Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Courage of Sarah Noble Lapbook

Alyssa and I have been very busy this week. She recently finished reading The Courage of Sarah Noble written by     Alice Dalgliesh. She wanted to do a hands-on project related to the story so I searched for a lapbook online. We ended up utilizing two different lapbooks to create the one pictured below.

If you are looking for a hands-on project to work on with your children as you read this book, visit the following links for the resources. One of the lapbooks are available for FREE at the Homeschool Share. The other lapbook was from my computer files. It's available for purchase at 123 Homeschool 4 Me.

Alyssa glued a timeline to the back of the lapbook. Each box summarized 1 or 2 chapters. She learned about forest animals, Native Americans, colonial cooking, Newbery Honor books, the 13 colonies, trees, and so much more. We plan on making some colonial food as a culmination activity or theme party.

Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey. I will link this post up at Titus 2 Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

TOS Review: Introductory Science from Science Shepherd

Science Shepherd Review

I never imagined how easy it would be to teach Science until the Introductory Science curriculum from Science Shepherd arrived for me to review. Introductory Science was designed for children between the ages of 6-11. This complete online homeschool science curriculum written by Dr. Scott and Rianne Hardin contains 35 weekly lessons divided into daily assignments. The authors are Christian homeschool parents who had a strong desire to create a high quality Science curriculum suitable for homeschool families. This elementary curriculum contains three parts: Video-based lessons, workbook activities, and an answer key.

Online Videos
The package included a one-year online subscription to access the accompanying videos. The videos lasted approximately 2-5 minutes long. The instructor, Dr. Scott Hardin, used a direct teaching approach. He presented the material as if he were a meteorologist while meaningful vocabulary terms, vivid real-life photographs, and labeled diagrams surrounded him and were flashed on the screen. The lessons were clearly explained in age-appropriate terms. The video is where the core content is presented. The vocabulary words are defined on-screen frequently with examples or images to clarify understanding.

Level B Workbook
We also received a consumable 383-page Level B Workbook which is suitable for children ages 9 to 11. However, younger children ages 6-8 could also benefit from using this workbook level. My understanding is that this level contains a little more content and utilizes a smaller font than Level A. There were only two daily lessons in Week 35 covering Magnets instead of five. I would have preferred that there was planned content for the entire last week.

The accompanying workbook video activity usually began with an essential question or spark to pique the child's interest. Video activity pages were on a separate page following the lesson. Necessary supplies were listed in bold print under the video activity. Numbered instructions or activity directions followed the supply list.
Science Shepherd Review

The spiral-bound workbook begins with a 2-page Table of Contents and weekly lessons are organized across a five-day time period.
Table of Contents
The pages were black and white containing no flashy or colorful content. Lesson comprehension questions come in a variety of formats including true/false, multiple choice, fill-in-the blanks, and written short answer observations or predictions. Alyssa was asked to circle the best answer choice for each question. Answer choices were indicated in bold print.

There is an excellent mixture of workbook activities such as word search puzzles, matching puzzles, labeling, listing, classification sorts, and categorized charts. The variety of hands-on activities and experiments adds to the completeness and versatility of the program.

I loved that the authors occasionally threw in a family focused day off for the Day 5 lesson and activity as seen during Week 26 and 33. There's a note smack in the middle of the page in all caps stating, "Free Day - Enjoy the time with your family!" This gesture emphasized the importance of spending family time together and the need to take a break from the routine. 

The weekly lessons are subdivided into the three main science fields including Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. However, the curriculum begins with an important two-week introductory Creation study and a one-week Science Skills and Tools lesson. Evolution is briefly discussed during the Creation study. The author explores the two topics based on evidence provided in the field, but the material covered emphasizes a more Christian perspective. He arms the student with a basic understanding of evolution to prepare them or conversations in the future. You can read more about their perspective under the Frequently Asked Questions on the website.

