We found toadstools in our autumn garden yesterday. Just as Gerry ( dh) was going to toss these into the garden rubbish, I remembered a tip from Karen Andreola, in one of the old Parent Review magazines.
My mind went back to Gnowangerup, a little country town. Our oldest was 17 and youngest 2. We had many toadstools in our damp garden and when the Parents Review magazine popped in our mail box, with its articles on mushrooms and toadstools, I knew that nature study was set for the week.
So, as history does repeat, again and again in homeschooling a large family, yesterday, Saturday, we re-visited toadstools and mushrooms.
I gingerly removed the stalks from the toadstools and lay them, underside down, on white computer paper. The toadstools were damp with dew.
By the close of the day, we saw patterns and swirls – artwork left by the damp toadstools and their spores.
This is one sample above. I have put our scanner to good use – imagine how these look now they are in our nature journals!
We cut and pasted our paper into our nature books – a treasure trove of family memories, not just nature journals. More discovery journals, to quote Karen Rackliffe from the book :”Wild Days.”
“To notice the painting on a flower, the shape of a cloud, the song of a thrush and the cool smoothness of the bark on a birch tree, these are the memories captured in a nature journal. Nature studies are an integral part of the living atmosphere of a classroom. Without them, trees become merely pictures, flowers lose their fragrance, birds are without song and movement, and life exists only outside the window. To know nature is a source of refreshment and pleasure for every person–teachers and students alike.
Within my own classroom, nature studies have been a biweekly habit of picking up our notebooks and colored pencils and heading outside to be still, quiet and thoughtful. Afterwards, we use a field guide to identify our new discoveries. Oftentimes, these moments are the most productive of the entire day, and they serve to provide the much needed mind-food for other academic disciplines.”