September 3, 2008


The other morning the girls woke up to the pre-autumn beauty calling to them to explore the woods around our house. We shoved off our normal routine to take a walk up our country drive, picking flowers and weeds to press for bookmarks. We walked slowly because Micah toddled behind us and would stop to dig in the sand or or pick up a stick or taste a few rocks. As we were walking, Mabry started asking questions about mushrooms for those little spongy fairy stools were everywhere.

In our house, if you have a question, there must be an answer waiting to be found. So we turned our morning walk into some mushroom research.

For starters, we gathered all of our supplies for this nature study: field microscope, regular microscope with slides, digging tools, a camera, a notebook with coloring pencils and a collection of mushrooms:

It's interesting to watch each of my children approach research with their own personal style. Cayli Grace was interested in extracting a piece of mushroom for a slide, but she really enjoyed drawing her findings and recording what she saw. She's fairly detailed in her observations, writing about where she found her set of mushrooms and the descriptions of color and texture of each of them.

The twins, however, were more interested in amassing a mammoth collection and grouping them into "families" (really...with a big one as the daddy and the medium one as the mother and the little ones as kids, cousins, should hear all the imaginative stories...*sigh*).
Here's our ever-growing assortment of 'shrooms (who knew that they came in all these colors?):
Our largest was that reddish-brown one and it was almost 6.5 inches across.
We looked up Mushrooms and Toadstools in our Usborne's Living World Encyclopedia. Mushrooms are a fungi that grows year round underneath the forest floor, breaking down dead leaves and other matter. During the fall, they spring up through the ground, complete with a stem and a cap that makes the spores that ride the wind to a new home in another part of the forest lands to continue the cycle.

Now, I've lived in the area forever and I never took the time to notice mushrooms. But when a curious child wonders and's amazing what you can learn.
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1 comment:

Mrs. Darling said...

Thats homeschooling at its best!