Opening Their Eyes

Early on in my family’s Charlotte Mason education, nature study time just meant going outside to see what we could see. There was no plan. I’m not knocking that way of doing nature study. In fact, it was an improvement over the “we’ll just skip it today” mantra that I had very early on.

A most memorable day of “seeing what we could see”, came when we walked outside and found a wee mushroom.

It was like a little gift to us! We each did a nature drawing, 
Can you see the mushroom down front and center?

we struggled through some identifications,

we read a short book,

and we made some spore prints.

The kids’ surprised faces are priceless!
Some spore prints are light colored and some are dark, hence our use of black and white paper.

This was so fun that we decided we would try to find more mushrooms somewhere else. My sister has a large piece of property with a fun creek, where we spent several days a week playing. That seemed like the best place to start our mushroom search. Would we find any? We had been over there recently and hadn’t seen any.

As we walked around we noticed hundreds – no thousands – of mushrooms! They were everywhere!!

What happened? Had they all popped up overnight?  No, our eyes were just opened.

We didn’t know it at the time, but we had done a special study. We had spent a little time finding out about one particular thing, fungi, and our eyes were opened. What a joy!

We took it a little further after that, looking closer and making more detailed observations. (Because who could help themselves!?)

We made some spore prints on a glass microscope slide and took a closer look,

and there were many drawings made.

All because our eyes were opened one day when we went out to see what we could see. ๐Ÿ˜€


Natural History Rotation
Natural History: Implementing Special Studies (full explanation)
Implementing Special Studies – An Outline

4 thoughts on “Opening Their Eyes

  1. Lisa

    Lovely photos. ๐Ÿ™‚ We have always enjoyed the study of mushrooms, too, and spore prints have always been a favorite entry for our journals.

  2. Ashley

    I will forever and always say that it isn’t so much about “schooling” ~ this is (should be) just plain mothering! (Take back what is ours from purported experts, who distill it all down to chalky vitamin pills!) What a joy and a treasure to get to share in these real life, everyday world discoveries with your children ~ and they with their mother! Mind you, yes, the main thing is the hard thing, which is to just get out and do it, and make it a life! That’s the part I’m working on.

    My precious mama didn’t know about Charlotte, back in my early school days, that I know of, but how she would have loved her. Their hearts beat to the same drum, and I delight in digging deeper and deeper into CM’s methods (though she had deep principles behind them that my mother probably wasn’t cognizant of), and being able to say, “Yes! I had a taste of that, too, as a child, and it DOES have the effect Charlotte says!” I only had a few precious, life-sparking school years with my mom, but oh, how she opened the world for me and set the course for my life, by setting my feet in such a broad way. I promise you, any Mason-hesitant dabbler out there: this is the road to a full, wide, and deep love of life and a life-full of learning!

    Back off my poetic soapbox, your delight in this is surely such an exciting atmosphere for your children to catch. I’m so happy for them! Good job, mama! And thank you for sharing your world and wisdom with us.

    1. Nicole

      Page one of Miss Mason’s first book includes the line: “It is a great thing to be a parent: there is no promotion, no dignity, to compare with it. The parents of but one child may be cherishing what shall prove a blessing to the world.” Thank you for your comment, Ashley. You are very right that this is a life, not just “schooling” and what a blessing it is to all of us.


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