Yesterday we skipped “school”. Papa-Bug had the day off so we teamed up with my mom and her sweetheart and headed for the woods in quest of the Golden Chanterelle. This is one of the reasons we homeschool; so that we can take advantage of days off, opportunities, weather, and family adventures without worrying about bring absent or missing something important.
Papa-Bug & Brother-Bug hunting through the underbrush.
Because this is something more important than spelling or arithmetic. It's an annual family tradition. It's all kinds of skill building. It's free time out in the gorgeous Oregon woods. I'd have pulled the kids out of school for mushroom hunting anyway.
Like I said, this is an annual (at least once a year…hopefully a couple times each year) event. They've been going since babyhood. This was Baby-Bug's first mushroom hunt and he had a good time eating dirt and playing with sticks.
He loved catching up with his siblings and playing peek-a-boo through the woods. He's kind of a drag on my ability to go crawling through the underbrush and searching for golden treasure. But having my kids out in the woods from babyhood is too cool to regret any lost abilities. Papa-Bug and I take turns hunting and baby-watching.
Grandmommie and Little-Bugs crouch over a good patch.
My mom loves helping the Little-Bugs feel comfortable and confident in the woods. It's been wonderful to watch their mushroom hunting skills evolve over the years – from a baby on my back, to an enthusiastic toddler or preschooler, to Brother-Bug now able to identify and harvest some of his own mushrooms. Soon all three kids will be able to hunt with help…or even independently!
Sister-Bug was only interested in The Hunt part of the time, so she and I took some time and built a fairy house – one of her current favorite activities.
Our searching was successful. Quite successful, especially for the time of year. We took home several pounds for eating now and saving for later. I'm not sure if I will dry or can the ones we don't eat immediately.
There's one more thing we gather. The area we usually hunt is used by target shooters, mountain bikers, and random people drinking cheap canned beer. The kids and I fill a bag with litter, cleaning up these precious woods that contribute to our family pantry. I hope the kids take this lesson – caring and tidying our world – with them as they carry the trash bag out of the woods.
The funny thing is she doesn't like eating mushrooms. Which is okay…more for me!
So…yeah. I can't point to a math worksheet from yesterday, but we had chanterelles on toast for dinner. And no matter what they learn (and I know it's a lot) or take with them into the future, it's just darn fun to hunt mushrooms as a family.