Referenced Bible verses in the Holy Bible or ESV translation are provided at the beginning of each weekly lesson. My daughter would often attempt to memorize and recite the Scripture verse on Fridays. The weekly verses are repeated on a daily basis which means you can improve your Bible memorization skills by using a scripture memory system. Children can easily memorize and recite each weekly Bible verse at the end of the week if desired. For example, Jonah 1:4a can be seen at the top of Week 6's Meteorology lesson covering storms, thunder, lightning, wind, tornadoes, hurricanes, and the great flood.

"But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea . . ."

Bible verses can also be read on the screen during the video presentations. The referenced scripture is noted and a large font is utilized. 

The curriculum addressed many topics, including but not limited to, creation, science skills and tools, meteorology, oceanography, natural resources, ecology, geology, astronomy, botany, life science and human beings, nutrition, health, motion, matter, energy, magnetism, and zoology. Zoology was organized into three broad categories: Underwater, land, and flying animals. Many of the topics sparked Alyssa's interest.

Answer Key
The 41-page paper booklet Answer Key (sold separately for $3) was included in our set. It provides the teacher with the answers to the problems for each of the daily lessons. Student questions are not reproduced or restated. The answers are given in numerical order or with matching pairs. The weekly lesson is titled using white text with a black filled text box. For example, Week 7 - Earth Science: Geology. Each daily lesson is indicated in bold print with subtitles such as Day 1- Introduction, Day 2 - The Earth's Layers, Day 3 - Rocks, Day 4 - Soil, and Day 5 - Landscapes. The answers are listed by in a black-filled text box weeks and days. You can see another example in the photo below. This booklet contains only answers. No teaching tips or scripts are given.

How We Used Introductory Science 
I used Introductory Science with my daughter, Alyssa, who is 8-years-old. I chose the Level B Workbook, because she works at a 3rd-5th grade level. The Level B Workbook offered a few more questions using a smaller font yet the same material was addressed.

We completed a lesson on a daily basis Monday through Friday. We used the curriculum 5 times per week for approximately 10-30 minutes a day depending on whether or not hands-on experiments or activities were added into the lesson. We completed one full lesson each week except for the first week. We received our video subscription early so we watched the videos for the first week together and then completed all of the workbook pages in one day once the book arrived in the mail. The content addressed during the first week was a review for us.

The questions were completed together at first. Alyssa read the verse aloud and I read the question. She stated the answer and I checked her work. However, I quickly realized she could work independently on the assignment which gave me more time to work on lesson plans, chores, and work. She would bring her work for me to check using the answer key provided. There were a limited number of questions to answer each day which made the lesson more manageable and the page less cluttered.

First, Alyssa watched the short video lesson. The videos were viewed in full-screen mode on our MAC OS X 10.9.5 computer. Chrome was our preferred browser. Then, she completed the corresponding comprehension questions so that I could assess her understanding and retention level. The questions reinforced her learning and were discussed to clarify misunderstandings. A separate student demonstrated video was provided for each hands-on experiment following the daily corresponding lesson. Alyssa liked that she could watch the videos over and over again if desired for review or clarification purposes. The well-organized website enabled us to navigate through and find specific lessons easily. The video lesson below invited her to make observations and predictions.
All activities and experiments followed the workbook questions. We chose to complete many of the optional hands-on Science activities and experiments included in the workbook. Any needed household items for experiments were gathered in advance so that we could complete the activities or experiments on the same day as the lesson if possible. The hands-on activities were by far her absolute favorite part of the curriculum as you will see in the photos below.

Throughout the review period, Alyssa drew beautiful creation posters, made observations during mystery bag predictions, created model magic animal creations, completed leaf rubbings, wrote a dominion list, and set-up several experiments.
Creation Posters
Favorite Animal Creation Project
Another Favorite Project!
Mystery Bag Observations and Predictions

Her favorite experiments were the Water Cycle Tin Can and the Colored Ice Cube Storm Experiment. The ice cube  storm experiment took a slight detour so that we could discuss mixing colors in Art. One tidbit to remember for these two experiments is to make sure you freeze the water beforehand in preparation for the lesson.
Water Cycle Experiment:
Air is All Around Us
Storm Formation Experiment:
Blue (Cold) Water Along the Bottom Forcing Red (Warm) to the Top

One activity that we didn't do was the Pine Cone Bird Feeder, because this activity had been done many times in the past. She was extremely excited about making an an anemometer, however, that quickly turned into frustration. Our straws must have been too flimsy or our cups were too big. This ended up being her least favorite activity.

