When looking for a homeschool curriculum that covers zoology it is always tough to find one that is not only fun but also informative. This Elementary Zoology homeschool curriculum pack contains the perfect blend of facts, required science elements, hands-on activities, fun activities, field trips, PLUS I am able to teach it to both my 4th and 6th graders at the same time.
Before I get much further into this review, I would like to say that I was sponsored by Masterbooks to review their Elementary Zoology homeschool curriculum and am excited to share my experience as well as an awesome giveaway! All opinions are mine alone. For full details, please read my disclosures found HERE.
I will fully admit, I am a homeschool curricula addict. I love getting my hands on the wide variety of materials offered to homeschooling families and seeing the different teaching styles. The problem is that over the years since venturing into homeschooling when my son was 3 years old I often find that I have spent a lot of money and my time planning lessons on curricula that just simply was not a fit. Then it would get put on a shelf or in a box and I would swear up and down that I would use it the following school year or with my younger child when she got older. Then, a year or so later I find it and end up not using it at all.
Needless to say, over the years I have become far pickier about the materials that I purchase or use in our homeschool. I was skeptical about this Elementary Zoology homeschool curriculum when I was first approached about it. I had really not heard anything about it from any homeschooling friends or online sources but after my husband and I looked at the product on the Masterbooks site I thought it just may be a fit for our science this year. I still had not found “the one” and made the plunge for our science curricula for the 2015-2016 school year. Both of my children love science but have always been accustomed to science with a fun twist when it comes to their lessons. As they have graduated through the grade levels over the years I have found that many curricula loose that fun twist and in many cases do not even offer any hands-on learning opportunities.
So, I took the jump of faith with this Elementary Zoology homeschool curriculum and crossed my fingers and my toes that it would be just what we were looking for rather than another pretty set of books that sits in a box or on a shelf going un-used. When I received this curriculum pack in the mail and opened the box I was floored! The books are GORGEOUS not to mention very invitating to child, the lesson plans are done and well thought out, and I just got giddy at the thought of starting this curriculum in the new school year.
This is a complete one year science course and is suggested for students in grades 4-6 which is perfect for my family. What is included in this curriculum pack?
Here is what is included in the Elementary Zoology homeschool curriculum:
- World of Animals
- Dinosaur Activity Book
- The Complete Aquarium Adventure
- The Complete Zoo Adventure
- Parent Lesson Planner (complete with weekly lesson schedule, student worksheets, quizzes, tests, answer keys, etc.)
My family loves to go to the zoo especially since we live right by the world famous San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Each time we go we like to incorporate some sort of educational component into the day, even if it is a simple lesson in map reading. This curriculum affords the wonderful option of transforming a family zoo trip into a zoological expedition. The curriculum does a great job about explaining the reasons we have zoo’s, how they are beneficial to animals, and so much more! This curriculum also does this with aquariums as well.
When I got this product in my hand I was very much enthusiastic about it. With that said, I had to take a really in-depth look at the components, content, and the way it is not only presented to the students, but also to me, the teacher, as well. These curriculum components are very useful, full of information, and really help bring the lessons to life through varied techniques, non-repetitive exercise, and fun field trips. Here are some of my thoughts on the individual components:
- Religious Components – Even though this science curriculum is religious and does have religious components, it can be tailored to your family’s needs. You can use those components or not, it is up to you as you fulfill your child and student’s education needs. Everyone’s educational journey is different and this science curriculum can be fun for everyone.
- P.L.P. (Parent Lesson Planner) – The way in which this curriculum presents itself to the teachers is not only very smooth but will also save time for anyone using them. This item is not only the lesson planner for the parent with spaces for grades, dates; but also, it is the student’s workbook. This is very important for homeschoolers because now the daily lessons, lesson planner, and grade book are all in spot. This means for record keeping you can keep it all in one spot in the same item, the PLP!
- Dinosaur Activity Book – This item most definitely brings fun into the lessons. Every page is stacked with a fun activity, or more than one. Students can easily read the information and perform the activities with little supervision. Older students might even be able to perform some of the lessons on their own. Fun activities are repeated, but not always the same. The publisher has taken the effort to make sure that patterns are not evident so children and students need to complete the activities instead of find a pattern in the activities.
