Living Books

Living books are those written by someone who is a passionate master of the subject and has written in a way that is engaging to the reader while inspiring ideas, curiosity, thinking, and a full life. Living books are not simply textbooks of facts but reach the spirit of the reader and are often based in storytelling rather than just the memorization of information. Living books are well written, telling a story or presenting information well.

When looking for quality, living books it may help to ask these questions:

  1. Does the book encourage and inspire imagination?
  2. Does the book have literary merit?
  3. Does the book teach and inform using dry facts or through engaging narrative?


Narration is telling back to someone the details of what you have just read or heard. Younger students practice this by reading or being read to and then by telling in their own words what they just heard. Older students will take the information heard and write about it. For all students, narration can be used as a gentle testing method for the parent or teacher to assess comprehension and to correct habits such as poor grammar and syntax. Oftentimes, regular narration practice in the early years prepares students for the more rigorous writing done in the high school years.

Nature Study

At the most basic level, nature study is time spent outside noticing and observing nature. The goal of a robust nature study is to develop a long-term habit of this type of observation in order to become more fully aware of what those observations mean. Observing plants, weather, insects, and animals is the first step. With practice, students develop a deeper understanding and enjoyment of God’s world as they take those observational skills and use them to analyze more complex areas of scientific study.

Esprit follows the Ambleside Online schedule for nature study schoolwide, making it easy for families to study the same nature study subject with all ages together.

Nature Journaling

Nature journaling is a wonderful way for anyone to connect with the outdoor world. Taking notes, creating illustrations, and expressing questions and thoughts about nature experiences can be a fulfilling creative exercise for people of all ages. For students, learning to observe well is an important skill. At Esprit, all students are required to keep a nature journal as they work to hone their observational skills and understanding of God’s world. 

Listed here are some wonderful resources on nature journaling.

Nature Lore

Books that are considered nature lore are those written by a naturalist in a compelling way that draw the reader in and inspires interest in the outdoor world. Using nature lore as a read aloud is a wonderful way for students to encounter the natural world in a literature-based way. 

There are many wonderful nature lore books. This is not an exhaustive list but is a great place to start.

Nurturing Mind & Spirit