The built-in weekly review activity was a big hit with my daughter, because she's a huge puzzle fan. Review was provided in the form of a crossword puzzle consisting of 5 to 8 vocabulary words to complete the fill-in-the-blank clues. My daughter thought they the puzzles were extremely easy. A word bank in list format was provided for each crossword puzzle.
Week 2 Crossword
What I Liked
  • High-Quality Real Life Photos, Diagrams, Flowcharts, and Graphics
  • Encourages Independence
  • Individualized Pace
  • No Science Teaching Background Required
  • Extremely User-Friendly
  • Short Lessons
  • Video-Based Learning Paired with Worksheets 
  • Fantastic Science Overview
  • All Learning Styles Addressed: Multi-Sensory Curriculum
  • Biblical Perspective
  • Age-Appropriate
Possible Vendor Suggestions
  • Answer Keys Included in Package with a Sturdier Laminate Cover (Not as a Separate Purchase)
  • Add Quizzes and Tests Containing True/False or Multiple Choice Formatted Questions
  • Offer Perforated Three-Hole Punched Workbook Options or Stronger Bound Materials
  • Experimental Lab Worksheets Emphasizing the Scientific Method
  • No Expiration Date on Videos for Curriculum Purchasers (Provide Password Inside Workbook)
  • Add a Resource List Including Content Songs, Related Literature, and Websites for Enrichment Purposes
  • Create Additional Elementary Science Curriculum Mastery-Based Courses: Anatomy, Life Science, Earth Science, and Geology
Overall Thoughts and Results
Alyssa is definitely retaining the information from the videos. We like to think of them as short bursts or chunks of interesting information about our world. The work load is manageable and the workbook reinforces the content taught. She was engaged in the lesson and the short videos maintained her attention. We will continue using this complete video science curriculum through next year. We started Week 7, but we may slow things down to further research the Earth's Layers with related literature and a hands-on activity.

This curriculum simplified my life and homeschool planning at a time when I needed less on my to-do list. I no longer had to piece Science unit studies together. I may add on a few projects to dig deeper into specific topics next year, but they aren't necessary just a preference. There was minimal, if any, teacher preparation required. The curriculum could also be done independently depending on your child's reading level too. A variety of concepts were systematically taught and addressed giving her a well-rounded concise foundation based on a creationist viewpoint.

Yes. I would ABSOLUTELY recommend Science Shepherd's recently released Introductory Science curriculum to all home educators especially if you do NOT have a strong Science teaching background. My daughter is learning a an enormous amount and actually asks to do science first thing in the morning. She knows that it is a quick lesson and is one subject she can easily cross off her assignment list.

At first, Alyssa thought that the videos were going to be boring, because the author's voice was very dry, monotoned, and straight-to-the point. However, she grew to appreciate the conciseness of the videos. Children who learn best from computer-based or video-based learning when material is explicitly taught may find the curriculum appealing. It combines several different teaching methods or strategies including video-based learning, hands-on activities and experiments, word puzzles, drawing, and more. Auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles are addressed.

Introductory Science Curriculum $35
Workbook A (Ages 6-8) $12
Workbook B (Ages 9-11) $15
Answer Key $3.00
Monthly Video Course Extensions (1-3 months) $5 - $15

  1. All prices are subject to change without notice. 
  2. View the samples and read the reviews before choosing a workbook level. 
  3. You WILL need one workbook for EACH student. 
Social Media
Twitter @ScienceShepherd

The Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog gathers even more Science Shepherd reviews. Go check out what my colleagues have to say! Higher grade level Science curricula was also reviewed. 
Science Shepherd Review
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cooking With Kids in the Kitchen: Peanut Butter Banana Energy Bites

Alyssa is participating in the My Kid Made This Challenge. The older my daughter gets the more interested she is in learning how to cook and bake. I bought her a child's apron for Christmas so now we have matching aprons. I try to get her involved in the kitchen as much as possible. I started teaching her the basics many years ago.

