Category Archives: literature

Illuminating Literature: Characters In Crisis ~ a Crew review

A variety of literature is something we want our children experience. Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis provides high school students a thorough study of a variety of genres. Writing with Sharon Watson provided us a fantastic set of materials to use in studying literature and so far, we have been pleased.

Characters In Crisis set of books

Sharon Watson created Illuminating Literature for high school students, though we are using it with our 8th grader (13 years old). Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis is a study that can be used in any year of high school and is the second in the Illuminating Literature series, though they do not have to taken in order. (We have not yet used the first of the series  Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide.) It is a full year study/two semesters and is written from a Christian worldview. The completion of the course is worth a full course credit. Featuring full selections, the course teach over 100 literary terms and devices. Visit the website to get a complete list of the selections and the terms/devices.

The course is comprised of the student textbook, a teacher’s guide, and quizzes/tests. The quizzes and tests can be taken online for free on the Illuminating Literature website.  There is also a free downloadable Novel Notebook that goes along with the study and is optional. It is found on the Writing With Sharon Watson website.

You will need the texts for the literature selections. Several are included in the textbook or available online and others you will need to borrow or purchase. It is recommended that you use a specific version of the texts so that page numbers align correctly and it is easier for the students to follow in the lessons. I highly recommend this.

We have a copy of Frankenstein and I looked at it to see if it was usable for this. One of the questions said to read a particular paragraph on page 38. I looked and looked in chapter 1, which is where that page was in our book. In fact, I looked all the way back to the beginning of the book and about 10 pages farther into the story. I could not find it! When our recommended version arrived, I looked it up. It was in chapter 5 and 20 page numbers different. I am so glad I spent the $6 to purchase the recommended version!

Illuminating Literature: Characters in CrisisStudent Textbook –

The student textbook is written to the student. The lessons are clearly marked, as is which story the lesson accompanies. It begins with an overview of the course and follows that with a lesson on character labels and forces of antagonism. These are pretty big concepts and the student applies them first to a story of their own choosing that is familiar.

learning stitches

After the introductory lessons, the student begins with “A Jury of Her Peers,” a short story. Before reading the selection, which is included in the textbook, the student is given some background on the time period and pertinent information that is helpful for reading the story. After the reading, the student is asked to rate the story for themselves, do some work in the downloadable Novel Notebook, and then apply some of the literary terms and character labels that were learned in the opening section. Students take a quiz on the story and another on the literary terms, then hold a discussion about the story using questions included in the textbook. Finally, the student selects a project to complete as a response to the story.

 

Frankenstein will work much the same way. There are a couple of differences. There is a section that gives the student some information to help in the reading, chapter by chapter. The questions for discussion are also listed by chapter and there are a lot of them. So many, in fact, that it is recommended the teacher pick some. At the end of the lessons on Frankenstein, there is a book list of other titles that are similar.

The textbook is where the student writes their answers and ideas, where the background information is found, and where the introductory and follow up materials are found. There is also a week by week schedule for the student to follow, if you choose to use it. It is an essential part of the course and quite well done. Downloading a sample of the textbook will be very helpful for seeing what it looks like.

student textbook

Teacher’s Guide –

The Teacher’s Guide has been terribly helpful. I struggle, as does my daughter, in applying some of the deeper thinking ideas and answering some of the questions. Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

The Teacher’s Guide gives me a place to start so that we can delve into some of the ideas and explore their value in relation to the selection. The guide is well-marked and it is easy to find what is needed. The chapters, lessons, and questions are all marked to correspond to the Student Textbook and the Novel Notebook.

The Teacher Guide includes key themes that are specific for each story. Along with the weekly schedule, the guide includes most of the information that is in the student textbook. It gives plenty to know what the focus of each lesson in the chapter is on and to help you guide the students. Each of the discussion questions and the Novel Notebook questions have answers to go along with them. At the end of each chapter, there is a rubric for that particular selection that makes it easy to assign grades.

Illuminating Literature: Characters in CrisisQuiz and Answer Manual –

One neat feature of Illuminating Literature is that the quizzes and tests are all available online. The student logs in and takes the quiz and it is graded. The grade is then sent to whatever email the student logs in with. However, that is not always the best way and so there is a Quiz and Answer Manual available for purchase. This has blank quizzes that can be copied within a single homeschool as needed. The book also has an answer key in the back that includes answers for each of the quizzes in the book.

