Book Review: Crinkleroot Nature Series

Springtime brings a renewed interest in nature study to our home.  We long to take walks in the woods or learn more about the birds that are all over the yard.  It is as if this subject has awakened from its winter hibernation.

There are plenty of nature books and guides to be found. But none like the one I am linking to today- a collection that I wish I had heard about years ago!

My latest nature book find is the Crinkleroot Series!

Crinklerootside

The author, Jim Arnosky, is a naturlist and artist.  Here are a few topics that are found in these whimsical yet educational books: avoiding poison ivy, how to identify animal tracks, and beautiful sketches that are labeled- this alone makes these books worthy of a place on a nature study table.

The main character is Crinkleroot, a woodsman who sets off to explore his surroundings while giving facts and interesting tips to the young explorer. I hesitate to say young explorer, because while these books are Excellent for elementary ages, they could be a great starting off point for a middle schooler who is just getting started in nature study.

There is a Crinkleroot book for almost every nature topic.  Here are the titles we have read:

 Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing the Birds    ( has a wonderful labeled bird diagram )

Crinkleroot's Guide to Walking in Wild Places  ( ferns, ticks, poison ivy plant family )

Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing Butterflies and Moths ( butterfly labeled diagram )

Crinkleroot's Guide to Animal Tracking, Revised Edition 

The Brook Book 

Crinkleroot's 25 Birds Every Child Should Know (just names and a picture, I wish the photos were real life )

Crinkleroot's 25 Fish Every Child Should Know (just names and a picture, again I wish these photos were real life )

Crinkleroot's Nature Almanac (informative and spanning a whole year, much of the info in this book is compiled from others )

Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking (great info and sketches to get you started in studying nature )

There is one more title that I would like to read and that is the Crinkleroot Guide to Trees.  I will have to put that one on my amazon wishlist.

StackGrab a Crinkleroot book and begin exploring nature today! 

What other books do you use for nature study?

Post in which I add Homeschooling to the Blog

This is my first official post under the Homeschool category.  There have been a few books listed under it, but no posts, per se.

I am adding Homeschool posts to the blog because I am a book reading, tea sipping, wife, mother and homeschooler. The homeschooler in me needs an avenue to work through some recent ponderings. 

Homeschool

Lately I have been consumed with the realization that a majority of homeschooling blogs and resources are geared towards equipping the 10 and under crowd.

That age is full of exploration and daily discovery, but why does this wonder seem to end at sixth or seventh grade and plunge into the depths of dry textbooks?  ( not that there is anything wrong with textbooks )

I like to believe that middle and high school years are still viable, fun years still in need of adventure and that elemental spark of learning. I don't want the wonder of learning to go out in my tweens and teens.

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I have stumbled upon Wild and Free.
I am finding this platform encouraging for moms with lots of articles, podcasts and more. I also adore the concept that nature studies and the wonder of learning should be a part of a child's education. But this too seems geared toward the ten and under set. I have only read a few posts that pertain to middle and high school students.  Again, I am new to W&F and have not read a lot of the past bundles.

I am brainstorming and mulling over how to carry this concept over for my older kids.  Not in an attempt to recapture the glory days of elementary school -I am personally loving these maturing years as they develop into their future selves; but because I believe that education is a lifestyle, that we are Always learning.  It does not end at 3 pm on Friday, not to be bothered with until Monday morning.  How do I incorporate both thoughts, the need for book work as they get older and joyful exploration?

Join me as I hash out these new ideas that I want to nurture in my homeschool. 

 

You Choose History Series

Have you ever read a choose your own adventure book? The kind where at the end of a chapter you had to decide- do you go into the haunted mansion or run away scared?

That same plot line has been given a new and educational twist- in the You Choose: History book series!

Titles

Teaching history to kids sometimes gets the groan of shame because some books are way too text-booky and filled with boring information. Or the book has one obscure fact lost in pages of make believe.

Not the case with these history story books set in different time periods. 

Lets say you choose The Revolutionary War  book. 

The book begins with a short introduction and informative chapter on the history of that time period.  At the end of the chapter, you must choose which side to be on in the American Revolution. 
That choice sends you to a certain page and you will see the outcome of that decision for your character. 

Choice

What a fun way to learn about history!

In this book  ( The Revolutionary War ) there are 3 different story paths to choose from, 65 choices the reader can make and 16 different endings!

Frontcover

My kids and I have enjoyed reading as many of these You Choose: History books as we can put our hands on!
I would say the reading level is around 4th-6th grade.
The authors strive to be historically accurate throughout the books and there are numerous historical photos and other illustrations.   

The ability to choose how the story ends, could be an incentive for a reluctant reader. Or these books may interest a child in a historical period by placing them inside the story.

Small print moment…..for the sensitive child or the mamma that likes to know these kind of things…….there are paths in the book where the character will die or every member of the family will perish except that character.  Use your discretion on what is appropriate for your family and child.

Theend

 A very enjoyable series!  Below are links to our favorite You Choose History books so far!

The Titanic: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

The Civil War: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

Westward Expansion (You Choose: History)

The California Gold Rush: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

 

   ****Companion Book Series **

For the young reader craving more adventure and a little less history the Can You Survive series will be just the thing!


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These books follow the same format as the history based ones. 
The first chapter sets the stage with facts and information.  At the end, the reader must choose which path to take.  Their survival will be determined by the decisions they make.

Maybe it was the idea of impending doom or the thrill of adventure but my son read by flashlight to finish these interactive stories!

The reading level is roughly 4th-6th grade.  The books have great photographs and illustrations. This book series is a winner in our house!

The small print—-use your discretion on what your child can handle emotionally.  There are paths where the character does not survive or those around the character do not survive. You know best when it comes to what your child should read.

Happy Reading!