November – Month 3 of Homeschooling

What would November be like without comfort foods, the first snow of the wintry season, dancing, and celebrating together? And oh, yes, still plenty of things to learn.

Examples of November learning activities included shadow measuring at different points throughout the day, an erosion lab for the fifth grader, creating an owl’s nest for the first grader, and lots of cooking for all three kids.

We also decided to cook an early Thanksgiving meal for some cousins in the family whose parents were traveling. This involved LOTS of house cleaning to get ready for company; meal planning and prep; chopping, mixing, stirring and tasting of all the sides and desserts (to taste, I mean, test for quality, of course!); and then the actual cooking and enjoying of the foods with people. Opportunities like meals are jam-packed with learning opportunities. The getting-ready aspect took more time than I thought, and I’m glad we started a couple of days prior to the cooking (which was started the day ahead). I had the kids washing walls, sanitizing door handles and remotes, ironing the napkins, and more. Meal prep consisted of planning what to eat and then cooking some items ahead, like the squash and mashed potatoes, so there were fewer items to cook on the actual holiday.

Before Thanksgiving, some science activities were still outdoor-based, such as the shadow measuring one. Since our days are so short in Vermont during November, even going out once an hour for a few hours is enough to see a drastic change in the sun’s movement.

Erosion is a big issue in many places. Although we didn’t have time for a field trip anywhere, we talked about places nearby we could visit at some point. We have a lot of scarring from Tropical Storm Irene that hit in 2011 still visible, so we have since talked about that on our trips around the state. Another great excuse for a field trip, hint hint!

Our kids have always found something magical in the first snow, and who wouldn’t? Blessed with hills around the yard, even the dogs enjoy taking part in the ups and the downs snow brings.

November is also a very gray month for us, and sometimes, there’s nothing better to do than spend some time with good books. Creating book bins and exchanging the contents once a week is like going shopping or to a library in your home. If you have a library to choose from (either local or in your house), scheduling a time once a week to go “book shopping” keeps reading interesting and dynamic. Having a special box or bag for books to be housed in makes it easy to keep books organized per child, especially if you are going to your local library (another great weekly field trip idea). If you use a cardboard box, have your child decorate it to make it special for them to keep adding books to! Don’t forget to create bookmarks as well. Cutting, gluing and applying stickers are great fine motor activities for small hands!

Since this is the start of the holiday season for many people, don’t forget to slow things down if you need to and enjoy the holidays in other ways. Which is a great set-up for my next post: December – Month 4 of Homeschooling!

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