As most of you know, Charlotte Mason advocates getting children outside to experience nature. In her writings on teaching methods, she describes taking pictures of nature with your mind’s eye and capturing details with your memory.
Nature Friend magazine, a magazine we gratuitously received for the past two months, follows a good part of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of including nature study in your child’s education.
This magazine is different from other nature magazines I have seen for my children. Printed on high quality paper with more sophisticated topics, writing, and content, it is more of a mix of entertainment and education for the children and instructional guide for the parent. There are no advertisements (which I find to be more and more prevalent with some of the other magazines I have seen for kids). For those with subscriptions, you can
choose to receive a “study guide” insert in the middle of the magazine for an additional $2.00 per month.
The magazine has a large variety of topics centering around living things in nature. One of my favorite features from both issues is the included “Learning by Doing” activity near the end of the magazine to try with your children on your own. One issue we received discussed and gave suggestions in how to identify animal tracks and make plaster casts of them. The other issue discussed and gave instructions for an experiment dealing with different pigments found in plants.
And these articles are just the beginning of what you will find in these gems. Some other features you will regularly find are
- a scavenger hunt throughout the magazine.
- a search and find page.
- articles with interesting and fun facts about living things in nature and wonderful photographs to accompany this information.
- a pictures and poems page contributed by Nature Friend readers.
- photographs of living things in nature also contributed by readers in the “Creation Close-ups” section.
- crossword puzzles, wordsearches or other kinds of puzzles.
- a special “Wondernose” monthly feature about a specific question concerning a form of wildlife.
- written contributions from readers about their personal encounters with nature in the monthly “Nature Trails” feature.
- professionally written articles about wildlife with photographs.
- a “You Can Draw” page where there are tips in drawing a featured living thing. Elsewhere in the magazine are contributions from readers with their artistic renderings from a previous month’s issue.
Read a sample issue to explore the many features included in the magazine.
Each year, Nature Friend publishes a “Readers’ Issue” entirely using quality contributions from readers. After receiving so many good contributions, they have published two “Readers’ Issues” for the past two years. They also have a story contest open to subscribers that will appear in their December issue.
As you can see, the list of just some of the things you will find in these issues is quite extensive.
Another terrific feature not to be overlooked is the “Study Guide.” It has detailed articles that you will want to take advantage of and sit with your child and read together. One issue I received focused on “owls” and taking pictures of these elusive creatures. I find the study guide is a great educational device.
One of my favorite monthly features of this guide is their “A Study in Nature – A Lesson in Writing” section.
This feature focuses on skills that you can use in your writing or when writing in a nature journal. Here, the
subject of your writing is nature, but the skills can be applied to other forms of writing. It includes recording details in your writing to transform it from plain (“…deer running in the woods…”) to interesting and alive (“…the incredible gracefulness of three deer bounding in the woods, their white tail flags flashing…”)
Other features in the study guide include
- exercises such as crossword puzzles, true and false questions, fill-in-the-blank and others to reinforce what is discussed in that issue.
- research questions to delve deeper into that month’s topic areas.
- a special “Photo Critique” section that offers nature photography tips and readers’ own photos, tips, and questions.
Take a look at sample study guides to fully appreciate what they have to offer.
My sons’ favorite things about the magazines are the puzzles, the interesting articles, and the children’s artistic contributions to the magazine. Again, my favorite feature of the magazine is definitely the Study Guide and the “A Study in Nature – A Lesson in Writing” section with tips I can use for our nature journals and our writing.
My other favorite, as I mentioned before, is the “Learning by Doing” activity where I can conduct a hands-on nature study with my boys.
You can subscribe to the magazine and save $3 off the regular price of $36.00 for one year, $68.00 for 2 years, using the code “BLOG93” until November 30, 2009. To receive the Study Guide in each issue, remember to add $2.00 per issue. I know this is more expensive than other magazines, but you are paying for a quality magazine on
quality paper with no advertisements.
Visit this special page for homeschoolers for more detailed information about what Nature Friend magazine can contribute to your homeschool.
Read reviews by other homeschoolers who are part of the TOS Homeschool Crew to hear more about Nature Friend magazine.