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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nature Friend Magazine Review


Gorgeous.

God Honoring.

Educational.

Those are three words that certainly don't get used very often to describe magazines geared toward children, and especially not nature magazines. But Nature Friend is all those things and then some.

I have to admit, I've had my eye on Nature Friend for quite some time now, so I was THRILLED when the TOS Crew received two free copies (complete with the study guide) to review. See, our family has quite a bit of experience with children's magazines. Until two years ago, my husband's mother worked at a private Christian school that sold magazines as a fund raiser, and my kids received about $250 in magazines each year as gifts. That worked out to about 8 magazines a month. You name them, we've seen them. And I have to say most of them went unread, and almost without exception they failed to impress. The science ones were especially lacking. They were universally evolutionary in their suppositions, meaning all references to how old things were did not mesh with our beliefs and no where was any glory given to God for all the wonders they were writing about. In fact, one was so laden with ads for material things that we deem inappropriate, and certainly had nothing to do with science, that I had to cancel it after just a few months. Clearly, our family needed a different sort of magazine.

Enter Nature Friend. This magazine is stunning from cover to cover. Not only is the photography great, but if you get the Study Guide edition, you will even get tips on how to take great nature photos yourself. And the writing is well done too. Every article points to the Creator and all the wonders of His creation. In addition to photos and articles, the regular magazine offers crossword puzzles, word searches, and nature related craft activities. It also has a section for learning to draw a different element from nature every month (see below) and it includes TONS of reader submissions from questions to the editor to reader's photos to readers' submissions of their drawing from the previous month's instructions.
The Study Guide edition offers a supplement to each month's magazine with more specific educational activities, commentaries on reader photos, answers to reader's nature photography questions, nature study activities, research suggestions, and a lesson in writing about nature. It is a rich addition to an already substantial magazine.

Given all the gushing I've done, I'm sure you don't need a list of pros.
And I only have one "con"...the price. Now, I can tell you that "Nana" sent my kids many magazines with a comparable price tag, so I am NOT suggesting that the cost is unduly high or out of line with other high quality student magazines. But at $36 a year (for 12 issues) it just is a little high for my personal homeschool budget. And sadly, the study guide, which I LOVE, is an extra $2 per issue, bringing the total for one year to $60. True, that's only $5 a month. And also true many families blow WAY more than that eating out for one meal. But it's still a little hard to personally fit into our budget right now. I do want to let all of you know though that there is currently a coupon code for $3 off a NEW subscription. The code is BLOG93 and it expires November 30, 2009.

The bottom line for me is that if I could afford it, I'd order this magazine in a heartbeat-not even a second thought about it. My kids and I have really enjoyed this magazine, and because of that I am planning on asking "Nana" if she will give her grandchildren this beautiful magazine as a gift. Really, it's one of the best investments she could make-they love it, they learn from it, and they'll keep it around forever. The only problem I'll have is the arguments over whose turn it is to look at it...and that's not such a bad problem to have, is it?

To order Nature Friend magazine and/or study guide edition, go HERE. You can also view samples of the magazine, study guide, and other educational activities on their website to help you make your own decision. To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE.
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