Nature’s Beautiful Order published by Memoria Press is designed to be used with older students, 6th grade or above. The book is written for Christian students. The book and accompanying study guide are a great introduction to natural history.
What is Natural History?
Natural history is a branch of biology. In fact, it used to be considered a topic that was necessary to study before one studied biology. A foundation. In modern times this idea has fallen out of favor and the branch of biology known as natural history has all but disappeared.
“Natural history is the branch of biological science that aims to give a descriptive account of plants and animals and the world in which they live.”Nature’s Beautiful Order
Is it Easy to Use?
Using this product is simple and straightforward. The student guide has reading notes, which go over complex vocabulary, and then comprehension questions. In fact, a quick flip through the book made me wonder if it would be too basic for and 8th grader. However, reading a few paragraphs made me realize it might actually be too complex.
So, yes, it is presented in a well-organized and straight forward way. It is easy to use. But, it is very rich, in-depth material. Don’t think your child can speed through these readings. This is the kind of book that lends itself to slow reading. Separated into small pieces for easier digestion.
My 8th grader read the reading notes and comprehension questions and then read the first chapter. She then tried to answer the questions. She couldn’t remember most of the answers and so she started re-reading the chapter and stopping to answer the questions as she went. When she was done there were still a few questions she couldn’t answer. I helped her by reading aloud the sections that answered those questions, we then discussed the material and she was able to articulate a written answer.
This process took about 2 weeks. When I first saw this book I thought it would only keep her busy for a quarter, now I think it may last the whole school year. We have decided, moving forward, that I will read the material aloud, and we will stop frequently to discuss and allow her to process the information and compose her answers.
I think going at this slower pace will give the rich information presented the time and attention it needs to be understood. In fact, if you have a middle schooler and are wondering what to do for science I recommend this book. I will likely pass it up to my high schoolers for reading because I just love the way it treats the study of nature. It is focused on observation and in that it is scientific, but it also focuses on beauty and I find it to be a sort of philosophical and poetic way of treating nature.
My 8th grader wishes that each word covered in the reading notes had a pronunciation guide. I know how to pronounce nitrogenous…but she is not sure. I think this would be a great addition to the material.
Another desire I had while reading some of the descriptions was for a few more pictures. I am not visual and when something is being described, such as a certain part of a lobster, it becomes very difficult for me to imagine it without a picture to help. (In other words, I can’t make up pictures in my mind.) There are some illustrations in the text but I think it would benefit from having more, especially when dealing with little known parts of unfamiliar animals.
How Do You Study Nature?
We came across this book because my 8th grader requested to study nature this year. As beneficial as it is to go outside and observe, explore, and record your surroundings, I knew she wanted more than this. She also did not mean biology. She could not articulate exactly what she wanted, just ‘to study nature’. I think this book is fitting the curiosity quite well.
She is enjoying the book but does feel that she understands it much better when I read it aloud and we discuss it. I think this would be true for most middle school students but it is a book that is rich enough I think most adults will enjoy reading and discussing it together with their child.
I look forward to it every day.