In our homeschool, I try to add in (loop schedule style) elements of beauty; picture study, artist study, and nature study. During this season, our family has been enjoying Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades by Zeezok Publishing.
What It Is
Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades collection includes:
- a student activity book
- Frederic Chopin, Early Years
- 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
These nine biographies (seven composers), are good and beautiful! They are truly living books, written in such a way that children want to hear more! These aren’t dry textbooks, or twaddly “fact” books.
Each book is written in a story like fashion, the text is large enough for young children (and mamas, haha) to read easily, and every book has lovely black and white illustrations. Some books are hardcover, while others are softcover.
What We Think & How We Used It
I love that the literature books have music pieces in the back, along with Q-Codes, so we can scan and listen easily. (These are also found in the student book.) The books illustrated by Christine Price are my absolute favorites (they also have a lot of pictures)! We really enjoyed reading these aloud during our morning time.
For our homeschool, I chose to read aloud the wonderful books, and have my oldest work through starting with the composer of her choice. She chose to begin with the Adventures of Richard Wagner because it looked most interesting to her. We read aloud during morning time a few days a week starting with that book, then moved on through Stephen Foster and His Little Dog Tray and Frederic Chopin, Early Years. While I continues on reading aloud, I let the 9 year old read independently, work through the activity book pages, and scan the Q codes with my phone.
The student activity book is chocked full of information, charts, and fun! Each composer’s section has colored labeled tabs for easy navigation. Pages are thick and take pencil and erasing well.
The beginning of each section has a weekly outline of topics, activities, and required reading for each week. Students first read the week’s assigned reading before starting the activity book-they will then fill in comprehension questions, take multiple choice quizzes, and do some matching.
The activity book isn’t all question and answer though! The pages are full of information and fun! I love that each composer has a character qualities section. There are page numbers where students can find an example of each character trait in the assigned reading.
You will find sections like tidbits of interest where students can find paragraphs of information to help clarify reading, elaborate on people of history from the reading, and other any background information about the composer. Other sections vary by composer but a few include: geography, family background, impact of the music on culture, popular music and book from the time, recipes, app alerts with QR Code, and so much more.
The activity book is full of color, pictures, and and journaling prompts! The journaling aspect of this program, along with the living books, makes it so unique to other curricula. We really enjoyed the journaling prompts-we keep a writing notebook and chose to use that for the prompts. There is an option for creating lapbooks instead of a journal-we love lapbooks, too!
This program has been a blessing to our family. It is simple to use, the books are lovely, and because the activity book is geared for mid grades (I’d say a fluent reader who writes easily will enjoy this) my 9 year old was able to do it independently. It made adding beauty to our homeschool routine easy and fun!
I encourage you to check out all Zeezok has to offer, because I have made a large wish list looking at their website!
Connect with Zeezok Publishing
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