 

Novel Notebook

Novel Notebook –

The Novel Notebook is available from Writing With Sharon Watson as a download from the site. It is another way to delve into the story. It includes questions that help the student explore the meaning of parts of the story and characters, as well as helping them move through the novels a bit at a time. Throughout there are questions that help the student apply an idea to their own life or to someone’s life around them. It helps the student to personalize the story and ideas. Some of these were pretty difficult to answer but it allowed for good discussions.

working in textbook

My Thoughts –

I really like having a literature program that pushes my advanced reader to think about what she is reading. I also like that this program includes some pretty challenging literature, as well as a good variety. Knowing that something different will be up next on the reading list makes it a bit easier to engage my student in the current selection if she is struggling.

Because each of the selections is so very different, this review has been difficult to write. We have really only used the opening chapter on introducing character labels and forces of antagonism and the chapter “A Jury of Her Peers.” We are just venturing into Frankenstein. With each chapter being a different genre and therefore the types of questions and the application of the ideas being so different, this doesn’t feel like a very thorough review. So far so good, though, and we will be continuing to use this program.

A Student Viewpoint –quilt block

“I still don’t like literature but this is better than the last thing I did. I like the activities that are at the end of each lesson series. I thought the bonus information was interesting. For example, the information about the play that “Jury of Her Peers” was taken from or information on the setting. I liked how we applied the terms and character labels to a book that I was familiar with before trying to use them with the stories that were new. I probably should have chosen a stand-alone book instead of a series and it would have been easier. Most of her writing is easy to understand, though I have had to reread a couple of the sentences before moving on. Overall, I like it because it is different than what I have used before.”

At Home.

See what other families from the Homeschool Review Crew thought about Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis.

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}

Social Media:

Writing with Sharon Watson Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/WritingWithSharonWatson/
Writing with Sharon Watson Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/writingwithshar/

Crew Disclaimer

Advertisements

The Greatest Inventors ~ a Crew review

The Greatest Inventors

Looking for a simple way to start our new school year, we decided that a week-long unit study would be great. Enter A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks and their stand-alone lapbook product, The Greatest Inventors .

Greatest Inventors Lapbook with Study Guide

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks has been around for a while and got its start when a couple of homeschooling moms realized that what they wanted was not to be found. So, they created it! How’s that for ingenuity? That was the start of A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks (AJTL).

AJTL has many products to fit many needs. Whether you are looking for a stand alone study or something to accompany a curriculum you have purchased, AJTL may have just what you need. And if you don’t know exactly what a lapbook is, well, they have a page for that, too. Head over to their site to watch their video about lapbooks. But quickly – lapbooking is a way to simply document learning by completing mini-booklets in different shapes and sizes, keeping the documentation varied and interesting for the student.

We were able to use The Greatest Inventors, a stand-alone lapbooking unit. What that means is that the downloadable product (you can also get a printed version) contains all of the mini-booklets to create the lapbook as well as all the information in a study guide to be able to fill out and complete the lapbook. Each mini-booklet has its own page of information to read. It was a simple unit to complete and we were easily able to use it with our girls, ages 8, 11, and 13.

working on the book report form

How We Used The Greatest Inventors

I printed out all of the mini-booklets from the PDF file. I did not print the study guide pages; we accessed those on the computer when we needed them. I also checked out a book on each inventor from the library, since the study guide was not as high a reading level as I wanted for the two older girls. They needed more of a challenge. (The reading level was perfect for our 8 year old, though.) I placed the books and pages together on the table and the girls took turns picking the inventors they were interested in.

Some of the inventors –

  • Jonas Salk
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Guglielmo Marconi
  • George Eastman
  • Louis Braille
  • The Wright Brothers
  • and many more.

Each day that week, the girls worked on one or more of their inventors. They read the study guide and the books. In some cases, we looked up more information or pictures on the internet with a simple Google search. Then, the girls completed their mini-booklets, as well as the book report form that is included in the PDF.

working on da Vinci

The book report form is a simple form, asking for the name of the book and its author. It asks about the birth and death, the time period, and information about what was understood from the book. It also gives them a chance to be creative, designing a stamp for that inventor. It was fun to talk about stamps being a way to honor someone and their achievements.

Miss J presenting her researchMiss L presenting her research

At the end of the week, we had a presentation. The girls took turns presenting their inventors, the book report, and showing the mini-booklet that was created. We also used this time to open up a discussion about how each invention helped or changed the world. It was a fun day, full of unexpected learning.

