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115 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasure to Read
With some books reading is a chore. I abhor the clutter of unnecessary words, repetitive phrases and even paragraphs that waste my time and only distract from an important message. Too many words in too many works, both old and new, seem to have been written just to fill the page, - and perhaps the pocketbook.
Pocketful of Pinecones was easy to read, and a pleasure...
Published on May 4, 2002 by Isabel Brown

versus
58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring ... but disappointing, too.
I need to start out by saying that I love Karen Andreola's writing. I was an avid subscriber when she published her Parents' Review magazine and I saved -- and savored! -- every issue. Karen's book, A Charlotte Mason Companion, is one of my all-time favorite homeschooling books that I recommend to every home educator I meet.
But as much as I respect and enjoy Karen...
Published on June 28, 2004


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115 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasure to Read, May 4, 2002
This review is from: Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning(TM) : A Story for Mother Culture ® (Paperback)
With some books reading is a chore. I abhor the clutter of unnecessary words, repetitive phrases and even paragraphs that waste my time and only distract from an important message. Too many words in too many works, both old and new, seem to have been written just to fill the page, - and perhaps the pocketbook.
Pocketful of Pinecones was easy to read, and a pleasure to read. It is the fictional account of Carol, a mother living in the 1930s, and using Charlotte Mason's methods, particularly her nature study methods. Yet, the book is based on Karen Andreola's experiences with her own children. It is a book that you will continue to pick up until you have reached the last pages telling of the Andreola's life in Maine. I enjoyed the book, and felt i got to know Karen a little better. She is an extremely soft spoken person and this gentleness is evident in Pinecones. The temptations are there, but Carol thinks before speaking so as not to be harsh to her family.
In all our educating we should remember as Carol-Karen tells us,
"...that not all of what they will learn about God's creation will conveniently fit into my lessons. My students have a lifetime ahead of them in which to observe and discover - to become self educated in their leisure, so to speak. My job is to allow their feet to walk the paths of wonder, to see that they form relations to various things, so that when the habit is formed, they will carry an appreciation for nature with them throughout their lives."
As a lover of nature and nature's God, as well as inclined to sketching, Pocketful of Pinecones was a delightful read. I laughed and I cried. I sang hymns. It is inspiring and not just toward nature study. It encourages toward more gentle motherhood and even to humility before our husbands. It inspires God-ward with the many hymn lyrics and the lifestyle portrayed.
"My devotions gave the day its energy... It is proof that I remember Him, depend on His mercy, which is so thankfully new every morning. It is evidence that I trust Him. It is because my days are so busy that I have kept myself from the God-can-wait syndrome. I need my heavenly Father and so I seek Him early. Prayers are the wings of the soul. They bear the Christian far from earth, out of its cares, its woes and its perplexities, into glorious serenity. It is the first God-ward step that the soul takes."
...Pinecones would be an especially appropriate gift for a new mother, a young mother or someone contemplating homeschooling. It gives a gentle introduction to easy methods by way of the example set forth in the story line. It was written for the busy mother, yet I can envision a mother reading it to her children as well.
There are some atypical words for the 30s and even the fact that the family is homeschooling in the United States seems quite unusual for that time period.
Karen has included recommended resources and excerpts from Charlotte Mason's book, Home Education.
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and inspiring, July 5, 2003
This review is from: Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning(TM) : A Story for Mother Culture ® (Paperback)
I waited six months to get this book through interlibrary loan because I couldn't tell from the description whether it would be something I'd want to own. I read the book straight through and I am now going to buy it so that I can refer back to it.
As a child, I got much more excited about a new subject if I read fiction about a character who was excited about it than if I only read nonfiction on the topic. Reading this book got me engaged in the idea of doing nature study and adjusting my view of homeschooling in a way that the three or four "straight" books on Charlotte Mason education I've read haven't done.
I would recommend this for any homeschooler, whether he/she is interested in the Charlotte Mason approach or not, who is interested in incorporating more nature study into his/her children's education--or for any homeschooler who is feeling burned out and in need of a fresh perspective.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring ... but disappointing, too., June 28, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning(TM) : A Story for Mother Culture ® (Paperback)
I need to start out by saying that I love Karen Andreola's writing. I was an avid subscriber when she published her Parents' Review magazine and I saved -- and savored! -- every issue. Karen's book, A Charlotte Mason Companion, is one of my all-time favorite homeschooling books that I recommend to every home educator I meet.
But as much as I respect and enjoy Karen and her other writings, this particular book just didn't "grab" me. Charlotte Mason talks about giving a book a "two page test" ... you randomly open a book and read two pages. Then ask yourself, "Do I want to read more?" Well, this book didn't pass my two page test. I didn't even want to finish reading the two pages.
I think perhaps Karen's writing "gift" (and she IS gifted!) is in the area of non-fiction. This fictional book left me cold, although, believe it or not, each chapter did fuel a wee bit of inspiration for me. After reading the book, I plan on getting brand new sketch books for my children (and for myself!), and then heading out to our local nature trails and parks with fresh eyes.
So, the question remains, do I like this book? I honestly don't know. I didn't care for the writing style, it wasn't a "page turner" for me, but it HAS been inspiring in a quiet sort of way. But to get to the book's inspirational aspects, I almost had to force myself to sit down and read the book. So I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. I wish I'd seen the book first before buying it. I don't think I would've spent the money ... but your mileage may vary.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique!, June 17, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning(TM) : A Story for Mother Culture ® (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. It is written as a diary by the main character Carol. Based on Charlotte Mason's teachings, the book gives an idea of how to study nature in the most natural way, whether you live in the city or country. Nature study can be turned into a science and art lesson, and even a writing lesson if you keep a nature journal. At first the book was a little boring, but as I read on I just hated to put it down. As a mother of 5, I appreciate that the book is broken down into short chapters so I can snatch a few minutes here and there to read. This book is unique. It may be a bit far fetched as to how perfectly wonderful the people seem, but honestly that's the reason I read books like this. I enjoy being "taken away" from the stress of everyday life and into another time and place. What inspired me most about this book is that I was reminded to slow down, enjoy exploring nature with my children, and even turn it into a learning experience for all of us. In this day and age of fast-paced high-tech living, I think everyone would benefit from a reminder like this to "stop and smell (and even draw!) the flowers". Highly recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle Encouragement for the Homeschooling Mother, March 25, 2006
This review is from: Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning(TM) : A Story for Mother Culture ® (Paperback)
This book is what I would call "gentle encouragement for the homeschooling mother." The book presents the philosophy of Charlotte Mason in the form of a story. The story is of Carol, a stay at home wife/mother/homeschooler in the 1930's. Through the writings of Carol in her diary we follow she and her family during their first year of home education. This book also encorporates the topic of nature study Charlotte Mason style. I found this book to be of gentle encouragment as our family travels the road of home education together.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Story, November 11, 2005
This review is from: Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning(TM) : A Story for Mother Culture ® (Paperback)
This is a sweet story of a young mother (Carol) homeschooling her children in the 1930s United States using methods learned from the writings of Charlotte Mason. The story is presented against the backdrop of family and community life during that time period. There is a quiet ebb and flow to the story I found refreshing and renewing. The story illustrates how naturally and easily homeschooling fits within the lives of the characters. The story also provides examples of how others besides the mother are involved in the homeschool experience: the father, a beloved aunt and uncle, the caretaker at the park, a neighbor, an adopted grandmother... Much of the value of the book is in the parts that are included aside from the story: the lists of recommended readings and the real-life realities behind some of the details included in the story. I have not yet read any other books by this author, but I have visited her website a number of times and have reviewed a book review written by her husband, and I trust the care and thorough thought they seem to put into their efforts. Just relax and read the book without expecting it to be any more or any less than what it is.
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31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars dissenting opinion, March 24, 2004
By 
Jennifer Koch "jenniwith3" (Flemington, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning(TM) : A Story for Mother Culture ® (Paperback)
I know I am in the minority, but I did not like this book. The story is unrealistic (in the first few pages the author likens her perfect huband to Cary Grant, down to the cleft in his chin. He always has a kind and encouraging word for her that just makes her struggles at homeschooling melt away! This is not an exceedingly common experience!), and it meanders along too slowly and meaningnessly. I didn't even finish it, and sold it at my next homeschool meeting. If you're looking for something practical to help you do better nature journaling, this book is not it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should've read years ago, June 28, 2008
By 
G. Brown (Gadsden, AL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning(TM) : A Story for Mother Culture ® (Paperback)
I have homeschooled my children for eight years, and I've often seen this book and thought that I would like to read it... but when it comes time to order books for the year, I always spend my money on "school" books. God has been telling me to "simplify" in a lot of areas of my life, so I ordered this book before ordering all of my children's books. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. It's written in a diary / journal format by a mother in the 1930's that has decided that public school is not best for her children. She was given a copy of Charlotte Mason's book and slowly starts to implement her style of teaching. This book is so sweet and it is a great story. I was sad when I got to the end. This book makes me want to be a better homeschool teacher, a sweeter mother, and a more loving and understanding wife.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Created NOSTALGIA!!, January 18, 2010
By 
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This review is from: Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning(TM) : A Story for Mother Culture ® (Paperback)
Okay, I wasn't raised in the 30's, I am a 70's child, but many things mentioned by Ms. Andreola in this book still evoked memories of "days gone by." I found it a joy to read!

