Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Autumn Leaves (A Unit Study)

I love Autumn. It is my very favorite time of year. Don't get me wrong. I love my flip flops, but there is something about the Fall that makes me happy.

This week I've started adding some fall touches to my house. Fall is also a terrific time for some easy nature studies.A few years back, my Dad and Josiah collected leaves for a leaf collection. They walked about the farm...carefully collecting their specimens.

I can't for the life of me remember where we put the thing. Anyhoo.

Leafs are especially fun to study. For one...they are free! We live in the Ozarks and the change of season has brought with it beautiful colors and smells. Everywhere we look is a project or experiment waiting to happen.

This year I'm keeping it simple. A few fun activities, some beautiful poetry, lovely music and wonderful art.

Draw a leaf and identify the parts.  Just label using this link.

Create your own leaf identification field guide. You can gather leaves and label them in a notebook. If you want to preserve the leaves you can use any of these methods.

How about some leaf science? Try this fun science experiment on why leaves change colors.

 We created leaf art just a few weeks ago using watercolors with our friends. My mom had found the project in her Martha Stewart magazine. The results were quite lovely. I promise a blog post soon. I've kind of had just a few things going on!

Speaking of art...Do an picture study. This is Vincent Van Gogh's, Reaper. 

Or use Claude Monet. Autumn at Argenteuil. 

 Get inspired by great poetry. This link will provide a whole list of poems. I personally like this one by Emily Bronte. 

Fall, leaves, fall
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay

Ushers in a drearier day.

 I love adding classical music to any of our studies. Here are a few of my favorite compositions for Autumn. 

This one is the String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132: III. Molto adagio (Beethoven). This one is also called the Song of Thanksgiving. Beethoven composed it after recovering from a life-threatening illness. 

A ode to Autumnal compositions wouldn't be complete without The Four Seasons, Concerto 3: L’Autumno by Vilvadi. 

Vivaldi also wrote Sonnets for each movement of the Four Seasons.  For this movement: “The mild pleasant air makes all abandon dance and song; this is the season that invites all to the sweet delights of peaceful sleep”. Word. 

Here is another from a "Seasons" collection. It is one of 12 by Tchaikovsky. The Seasons, October: Song of Autumn (Tchaikovsky)

This next selection is not necessarily about Autumn. It is the Firebird Suite by Stravinsky. It is based on a Russian Folktale. 

Based on a Russian folktale, The Firebirdtells the story of Prince Ivan’s encounter with “a fabulous bird with plumage of fire.”  The bird gives Ivan a magic feather that he may use in the face of danger.  Afraid of being turned to stone by an evil King, Ivan uses the magic feather and the Firebird appears to help him.  In the “Berceuse and Finale”, the Firebird frees all who have been turned to stone, and Ivan wins the hand of a lovely princess.

It's good listening for a blustery fall day. 

Of course, your Autumn Leaf study wouldn't be complete without something great to read. This resource is a good one if you are looking for reviews. 

My favorite way to look for good books is to go to the library and see whatever strikes our fancy. Josiah and I gather up a whole stack and read to our hearts content. I know. I'm a lot of help. 

I'm closing with my favorite hot drink recipe for a chilly, fall evening. I have had to make a sugar free version, but this is drink is so wonderful. I can't even tell you. It will make you smack your lips. 

I posted it back a few years ago. I'm sharing it again today.  

Friendship Tea Mix
 (also called Russian Tea Mix)

18 ounces Tang drink mix

1 cup instant iced tea

2 cups granulated sugar

1 package powdered lemonade mix

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix and place into a covered jar or other container. For hot tea mix 2/3 tablespoon to 1 cup of hot water. For iced tea mix substitute cold water and pour over ice.

It is a great recipe to use for practice measuring. And it would be a great present to make and take it shut-ins and neighbors. Or your friendly, neighborhood blogger. 

I am linking up to the Autumn Homeschool Studies Blog Carnival at Schoolhouse Crew Review.com

Autumn Homeschool Studies

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