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The Book of Insects Review by Holly JohnsonMemoria Press
4603 Poplar Level Rd.
Louisville, KY 40213
Memoria Press is one of our family’s favorite resources for quality books and curriculum, but we had only used their history, geography, and Latin. My outdoorsy children are not your typical textbook kids, and we thought that the hands-on approach offered by Memoria in their elementary level science courses would be a good fit for them.
The Book of Insects basic set consists of a textbook, student guide, and teacher guide. The textbook consists of selections from Arabella Buckley & Julia McNair Wright, written in the 1800s. Though written in storybook form, it includes scientific names and detailed information, as well as a couple of black-and-white drawings and photos. It is written at a fourth-grade level and would be appropriate for independent readers at the upper elementary level, or to be read aloud at the lower elementary level.
The accompanying student book contains eighty-one pages of activities, including observations, sketching, memorization, labeling, review activities, and “go and find” activities. The teacher guide includes quizzes and tests for assessing material retention. It also includes lesson plans laid out by week for a full year’s worth of science. This book also contains the answers to the student book pages. It is a valuable piece of the set.
We used The Book of Insects twice weekly, completing one full lesson each week, with a fourth and sixth grader. We began our studies in the spring, allowing for plenty of outside time to catch and explore insects for hands-on learning. My children really enjoyed the stories in the reader, the drawing and labeling activities, and getting to explore and dissect insects. They were not as excited about taking quizzes or doing workbook work, yet it is an important part of the overall retention of information.
On the first day of each week, we read the selection from the textbook aloud together. All three of us took turns reading aloud, which provided extra reading practice for the boys. One of the things we loved about this set is that it is very Charlotte Masonoriented—where learning comes from these living stories. After reading, we would complete the workbook portion together at the table. On the second day of each week, we reviewed the workbook information, went outside for hands-on activities, and took the review quizzes / tests. Typically, they spent time looking for particular insects on other“non-science” days of the week as well.
I appreciate the format that Memoria Press uses for their elementary science curricula. It takes a living, Charlotte Mason approach to learning, which I find more engaging for children. They tend to retain that in which they are fully engaged, and this is no exception. All three books in The Book of Insects basic set are valuable assets to the curriculum, and they are affordably priced. Overall, I think that The Book of Insects is a great elementary science curriculum. I look forward to using other science books from Memoria Press with my children in the future!
-Product review by Holly Johnson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2017