Pocketful of Pinecones
– Nature Study with the Gentle Art of Learning
Written by by Karen Andreola
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Message by the author
“I wish I could be a fly on your wall,” I’d been told. “I could use a closer look at the gentle art of learning.”
I’m flattered. But I like my privacy. So I wrote a story. I meant it to be a pleasant and relaxing way to get a closer look at a lifestyle of learning. It touches upon a range of subjects but its emphasis is nature study.
Homeschool moms will relate to the main character Carol, who on her feet industriously caring for her family. She has worries, hopes, joys and disappointments.
At the start of the story Carol is concerned about her son chronic boredom. She fears that Donald’s natural child-like curiosity had been “schooled out” of him by a stack of textbooks and a stack of daily homework during the previous school year. Her sister-in-law sends her a copy of Charlotte Mason’s Home Education. This provides Carol with the guidance she needs.
Although not the most confident of mothers, she is determined go ahead with plans to home educate. She learns as she goes. Carol takes naturewalks with her children. Together they observe God’s marvelous creation and record their finds in their Nature Notebooks. In fact, throughout the year they observe more than 200 “finds” – which are noted with Latin names at the end of the chapters.
With patience, Carol listens to her young daughter Emily hobble through the sentences she reads aloud. Emily was labeled slow in school. Donald was burned out by mindless tedium. But Carol happily finds just the right “living books” and experiences for them. Emily likes learning with Mom. Donald even starts asking questions again.
Meanwhile Carol copes with the late hours her husband Michael must keep at his workplace. When he is home he often sighs and is thoroughly drained. Hard times and difficult choices must be faced. Because Carol and Michael trust in the Lord their choices are met with courage. I am too fond of my characters to let anything really terrible happen to them, therefore the story has a happy ending.
I wrote Pocketful of Pinecones in hopes that it would minister and be advantageous for Mother Culture™. The chapters are short enough for the mother who has just snatches of time to nourish her soul. May she who reads it take courage (like Carol) to live, with her husband and children, the life she has imagined.