Here are a few pictures of her making a no-bake recipe by herself this time. We found a Peanut Butter Banana Energy Bite recipe for Alyssa to try. Unfortunately, I can't find the original recipe. It is very familiar to the Energy Bite recipe we make all the time except this one adds in banana. We also had a few ripe bananas that needed to be used up. My daughter really liked them. I did notice that because SHE made them, she took pride in her work and ate them more often than the ones we make together.
Music Playing in the Background
Great Job Baby Girl!
They look delicious!
Peanut Butter Banana Bite Recipe
1 Tablespoon Flaxseed
1 Ripe Banana
2 Cups Old Fashion Oats
1 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup Honey
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Raisins

Note: She substituted mini chocolate chips for the raisins. She also used less vanilla (1/2 tsp), because our was double strength. They were placed in the refrigerator once rolled into 1" balls.  

Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey! Come back again real soon. I will link this post up at Hearts for Home Blog Hop.
Hearts for Home Blog Hop

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Virtual Refrigerator Blog Hop: Animal Creation Art Project

Alyssa recently started a new Science curriculum called Introductory Science from Science Shepherd. This user-friendly curriculum takes very little time to complete each day. 
Science Shepherd Review

One of the first activities offered after watching videos and completing a quick worksheet about Creation was to make a model of her favorite animal. The lesson was about how God can create anything. He does so by just speaking the words, but people can't do that. It further explains that we can use clay to make things.

We purchased some Crayola Model Magic at Hobby Lobby with a 50% off coupon and a gift card. The booklet inside the box gave helpful tips and suggestions for creations.

Next, she watched an arts and crafts video from the sixth volume of Mike's Inspiration Station explaining how to Sculpt a Cute Dog. She adores all animals, but her two favorite animals are dogs and cats.

She made this adorable dog and also made a black and white cat with blue eyes sleeping on its belly. What a fun hands-on Art activity! I love it when we can integrate Art into Science . . . or any other subject for that matter.

Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey! I will link this post up at the Virtual Refrigerator Blog Hop. Come link up your Art posts.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

TOS Review - Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades from Zeezok Publishing LLC

Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}

We've been learning an enormous amount about Franz Schubert using our new review product, Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades published by Zeezok Publishing LLC. This homeschool music program is geared towards elementary-aged children in grades K-6th. I am a non-musical person and needed a homeschool curriculum that was easy-to-use. Prior to Zeezok Publishing LLC, Alyssa's Music Education sorely lacked and basically consisted of weekly piano lessons. I have no background experience or knowledge teaching music so I will be learning alongside Alyssa. I am extremely thankful for the Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades curriculum. In the past, teaching music intimidated me.

Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}

What We Received 
A physical copy of the book for each composer was sent. The printed books are the core of the program. I'm so thankful that I don't have to track down library books for composer studies. Everything is already planned and done for me. The hardcover 124-page book titled, Franz Schubert and His Merry Friends was written by Opal Wheeler and Sybil Deucher. The illustrator, Mary Greenwalt, filled the pages with relevant black-and-white illustrations. The other paperback biographies were thick softcover books.

Each study covered the composer's early childhood years through adulthood including life's difficult obstacles leading up to the composer's death. It addressed the composer's life, his works, historical facts, character qualities, and historical time period information. Did you know that Schubert's father turned him away when he returned home with poor grades? The poor, young boy had to walk all the way back to Convict and missed the family concerts. Alyssa was shocked! She was also amazed by the length of time the composers practiced playing. I am hoping this will encourage her to practice piano a little longer.

List of Composers Addressed from The Great Musician Series
Seven composers from 1685 through 1828 are featured in this curriculum.
  • Sebastian Bach, The Boy From Thuringia
  • Handel at the Court of Kings
  • Joseph Haydn, The Merry Little Peasant
  • Ludwig Beethoven and the Chiming Bells
  • Mozart, The Wonder Boy
  • Franz Schubert and His Merry Friends
  • Paganini, Master of Strings
Student Activity Book
The student activity book is a large 354-page softcover workbook jam-packed with colorful eye catching pages. It is three-hole punched with perforated pages which makes it easier for children to write in. We chose to keep the pages binded together in the book. An Introductory Letter to parents and teachers can be found at the beginning of the book which explains the purpose of the included and required components. The Scope and Sequence Checklist with Standards for each composer follows the parent letter. There is also a helpful Music Disc Track List which lists every track played on all five discs.

