6 Spring Homeschool Activities We Love
Ah, spring! Nature bursts with new life and hints at the warmer days to come. After so many months indoors, we can’t wait to get outside. Even with crisp mornings and threats of rain, I look forward to planning spring homeschool activities with my children. I try to incorporate as many relevant outdoor experiences as I can, so natural sciences figure prominently in my plans. The foundation has always been nature study, and I recently discovered that SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership includes a 100-page Creative Nature Study e-book. This extensive book includes many ideas for engaging children with God’s beautiful creation.
But now that my youngest child is nearly age 13, spring homeschool activities really need to be more sophisticated. His extensive knowledge of animals of all types makes it almost impossible for me to find appropriate lesson material. And it makes nature study more challenging. So what about focusing on plants instead of animals?
Advanced Nature Study with Botany
While we need plants for almost every aspect of life, nature study rarely goes deeper than basic botany. I decided to use the Botany course from SchoolhouseTeachers.com as the basis for our nature study this spring. When I looked through it, I discovered that nearly every lesson involved hands-on suggestions for studying plants. And while it still covered the usual plant topics, it included other topics I hadn’t seen before. These lessons will likely take us into the summer, but they will form the basis for our spring homeschool activities.
Gardening and Homesteading
For many years, one of our spring homeschool activities involved starting our garden from seed. We conducted many experiments to discover what seed-starting method worked best and which seedlings proved hardier in the transplant process. We tried different soil enrichment options and various organic and natural pesticides too. We learned a lot in those years, but unfortunately, my youngest probably doesn’t remember. Maybe it’s time to make that part of our spring homeschool activities again. After all, some of the lessons in the botany course I mentioned involve exactly these types of experiments!
The course Foods and Food Production on SchoolhouseTeachers.com also talks about the growing and harvesting of vegetables. In fact, it discusses 26 different fruits and vegetables at a level an 8-year-old can understand. But it’s mostly a list of videos and picture books, not experiments. In addition to the Botany course, the Homesteading course also covers some gardening topics. These two courses discuss food preservation methods as well.
Hiking, Biking, and Other Active Spring Homeschool Activities
We can’t wait to get outside and get active after being cooped up for three months! Even though we try to go ice skating, sledding, or snowshoeing, those times are too infrequent to be beneficial. When the weather starts to warm, our spring homeschool activities include hiking and biking. The Family Fitness Homeschool Course on SchoolhouseTeachers.com provides some structure to our regimen and helps us meet our goals in a fun way. And it’s easy to incorporate when we’re already outdoors doing our botany or gardening activities.
Tapping maple trees has been a family favorite for years. We almost always attend a local maple syrup demonstration each spring. Even though my children have done this many times and can probably recite the whole talk from memory, it’s still fun! From Tree to Table: A Maple Syrup Story is a unit study from SchoolhouseTeachers.com centered around this long tradition. It includes ideas and lessons for all subject areas, including picture book and website suggestions for learning more.
Other Spring Homeschool Activities
Nature study for us has usually included drawing from nature. Every year, I’ve bought a nature sketchbook and watercolor pencils for each of my children. Those times have stuck with my kids and they still draw on their own, taking inspiration from God’s creation. The course Let’s Do Art Outside reminds me of some of those times but includes many crafts too.
One thing I wish we had done more of was incorporating Bible into our nature study. The Digging for Treasure: a Biblical Scavenger Hunt looks fun for younger children and has inspired me to come up with some way to integrate more Bible into the spring homeschool activities I do with my son this year.
With all these resources and ideas, I’m excited about this spring. It’s going to be great digging into plants and getting our garden going again.
Julie Polanco is a 16+ years veteran homeschooling mom of four challenging, artsy kids. She is the author of two books for moms–God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn and 100 Ways to Motivate Kids–and the high school botany instructor for www.SchoolhouseTeachers.com. She teaches live middle school science workshops for her local homeschool co-op and is actively involved in her church’s women’s ministry. You can find her at www.julienaturally.com where she offers natural learning & living solutions for challenging kids and their families.