Miss E presenting her research

Now, we went pretty far above and beyond the lapbook product itself. But this is a great example of how easy it is to extend these products to include the entire family in learning. Our oldest students got some good research experience, as well as having to present, while it fit perfectly the reading ability and interest level of our youngest. We could easily have just used the mini-booklets and the study guide and we still would have learned a lot.

everyone can change the world

AJTL has simple to use products, though you do need access to a computer and printer if you are purchasing their downloadable products. If that doesn’t work for you, they have printed versions available, as well.A Journey Through Learning

The Homeschool Review Crew had several products that the families were using. These included

These are just a few of the hundreds of titles that A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks has available. There is something for just about every study you can imagine. Visit their page to see what else they have.

At Home.

 

Lapbooks for Classical Conversations, Apologia, Inventors & 20th Century {A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Bird Identification Resources

Miss J has been fascinated by birds since we did a bird unit a couple of years ago. She is constantly on the lookout for birds and reading about them.

We have started a unit over The Bears on Hemlock Mountain and one of the items in the prereading section of the reading guide from Progeny Press has to do with listening to bird calls and learning to identify some birds. So, we pulled up our old unit and pulled out a few resources.

We used these two videos for bird calls.

We used a poster from the Forest Service to look at bird pictures and we have a field guide that we keep with our binoculars to pull out to help identify the birds we see in the backyard. (You can see the bird guide in the unit study over the book Look Up!)

bird identification resources

Identifying birds, bird watching, and listening to their calls is a fun activity that does not take fancy equipment and can add a lot of joy to life. Whether it be in your backyard, while on a walk, or driving along the way, look for the birds and see what you can see.

Miss J would enjoy hearing from you – what is your favorite bird?

At Home.

Susan K Marlow’s New Andi books ~ a Crew review

Circle C Stepping Stones series

Circle C Stepping Stones is a new series from author Susan K. Marlow and published by Kregel Publications. The first two books in the series, Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top, continue to sage of Andrea Carter, affectionately known as Andi.

Andrea Carter, or Andi, begins the Circle C Stepping Stones series on her 9th birthday. This scene is one that just about every little girl (and boy) can relate to: hoping beyond hope for a long desired gift. This quickly endears the reader to Andi and her plight of trying to grow up strong and independent with a mind of her own while obeying and honoring her mother and her older brothers, who are in charge of the ranch.

Andi Saddles Up

Andi Saddles Up –

Andi gets a wonderful birthday breakfast and lovely gifts from her family. But when she is followed by the whole family out to the barn, she begins to wonder what’s up. She finds out that she does, after all, get a brand new saddle for Taffy, her horse. After saddling up, her big brother takes her out for a ride to try it out and to discuss new privileges – Andi can now ride Taffy when she wants! She also gets shown a special place that almost no one else knows about.

One day while at this special place, Andi meets a new friend, Sadie. The girls quickly become good friends, swapping stories and trading rides for fishing bait. Andi and Sadie enjoy their new friendship, even after they find out that their families are disagreeing about a property boundary. When something happens and help is needed quickly, can the families be calm and kind? And can Andi and Sadie’s friendship survive the family struggles?

Andi Under the Big TopAndi Under the Big Top –

The circus is coming to town and Andi is terribly excited. Getting to see exotic animals and bareback riders and acrobats are the things Andi’s dreams are made of. Watching the circus parade is such a joy for Andi, especially seeing the world champion bareback rider!

Then Andi meets Henry. Henry is a little boy who works for the circus. Only, Andi notices he doesn’t seem very happy and Andi begins to wonder, for the first time, if maybe the circus is not as glamorous as it seems from the outside. After an altercation in which Andi’s big brother helps Henry avoid undeserved punishment, Henry is able to take Andi behind the scenes of the circus. This adventure is such a joy for Andi and her big sister Melinda.

But, Henry is still on Andi’s mind. She has realized that he ran away from home to join the circus and is now unable to get away; he is trapped. She wants to help him but after she finds out what he has done, can she?

What We Thought –

Miss L, age 10, read these books through the day we received them. She has enjoyed the Circle C Beginnings series and was ready to continue reading about Andi’s adventures. She wrote the following summaries about the books:

Andi Saddles Up is a fun book. It is about Andi, of course, and her family when a river that divides her family’s property and their neighbor’s, the Hollisters, property changes its course during a flood. Meanwhile, Andi makes a new friend with Sadie Hollister and she then wants to hang onto their friendship, even while their families fight. I love the way the book ends and I really liked the part about the hoof picks! Susan K Marlow is so talented! I think that I would recommend this book for ages 7 + up, maybe a year or two younger if it is a read-aloud.

