Saturday, October 2, 2010

Finding the Fun in October

October blows in with blazing yellows, glowing oranges, and dramatic reds. It also arrives with wagon-load of educational, family fun!  You don’t need a spyglass to look for the fun; it’s all around! Ask God which opportunities will have the most lasting value for your family, and enjoy your choices.

October has two holidays you might choose to observe: Columbus Day (10/11/10) and Halloween (10/31/10). If you are in Canada, October 11 is also Thanksgiving this year. You can find plenty of activities for these dates by doing an online search. You might visit your library and see what holiday books the children’s librarian has on display for checking out. One of my favorite autumn holiday activities has always been pumpkin carving. In recent years, I’ve learned how to carve the faces of my children into a jack-o-lantern!
Visiting a pumpkin patch is a fun fall family activity! Some farms make cornfield mazes for visitors to enjoy. (We love those!) If you can find a farm that offers family activities (for a fee, of course), you could plan a field trip. We participated in autumn farm field trips with our homeschool group many times and always enjoyed the hayrides, mazes, educational activities, and photographic opportunities. Even parents learn new things; for instance, I learned that pie pumpkins are different from the pumpkins that are made into jack-o-lanterns. Did you know that?

In this region, October brings the Carolina Renaissance Festival. This festival offers “student days” where educational opportunities abound and adult entertainment is kept under wraps. See and speaking to the roaming costumed characters brings history to life in a way no book ever could. If you get a chance to see any type of historical reenactment, take it! Your children will always remember the times they took a step into history.

This month is also host to many small-town festivals and fairs. From various harvest festivals celebrating everything from pigs to cotton to squash and fairs devoted to rides, music, and vegetable contests, you can find plenty to see, do, and learn. Take the time to walk through the animal and farming exhibits. Antique car exhibits are interesting as well! After a fun outing, ask your children to write a summary or a poem about their experience for a language arts assignment.

If there is an autumn fruit or vegetable that you have never cooked or tasted, let that become the focus of a homeschool lesson. Your grocery store probably has produce that you have never tried, or you could visit a farmers market. Another fun activity could be decorating fruits, vegetables, or gourds to be used as decorations with paint or markers. That counts as an art project!

So many of God’s blessings are visible this month, so celebrate His creation and His goodness! Let your kids help you plan activities. Ask God to make those teachable moments happen. Enjoy your journey through autumn and toward Thanksgiving and Christmas! (They'll be here before you know it!)

P.S. Here is this year's Us-o-lantern, featuring my daughter with cornrows and myself! We're supposed to be yelling, but it looks more like I'm laughing at my surprised teen. Maybe she IS surprised. After all, there is a lit votive in her mouth. teehee

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