NaturExplorers Review-Fruits and Nuts by Cindy West and Melissa Leach

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I may have mentioned a time or two about how much I struggle with actually doing nature study. Science has been somewhat inconsistent as well. Why it is so hard is kind of a mystery to me. I like science and I love nature. (Although I’m not real big on temperature extremes, so that does keep me inside a lot of the time…)

This year I tried something new with my kids. I gave them a survey to evaluate what things they liked about how we were schooling, what things they would like to study, etc. Most of the results were not surprising. However there was one area that took me a bit off guard. My older daughter doesn’t like science, and if given a choice of what to study in science, she chose botany.

Botany? That would be a great springboard to gardening. But trust me, I don’t garden. You can take one look at my yard and see that.

So I began searching for relatively independent things she could do to learn about botany.

NaturExplorers ReviewOne of the resources I found is the NaturExplorers series. Shining Dawn Books graciously gave me a copy of Fruits and Nuts to review.

The unit begins with a few ideas to get you thinking about the study. These include some suggested literature books, an inspiration point, and some background information about fruits and nuts for the teacher. After that you get right to the heart of these units:¬†Getting Outside — because these are nature study units after all.

The Getting Outside section consists of several pages of ideas for learning about fruits and nuts…outside. Ideas include:

“Adopting” a fruit or nut tree to study throughout the year,
Going on a fruit and nut scavenger hunt,
Comparing wild berries to cultivated ones.

Many of these activities have a notebook page to accompany it. The notebook pages are very attractive color pages to print out as needed.

If this were just a nature study curriculum, the review would be over now. But there is so much more! After Getting Outside is the Branching Out section. Branching Out is divided into the following sections:

  • Hands-on Activities
  • Writing and Research Ideas
  • Bible Lessons from His Creation
  • Poetry Place
  • Artist and Picture Study References
  • Composer and Music Study References
  • Other Related Literature
  • Related Internet Links
  • Including Younger Children
  • Including Older Children
  • Additional Suggestions for Nature Clubs and Co-ops

The Branching Out section is what transforms this curriculum from simple nature study to a unit study. I am admittedly not a unit study kind of teacher. It’s not that I don’t like the concept, but I can’t wrap my brain around how do implement them. But I can see how other subjects are easily covered in this study. History (For example heirloom seeds and Johnny Appleseed), English composition (The writing ideas are super!), Bible, Literature, Art, Music, and even Math (graphing and measuring) are covered.

I hope to have my 6th grade daughter do much of this study independently. That’s probably not the intent of the authors, but I think this is an extremely flexible curriculum. Since my daughter is on the older side of the target age range (elementary), I think it will work well that way. I’m especially excited about the research ideas! Plus I’m planning on having her work with my kindergarten daughter next year as well. There are some great activities for the two of them to do together.

There are also some other great titles I’ve got my eye on like Constant Conifers, Delightful Deciduous Trees, Fungus Among Us, and Wonderful Wildflowers. (Actually they all look good, but these go with our Botany plan.) For only $12 for each e-book, these are easy on the budget too.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Fruits and Nuts from Shining Dawn Books to review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase from the link, I will receive a small commission.



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