Andi Under the Big Top is a nice book, too. All the details made me feel like I was really at the circus with her, and yet, reading. And the thick plots! I was really impressed that Marlow was able to get as much good plot and details in as she was without just dragging the story along with it. I think that I would recommend this one for ages 7 + up as well. Again, maybe a little younger for a read-aloud.using the study guide

Miss J (just turned 8) is reading the books at a slower pace. She is also working on the Study Guides that are provided to go along with the books. You can find the Study Guides on the webpages for the books, both at Kregel Publications and on the Circle C Stepping Stonespage (where they are called activity pages; you can also find coloring pages). These Study Guides provide a nice supplement to the books. They contain comprehension questions and activities. They cover subjects such as vocabulary, poetry, history, character study, Bible, music, and more. It is recommended that the guides take 21 days to complete but they are pretty easy to speed up or slow down as your family needs. We have really enjoyed adding these Study Guides to our reading and making this a more complete literature study.

Overall –

The Circle C Ranch books are wholesome, with good, solid ideas and themes, as well as Biblical ideas and character building opportunities. The new Circle C Stepping Stones series is no different. Andi is growing and some of my favorite parts in these books are where she remembers to go to God when she sees something that He can help with or when she is suddenly thankful. (Thank you, God, for giving me a brave sister! p. 76 Andi Under the Big Top)  I thoroughly enjoy those little moments of showing God in the everyday.

Circle C Stepping Stones books

We adore Mrs. Marlow. Her writing has been a joy to read since we were first introduced to her stories. We have told tons of people about them and encouraged our library to order the books. (They did! All of them! And they have ordered these new ones, too, since we told them they were out!) Miss E is waiting (im)patiently for me to get the newest one of the Circle C Milestones series. We highly recommend these books.

At Home.

We have previously reviewed these other books by Susan K. Marlow:
The Last Ride
Tales From the Circle C Ranch
Thick as Thieves

There are other Homeschool Review Crew families who have been reading these books, as well. Please click on the banner below to read what they thought of Circle C Stepping Stones.

Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews} 

Find out more on social media:

Twitter (Kregel Books): https://twitter.com/KregelBooks
Twitter (Susan K Marlow): https://twitter.com/SuzyScribbles
Facebook (Kregel Books): https://www.facebook.com/KregelBooks/
Facebook (Susan K Marlow): https://www.facebook.com/SusanKMarlow?fref=ts

Crew Disclaimer 

A Little House on the Prairie study ~ a review

little-house-title

The youngest giggly girl, Miss J, has just turned 8 and while she likes books, she does not have the huge enjoyment of books that the other two giggly girls have. So, when I heard that In the Hands of a Child was looking for families to try out some of their project packs, I sent them a message and told them I was definitely willing and would love something for Miss J. After a short email discussion to decide on a title, they gave us their A Little House on the Prairie curriculum download to try.

project-pack-cover-little-house

Miss J saw me downloading it and printing it off, just before bedtime, and came over to see what I was doing. When she realized it was a “Laura book” study, she got kind of excited. When I showed her what it was, she got really excited and wanted to start right away, regardless of the fact that it was bedtime. So, when you are homeschooling and you find something that excites the learning in your child, what do you do? You start right away.

lapbook-pieces-little-house

We began reading the first chapter that night and doing the corresponding activities. We marked a map and wrote some of the biographical highlights of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life. After the first night of excitement, I kind of expected there to be a tapering off of the joy of reading the book and working on the corresponding lapbook parts. But there has not been. Miss J has enjoyed working on this every time and it is the first school work she wants to do each day.

Well, except for the chapter summaries. She is getting tired of those but I don’t really blame her. She was doing a summary per chapter but we have moved to a summary for every couple of chapters or just a sentence about the chapter. Twenty-six summaries is quite a few. 🙂

folder-2-little-house

The variety of activities included in this lapbook keeps the interest level high. From learning vocabulary words (which Miss J begged to do as often as possible, including writing the definitions) to summarizing a how-to from the story to thinking about all the daily chores required for a pioneer family, the activities have been interesting and exciting for Miss J. She has learned a lot and enjoyed it.

The activities included by In The Hands of a Child do a great job of extending the learning to parts of a story, character and setting, writing, history, geography, and other skills. We have been very pleased with the activities and learning, especially for our child that doesn’t just jump for joy every time we mention reading time. Now, she asks to do her literature study more often than almost any other part of her school work. That is a great move forward for her.

