Homeschooling Nature Study

Homeschool Nature Study on Fungi

Homeschool nature study fungi

Nature Study seems to have taken a bit of a back seat in our homeschool.. This makes me sad as it was something that we did each Friday. I recently sat down to have a think about this and after much pondering realized that just like the seasons so is life. It’s changeable – always fluid.

So although nature study has taken a back seat over the passed 12 months I have decided that it’s time for us to gently bring it back and reinstate it to it’s regular Friday slot in our learning.

Now one of the problems that I have is that my youngest daughter is not, nor has she ever been, terribly ‘into’ nature study. But it’s one of those things that I feel is important for us and for our learning, even if it is only to get out together and enjoy a walk.

Our first nature walk of the season was to be a fungi walk. While this was not one of the official challenges in this months OHC newsletter, I wanted our time outdoors to be enjoyable to my daughter without the pressure of any ‘teachy’ moments which I sometimes feel she bulks at. I drew on the OHC archives for our challenge this week.

I printed off a few Fungi ID sheets from Nature Detectives and laminated them – although this was a cute idea these turned out to be completely useless as we found none of fungi on the ID sheets in our woodland but plenty of others, so I’m glad I took along our field guide too.

I started off our OHC time with a bit of a sneaky way to hook my daughters attention, some fascinating YouTube videos on forest floor fungi. It worked! She loved the time-lapse videos.

After watching these two videos we armed ourselves with a camera and walked to our local woodland. We decided to see who could spot the most mushrooms – I have to say that I lost miserably, my daughter has really sharp eyes and a knack for finding fungi it seems:)

As we walked along the path I asked her to tell me as much as she could remember about fungi – as it so happens she remembers quite a bit from previous OH challenges so this was a great way to review what she already knew.

We managed to find some bracket fungi

As well as a good deal of species that we just could not identify. I tell you, as we looked through the pages of our field guide the differences between edible and highly poisonous mushrooms can be barley distinguishable. It really brought home how careful you need to be in this area and that if you want to forage for mushrooms you really should go with someone who knows what they are doing.

We found this mushroom (above) happily growing out of the bark on this very healthy tree (below)…

Looking at all the varieties we found (and I’m not showing you every single picture – there were just too many) I was quite enthralled by them. They seem to have such a mystical quality about them and I can see why the feature so strongly in fairy tales 🙂

Sadly we didn’t see any Fly Agaric which are my favorite mushrooms (although highly poisonous), but in paging through our field guide I was able to identify the ‘Dead Mans Fingers’ fungi that we found on a walk a few years back that I couldn’t identify at the time. 

I didn’t ask my daughter to create a journal entry for this walk, I suggested that perhaps she could print off some of the pictures and stick them in her journal – this appealed to her more. I know that Charlotte Mason was quite adamant about keeping a  nature journal but Anna Botsford Comstock did not believe that a child should be forced to do so. I’m hoping that I can encourage my daughter to work in her journal by example when she sees me working in mine. For now I am content with just being outdoors with her, enjoying nature and conversation.