Often times in a large family homeschool, and especially when there are kids who struggle with learning, finding time to study the arts is difficult and takes a back seat to other more basic subjects. I lived in that place of imbalance for a long time until I recently realized that even if our kids are ‘behind’ in the language arts, their upper level thinking skills need to be exercised. We must not make the entire focus of our days about teaching (and reviewing) one more spelling rule. Although consistency is important, teaching the arts and other subjects of interest is important if we want to foster our kids’ intellectual and creative talents.
From time to time I get the opportunity to review homeschool products and services. Honestly, these experiences can be hit and miss. Our experience with the Zeezok Music Appreciation Program has been excellent. Here’s why.
I received this product for free and was compensated for my time to use and review the product. All opinions stated here are my own. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.
Zeezok Music Appreciation Curriculum
Honestly, when I received the opportunity to review this program, I worried how I would find the time. With a houseful of dyslexics (and little boys!) we spend a lot of time on the language arts. However, when my kids got a hold of the composer biographies with their rich illustrations, they were eager to begin. When I saw the complete, easy to follow lessons in the Student Activity book, I was able to relax, follow my kids’ lead and enjoy.
The cornerstone of the curriculum is the collection of composer biographies. Beginning here, kids are captivated by the rich, living literature that traces the childhoods of each composer.
These books are geared for the elementary grades, but even my 15 and 16 year olds would pop in during our read aloud time to listen. The books are that good. My little guys (3 and 6) had the prize position of sitting next to mom so that they had better access to the excellent line drawings throughout the books.
Student Activity Guide
Each individual composer study is set up to last four weeks. Some weeks we covered more than others but the lesson plans were very doable. The biographies include breaks throughout the story to listen to the music (included with the program) composed by each musician. The Student Activity Book also includes a section of activities and extra learning for each composer.
Subjects covered include reading comprehension questions for each chapter, a section discussing character qualities of the composer (one of mom’s favorite sections!), Tidbits of Interest that includes extra information on the composer, relevant geography, as well as music terms and instrument studies. For example, when we read the biography of Handel, the study guide directed us to listen to different compositions and learn about the various musical, cultural and geographical elements of the story. My kids’ particularly enjoyed learning abut the different instruments of the orchestra. At times we would pull out the iPad and look up instruments with which they were unfamiliar.
You’ve heard me write here about the importance of connected learning. People learn best when they are emotionally attached to the information. Rote memorization of the instruments of the orchestra or the geographical and government structure of Germany in the 1400s has serious potential to be dry and boring, yet that is exactly what our kids learned through this compelling study.
Each study covers the life of the composer including a wide selection of their compositions as well as historical facts about that particular time period, geography, music vocabulary, instrument studies and character studies.
Hands on Learning
I’m all about multi-sensory learning around here. Zeezok has you covered here too.
The complete Zeezok Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades includes a disc with beautifully designed lap booking templates and instructions. All you need is a few colored file folders, scissors and glue and you are all set to go.
After completing the biography of Handel, we spent several afternoons clipping and gluing our lapbooks while listening to Handel’s famous composition, Water Music.
The finished product is a fun and informative collection of many of the important things learned in the study.
What we Loved About Zeezok
The main thing about this program is that it teaches a lot of information in a fun and interesting way. The biographies were interesting, well written stories not just a collection of dry facts. The variety in each set of activities paired with the hands on activities made this a program that was easy to teach and fun to learn.
When a curriculum is engaging and easy to use it is, quite frankly, more likely to get used. Zeezok has both of these qualities.
The Zeezok Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades collection includes:
-student activity book
-5 CDs of music from all the composers represented
-disk of full-color lapbook printables
-7 composer biographies
Discount for Abundant Life Readers
You can purchase Zeezok’s Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades on their web site. Receive a 10% discount on all orders from February 17th to March 21st with coupon code: ihomeschool
Enter to Win Zeezok’s Music Appreciation Curriculum
We are giving away one complete Music Appreciation program. If you purchase the program during the giveaway and subsequently win it, Zeezok will issue a refund of the purchase price.
- Prize shipped only to US mailing address.
- Enter Feb. 17, 1:00 AM to March 20, 11:59 PM.
- Winner will be chosen and notified Friday, March 21.