The school year starts in September for most families. The days are beautifully filled with autumn splendor. The sun is bright, but the shadows long on many autumn mornings. It is a great time of year. Every year our family would start studies with much anticipation and energy. After a few weeks the newness would wear off and the children would need a boost (and so would mom!). Every October or November we implemented something that we called “Autumn Adventure Day” — a day whose events were always a surprise for the children. On that morning I would wake the children up, telling them to hurry and get dressed because I had a surprise for them. A backpack for each of them was packed and ready to go, including a packed breakfast and a journal.  It was usually one I made and it was shaped like an apple or pumpkin with a colorful cover on it. We would hit the road, stopping at all sorts of planned adventures along the way. Usually we would usually include a visit to the children’s grandparents. Along the way we would do things like: pick a bucket of apples in the neighbor’s orchard; stop at a bakery to watch them make bagels; go to a park and identify trees and gather nuts and seeds; jog a lap or two around a running track; go to Grandma’s house for a story she would read; go to a tea room for lunch and learn manners; to the other grandma’s house for cookies and a nature lesson; and so on. The time line was scheduled and filled with many fun, short activities. The children would record events in their journal in the car between events. Zip lock bags were included in their backpack for collecting nature objects. And a camera was given as well, for recording things that weren’t easy to draw or write about. The journals became more sophisticated over the years — being age-appropriate as the children grew.  Our autumn adventures were chock full of learning activities and events, all mixed with a great deal of fun.  Each autumn the children would look forward to this ‘surprise’ day with much anticipation.

I highly recommend thinking outside of the box! It’s how memories are made! What a blessing it is to be the teacher of one’s own children. Having an autumn adventure day is just one way of making it a fun and happy experience.

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