Thursday, September 5, 2019

Add Music Appreciation to Your Homeschool Day with Living Books {A Zeezok Review}

If you seek to add music appreciation to your homeschool feast and enjoy living books, cross-curricula connections, and open-and-go easeMusic Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades, from Zeezok Publishing is well worth looking into.

Our family was blessed to be introduced to Zeezoks elementary curriculum a few years ago, and, although, life and schooling took some turns and we never finished doing all the lessons in it formally, we have continually drawn on the living books, lapbook materials, CD's, and student book materials when studying different composers, time periods, musical periods, etc. - always finding the material top notch and helpful.

Learn about the Elementary Curriculum

In fac
Music Appreciation Book 1: for the Elementary Grades became a resource that has earned rather permanent housing on my typically ever-changing living room homeschool shelves and is one I consistently tell friends about.

Thus, I was thrilled when an opportunity to review 
Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades from Zeezok Publishing came up a number of weeks ago. In fact, I was so excited I changed my summer plans to make room for the review.

You see, I knew our summer would be busy, and that I still wanted to prioritize outdoor time and summer fun amidst the busyness, so I had been planning to keep our summer lessons to a bare minimum: a bit of math, a bit of writing, and some free reading with no other formal studies. But when the opportunity arose to review Zeezok's Middle Grades curriculum my intentions got tweaked.

I like Zeezok Music Appreciation materials so much that I did not want to miss out on receiving the 
Middle Grades curriculum and, so, Music Appreciation was added to our summer.

Luckily, the material in Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades is presented in such a way that it is just as easy to dip in and out of it, studying Music Appreciation in a relaxed sort of way as it is to go whole-hog with them.

So, for our summer studies, our approach was comfy and casual.  At one time, we would gather with one of the living books - beginning with the Chopin early years one - and have a cozy read aloud together.  At another, we would open the student book and read an excerpt...

answer some comprehension questions orally...

 browse things we'd dive deeper into or try later...

or have one of us actually sit with a pencil in hand to approach things more traditionally.

In doing so, we were able to begin to take advantage of all the wonderful learning Zeezok Publishing's Middle Grades curriculum has to offer in a somewhat organic to summer way.

And, let me tell you, the curriculum offers A LOT!

We received a wonderful stack of living books by Opal Wheeler, some softcover, some hardcover, and one e-book.  (I
f you order the package, you would get all physical books, though.

  • Fredric Chopin, Early
  • Frederic Chopin, Later Years
  • Robert Schumann and Mascot Ziff
  • Adventures of Richard Wagner
  • Stephen Foster and His Little Dog Tray
  • The Young Brahms
  • The Story of Peter Tchaikovsky 
  • Peter Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker Ballet
  • Edward MacDowell and His Cabin in the Pines

Each of these books was a different length, and all of them follow the same pattern of telling you about a composer's life with through an engaging narrative and rich vocabulary, with some black-and-white illustrations thrown in.

We also received a 300+-page softcover workbook with perforated, 3-hole punch pages that have QR Codes that take you to related music selections, videos and more online. The online additions are also accessible through a website for those like me that do not have a phone that can read QR codes.

The workbook is open-and-go is brings the living books collection from simply a charming stack of stories to read to a full on Music Appreciation curriculum.

There is a Scope and Sequence that easily shows you what you will be studying - including standards for Creating, Performing, and Responding.

There are weekly outlines of what you'll study, with activities that support national Music Appreciation standards conveniently starred so those that want to skip some things but be certain to key into standards can easily do so.

Then, there is everything else:

  • Comprehension Questions
  • Tidbits of Interest
  • Character Qualities
  • Vocabulary to Learn
  • Cues for Listening
  • Music Theory
  • Timelines
  • History, Geography, Etiquette, Life, Culture, and More (all connected to the composers studied)
  • Quizzes
  • Journaling Prompts
  • Lapbooking Cues (These point out where to tie in a Lapbook component that can be purchased separately go along with the Book 2 Collection. There is a composer Coloring Book available, too.)
  • Answer Keys

There are even recipes to try for those that want to.

Indeed, the curriculum is a complete one for Music Appreciation and also ties in to other areas of study, which is only fitting since music, in and of itself, is a part of the greater fabric of beauty, truth, and goodness that make up life!

It is just fantastic and I happily recommend it to anyone with middle school children, elementary school children who enjoy stories, and even high school students who wish to earn part of a music credit (with some small additions, I plan to offer this option to my son who is beginning his freshman year of studies.) It is "meaty" enough for deep, connected learning, organized enough for an older student to open-and-go with it, flexible enough for relaxed family learning for those who like to pick and choose portions, and delightful enough to enamor those like me who love living books and do not have a ton of musical knowledge to extend them without the help of a well-written student activity book like authors Elizabeth Tanner and Judy Wilcox created forMusic Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades from Zeezok Publishing 

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See what others thought.

Sixty Homeschool Review Crew families have been blessed to review and share about Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades from Zeezok Publishing. Read all the reviews.

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