Nature Friend Magazine Review

10/06/2009
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"Helping Children Explore the Wonders of God's Creation"

"In Pennsylvania Dutch, term "gvunanaws" (wondernose) is used to describe someone who is curious about everything around him," according to Nature Friend magazine. "Wondernose asks lots of questions to satisfy his or her curiosity" and this is also the title of one of my favorite features from Nature Friend. Why? Because my 13 year old is a "wondernose" and is curious about everything around him. The Wondernose feature has answers to some neat questions, such as #85 ~ what bird can take the temperature? (A bird the size of a chicken that lays a 4 inch long egg and incubates it in a large mound nest that it spends months building, rather than sitting on it like most birds ~ the melleefowl of Australia).

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I had the opportunity to review Nature Friend magazine. I received the September and October issues for free in return for my review. In this review (and all of my reviews), I try to offer a thorough description and my honest opinion of the product.

Nature Friend is a creation friendly magazine and there are many things readers may do to contribute to the magazine:
  • Each month has an art lesson called “You Can Draw.” Besides the new lesson, a selection of children’s drawings from a previous lesson is always included. Read testimonies concerning what the “You Can Draw” feature has meant to several readers.
  • NF welcomes nature-related poems and artwork (non-art-lesson art), for our “Pictures and Poems” feature.
  • NF wants photographs for “Creation Close-ups”
  • “Nature Trails” is a feature readers submit stories/photos about the activities they like to do each year in a particular month, or something they did one year and enjoyed. Click here for samples of “Nature Trails.
  • Throughout the year NF draws from submissions their readers send.
  • “The Photo Critique” teaches nature photography tips and NF invites readers to send photos, tips, and questions for inclusion in this feature.
  • Readers can submit nature study writings from their Study Guide insert as well (see below).
In addition to encouraging reader participation, Nature Friend also encourages a hands on science-related “Learning by Doing” feature, which gives children the opportunity to do an experiment or activity to observe/reinforce what is being taught.

Here is a link to the “Sample Issue” page where you can see more of what NF has to offer.

NF also has a Homeschooler’s guide to Nature Friend.

Click here to read what people are saying.

Nature Friend Magazine also has an optional Study Guide available:

The Study Guide includes exercises that reinforce what can be learned from that particular issue of Nature Friend. Exercises may include crossword puzzle, acrostic, fill-in-the-blank, true and false, etc. It also includes several research questions. “For You to Research,” challenges the student to go even deeper into the topics being discussed. And exercises may be photocopied for additional students in your homeschool. For more information, see the Study Guide samples.

“A Study in Nature; a Lesson in Writing” teaches creative writing using a nature study as a springboard. This was my favorite part of the study guide ~ not because of the writing lesson, but because it encouraged us to get out and explore nature using our senses. For one activity, we went on an end of summer nature walk using our five senses.
Other activities included a recipe for Autumn Stir Fry Medley which involved cooking with seasonal vegetables and an Autumn Art Medley, which involved arranging harvest vegetables in a centerpiece and then drawing it.

I love it when a product inspires me to want to learn and do. However, this magazine did not have the same effect on my children. Most of our use of it was initiated by me sitting down with them and reading it and asking for their feedback on what interests them. Their favorite parts were "Wondernose" and "Backyard Discovery." They enjoyed me reading to them, but it was my hope that they would pick up this magazine and read it cover to cover like I did. I could see me ordering this to use as a resource for inspiration and as a fun addition to our regular studies, but the price is a big drawback for me.

Price:
  • 1 year subscription - $36 + $24 for the Study Guide inserts ($2 an issue) = $60
  • 2 year subscription - $68 + $48 for the Study Guide inserts = $116
(Right now, you can save $3 off a subscription with coupon code BLOG93)

I think the Study Guide is a vital part of this magazine and would not consider buying the magazine without it ~ but this is more than I want to spend, at this time. If my boys had gotten into it more, this may have encouraged me to want to buy it because I really liked it! I am going to pass this on to a friend who has a daughter who not only loves to read, she loves nature and loves to write, so I am wondering if this would be a good fit for someone like her to try.

To see other crew member reviews of Nature Friend, click here. To visit the Crew Blog, click on the banner below!

2 comments:

Andi said...

Great Review and I love your honesty...and we love the outdoor hour....

Susana said...

I really like this review. I've seen it on several different blogs and like your honest review of it!

Thank you:-)!

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