A Weekly Lesson Outline gives you an overview of what to cover during the study. Each composer is covered over a 4-week time period. Reading, History, Research, Writing, Character Education, and Geography are seamlessly integrated into the Music Appreciation composer study. Suggested lesson plans and structured activities for ALL composers are included in the consumable activity book. The book provided us with 28 weeks worth of organized lesson plans with a vast array of activities to complete. This can be utilized as a full year curriculum.

Weekly Lesson Outline May Include the Following Activities
  • Comprehension Questions
  • Character Qualities
  • Tidbits of Interesting Facts
  • Lapbook Components
  • Hands-On Learning
  • Musical Theory Concepts
  • Music Appreciation
  • Map Work
  • And More

Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}

There are directions for creating an accordion timeline using white copy paper. The student activity book houses a conglomeration of historical facts that can be written on the timeline. There were facts about Schubert's life and world history facts covering a time period from 1797 through 1816. Alyssa diligently completed the project and glued it inside her lapbook. She constantly shared interesting factoids with me as I worked nearby. I helped her with the folding. 

Music CD's
Five music discs were included in a hardcover case. The collection contains over 150 minutes of professionally recorded musical selections for each composer which correspond with the curriculum activities. There is also an explanatory demo of each orchestra instrument. The track listing can be found in the Student Activity Book. My daughter spends time every day listening to this CD set which I believe is helping her appreciate classical music more.

Lapbook CD
The lapbook CD contains coordinating lapbook templates for each composer. The printables are organized by the name of the composer so you can easily print just what is needed. Lapbook instructions are provided including placement guides which show you where each booklet must be glued.

How We Used the Curriculum
I used Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades with Alyssa (Age 8) on a DAILY basis as her core music curriculum for approximately an hour. The unit studies can be done in any order so you can choose who you want to learn about first.

A Weekly Lesson Outline offers suggestions and divides the activities to cover each week. These are merely suggestions and as the home educator, you can move things around. Icons represented the type of activities. The asterick (*) indicated activities required to meet standards. We worked through the weekly activities as suggested in the pacing guide. I divided the activities up over the week and she completed several activities each day. We used the curriculum together with time for independent work.

We began our music appreciation study with a focus on Franz Schubert. Even though Alyssa could have read the biographical book independently, I chose to use the book as a family read aloud. My daughter requested that I read more books to her during the day. I also wanted to be nearby for vocabulary or pronunciation help. Occasionally, we would take turns reading paragraphs. We read aloud one chapter each week about the composer and observed the detailed black and white illustrations. My daughter and I devoured the historically accurate living book.

I read aloud the Comprehension Questions to Alyssa prior to reading the chapter so she'd be able to listen for the pertinent information. Comprehension questions were first discussed verbally. Then, Alyssa responded in written form. She answered the reading comprehension questions in the writing space of the workbook to see if she retained the information. Ample space was provided for written responses.

Character qualities were discussed verbally as introduced in the study. Examples with referenced text page numbers were given in parentheses. As we studied Schubert, we learned that he exhibited the following character qualities: Keen, Goodwill, Purposeful, Uncomplaining, Ambitious,  Confident, Productive, and Imaginative. Alyssa attempted the eight character challenges offered. I have to say . . . she was very motivated to earn those circular badges so much so that she asked if she could do our dishes. Yes please! Alyssa was encouraged and reminded to model the character traits during and after the study.

There were musical renditions or compositions woven throughout the book which my daughter attempted to play on her keyboard. We chose to listen to the composer's music every day throughout the unit study rather than on the specific days indicated in the lesson outline. The music appreciation CD's were played as she worked on and completed the accompanying hands-on workbook activities and during other subject work. This helped her become more familiar with and appreciate the composer's style and compositions. I've read that music stimulates brain development and improves scores across all subjects so I had no problem playing the music softly in the background. We also listened to the music in the car when driving to piano, doing chores, and sometimes before bedtime.

