A champion of the Charlotte Mason approach to education, Karen Andreola here directs her efforts to guiding homeschool mothers in the art of nature study, one of the cornerstones of the Charlotte Mason method. Through nature study, children learn by doing and observing, which serves as an excellent balance to the reading-oriented learning of the "whole book" approach. Pocketful of Pinecones is a guide for mothers who may themselves be unfamiliar with the wonders of nature, introducing its study with approachable narrative and lovely black and white illustrations.
While this isn't a curriculum of any kind (that would run counter to the idea of Charlotte Mason education itself), Pocketful of Pinecones offers a jumping-off place for a subject many mothers feel unable to tackle on their own. Where do we study nature? How do we study nature? What are we looking for? Andreola offers answers to these questions and many others through thefictional journal entries of a Depression-era homeschool mom named Carol who leads her kids on a variety of adventures exploring flowers, ponds, insects and anything else they encounter in God's creation.
Throughout the fictional narrative are suggestions for pursuing your own nature study with your children. The book is divided into four sections for the four seasons, so you'll find year-round help and ideas. At the end of each journal entry are more direct suggestions, along with the English and Latin names of any flora or fauna mentioned in the preceding text. Frequently, the author directs readers' attention to Christian themes, relating Scripture stories and truths to natural phenomena.
At the core of this approach to nature study are frequent nature walks in all weathers and all seasons, faithfully recorded in detail by both mother and children in nature journals. These can include bits of poetry, drawings, observations, Bible verses, or anything else your children are inspired to record as they explore and discover. A list of fiction and non-fiction books at the back provides a foundation for further study. This isn't a science-based course in any sense—but it is an excellent starting place for helping you help your children build a sense of awe and wonder at the nature around them.
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