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Pocketful of Pinecones Review by Tim and Tina Rice

By Karen Andreola

Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola is an enchanting and energizing look at nature study. Mrs. Andreola is also the author of A Charlotte Mason Companion. Mrs. Andreola designed Pocketful of Pinecones to be useful for Mother Culture (a term coined by the author that encourages a mother to take a little time to keep growing). In as little as 15 minutes a day, a mother can strengthen her spirit, expand her mind, exercise her creativity, or ponder ideas that will help her in her arduous task as homemaker/home teacher. Pocketful of Pinecones is written from the perspective of Carol, a new homeschooling mother. Carol keeps a journal during the depression years of 1935-36, documenting her family’s use of nature notebooks to study science and nature and her discovery of the writings of Charlotte Mason. Beginning in the autumn of 1935, Carol describes how her children construct nature notebooks. We follow her family through the four seasons and discover how they use their nature notebooks. The story ends in the summer of 1936 as Carol approaches her second year of homeschooling. Pocketful of Pinecones is not a preachy “how-to” book, it is the story of a family and how nature study with the gentle art of learning worked for them. Two things I like best about Pocketful of Pinecones are the short, mother-sized chapters and the use of Latin names for the living things the characters observe. The illustrations are charming; just looking at the cover makes me long for a picnic in the woods. In the appendix you will find selected quotes from Charlotte Mason’s Home Education, and a suggested reading list (with some really terrific books). Buy a copy of Pocketful of Pinecones and read for yourself the delightful story of Carol, her husband Michael, and their children Don and Emily. You will be inspired to begin your own nature notebook and to make studying nature a real life experience. You can reach Karen Andreola at

-- Product Review by: Tim and Tina Rice, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine