Mother Goose Time Orchard Harvest Theme
You’ve heard me say it about 62 times in the last few months, but I’m saying it again. I LOVE fall and am so excited for our orchard harvest theme. One of the main reasons I love our Mother Goose Time Curriculum is because it allows (enables) me to be organized. Without having to spend a ton of time on the gathering and planning, I have a comprehensive preschool curriculum planned.
The beauty I’m finding in our homeschooling journey is the chance to adapt that curriculum to our needs and interests. With fall officially here I like to take my monthly planning calendar and start arranging our month. Since my daughter is still in preschool I leave a LOT of flexibility in our schedules. If she shows particular interest in an activity, we continue with that perhaps at the expense of a different subject.
If you are like me, and new to homeschooling, you are going to find a routine for planning that works for you. When I was new to Mother Goose Time I was so excited to get the box each month, but I was also a little overwhelmed by the amount of activities included. With a suggested Story Time and Dance activity each day included, that’s roughly 140 activities monthly.
Not only did I get bogged down with the need to check complete on all 140 activities, but I started stressing out trying to get it all organized.
Since then I’ve calmed down.
I have since remembered that homeschooling, especially preschool, is supposed to be enjoyable and flexible. To best enable that to happen I have created planning times each month. While Mother Goose Time is an open and go curriculum there is still an element of planning that helps smooth our transitions.
Following are some ways that I organize our monthly school activities in my once a month planning session. Generally, I plan on this taking about an hour. (Yup, I plan to plan 🙂
Field Trips with a Fall Theme
Perhaps the most comprehensive planning I do is with our field trip planning. I am of the mindset that the more you expose your child to, the more confident and capable they will be. Also, I believe in a multi-faceted approach to learning. The more ways my daughter can interact with a concept, the more she’s able to fully embrace it. I’m certain there is a technical term and studies, I just know the old adage that repetition is the mother of emphasis.
And it’s just plain fun to get out of the house and learn in the world. I think fall is one of the easiest times of year to plan field trips because family activities are bountiful this time of year. While we go to the farmer’s market regularly, I updated her scavenger hunt with an autumn focus.
After we get our magical box with the yellow school bus, I open it up when I have some free time by myself. The teachers tool kit bag has our 4 planning journals along with other essential tools for the month. Initially, I’m only looking at the planning journals though.
Each week is a separate theme that supports the overall monthly theme. I pull out the planning journals and start to create our master list of possible field trips based on themes as well as family interests for the month. Looking for some ideas for your fall and orchard harvest? Here is what we have planned for next month.
Tree Life Cycle –
- Botanical Garden
- Local Park with Trees
- Audubon Society Activities
- State or National Park Activities
- Free Forest School Activities
- Local Science Centers or River Centers
- Science Museum
- Tree Farms/Nurseries
We are excited to be going to explore our Arboretum for the first time. As it turns out, most parks and outdoor gardens host story times. In my goal to develop a well rounded steward of the earth, I want my daughter to love outdoor spaces. This means meeting her on her terms and sparking interests at her level. While the story time and face painting might not specifically be about a tree life cycle, she will develop a love of an outdoor space. While there we can add in some learning or simple observation of the trees.
Enjoy Healthy Snacks –
- Farmers Market
- You Pick Farms and Orchards
- Pumpkin Patch
- Grocery Shopping
- Tree Farms
- Cooking Classses
- “Fancy Lunch Dates”
Undoubtedly you have seen by now that we strive to eat a rainbow here at our house. We have a love of fruits and vegetables, but that doesn’t necessarily mean my daughter is an adventurous eater. She likes what she likes and doesn’t always (EVER) embrace eating new things without encouragement. I have learned that she does better with fruits and vegetables the more I take the “mystery” away from them. So if we handle apples and make boats from them and talk about their seeds and their shapes and their different flavors…the more she is generally eager to eat them.
Animals in the Orchard –
- Wildlife Preserves
- Science Museums
- Orchards or Farms
We don’t have any orchards here close by, but we do have zoos with aviary’s, parks with trees and squirrels and a backyard full of bugs. There are also parks with a bit more nature in them close by and nature preserves with kids programs. I suggest doing a local search for nature preserves or wildlife preserves. The local city mom’s blog is also a great resource. Sometimes there are areas in your own backyard you didn’t even know existed until you start looking for them.
