“We were all meant to be naturalists, each in his 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, Home Education
Thanks to the generosity of Memoria Press, my oldest son Nathan has gotten a fabulous introduction to biology through their Nature’s Beautiful Order set. The set contains the student text, a student guide, and a teacher key. Together, this set provides a great overview of the animal world using the works of classical naturalists such as John James Audubon, Jean-Henri Fabre, and St-George J. Mivart.
The student text consists of 18 chapters beginning with “What Is an Animal?”. Each chapter following discusses one creature, ending with two chapters about man.
The authors of the text discuss the animal and then quote from the classical naturalists who did so much work in observing the natural world. My son especially liked the passages by Audubon and has requested more of his writings. I learned that Audubon wrote about other animals besides just birds for which he is most known for.
Some of the chapters include pictures and diagrams like this one from the turtle chapter.
Nathan especially liked learning about the white-tailed deer, as we occasionally see them near where we live. He also liked reading about farm animals and the carnivora. This study has encouraged him to read more about animals, especially from the writers that were quoted, and led to a discussion about Audubon’s legacy.
Because this book is written from a Christian perspective, the final chapter, “Man the Steward,” reminds us that, “One of the great reasons that the natural world is given to us is so that we might wonder at its beauty, and then turn our thoughts with gratitude and love toward the One who has made it.” We have a responsibility to care for the creatures who inhabit the earth with us and that responsibility is not to be taken lightly.
The student guide is a consumable workbook that contains 17 questions for each chapter except the last few chapters. There are fewer questions for them because they are shorter chapters in the text. These are short answer questions that are for the purpose of determining the student’s understanding of the reading. The teacher key contains answers for all the questions. There are no tests for this set.
This book is not intended to be an in-depth study. Rather, its purpose is simply to introduce students to nature and encourage them to learn more. The Book of Trees set, also published by Memoria Press, would make a great companion study to Nature’s Beautiful Order. Both of these sets are intended for 6th to 8th grades.
Besides Nature’s Beautiful Order and The Book of Trees, other reviewers for the Review Crew worked through Prima Latina (the first in the Latin series for grades 1-4), Latina Christiana (grades 3-6), First Form Latin (grades 4-9), Second Form Latin (grades 5-10), Third Form Latin (grades 6-11), and Fourth Form Latin (grades 7-12). Click the button below to read more about the complete Latin line and the nature study sets from Memoria Press.