She even had the opportunity to create her own music. She cut and pasted notes and other musical symbols on the grand staff. We were studying Harriet Tubman in History at the time so she titled her musical composition, "Runaway Slave."

A Daily Glance at Grouped Weekly Schubert Activities
I tried to stick to a schedule when possible. Certain activities didn't occur every week. Therefore, I glanced at the weekly outline and organized the activities for each day based on how complicated it was or the length of time I thought it would take to complete them. The musical CD tracks 43-63 were listened to every day. If too many lapbook pieces were scheduled for Thursday, then I moved one to Friday.

  • Chapter Reading
  • Answer Comprehension Questions (Verbal and Written)
  • Character Qualities
  • Tidbits of Interest
  • Composers Scramble
  • Did You Know?
  • Word Search
  • Writing Poetry
  • Internet Research
  • Web Diagram Mapping

Cluster Diagram Found Online
Austria Research

  • Timeline Fan
  • Lapbook Components

The lapbook was a hands-on visual representation of all the concepts Alyssa learned. The step-by-step instructions were included in both the student activity book and on the lapbook templates from the CD. I printed out all the lapbook materials for Schubert at the beginning of the study. All the lapbook pieces completed were stored in a manila bradded envelope until assembly day. We took an extra week to wrap-up the lessons and assemble the Schubert lapbook at the end of the composer study. Later, we added the accordion timeline and additional online mini-book pieces to the lapbook. I researched larger composer images online for the front side of the lapbook, because the one included was too small.

The Apple Fun lapbook activity seemed more appropriate for children on the younger side of the suggested age range, but Alyssa wanted to do everything. She alphabetized the apple names, played a memory match game, and researched two types of apples online. She didn't realize that there were so many apple varieties. The apple cards were stored in a snack Ziploc bag in the lapbook.

Additionally, Alyssa learned about orchestra instruments in a fun, engaging way using the "Places, Everyone!" lapbook pieces. She researched the instruments using a recommended website from the Endnotes section. Then, she glued them in the correct place on a numbered lapbook diagram. Many other mini-books templates with informative notes to read were provided. The lapbook activities were simple cut-n-paste activities. 


  • Musical Theory 

The last day of the week, Alyssa completed the musical theory pages. Her favorite one was when she reviewed the musical notes and rests. The book stated the six main types of notes. She had a blast completing the color-coded note identification activity. The Search and Find activity was a brilliant way to get her to interact with the biography book. Vocabulary terms and definitions were scattered throughout the theory sections too. My daughter LOVED the Vocabulary Scavenger Book Hunt.

Quiz Time
The Schubert unit study concluded with a 2-page front and back quiz containing multiple choice, fill in the blank, and matching questions. I didn't grade the quiz. It was given to assess her understanding and retention of the material. Answer keys were provided at the back of the Schubert section for parents to check work. There weren't answers to ALL the workbook activities.

What We Liked
  • Well-Written True Biographies
  • Timeline Accordion Book
  • Addressed Character Qualities
  • Appealed to ALL Learning Styles: Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Visual
  • Flexible Lesson Planning
  • Easy to Use 
  • Adaptability
  • Manageable Suggested Weekly Lesson Outline
  • Variety of Cross-Curricular Activities
  • Exceeds National Standards for Music Appreciation in the Elementary Grades
Our favorite part of this curriculum were the fascinating biographies. The captivating stories with descriptive language that danced across the pages would be labeled as "twaddle free" living history books. We felt like we jumped back in time and was experiencing everything Schubert did. We BOTH learned a tremendous amount about Schubert. 

