able to see from start to finish how long it took for our tree to change and lose it’s leaves. I’ve created a seasonal tree study board on Pinterest to track out changes.
Bringing the Outdoors In
There are many wonderful autumn leaf crafts aimed at younger children. For the older home schooled student (and for moms) we have decided to use the lovely changing leaves and autumnal nature treasures to decorate our home. No matter the age, decorating the home for autumn remains one of those small seasonal pleasures!
Here are some posts from the archives on our autumn decorating ideas that older children would more than likely love to get involved in:
Now if you are wondering how I can be writing about autumn leaves changing at the beginning of August, let me just set the record straight by saying that this post if from the archives. But September is just a few weeks away and as is my autumn loving nature, I start thinking and planning for autumn ahead of time. If I don’t I miss out on some key things that I love to do during this season.
So I hope that you will forgive the early autumnal posts and perhaps just bookmark them to enjoy later!
Blessings in Christ to you all…