Monday, October 1

Book of Trees - Memoria Press {Review}

This review was originally published in June 2017 on our Gypsy Road site.

Memoria Press is one of our family’s favorite resources for quality books and curriculum, but we have primarily used their history, geography, and Latin.  My outdoorsy son is not your typical textbook kid, and we thought that the hands-on approach offered by Memoria Press in his elementary level science courses would be a good fit.

The Book of Trees is an introduction to botany, specifically tree and leaf identification through beginning botany.  It could be used as a full year of science for younger students, but would be most appropriate as a semester of science for middle or early high school.  The book covers five main topics :  Root & Stem, Leaves, Photosynthesis & Respiration, Flowers & Fruit, and Observing Trees.

The Book of Trees basic set consists of a textbook, student guide, and teacher guide.  Written in narrative textbook form, but working quite well in read-aloud fashion, it includes scientific names and detailed information, as well as black and white drawings.  It also includes quite a bit of chemistry, presented at an early level, in the second half of the book.  It is written at a sixth grade level, and would be appropriate for independent readers at the middle or high school level, or to be read aloud at the elementary level.  As an aside, my children were both hooked when the text started using Legos to explain chemistry!!  (see below)
The accompanying Student Book contains activities, including observations, sketching, memorization, labeling, review activities, and “go and find” activities.  The Teacher Guide includes quizzes and tests for assessing material retention.  It also includes lesson plans laid out by week for a full semester’s worth of science.  This book also contains the answers to the Student Book pages.  It is a valuable piece of the set.
It is worth noting that there are two more pieces to the full set, Peterson’s First Guide to Trees and Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-Ups, which will help with further exploration into each topic.  However, for this review, we used the modern-day  encyclopedia – found at SchoolhouseTeachers – or you could simply use Google to find photos and more information.  These resources are primarily used for the “Tree Identification” portion of the curriculum.

We used The Book of Trees twice weekly, completing one full lesson each week, with a fourth and sixth grader.  We began our studies in the spring, allowing for plenty of outside time to catch and explore leaves, trees, and new growth for hands-on learning.  My children really enjoyed the stories in the reader, the drawing and labelling activities, and getting to get outside.  They were not as excited about taking quizzes or doing workbook work, but we all know that it is an important part of the overall retention of information.

On the first day of each week, we read the selection from the textbook aloud together.  All three of us took turns reading aloud, which provided extra reading practice for the boys.  One of the things we loved about this set is that the text is short, with detailed illustrations and photos to help visualize.  After reading, we would complete the workbook portion together at the table.  On the second day of each week, we reviewed the workbook information, went outside for hands-on activities, and took the review quizzes / tests.  For fun, we also began pointing out different trees and parts of trees on our evening walks, too!
I appreciate the format that Memoria Press uses for their elementary science curricula.  It takes a hands-on approach to learning, which I find more engaging for children.  They tend to retain that in which they are fully engaged in, and this is no exception.  All three books in The Book of Trees basic set are valuable assets to the curriculum, and they are affordably priced.  Overall, I think that The Book of Trees is a great elementary science curriculum.  I look forward to using other science books from Memoria Press with my children in the future!

See what others are saying about Memoria Press at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!
Crew DisclaimerLatin, Nature and Trees {Memoria Press Reviews}

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