There is a suggested schedule but we found that, in addition to our other schoolwork, this schedule was just too rigorous. So, we pulled it back to reading one chapter a day and completing one or two activities a day. This made the Project Pack much more manageable for our 2nd grader. I also found that if Miss J dictated and I wrote some for her, she got much more informative in her narratives and summaries. So, we did quite a bit of that, as well.

keeping-track-little-house

We definitely can recommend checking out In The Hands of a Child and their lapbooks. The digital download via CurrClick was simple and gives me easy access to the instructions without having to print them out. I can print out the parts we need to create the lapbook and leave the others stored electronically. We actually moved the download onto the Kindle to make it easier to access while the other giggly girls needed the computer.

Lots of fun is to be found in the use of a lapbook and In The Hands of a Child has done a nice job of including a variety of activities. Please visit their site to learn more and see their many, many options.

At Home.

Disclaimer
I received a FREE copy of this product from In The Hands of a Child in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

The Cat of Bubastes ~ a TOS review

 

cat-of-bubastes

Ancient Egypt has fascinated our family since Miss E was young. When she was about four, she was playing with heiroglyph stickers and learning about Egypt. When Heirloom Audio Productions announced their release of The Cat of Bubastes, I got really excited knowing how much fascination Egypt held. We were thrilled to get to be on the review of this one!

cat-of-bubastes-cover

Heirloom Audio always does a magnificent job of creating a theater quality production to listen to in the comfort of your own home or the convenience of any place you can take a CD or an MP3 file. Their production crew is able to create such a wonderful program that it makes the listener feel as though they are right in the middle of the action, the discussions, and the life of the characters. Each production Heirloom creates seems to be better than the last.

Heirloom Audio’s tagline is “The Extraordinary Adventures of G. A. Henty”. They are adapting Henty novels to audio productions that can be listened to and the productions focus on Christian values and aspects of history that are becoming lost in history books these days. Henty was a writer that lived from 1832-1902. He was a war correspondent and as such, traveled extensively, thus getting much of his knowledge of culture and lands. He wrote about many famous people and times in history but he told a much different story than many of the history books tell. Heirloom Audio has taken his writings and used them as the story lines for Christian audio adventures,taking to heart the quote by Frederick Douglas that states “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

As a part of this review we received:

  • a physical CD copy of the audio production
  • an MP3 file of the audio production
  • a PDF file of the study guide
  • a digital copy of the soundtrack
  • a digital copy of The Cat of Busbastes ebook by G.A. Henty
  • a PDF of the cast poster
  • a digital file of a behind-the-scenes documentary video
  • a PDF of an inspirational verse

These items all are part of the family four-pack purchase bonuses.

 

The Cat of Bubastes takes place several thousand years ago in Egypt. Many of the Rebu tribe have been captured in war and are transported as slaves to Egypt. Once in Thebes, Amuba and Jethro are placed as slaves in the house of Ameres, the high priest of Osiris. Amuba becomes friends with his master, Chebron, one of Ameres’ sons. As they learn together, they wonder about the ability of the gods and where truth comes from. In meeting an Israelite, they learn about the one true God the Israelites had worshipped in the past. Between the uncovering of a murder plot in the temple to the accidental killing of the sacred Cat of Bubastes, Amuba, Chebron, and Jethro are thrust into danger and adventure. The men experience the wonder, providence, and protection of the one true God.

cat-of-bubastes-cd-package-inside

Enjoy The Story:

The CD is what we use most. It becomes almost permanently housed in Miss E’s room so she can listen to it over and over. (Well, until the next one comes out. . .) It is a 2 CD set and is done with very high quality sound. The production is approximately 2 hours long. It features the voices of Brian Blessed, Peter Moreton, Akintunde Esuruoso, Toby Baddeley, Anthony Daniels, Emily Woodward, and many others. With a score by award-winning John Campbell, the enjoyment of the story is non-stop from beginning to end. It is an easy listen and you hardly know that 2 hours has gone by when the story finally concludes.

We have used the MP3 files to place the audio production on our Kindles. This allows us to listen to the program while not at home. These have the same high quality as the CDs and are easily portable.

cat-of-bubastes-ebook-coverI have also placed the ebook of the original Henty novel on my Kindle. I have been able to read the book while waiting during dance classes or violin lessons. The ebook version is the original Henty novel but it has been redesigned for an ebook and has a few images added to help enhance the story. While it was slow to get started, I realized that there was a lot of information in the first part that really enhanced the story later on. Reading the ebook is something that is really quite important with this particular novel, I believe. Since the audio production is an adaptation, there is a lot of information that they are unable to include. I have learned a lot about Egypt, the society and culture, and the religion that just was unable to be added to the audio production. I highly recommend reading the original Henty novel.