Turns out that unless you have preschool aged children you generally aren’t looking for preschool resources. At least I wasn’t. Who knew there was so much cool stuff for our kiddo’s now? I’m always thinking…when did that get built, started, put in. Why didn’t I know about it before? Turns out they don’t talk about preschool resources on the wine train. Weird.
The point being that no matter where you are, there is probably a wealth of resources for you to go explore if you just know where or what to look for.
Skins and Shells –
- Peach Orchards
- Pecan Orchards
- Farmers Markets
- Pumpkin Patches
- Grocery Stores
- Nature Walks
- Fall Festivals
We are so excited for the pumpkin patch season to be here. I have some of my favorite memories of our pumpkin patch at home with it’s corn maze and fresh apple cider. I’ve often been saddened when fall comes to Texas and the “pumpkin patches” start popping up in the grocery store parking lot’s. To me, asphalt and 90 degrees does not epitomize a pumpkin patch. However, as it turns out, there are several wonderful options local farmers have dedicated to pumpkin season.
Within a short drive I can find quite a few options that include real pumpkins growing on vines. Some with corn mazes and other activities for the kid’s (and kid’s at heart). This mama’s heart is so happy that I get to share that experience with her.
My grandmother loves the beach, as do I. I’m not entirely sure if my love of the beach is because of my love for her or because of my memories of being there. One of my goals is for my daughter to feel like she truly knows me and that I shared parts of myself with her.
My absolute love of the fall festivities is an essential part of my motherhood journey. For you it might be different and I encourage you to find the fall activities that make you who you are and share them with your kiddo’s. Balancing that with new experiences you can learn and enjoy together.
Transitioning to Fall Learning –
Throughout the month we’ve been talking about how routines and transitions help us in our homeschooling journey. Understanding that our learning is thematic the remainder of our planning helps both my daughter and I get ready for fall.
- Decorate the Classroom – even though Mother Goose Time provides an exceptional circle time center we wanted to take it up a notch this fall. We created a felt tree to house our leaf alphabet letters with a space for our focus letters. Miss M and I created these fabulous leaf ornaments. They were meant to be a mobile or window garland, but we ended up sticking removable squares on the back and Miss M put them on the window instead.
- Story Time Books – While Mother Goose Time gives a list of suggested books for the month, I supplement with other books of a similar theme if they are not available. I do try to explore as many of the suggested books as possible to broaden our literary repertoire. Take your literary journey further with this list of nature themed picture books.
- Dance N Beats CD – Did you know that Dance N Beats has a You Tube Channel? I open up the Dance N Beats CD, always start our dance time during the day with the suggested song and then turn on the You Tube Channel for a continued dance party. If you are blessed with a yard full of leaves, create an obstacle course for your kiddo’s.
- Gathering List – I am a little type A when it comes to our school supplies, especially our arts and crafts supplies. I take out my master list of supplies and check it against what we need. The gathering list is great for a quick trip to the craft store to supplement if there is anything specific we still need. I try to be frugal and creative when it comes to supplies so I’m not creating unnecessary waste or expense.
Meal Planning –
While I only plan meals for the week, not the month, I do incorporate meal planning into our monthly setup. As always, I try to encourage my daughter to help plan the meals and build her a visual grocery list. Admittedly the meal planning for weeks 2 and 4 that are focused on food items should be fairly easy to incorporate. For fall we include a lot of apple and pumpkin related treats. While we’re cooking I have some fun activities set up for her to explore even further.
In the meantime, I work in a learning opportunity as we talk about the fact we’ll be learning about trees next week. We discuss what foods might come from a tree and who has seeds, potatoes and carrots are like roots, red peppers hang on a branch, etc.
In a nutshell (pun intended) that is my planning time for the month. I hope it’s given you some fun ideas for field trips and supplemental learning opportunities. Are you as excited for fall as I am? What are your favorite fall preschool activities? Need some more inspiration? Visit my Pinterest Fall Crafts and Activities Boards.
Disclosure – We were so excited to be chosen as an official Mother Goose Time Blog Ambassador effective September 2018. As a blog ambassador I receive the curriculum in exchange for my honest feedback and experiences using the materials. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I hope that you are encouraged and inspired to try new things with the little ones in your life.