Memoria Press Nature's Beautiful Order gave us a great introduction to the study of animals. It is taught by classical naturalists and does follow the classical education method. This is not your typical science style textbook, it is written in individual essay form. This book is more of a natural history view of the animals, giving a descriptive account of the animals and the places in which they live. Going back and giving some history to how the animal came to be where it is today. It does fit the science model as well, going into depth about the classes of animals.
Rather than focus on cells, and organisms and how they form and come to be, this book jumps right in to the specific animal. For a student who rather get right to the animals, it is a great fit.
The writings are by biologists like James Audubon, Jean-Henri Fabre, and St-George J. Mivart.
Written for grades 6th through 9th, I did find it difficult reading for my 6th grader. Perhaps if you have been following a Classical form of schooling up till this point, you may be able to use it for a 12 year old. I found it for our family to be much more suited to a high school student.
My daughter and I would take turns reading in the chapter. Each chapter is about 10 pages long, and the level of writing is at an advanced level. I did have to stop often and explain what I was reading to her. I suspect my high school student wouldn't have needed clarification.
Not having listened to many essays, or this style of writing, it was at times difficult to keep her attention. Another reason I feel it is more suited to the older student.
After you read the chapter, there are questions in the Student Guide. These are questions from the reading, and are in the order of what is read. They are pretty straight forward for the most part. It tended to overwhelm my daughter a bit as you an see in her answers. Again that is simply because of her age I think.
The teacher guide graciously gives all of the answers! So if I struggled myself to find the answer in the text, I had the trusty teacher guide by my side to find them.
There are eighteen lessons in the book, and I personally only did one lesson per week. That way if she grew weary of reading, we could pick it up a different day.
Some of the animals we learned about were Cats, lobsters, cuttlefish, and sea urchins. As the teacher and co reader I found the information very informative. Additional animals covered in the book are bees, trout, frogs, turtles, goose, birds, groundhog, deer, skunks, bear and farm animals. Each animal being described in their own classes.
Memoria Press has an excellent line up of Classical education materials. This study is right in line with the caliber of great work they offer.
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