Our second favorite aspect was the lapbook. Alyssa's couldn't stop talking about her lapbook. She proudly shared it with her music loving uncle who willingly listened to her joyfully explain every part of it . . . and I mean every aspect. My daughter was so excited about the curriculum that she also raved about it to her piano teacher who encouraged her to dig even more deeper in the study. 
Flachcards: Musical Notes and Rests

The poetry writing activities were Alyssa's least favorite parts. She didn't like creating the sausage or word tile poems. It was definitely a more challenging activity. However, she did enjoy learning that Franz Schubert successfully expressed the popular poem, The Erlking, to music and his friends paid for it to be published. She also learned about his interests in German Romantic poetry.

What's Next?
Alyssa chose Beethoven as her second composer, because she's infatuated with his music especially Fur Elise. Beethoven was also mentioned several times in the Schubert book which sparked an even deeper interest in the composer. Her piano teacher also recommended that she study him, because it was Schubert's idol. 

We are on the third chapter when Beethoven realizes he's going deaf and decides to run off away from his friends. Alyssa is thrilled that she'll get to make the Slow-Cooker Porridge using the Recipe Card tomorrow. She make it late at night for Thursday's breakfast. She'll assemble the lapbook before the school year ends. 

Overall Thoughts
This is an exceptional music appreciation and theory curriculum. I am impressed and most grateful for its user-friendliness. It definitely enriched and enhanced her learning giving her a more well-rounded education while fostering a love for classical music. This homeschool curriculum truly nurtured Alyssa's love for music every step of the way. She's continuously making meaningful connections to the composers. I really appreciate the thoroughness and completeness of it. It can easily be added into your homeschool day with the flexibility of deciding how much or how little will be done on a daily basis. 

Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades from Zeezok Publishing LLC is the BEST music appreciation curriculum we've ever used! This comprehensive all-in-one curriculum earns my HIGHEST recommendation for ANY homeschool family. Home Educators implementing a Charlotte Mason, Living Books, Classical, Eclectic, or Unit Study approach will appreciate the curriculum. If you prefer using a solid, literature-based curriculum, then this may be the product for your family. Private and public music teachers may also find this hands-on curriculum appealing.

I can't wait for the release of the Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades! I hope that they'll offer differentiated lesson plans so that younger children in grades 1st through 4th can use it rather than just children in grades 5th-8th.

Possible Vendor Suggestions
  1. I prefer a separate teacher answer key. The answers were in the student activity book. It would make it easier for us to work together when discussing her responses.
  2. I suggest adding larger composer photos with a short bio excerpt for the front of the lapbook
  3. I would love it if the lapbook offered both fillable and non-fillable options for the pieces, which would give the parent the choice of having students write their responses or having it already done for them. Children learn more when they write what they learn. However, younger children who don't enjoy writing will appreciate lapbook pieces already filled out. 
  4. My biggest frustration was that the lapbook CD was extremely slow to open and load. My Mac OS X 10.9.5 computer and Internet browser met all of the technological requirements, but it became an issue. I wanted to print just what we needed while we worked through the study. We ended up printing out all the lapbook components for the Schubert study after it finally opened and downloaded the file. I didn't want to waste time later and not be prepared. I suggest opening it and giving it plenty of time to download for printing purposes. My computer froze many times while trying to open the file. These issues only occurred with this particular lapbook CD.  
  5. I would love to see a separate softcover booklet with all the musical selections complied into one place for children who play the piano and have a desire to attempt the compositions. I had to attach the hardcover book on a clipboard for it to stand and stay open while she attempted to play the music on her keyboard. The book was too thick and would slide off. 
You can purchase the Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades for $169.99 (Retails for 207.62). Personally, I couldn't afford this curriculum on a single homeschool mom budget which is why reviewing this curriculum was such a BLESSING, but this may be the perfect program for your family and budget expenses. I know if I could afford it, then I would have purchased it when I first heard about it.

Each child will need their own student activity book, because they'll need to tear out a couple pages from the book for specific activities and have a place for written responses. All components including the music CD, lapbook CD, and student book are complementary and necessary to fully benefit from the curriculum.

Note: Prices are subject to change without notice.

Social Media
Twitter @ZeezokPub

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog to read more reviews about several different composers using the Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades from Zeezok Publishing LLC.
Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades {Zeezok Publishing LLC Review}

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