Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study with the Gentle Art of Learning is not so much a homeschool curriculum, as it is one-part Charlotte Mason method teacher’s guide and one-part inspirational writing for the mother who adores homemaking and raising her children.
Written as a fictional memoir of a homeschooling mother from the 1930s, Pocketful of Pinecones presents over 50 different vignettes in the gentle art of mothering and patience that can lead to profound levels of learning in children. The book focuses on the simple explorations of life that happen naturally everyday, such as children crawling through bushes and creating a secret place of solitude; climbing trees to identify pinecones; and taking the time to notice rainbows in the sky.
Nature Study is an integral part of the Charlotte Mason method, which believes education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life. Laying the foundation for future science education, Nature Study provides young children with the opportunity to be out in the world, observing and recording all that they come in contact with. Fundamental to Nature Study is maintaining a nature notebook full of doodles, drawings, sketches, paintings, and notes.
Divided into four sections, following the seasons, Pocketful of Pinecones offers readers a variety of ideas for nature explorations, books to read, and even how to respond to behavioral challenges you’ll face during homeschooling. The fictional stories describe how a simply planned activity can blossom into a meaningful learning adventure. Each “chapter” ends with a query to encourage you to consider how you might implement a similar Nature Study with your children.
The book does not offer a master list of curricular ideas, so you’ll need to take notes if you want to try to implement some of them. The appendix, however, offers a reading list of titles mentioned in the book, as well as some additional notes on certain Nature Study activities.
Pocketful of Pinecones is not overtly Christian with any particular teachings but the fictional stories freely discuss belief in God, maintaining faith, and going to Church.
Date of Review: 11/12/2013