Saturday, September 4, 2010

Finding the Fun in September

September comes with changing leaves, cooler temperatures (yay!), and thoughts of autumn tastes and celebrations. September is back-to-school, apples, and leaves drifting down to carpet lawns and sidewalks. If you haven’t found any fun in your months recently, begin now to find fun activities for your family. God blessed us with the ability to laugh! The side benefits to belting out some guffaws include a reduction in stress and pain, and it even benefits our brains and hearts! Knowing this, ask the Lord to help you provide some educational entertainment (or should that be entertaining education?) for you and your children this month.
 September has three holidays you might choose to observe: Labor Day (9/6/10), Patriot Day (9/11/10), and Grandparents Day (9/12/10). Since Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, you might make this the day you enjoy a summer activity that you have put off all season. You might also teach your children the history of Labor Day; make it fun by pairing the lesson with a picnic! Because Patriot Day is the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, if you choose to observe that holiday, your discussion and activities will be thoughtful and serious. Grandparents Day never made it big like Mothers Day and Father Day, but it can still be a fun and meaningful day. Artistic children might enjoy painting or drawing a picture for a grandparent or making a collage online with photos. You might look through photo albums or watch old home movies. If the grandparents are living and local, you can invite them out for something fun – maybe take them to the zoo! Your children can ask their grandparents what zoos were like when they were young.
 Another September idea: combine map-reading with science in the form of a scavenger hunt, a fun activity for a delightful autumn afternoon! On your computer or by hand, create a simple map of a familiar outdoor place. Mark spots on the map for your child to stop and collect something from the list you provide. Items may include natural items such as fallen leaves of different colors, a pinecone, acorn, stone, mushroom, or feather. You may also include man-made items such as non-dangerous trash. (Be specific about what is dangerous; broken glass is an obvious no-no!) Afterwards, you can study the findings and discuss the differences between man-made and God-made objects.
 If you haven’t been camping recently (or ever), let me encourage you go take your family and go this month! It’s not too hot, not too cold, and not too crowded. In fact, as a homeschooling family, you can go mid-week and have most of the campground to yourself! My kids loved this. We took some school work with us and worked on it when it rained. On one camping excursion, we hiked, checked out a local Cherokee museum, and got acquainted with some little lizards! On another, we joined a homeschool group and took a field trip to an archaeological dig at an old plantation. We got to learn how painstaking it is to hunt through old garbage pits for clues to the past. Camping is an adventure and a learning experience every time.
 This is a great time to visit an apple orchard and pick your own apples. Kids love this activity! There are a lot of apple orchards around here, and many homeschool groups form field trips that include hayrides, cider press demonstrations, and other educational lessons. You don’t need a group, however. Go and get some apples and see how many different things – edible, drinkable, or non-edible – you can make from them!
 With a little effort, this could be the month of the most fun ever. Let your kids help you plan activities. Ask God to make those teachable moments happen. Enjoy your journey!
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