My daughter has struggled with grammar and writing over the last few years. She is a great reader, and likes to write, but she doesn’t always use correct grammar, and doesn’t always use the correct spelling. So, my husband and I were on the lookout for a writing program that would help her with these things. That’s when we found Night Zookeeper. Night Zookeeper is a highly engaging, online language arts program for ages six to twelve. The program focuses on grammar, spelling, writing, keyboarding, vocabulary and reading. We weren’t looking for a core curriculum, but something that would inspire her to keep working on her writing skills. I’m really excited to share my Night Zookeeper review here with you today as I think it’s a great program for homeschooling families!
So, what is Night Zookeeper? It is an online learning program that helps children with reading and writing, and unlocks their creativity. Upon signup, you input your child’s age so that they can program age-appropriate lessons and assignments for your child automatically. You are also assigned a user name generated by the program so your child is anonymous. Something I was very impressed with. As your child progresses through the assignments, they will build a collection of Night Zoo animals. They will also create some of their own characters by using simple drawing tools built into the program or collect animals drawn by other students—”paid for” with orbs they have earned. So, not only does this program focus on reading and writing, but also, art and creativity. I am quite impressed with the creativity it has instilled in my daughter since starting the program.
So, not only is it a great writing program, it helps with spelling, grammar, creativity, and more. It’s done in a fun way, including faux messaging between the storyline characters and your student, as seen below.
Night Zookeeper Review Photo: Interactive Program for Homeschool Kids
The Night Zookeeper can help with:
- Sparking a love of creative writing
- Spelling improvement
- Punctuation and editing
- Vocabulary expansion
- Critical thinking skills
- Inspiring art and creative learning
- Goal setting
One of the main goals of the program is to give students plenty of opportunities to write, which is exactly what we were looking for. The games and activities in Night Zookeeper can focus on single words, but quite frequently the student is asked to write full paragraphs (depending on the age of your child of course). One fun aspect of this program is that students are assigned a writing topic, often based on their own zoo animals. So, it isn’t just a boring writing prompt. It is based on the character they already created which provides an incentive to get creative about what they’re writing! The program tells them to write a minimum number of words and directs them to incorporate specific requirements such as a transition word, an adjective, or even a specific word, such as “because” or “adventure.” Students can choose to either write on their own or receive helpful prompts that use leading questions to walk them through an assignment. The entire process is very simple and encouraging. The first day my daughter used the program, she didn’t do any paragraph writing — just moved through the games, exercises, spelling etc. I thought this was a good way to introduce a student to a new program. Make it fun, and then incorporate more “learning” modules as your child gets comfortable. My daughter moved through some exercises, games and writing activities very quickly, while it took her longer on other assignments. She spent nearly 45 minutes getting to know the program on her first day and I had to pry her away from it to do other schoolwork! A big win for this mom! It’s so hard to find something she loves.
(This is a story my daughter wrote!)
Night Zookeeper Review Photo: Interactive Writing Program for Homeschool Kids
Since that initial day, she spends about 30 minutes a day in the program and subsequently I have seen a significant improvement with her attitude towards reading and writing. She is developing and growing her creative writing skills, spelling, grammar and punctuation. She has fun creating zoo animals and playing the games and completing the assignments. She even started writing a story on paper after her schoolwork was done and wanted to read it to us as a family a few weeks later. She would have never done anything like that before this program. What I am most impressed with is the creativity it brings out in children. In just one month, our daughter has been playing creatively more with her siblings and friends, has been writing her own stories (with quite the imagination), and has been speaking more clearly about what she wants and needs (no doubt because of this program and teaching how to verbalize/write down her feelings and to describe things around her).
To be completely honest, I was actually blown away by the product and what it did for my daughter. I usually get to review many products throughout the year and none have quite been as memorable as this one in terms of how much progress my daughter has made while using it. While I don’t think this would ever be considered a core curriculum, it is a game changer in terms of supplemental homeschooling curriculum. As I stated above, I don’t often rave about apps or supplemental programs. I think a lot of them are overrated and kids get tired of them quickly, but if you stick with this program for a few hours a week, your child will make huge improvements to their vocabulary, writing skills and creativity. It’s definitely worth the free trial, and in my opinion, at $5/mo, you can’t go wrong at all. Even if you don’t use it as much as you think you will, the cost is amazing for such a robust program. I highly recommend it to any family who has children ages 5-12.
Below I’ve answered some simple questions that we think are important to know. I hope they are helpful. If you have any additional questions about the program, please do not hesitate to reach out. You can reach us at Info@HowToHomeschool.com and we’d be happy to help!
What age ranges is it Night Zookeeper best for?
Night Zookeeper is perfect for ages 5-12, or maybe younger/older depending on their skill level.
How involved does a parent need to be in this program?
As much or as little as you want, honestly. You can easily assess your child’s profile from the parent dashboard, which allows you to check on your child’s writing, scores on games/vocabulary/typing, etc and any feedback and input they’ve received from the team tutors so you can work on improving their skills while homeschooling.
Does Night Zookeeper teach grammar?
Yes! We were thrilled with our daughter’s improvement in her grammar.
Does Night Zookeeper teach creative thinking?
Yes! We were incredibly impressed with the creativity our daughter has shown since using this program. We’ll continue to use it in our household for our other children too as they grow older.
Is Night Zookeeper a full curriculum?
I would say no. It is a fantastic supplement and one that will encourage your kids to love learning and to think creatively. It has fun games, lots of writing prompts, fun interactive characters, etc.
How long does my student need to use this each week?
Night Zookeeper recommends a minimum of 30 minutes a week but I would suggest a few hours per week. Your kids will love it, it will give you some free time to do other things, and your child will be learning to think creatively with the program. It’s a win-win-win!
So, what is the cost of this amazing program again?
Using this link, you’ll get access to Night Zookeeper for just $5/mo for the annual plan, plus you’ll get a 7 day free trial to see if you really like it as much as our family did!
We hope you enjoyed reading this Night Zookeeper Review on How To Homeschool!