Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Nature Friend Magazine
“We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things”….. Charlotte Mason, 19th century British educator dedicated to improving the quality of education for children
I agree with Miss Mason. Children need to spend time in nature and learn to adore and respect it. I love nature study, but sometimes as a resident of northeast Ohio nature doesn’t love our family. With way too many rainy, windy and snowy days on our calendar squeezing in time for outdoor nature study can be a real challenge. I recently discovered Nature Friend magazine is an excellent alternative or supplement to outdoor nature study when faced with less than friendly weather conditions.
Nature Friend magazine, a commercial free creation based science publication, is filled with rich photography and information. Published monthly for 27 years, it is available throughsubscription for $36.00 a year in the U.S. or $49.00 for Canada and Mexico. Nature Friend appeals to nature enthusiasts of all ages. Issues of Nature Friend arrive in typical slick 8 ½ x 11 magazine format yet the paper quality stands up to hours of perusing, backpacks and tote carrying.
The pages of each issue of Nature Friend are graced with puzzles, hidden pictures, word games, step by step drawing directions for budding nature artists and a readers question and comment editorial page in addition to informative articles about reptiles, birds, mammals or insects. Articles are easily read, yet filled with intelligent detailed information. Full color photographic images are unparalleled; detailed and gorgeous allowing the reader to truly see nature up close and personal with the turn of every page.
I received two free issues of Nature Friend from the publisher which allowed me to grasp a full understanding of what this excellent educational tool could offer homeschooling families. My 8 year old daughter Sierra, who loves all creatures great and small, was thrilled when I showed her the magazine for the first time. She and I took several weeks to review each 27 page issue. We spent short 15 min. sessions with Nature Friend every time we opened its’ pages to allow us the opportunity to absorb its rich content while not getting overwhelmed by its detail.
For example, the August issue of Nature Friend had a 60 word search puzzle on page 9. We spent the close of each reading session one week looking for words in the puzzle. Breaking up the challenge of the puzzle over several days allowed Sierra to enjoy the whole experience as she reviewed the names of over 60 different animals. Answer keys for all puzzles are provided within the magazine as well for those needing a little extra confidence.
Although each issue or Nature Friend is an excellent stand alone resource of nature study, the magazine added an optional 8-12 page study guide this past April to help parents and teachers make the most of material presented. The study guide is available to subscribers only for an additional $2.00 per issue. Puzzles and fill in the blank exercises make up the study guide as well as “A Study in Nature, a Lesson in Writing” creative writing exercise and “The Photo Critique” offering tips for nature photography.
I first viewed the study guide as a comprehensive review of concepts, terms and vocabulary discussed in the magazine. As Sierra and I made use of the elements of the study guide, we searched articles for solutions to crossword and acrostic puzzles and true/false exercises within the guide as we completed each article. This method allowed Sierra to “play” with newly acquired knowledge and enjoy her nature study experience.
Nature Friend Magazine is offering TOS Review Crew readers $3.00 off subscriptions by referencing coupon code"BLOG93". The offer is available until November 30, 2009. Whether you spend your nature study hours tucked inside the coziness of home or braving the great outdoors make Nature Friend Magazine a part of your routine. Charlotte Mason would highly reccomend it.