It will not surprise any of you to learn that when I heard the news that Emily Cook was rewriting Build You Library (BYL) Grade 5, American History to use R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey (RSO) Biology 2 for the science I asked to review it. What would the biology course look like when using a Charlotte Mason approach? I am glad I had the opportunity to check out Cook’s updated course. I was impressed with the detail and amount of breadth in the course. I like how Cook structured the BYL course. It is written to make it easy to dive into this course and do all assignments, or to limit some of the assignments on weeks when you are swamped. And the books… there are some amazingly great books in this course!

I particularly loved that the BYL series does not treat the subjects as separate from each other. Every week there are many cross-curricular assignments. The course is called American History, and honestly I assumed RSO Biology would not be woven throughout in a meaningful way. I was wrong, I am happy to say. I particularly like how Cook connects literature, art, and science. It is a S.T.E.A.M. approach (without the math – although there is some math in RSO Biology 2.)

I was impressed with Build You Library American History Grade 5. If you have a child who likes to read as a core part of learning, or if you want some help figuring out how to structure a year’s worth of courses, I recommend this course. It feels very well done and complete.

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