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Summer Reading - books for all ages.
Featured Resource

Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study with the Gentle Art of Learning


Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study with the Gentle Art of Learning

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Publisher: Charlotte Mason Research and Supply

Author: Karen Andreola

Illustrator: Robert Jones

List Price: $16.95 USD

Ages: Adult

Reviewed By: Kelly Crespin

Pocketful of Pinecones is the story of Carol, a homeschooling mom from the 1930's. The story is written in the form of a diary written by Carol and it records her family's homeschooling adventures during the course of a year. The story begins in autumn, when the homeschool year begins, and ends in the summer.

The story begins on the first day of school with Carol giving her children, Emily and Don, their black and white composition notebooks to be used as their nature journals. The story evolves as Emily and Don begin to appreciate the wonders around them, many of which they had never noticed before. From spiders spinning webs to flowers in the garden the children learn to appreciate the nature that surrounds them. In the middle of the book the story takes an unexpected twist as the family moves to an inn in the country, but this move leads to more stories and adventures.

At the end of each diary entry the English and Latin names of any mentioned plants and animals are included; thoughtful questions and introspections are also added. For example, at the end of the Memorial Day entry you will find the following:
Eastern chipmunk - Tamias striatus
Lily-of-the-valley - Convallaria majalis
Phlox - Phlox

Have you ever caught the scent of the lily-of-the-valley?
Creeping phlox makes a dazzling ground cover
Have you ever heard the calls that a chipmunk can make?
Not only do they squeak but they also do a fast roll of chattering.
At the very end of the 272-page book are several additional sections. The first is a "supplement" that gives additional information and notes for selected chapters or entries. Many of these additional notes seem to be taken from the Charlotte Mason method of education. The next section is "Additional Reading" and this lists quite a few books, both fiction and non-fiction, and other readings that might be of interest. Last, an "Afterword" offers author's notes on how to enjoy nature to its fullest and ways to get your family connected or re-connected to nature.

Throughout this book are black and white pencil or charcoal drawings that seem to illustrate the scenes. Some drawings are of the things Carol's family see on their walks or adventures outside while other drawings are of the family themselves or other scenes from the book.

Another important note is that the book is written in very short chapters, each chapter actually being a daily entry in the journal. Because of this, busy moms (and Dads) can read the story in bits and pieces instead of feeling that they have to read the story as a whole. The author herself admits that, because of her busy life and her devotion to her family, Pocketful of Pinecones took over 2 years to write. Ms. Andreola wrote this story in the hopes of encouraging mothers and providing learning ideas and teaching inspiration.
More Information
Available From: Charlotte Mason Research & Supply Company
Address: P. O. Box 758, Union, Maine 04862
Other Notes: Available in bookstores
Purchase Now From the Eclectic Homeschool Resource Center
Kelly Crespin
Kelly Crespin has her BS in Elementary Education and a MS in Gifted and Talented Education. She now homeschools her daughters, writes test questions for standardized tests, and runs scrapbookinghomeschoolers, which is a Yahoo Groups list for those who enjoy both pursuits - scrapbooking and homeschooling.
Copyright © 2003 Eclectic Homeschool Association
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