This is the first installment in the Permaculture Student series. It is for any aspiring beginner permaculturist or for public & home school curriculum in a middle school setting. It is for anyone wanting a simple, direct, academic reference for permaculture design science. It is a reference manual rather than a traditional textbook of units and assignments. Much of this textbook and workbook is inspired by the work of Geoff Lawton, Geoff’s online permaculture design course and the work of his predecessors: Bill Mollison, David Holmgren, Masanobu Fukuoka, Sepp Holzer & P.A. Yoemans. It is designed such that anyone can setup their site safely and begin their education in permaculture on a solid foundation based in science.
Disclaimer: I have translated this book (and the workbook) into Polish for the author, so that might have influenced my review a bit
First of all, such book was desperately needed and certainly it is quite a big step forward in permaculture education for kids (and older as well). The book can be a great help for teachers but also for those who seek basic knowledge on permaculture and do not have a time for reading fat "bibles" like Mollison's PD Manual.
Matt briefly goes through the entire curriculum of the PDC course, in a very condensed, easy to read, well illustrated and suitable for kids form.
The workbook associated with the book makes it unique, it contains nearly all what is needed in order to make first steps in permaculture design of own property.
Personally I have a feeling that some chapters are suitable for a younger, some for older reader, which might make it difficult for a single kid, but on the other hand better for a wider audience or for home schooling in a larger family.
Overall I strongly recommend this book to any parents who want their kids to acquaint with permaculture in a more structured way.
It may go higher in the next couple of weeks as I integrate this lesson plan into our homeschool curriculum for my oldest son after the first of the year. Just reading through the manual some of it strikes me as being overly simplified, while other sections are a bit more complex. The up and down nature has me a little worried (just a little though). I won't know for sure how it flows for a school aged kid until I try it (it's been a while since that was me so...). I supported Matt's kickstarter campaign, and I'm really looking forward to passing on this knowledge and understanding to all of my children with this curriculum (along with some of my own twists and turns!). The illustrations are fantastic, and you can feel the author's enthusiasm and passion for the subject matter, I have high hopes for this book in our homeschool household.
I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns. Matt really worked to have the information "fact checked" with experts on the various topics, and the illustrations are worth the price of the book. I'm also a huge fan of his second book, which is written with an aim at the high school student.
Imagine the change in the world if students everywhere learned about permaculture in grade school!
I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns. I love how accurate the textbook is, as well as how useful and beautiful and helpful the illustrations are. It covers basic ecology, as well as lots of permaculture techniques and principles, and it covers them accurately.
I do wish the sections were a bit longer. Most topics get 1-2 paragraph summary about them, and even as an adult, it's kind of easy to skim through and not really comprehend the concept. The book is concise! Each word carries meaning and very little is repeated. The reader has to be focused. This means it takes more work to delve in and understand the meaning that is explained in as few words as necessary. This might be difficult for a Jr Higher. I do not have the workbook, though, so perhaps the workbook really helps the kids really work out the meaning and expand upon what is offered in the textbook.
All in all, I think this book is very well-written, accurate, illustrated wonderfully, and would be a great teaching resource for someone who already knows about permacultre. A teacher who does not know much about permaculture and is using this book may well want more in-depth resources for themselves to read so that they can answer questions from the student.
The Permaculture Student 1 is a wonderful short and easy read that you can read in half a day to a few hours. It provides a broad overview of permaculture and a good background in environmental science. I appreciated how articulate and succinct the book is, because that helps it to achieve the stated objectives of making permaculture more accessible and understandable to children. The book also makes permaculture more easily understandable to people who do not have a background in science but are still passionate about making the world a better place. And of course, the hopeful and optimistic tone of the book is also appreciated. The only reason I'm not giving ten out of ten acorns is that there were a few sentences that I found worded or written oddly that I wasn't entirely sure what was being expressed, but there were only two or three of those. Overall, The Permaculture Student 1 is a great introduction to permaculture for people of all ages and backgrounds!