Autumn has been dragging its crimson and golden feet this year. The colors have been gorgeous for an entire month, and I have been awestruck, mostly without camera in hand.
Moonshine and I started her botany study this month. There is no more perfect a time to begin botany than in the autumn when the mushrooms just can't help but burst from the ground at every turn. This is especially true in England. For some of us, the mushrooms want to also grow inside the house... but I digress.
Botany is perfect for ten and eleven-year-olds. At a time when they're turning inward again, feeling a bit off-balance, plant study turns their attention outward to the growth of nature around them. It's almost as if you can hear them saying, "Hey, I'm not the only thing that's growing around here."
My resource books for this block include Charles Kovacs' Botany, Gerbert Grohmann's The Living World of Plants, Comstock's The Handbook of Nature Study, and Klocek's Drawing from the Book of Nature. What I love about both Kovacs and Grohmann's books is that they both approach plant growth in parallel with a child's growth. In my opinion, Kovacs is the better story-teller, but they are both giving the message that growth and knowledge go hand in hand. Embrace them. Be proud of how far you've come!
It's exactly what children at this age need to hear.
Moonshine went for a little walk in the garden to look for mushrooms. Even I was surprised at how many different kinds she found!
We harvested five kinds and tried to do some spore prints on the back steps. The wind had other ideas, and both mushrooms and paper were scattered in all directions within an hour. The wind came up so fierce that afternoon that it cracked our eucalyptus tree in half.
We'll try it again in a couple of weeks when we have a nice sheltered place from the weather. For now though, it's fun just to look. Isn't the purple mushroom stunning?
Her heart is really into this lesson, and already her main lesson book is turning out beautifully.