Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Finding Joy and Wonder in Biology

October was hard.  Sickness slowed us down, way down.  At times my only goal was to get math done.  Now that we are back on track, we have some catching up to do but not at the expense of joy and wonder.  

We are using Apologia Biology for Grace’s studies.  It covers each of the Kingdoms as a unit beginning with Kingdom Monera, or bacteria.  While she was interested, she was not enthralled.   Imagine my joy when I realized that overnight our yard had sprouted mushrooms!  One of the beauties of home education is that you do not have to go in order.  The way Apologia is structured allows the student to skip modules and connect their reading to real life understanding.  Grace however, is orderly and linear.  She felt strange skipping ahead to module 4 but I assured her it would be worth it.  
She began reading about fungi and we began making our first ever spore print from the mushrooms in our yard.  Spore prints are ridiculously easy.  Remove stem, place mushroom gill side down on a piece of paper and cover with a glass bowl or cup and let sit overnight.  When the mushroom is removed, the spores leave behind a copy of the mushroom, almost like a natural photocopy.

I realized that for each mushroom we should use light and dark paper and I would use a heavier weight paper than copier paper next time.  I used my Krylon spray as a fixative to hold the spores permanently and it dried clear and seems to have worked.  

One other change we made was with the Apologia Biology Notebook.  It is a wonderful resource but it leaves no room for creativity, none.  I told Grace to skip a question and use the space for a drawing of a mushroom diagram using one of my favorite resources, Julia Rothman’s Natural Anatomy and I used a piece a cardstock to block out half a page to free up room to put her mushroom spore print in her journal, adhering it with packing tape.  I love the effort that Apologia requires but it must be coupled with joy and wonder.  Always.


  1. Keilee does this all the time. Instead of doing cells for the 102nd time she skips to what she loves. I love the way the prints turned out. They are frame worthy!!!

    1. I was flipping though the textbook and I think we are going to go completely out of order and do a chapter she is very interested in, followed by a more technical one, to keep her engaged. Overall, I am very happy with the textbook and although she is a slow reader, she is remembering so much.


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