If you are homeschooling 5-12 year olds and are looking for a fun program that will help your kids improve their core writing skills, then you’ll love Night Zookeeper. There’s a link to a FREE trial at the bottom of this post. Plus, you can even get 50% off annual subscriptions with our exclusive links!
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What is Night Zookeeper
Teaching writing to your elementary students can sometimes feel like a chore as a homeschool mom. It’s hard to keep it motivating and some students are reluctant to even write at all. Besides, when you’re a busy homeschool mom it can be overwhelming to also think about editing your child’s writing assignments.
The online Night Zookeeper program will excite your elementary kids and give them a creative outlet for improving their writing skills. Plus it takes the load off of your shoulders. Here’s how it works.
Listen to episode 172 of the Homeschool with Moxie Podcast, where I walked through everything a homeschool mom would want to know before trying Night Zookeeper.
Improve Writing Skills
Children will learn writing skills as they grow their Night Zoo. As they create and collect magical animals, they’ll be writing about them and learning how to be more complex in their descriptions. So, yes – they’ll be learning all about parts of speech, punctuation, capitalization, spelling rules, creating complex sentences, making inferences, and more while growing their Night Zoo!
Night Zookeeper has learned that kids are more motivated to write when they have prompts featuring their Night Zoo animals. It just makes sense to teach kids writing skills when they are engaged with the topic!
And best of all, the Night Zookeeper Tutor team provides interactive lessons and feedback for your children’s writing. This feedback will help your kids continue to progress in their writing ability. If you’re looking to outsource the need for you as the homeschool mom to check all their writing, then Night Zookeeper is a great option.
And if your children go back and edit their work based on the feedback they get from the Tutor team, your kids can receive extra rewards! The whole structure of the Night Zookeeper model is highly motivating for elementary-aged kids.
We used this with our seven-year-old this year and found that she wanted to continue to write, and write, and write! She was amazed at how much fun it was to describe the animals she had created in her zoo. When she looked back, she had literally hundreds of words that just flowed from her brain. And she was learning key punctation and grammar concepts while she was following the writing prompts.
Of course, there’s a parent dashboard where you can:
- Track your child’s progress
- See new lessons or messages from their tutor
- Leave comments on their writing
- Adjust the difficulty of the games
- Change privacy settings
And speaking of privacy, I know this is an important concern for homeschool parents who are considering an online program like Night Zookeeper.
Night Zookeeper moderates all the content on the platform and manually approves each comment children leave for other children. There is no “live chat” feature. Usernames are randomly generated so your child remains anonymous on the platform. Finally, you are in complete control of the privacy settings from the parent dashboard as you use the program.
Using Night Zookeeper in Your Homeschool
So how does a typical week with Night Zookeeper look for your child? Here’s how you can use Night Zookeeper in your homeschool.
How to Start
The Parent Guide suggests that your child log in at least twice a week. Your child will get personalized feedback from the tutors and then be able to edit their writing based on the suggestions. This is a valuable part of the program – you don’t have to edit their writing assignments!
So, you may be wondering, what exactly will your kids be doing once they create an account and log into Night Zookeeper?
It all begins when your child creates their first magical animal for their zoo. They will draw their creature and then answer question prompts about it. This is a great way to get hesitant writers to begin to write. It won’t feel like it, but they’ll actually be completing their first animal report little by little.
The program will give goals to your child to try to meet in their writing, based on the age level of the child. You can adjust the difficulty of the suggested goals in the parent dashboard. As your child continues with writing activities, Night Zookeeper will give them feedback based on these goals.
After writing their initial animal report, your kids will receive new challenges and keep working toward improving their writing.
Weekly Lessons & Games
Here’s what your kids will be doing when they login each week:
- Complete learning challenges and grow their Night Zoo
- Complete additional writing lessons
- Write book reports
- Participate in Star Writing Competitions
- Play word games
- Participate in weekly competitions
- Read and comment on other kids’ writing
- Complete interactive lessons from the Night Zookeeper Tutor team
The Interactive Lessons are twice weekly and include instruction on important writing skills. Being able to outsource the writing instruction is a great value for homeschool moms. And, if you have competitive kids, they’ll love the monthly Star Writing competitions. Your artistic kids will love being able to create and customize additional magical animals for their zoo. This program will engage your kids of various learning strengths and styles.
Night Zookeeper even includes battling monsters! Yes, your kids will be motivated to complete writing lessons and challenges so that their animals are powered up to a high enough level to defeat the Void Monsters in battle. There’s a bit of strategy involved, but don’t worry – your kids will likely catch on fast and be motivated to keep up their writing progress so they can win the battles.
Growing Writing Skills with Night Zookeeper
Night Zookeeper is built on mastery, which means that your child will continue to be challenged with specific writing skills until they complete the learning goals. This is a great aspect of the program, which allows you as the homeschool parent to be confident that they aren’t moving on with harder concepts before they’ve mastered foundational concepts.
Many of you will want to know the topics that are covered in Night Zookeeper.
To access the full list of learning goals, you can email Night Zookeeper at email@example.com
Check out these lists for an idea of the topics that are included in the games, writing prompts, and lessons.
For the youngest students, at ages 5-6:
- Adjectives: use colors to describe objects
- Grammar: Use the personal pronoun “I”
- Nouns: Use proper nouns to name a specific place or person
- Punctation: Use capital letters for days of the week
- Reading: Answer simple questions about a short text
- Spelling: Use the ll spelling for the /l/ sound
- Verbs: Use frequently occurring action verbs
- Vocabulary: Identify and use similar words (synonyms)
Older students, ages 10-11+ will work on these learning goals:
- Adjectives: use adjectives to describe settings in stories
- Adverbs: Turn adjectives into adverbs using the suffix -ly.
- Conjunctions: Use correlative conjunctions correctly.
- Figurative Language: Use alliteration correctly
- Grammar: Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb tense.
- Punctation: Use the irregular plural possessive apostrophe.
- Reading: Explain the meaning of figurative language used by the author
- Spelling: Spell words ending in -ably and -ibly
- Verbs: Use the perfect form of verbs
- Vocabulary: Use a range of words and phrases to link paragraphs together
Try Night Zookeeper for free
It’s a great time to try Night Zookeeper with your kids!
You can add additional children to your subscription at a discounted price.