We recently had the opportunity to review Nature's Beautiful Order from Memoria Press.
Nature's Beautiful Order: An Introduction to the Study of Animals Taught by the Classical Naturalists by Christopher O. Blum and John A. Cuddeback is a set of science books geared to students in grades 6 through 9. This set includes the Main Text (Blue Book), the Student Guide (a consumable workbook for use by one student), and the Teacher Key. Samples from each book are viewable at the Nature's Beautiful Order site.
We utilized the Nature's Beautiful Order Main Text (Blue Book) and the Student Guide to supplement our Biology studies. The text is easy to understand and engages students with realistic examples provided within each section. My son certainly was able to relate from page one when the authors discuss the pleasure of owning a cat. We own three cats, which helped him to grasp their examples of what defines an animal. Anyone who has ever observed any animals will be able to relate, though. While Chapter One describes the characteristics of animals: living, breathing creatures that are different from plants, which are also alive. The remainder of the text focuses upon a specific class of animals in the animal kingdom and their purpose in God's creation. They begin by discussing invertebrates and cephalopods and move on to insects. Next, the text discusses fish. Then, it differentiates amphibians from reptiles by looking at the frog and the turtle. Next, the text has several chapters that cover various types of birds. Finally, the text focuses upon mammals. It starts by looking at the groundhog (a rodent) and the white-tail deer (a cloven-hooved animal or ruminants). Next, the text focuses upon the carnivore (flesh or meat eating animals): dogs, skunks, and bear are discussed. Then, the text looks at farm friends: specifically cows and pigs. Lastly, the final chapters of the text focus upon humans (man).
The Nature's Beautiful Order Student Guide contains a collection of short-answer and essay questions for students to answer. Each series of questions in the Student Guide correlates to the corresponding chapter in the Main Text. For questions that ask students to name examples, a simple list can be compiled. For older students preparing to continue their education at a college level, there is ample room for the question to be restated in the answer and examples written in sentence form. The student can write their answers directly into the Student Guide. Because the Student Guide is a consumable product, it can only be utilized for one student. If you have more than one student, you will want to purchase additional Student Guides so that each child can record his or her answers. The Teacher Key provides answers for each of the questions in the Student Guide. Please note that the Teacher Key does not contain any specific lesson plans or additional resources.
As I mentioned previously, the Nature's Beautiful Order set is a good supplemental resource for any Biology or Zoology class as it provides a thorough look at various classes of the animal kingdom (although the text does not discuss marsupials nor does it cover primates). By looking at specific animal examples within each class, students are better able to visualize the characteristics of the various animals found in each class. Another possible supplement to your Biology curriculum or even an elective on Botany is the Book of Trees set from Memoria Press.
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Homeschool Review Crew site to read additional reviews on Nature's Beautiful Order as well as these other sets Memoria Press: Prima Latina Complete Set, Latina Christiana Complete Set, First Form Latin Complete Set, Second Form Latin Complete Set, Third Form Latin Complete Set, Fourth Form Latin Complete Set, and The Book of Trees.