Our 12 year old was intrigued when he heard about a product from Memoria Press called Nature's Beautiful Order. He has always loved learning about animals and so this book made sense for him to go through.
When I say that our 12 year old has always loved learning about animals - I mean it! He LOVES learning about animals. I have vivid pictures of him sitting with his grandpa going through a felt book of Noah's Ark. The would talk about each animal and make comments about each one. Their favorite was the skunk, with whom they would say "P-U!" and then laugh hysterically.
As he has grown up, our oldest has taken it upon himself to read books of information about animals. He wants to understand how they move, what they eat, where they live, etc. He's always wanted to know the details about animals.
That's where Nature's Beautiful Order comes in. This is a really in-depth look at the order of animals. What do I mean by "the order of animals"? Well, this isn't your typical animal book. It doesn't just list a bunch of animals with their information. No way. This book goes into how there is an order to life on this planet. It starts with "What is an Animal?" and works its way through the lobster, sea urchin, turtle, the miracle of flight, farm friends, and ends with "Man the Upright Animal" and "Man the Steward". There are 18 chapters in all in Nature's Beautiful Order and each one takes an in-depth look at each animal and how they fit into the specific order of nature.
I'm trying to work with our oldest on being more independent in his studies. With any new curriculum, I assign a chapter, and then give it to him to complete it so that I can see how he does on it. For this one, I assigned Chapter 1 the first day and we would then discuss the questions once he was done reading the chapter.
** Side Note - We discuss the questions because he is an auditory learner and he has always gotten more out of a discussion than writing an answer. We strive for understanding and mastery more than grades.**
He's a great reader and his comprehension is good so I figured he could read the 11 pages in a single sitting (especially since they are half pages) as well as discuss the questions with me. Not so with this book. After working with his younger brother, I realized that he was still working on the assignment that I gave him so I went in to check on him. He was really struggling with finishing it, so I gave him an extra day. He was able to finish it the second day and so we went through the questions together. To my surprise, he knew only about half of them - that is really not like him. I decided to put it aside for the day and to work with him on the next day.
He always does better with me reading something out loud to him, especially if it has been difficult for him, so that's what I did the 3rd day. I have to tell you, it was difficult for me to read. I was surprised at the level that this book is written in. I feel as though I'm an educated person and have a high reading level and high comprehension, but I struggled through this one. I needed the dictionary app on my phone to be open while I read this aloud so that we could look up the words that we weren't sure of. I think that is a good thing. I liked that it showed our son that parents don't know every word in the world and we need to use the dictionary, just like he does.
We got through 1/2 of the first chapter on that day and, trust me, that was enough. There is so much information packed into this little book that it really took us time to digest what we had just learned. So we finished the first chapter that fourth day and then went over the questions. He was able to answer more of the questions, so I guess, our strategy worked.
What I really liked about this book was that it really is a defense for the Biblical view of Creation and against Evolution. Here is an example of what I mean from Chapter 3 page 40, "No animal known to exist now, or ever to have existed in the past time, presents us with any intermediate condition tending to bridge over the chasm which yawns between the cuttlefish type and the lobster type on the one hand, or between the cuttlefish type and the human type on the other." What they are saying above is that there is no animal connecting these animals. They said what I've been saying for years - where's the middle man/animal?
Anyways, I appreciated the fact that they take this information from people like Dr. St. George Mivart, Georges Cuvier, and none other than Aristotle. I think it's great for students to actually read some of their writings and to understand what they wrote about instead of just knowing their name.
As I said before, this book is an intensive look at the world of nature and all of the animals that are in it. The website says that this is for 6th-9th graders, but I think that that might be a stretch. My (end of) 7th grader struggled doing this on his own and I feel like he has a high reading level. I guess it was also just a different writing style that he wasn't used to. I mean, they take writings from Aristotle, for goodness sakes, and expect the student to understand what he's saying. Now, they do try to explain it, but sometimes that even was confusing and we would have to re-read the section sometimes. Just make sure that you look through the book before purchasing to make sure that your student will be able to comprehend what they are reading.
Overall, I liked the book Nature's Beautiful Order by Memoria Press. I appreciated the fact that the writing style was different and that they did take writings from past naturalists. would be great for those going into the fields of biology or zoology. Memoria Press offers so many different types of curriculum, including: Prima Latina Complete Set, First Form Latin Complete Set, and The Book of Trees. You have got to go and check out the reviews for these products from my fellow Homeschool Review Crew members. Just click the picture below!
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