- The World of Animals – The back of this book puts it very succinctly: This comprehensive easy-to-use book boasts a wide variety of features to help bring its readers face-to-face with the science and beauty of the living world.’ The pages of this book are filled with facts, pictures, and detail information about all manner of animals in the living world; but, they are all presented in a way that children can easily use it. The facts are not only easy to understand, but are also presented in a fashion as to help children develop not only a factual knowledge base, but also a desire to study the next animal presented. This book is perfect for children because it grabs and holds their attention while they learn the facts it presents.
- The Complete Zoo Adventure – This in not really a book, but rather an essential component that takes your children or students on a learning adventure through the Zoo. It includes components to help make the learning not only fun, but also memorable as you use the Zoo to further your learning about the living world all around us. This component is split up into three main sections: Before the Zoo, At the Zoo, and After the Zoo. Each component is perfect for helping you get the most out of your experience at any zoo! Being able to learn about zoos before, during, and after helps tie the lessons of the curriculum directly into the field trip.
- The Complete Aquarium Adventure – Like the Complete Zoo Adventure, this in not really a book, but rather an essential component that takes your children or students on a learning adventure through the use of an aquarium. It includes components to help make the learning not only fun, but also memorable as you use your favorite Aquarium to further your learning about the living world in the rivers, lakes, and oceans all around us. This component is split up into three main sections: Before the Aquarium, At the Aquarium, and After the Aquarium. Each component is perfect for helping you get the most out of your experience at any aquarium! Being able to learn about aquariums before, during, and after helps tie the lessons of the curriculum directly into the field trip.
And the lesson plans!!! Let me tell you all about the lesson plans that are provided in this curriculum pack. I am a planner, period. I would love to tell you all that I am free spirited fly by the seat of my pants kind of homeschooling mama but that just simply isn’t me. For me, having the lesson plans done before the beginning of the school year helps me to take that weight off my mind and focus on adding in the magical fun. Over the course of our homeschooling years I have spent both a fortune on curricula for our homeschool lessons as well as found free materials to piece together to make an eclectic homeschool curriculum. The one common factor I have noticed however in 90% of what I have purchased to date is that the company/publisher that created the curricula did not include any lesson plans, guidance, or overall general game plan to follow at all. Or even worse, you have to purchase the lesson plans to be able to use the curricula that you just purchased which makes the purchase price even higher.
Even if you don’t follow the provided lesson plans line for line, having a provided lesson plan from the creators of the curriculum helps to save so much time. If you are anything like me, time can be the elusive thing in your household that some days, weeks, or months you just simply do not have enough of. The provided lesson plans in this Elementary Zoology are well designed, thought out, and such a huge time saver. I can easily make any little tweaks or adjustments for my children within minutes and be all set to go in no time flat!
Check out this video for even more information from Masterbooks about the parent lesson planner:
The bottom line is that I am very impressed with the quality of the books, well thought out lessons, and the provided lesson plans. These all make preparing for the classes as easy as can be. Being able to teach both of my children at the same time with the same curriculum is a great time savings for me as the teacher that doesn’t sacrifice the quality of education my children receive and is not something that every homeschool curricula offers. I will be using this curriculum for the entire 2015-2016 school year with my 4th and 6th grader and we could not be more excited to dive right into the lessons!
Masterbooks Gift Card Giveaway!
We’re giving away 2 Masterbooks Gift Cards worth $75 each so you can get whatever curriculum fits your children’s level and interests. To enter, simply fill in the Rafflecopter below.
*Please note that this giveaway is offered to the Enchanted Homeschooling Mom readers but is part of a larger Masterbooks giveaway by multiple sites and the giveaway is not run by nor can it be solely entered here on Enchanted Homeschooling Mom.
Don’t want to wait for the giveaway to end? Did you miss entering the giveaway? Master Books is kindly offering a special 26% sale on curriculum sets PLUS FREE SHIPPING on any order over $75. There is no special discount code required but this offer does end August 31st so make sure to get in on this deal.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review of the Elementary Zoology by Masterbooks. Hopefully you will bring this science curriculum home for your homeschool students to enjoy this school year. We can’t wait to dive into ours!