The book is set up as a diary. The only thing I found annoying through-out the book is that sometimes it reads as a diary, but then switches to a book/story. It was kind of choppy in this respect, especially at the beginning. Towards the latter part of the book the "diary entries" were kept down to at the most two pages, making it seem more like a diary by then.

The entries with nature references are especially helpful. I've gone on nature walks with my children but realize that there is a lot lacking in this area. I hope to discipline my children more to watching nature, observation, and awe rather than letting them make a hasty sketch of what they observe and then scampering off!

To the readers who state this book is unrealistic...I ask "why?" Why do we have to assume or think that men today cannot be a strong support system, or that they are as handsome as Cary Grant? Remember, Cary Grant was the standard for handsome in the 30's! (Today, it would more like Pierce Brosnan!) One only has to read books primarily written prior to 1950 to get solid conversation, proper dialect, and MANNERS. I cringe every time I ask my children something and they respond with "YEAH." I can't figure out when being proper became passe....

About the only other thing that bothered me about this book is the size...it did not make comfortable bed-reading material as it is kind of large and bulky. I appreciated the size when I read on the couch because I could write in it and make notes, but I like to read in bed, too, and this book was not very accommadating. Other than that, no other issues.

Check this book out of the library, then make a decision to buy it. I sure am glad I did!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fabulous book, June 16, 2007
This review is from: Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning(TM) : A Story for Mother Culture ® (Paperback)
I have just finished a beautiful book by Karen Andreola called "Pocketful of Pinecone". I really like it because it was written in diary style. Set in the mid 1930 a new homeschooling mother shares her first year journey with a Charlotte Mason nature study with her 2 children. I recommend this hard to put down never wanting it to end book to any homeschooling mom for either a fun read or inspiration to start nature study with their own children
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Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning(TM) : A Story for Mother Culture ®
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