We have had the amazing opportunity to review the Elementary Zoology Curriculum Set for Masterbooks.com. This set, geared for the 3rd to 6th grade levels, includes a weekly lesson schedule, consumable student worksheets and workbook, tests, quizzes, and an answer key. This set will fulfill 1 year of science for your homeschooler.
This set includes:
- The World of Animals
- Dinosaur Activity Book
- The Complete Aquarium Adventure
- The Complete Zoo Adventure
- Parent Lesson Planner (PLP)
How We Used This:
We chose to follow the schedule in the Parent Lesson Planner for this course. The lessons are short in duration, but they pack in a lot of fun information. The activities do not take a huge amount of time, so it was easy to work it in every other day. In addition to our daily work, we took a trip to the zoo and aquarium as icing on the cake!
The World of Animals: This is a FANTASTIC book! The pages are so very colorful and with detailed photos. Mr. B enjoys reading this for fun, in the car, at the doctor, everywhere! The front cover features a Tiger that moves as you move the cover back and forth (I love those types of photos pictures!) This is a large, hardcover book, at 8.5"x11.75" It covers the habitat and lives of over 1000 animals in 256 pages. It features fantastic photos, informational text, facts, and comparison. the flow is great, and it just makes sense. Starting out with small, little microscopic animals and moving up to the larger mammals. (HINT: Click the link to see a PDF sample of each book featured!)
The Complete Aquarium Adventure: This is a field trip in a book! (And the cover even says so! ) This book is jam packed with goodies! There are information cards for animals and the ocean, pictures, BingOcean cards (lots of fun!!!) and activities. This is a fantastic resource to use when going to the aquarium, but not everyone has the ability to go to a real aquarium (or aquarium like place such as a marine life park or the beach) so this book is written in such a way that it brings the aquarium to you! So while it is great to use if you're going to the aquarium, it is perfectly acceptable to use it at home on your own, too. You won't be lacking either way!
The Complete Zoo Adventure: Like the Complete Aquarium Adventure, this is a Zoo in a Book! It's great to use if you're blessed to go to the zoo, but it's great to use if you aren't able to get there, as well. We actually used this BEFORE we went to the zoo and aquarium, which augmented our experience at the zoo. And we will use it again before we go back next week! I love the activity pages and the Zoo journal. We have gone to the zoo several times before, but having this book makes the experience so much better! We were able to read up on the animals beforehand, see facts and such, and this led to a greater excitement when we finally got to see them! The included Field Fact Cards are probably my favorites! I like to randomly pick out a few and if we spot those animals we win a "prize" which is usually an ice cream or a tiny figurine of the animal from the gift shop!
The Dinosaur Activity Book: Ok...I'll admit it. I thought this was "just a coloring book." I was wrong! SOOOOO very wrong! This IS a coloring book, but it also has a variety of activities and loads of information on each page! The scenes to color are GREAT! Mr. B isn't that into dinosaurs or coloring, yet he LOVES to do this book! This is such a wonderful asset to this set! I'm thrilled it is included! It teaches more than just dinosaurs. It covers fossils, fossil formation and recontruction, etc.
Parent Lesson Planner: The parent lesson planner is your information hub. It includes the daily schedule, consumable worksheets, quizzes, tests, and the answer key. I used the Parent Lesson Planner daily. Each day I would put an check in the box for that day's lesson to mark it complete. Sometimes Mr. B would do the honors of marking the check box complete! I find these PLPs very handy and useful. I love how the lessons are planned in such a way that we have the ultimate flexibility in choosing our scheduling. Each week has 5 days in the week, but you can opt to do the lessons in whatever manner you wish to choose. This works well for us since we need flexibility. The included bonus activities are great! For example, your child can be tasked with writing a one page paper on a chosen animal, discuss if frogs are in your area, drawing pictures of animals, setting up ant farms, etc. Lots of fun activities are included here.
Zoo and Aquarium Photos
Overall, Masterbooks.com has outdone themselves again with Elementary Zoology. This is a Christian based science program, but it is not preachy or lacking in any way. I'm admittedly hesitant when it comes to religious based science curriculum because I know Mr. B wants to go to college, and as such he is going to need a varied background in science for that reason. Other religion based programs we have tired in the past were lacking in multiple ways, such as neglecting to mention Galileo invented his telescope on purpose, instead they said "some man" happened upon two pieces of glass as if it was all an accident. As a result, I've preferred to teach him the religious principles myself along with a secular science. With that said, I would use Masterbooks.com Elementary Zoology over and over again! It is based on a Christian perspective, but it is not preachy or lacking in science fundamentals at all. This is a well planned, well written comprehensive course that does not leave anything out. The age range is great! It is challenging for Mr. B who is 10, but written in such a way that a 3rd grader (8yrs old or so) could complete the activities-perhaps with a bit of help with the reading. There is a moderate amount of reading to be done at times-like reading pages 16-19 in The World of Animals book, but the amazing photos and fun content make the reading easy. Mr. B reads it for FUN! He loves it! You can easily change the schedule as needed to fit your lifestyle and needs. This curriculum set is a very affordable science curriculum that covers a full year of science in a wonderful manner!
Does Masterbooks.com Elementary Zoology Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?
1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?
YES! The schedule is made in such a way that you can very easily customize it to fit you. Each unit is marked, so if you want to jump a unit you can, but I suggest working through according to the PLP for greater ease and understanding. You can take breaks if needed. I wouldn't advise skipping just because the information is so great and activities are great, too.
3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?
This is NOT boring. Mr. B doesn't love reading, but he loves this reading. He reads The World of Animals all the time, constantly bringing it to me to tell me what he's learned next. The activities are not time consuming, and can be finished in 10-15 minutes. The Dinosaur Activity Book is fun with coloring, dot-to-dot, etc. intertwined with educational text. The Zoo and Aquarium books are full of fun learning that will keep your child attentive and engaged. I find this perfect for Autism and ADHD due to the amazing photos and flow of text and activities.
4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.
** I received this from Masterbooks.com in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations. **