On our Christmas Wish List, will be a gift subscription to Nature Friend Magazine! As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew we received two issues (August and September 2009)
to review, along with the Study Guide for each. While we cut subscriptions out of our budget for several years, we have been blessed to people donate their used copies to us. We have thus been able to view a wide range of magazines. This one is a NEW favorite!

I often use magazines in our Homeschool for projects. Once in awhile I'll use related articles to topics we are studying. Never have I used a magazine to teach a whole subject! We ended up falling in love with Nature Friend and using it for our Science Lessons throughout August and September. Owned by Kevin and Bethany Shank of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley ( I know the area well, as we lived there for several years )sense 2006, the magazine is celebrating its 27th year! Sample issues are available for you to view, to see for yourself what an asset this can be to your Homeschool! We loved the beautiful photography. We also enjoyed the learn by doing activities! My son loved all the little tidbits of information he collected from our readings. This was so beautiful and engaging, we went page by page together. I wanted to share in this learning! There were puzzles, poetry, photography tips, drawing lessons, and more. The magazine urges your child and you to be a part of the learning process by contributing to the magazine!

There are many things a reader can contribute:
( This is taken from a memo sent from Mr. Shank )
* Each month has an art lesson called “You Can Draw.” Besides the new lesson, a
selection of children’s drawings from a previous lesson is always included.
* We welcome nature-related poems and artwork (non-art-lesson art), for our
“Pictures and Poems” feature.
* We want photographs for “Creation Close-ups”
* “Nature Trails” is a feature readers submit stories/photos about the activities they like to do each year in a particular month, or something they did one year and enjoyed. It can be a warm and fuzzy way to present a calendar of events, if you please. We can learn what we may be able to enjoy doing also, or else learn what folks are doing in another part of the world in that particular month.
* Each year we do a “Readers’ Issue” where, cover-to-cover, we use material from our readership. June was the 2009 Readers’ issue; however, like in 2008, we are publishing a second, bonus readers’ issue. This was unannounced both years, and a result of having so many good submissions sent to us. This year the second issue will be the October issue.
* Throughout the year we continue to draw from the good submissions our readers send.
You can learn more about these features at Nature Friend's Website.

As I said you can glean many lessons from the magazine, study guide and website.
The website shares how you can use the magazine for Science, Creative Writing, Art, and Photography. I would add Poetry, Narration and Worldview lessons. This is a Christian magazine written from a Creationist point of view. On most any page a quote or verse is shared. These served as "sparks" as we worked through the magazine together. You may also access the Homeschooler's guide to Nature Friend at the website.

I should mention that the Study Guide is an option and comes with your magazine each month, but as a separate purchase. We would choose to purchase the Study Guide with our purchase, but the magazine alone would be a good resource.
There is a sample of the Study Guide available for viewing, again at the website.
It is a resource that can be enjoyed by a variety of ages. You can access more reviews at the website or at our Crew site. The Study Guide serves as an reinforcement to what the child reads and views on the issue. It also contains two bonus features.

Magazine Costs:
1-Year Subscription: $36.00
2-Year Subscription: $68.00

Add $2.00 per issue for Study Guide.
Also available are Yearly Hardbound Collections for $66.00.

A few odds and ends as I wrap this review. The site also has a wonderful Bookstore where you can online purchase many wonderful titles on a variety of subjects. As an eclectic Homeschool that is God-Directed and leaning more towards Charlotte Mason methods, I am going to be visiting this site often. We have Homeschooled for ten years. Our oldest is now in college and our youngest is 11. Our whole family is thrilled to have been introduced to this wonderful site, family and magazine.
While you may be surprised at the magazine's cost, I urge you to be creative in the ways you might make this part of your lifestyle of learning!