Monday, August 9, 2010

"Pocketful of Pinecones" Review

Where do I even begin?  I LOVED this book so much and since finishing it (okay- so even while I was still working my way through it) I have been recommending it to nearly every mom I know, homeschooling or not!

Let me give you a little background.  Pocketful of Pinecones, by Karen Andreola, is a living book about doing nature study with your children.  What's a living book you ask?  Well, in this case, it is a book that teaches you about something (Nature Study) but it is written in novel form.  Yup, you heard me!  This book boasts a wonderful storyline that completely drew me in, while at the same time offering me tons of wonderful ideas for how to implement nature study into our lives in a very natural, Charlotte Mason style.  I very much appreciated that I was able to learn about a Charlotte Mason method in a Charlotte Mason way- which I think is hard to come by! 

Though it was set in the early 1900s I was able to instantly connect with Carol, the mother whose journal you are peering into, and learned so much from her example in not only teaching her children but raising them as well.  Karen Andreola does such a lovely job of weaving what she calls Mother Culture into the book- those things that span the test of time and all mothers can relate to.  She also reminded me of how much more work being a wife and mother was in the 20s and 30s!  Man do I ever have a renewed appreciation for my little modern conveniences that rarely used to cross my mind!

Oh and did I mention that the chapters are blissfully short, thus allowing you to actually fit them into your own little mother culture?  I loved the fact that even if I only had a couple of minutes to sneak in a little reading, I could almost always actually complete an entire chapter! 

Along with the beautiful story that Karen Andreola has woven, she rounds out the text with questions at the end of each short chapter to help you consider how you might be able to incoporate nature study into your everyday life, along with the latin names for the things discussed in the chapter.  Lovely nature poems are also sprinkled throughout the book and each chapter features exquisite hand-drawings.

I have truly found that this book has given me a fresh perspective on considering nature and on motherhood.  I spent time outdoors growing up but I was never all that particularly inquisitive about nature itself.  Now, however, I find myself noticing things that I never have before.  My renewed curiosity for the world around me is rubbing off on my children and they are beginning to make their own discoveries as well, which is so exciting to witness.  I am thrilled to be able to use these methods in our homeschool and am so glad that I discovered them so early in our homeschooling journey!

So, obviously, my recommendation would be for you to run out and purchase this book immediately!  This isn't one that you would just want to borrow from the library!  I guarantee it is a text that you will return to again and again for years to come!  Personally, I just can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the sequel, Lessons at Blackberry Inn, in which Karen Andreola continues the story and expands on Charlotte Mason's philosophies of learning in all areas, not just nature study!  Sounds like the perfect read for back-to-school!

For more information about the book you can go here and to order you can go here.  Oh, and you can visit Karen's blog here and read about all her other books and articles here a her website- Homeschool Highlights.

By the way, this is a book I purchased on my own and decided to review because of my genuine love for it!  This review is 100% my honest opinion.