The behind-the-scenes video is approximately 20 minutes long and is able to be watched on the computer.  This was a fascinating video as it discussed the many roles required to create these productions. The focus on interactions and how each role is important was quite interesting. It was refreshing to see the focus on God, from prayer before each work session, to the statement that this is all being done “within God’s will.” One of my favorite quotes from the video is “Each one of these stories we do has changed me . . . Each one imparts something in you. Our prayer is that as people listen, it imparts something of substance . . that it challenges you or changes you.” (John Fornof)

cat-of-bubastes-study-guide-coverThe study guide is a huge part of this package. The study guide contains tons of information and cat-of-bubastes-study-guide-excerptquestions to help you get more out of the story. Each track has its own section of the study guide that contains questions to help the reader focus on the story and comprehending it as well as questions that force the listener to think more deeply about the content and reasoning. There are also words to define that the listener might not know. Often, there is also an information box on the page that shares more about the culture, animals, traditions, and more of ancient Egypt. Each page of the study guide has not only the disc and track number but it also contains the time markings for that track if you are listening to it on MP3, which shows and elapsed time, rather than track numbers sometimes. The study additionally contains three Bible studies: God Meant It For Good, The Knowledge of God, and Idolatry and Tyranny. There is also some additional information on the cat of Bubastes.

I placed the study guide on my Kindle and we accessed it there. We used it to guide our out loud discussions about the story. The study guide definitely enriches the experience of Heirloom Audio Productions.

Our Thoughts:

Heirloom Audio has done it again and The Cat of Bubastes is a wonderful learning experience. It is fun and entertaining, while teaching a lot.

One thing with The Cat of Bubastes was that if you don’t know the story, it is hard to follow the first time you listen. Miss E remarked that she felt like she had missed a disc and actually took it out to check that it was the first disc and that it was starting on track 1. It would be good to get the background knowledge of the battle that begins the novel if possible before listening to the CDs.

And, as I mentioned when discussing the ebook, there is a lot of information about Egypt and its culture and beliefs that just cannot be included in the audio production, whether due to the difficulty of writing it into a conversational style or the time factor. You really don’t want to miss that information.

We enjoy Heirloom Audio Productions and get so much learning from each of their programs that I can’t help but share about them. We are grateful for the opportunity each time we are selected to be a part of a review for Heirloom. They truly are tremendous learning opportunities that are coupled with Christian values and beliefs.

At Home.

See what other families from the Homeschool Review Crew (yes – new name, same Crew!) thought about The Cat of Bubastes by clicking the banner below.

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

Crew Disclaimer

Progeny Press ~ a TOS review

Reviewing The Sword in the Tree E-Guide, which is published by Progeny Press, has given our family mixed reactions. We have reviewed an e-guide from Progeny Press before and it was a pleasant experience. Their guide is still just as good this time around.

Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press  Review}
Progeny Press is a company that has dedicated itself to a mission of helping children access great literature and understand it. As a part of this mission, they encourage the student to rely on scripture for understanding and explaining literature and its application.

Progeny Press has e-guides for all sorts of literature, as well as some printed guides. This is a nice balance because it allows you to purchase what works best for your student. We have used both a printed and an e-guide. Personally, I like the e-guides best but that isn’t always what works best. Specifically, Progeny Press has kept their guides for lower elementary print only. Everything else, 4th-12th, has a choice of either print or interactive, meaning a pdf on CD or access through an emailed link after purchase.

We received The Sword in the Tree E-Guide. This guide is recommended for 4th-6th grade. It is a PDF file that I downloaded and saved to our computer. We access it simply as any other file and it is saved to the folder for Miss E. She would access it from there and save the new answers each time.

The e-guide is filled!

  • Table of Contents (and you can click from here to any of the headings which makes it super easy to get to where you are working within the guide)
  • Summary of the book
  • Information about the author
  • Prereading activities
  • Chapter comprehension and application questions (grouped in groups of about 3 chapters in this guide)
  • Vocabulary (grouped with about 6 chapters in a group in this guide)
  • Overview questions
  • Postreading activities
  • Additional resources

The answer key came in a separate file, which is nice. I saved it to a separate place, not that I was expecting Miss E to try to use it. But it is good to have that in a separate file.

Miss E read The Sword in the Tree straight through. It was really too easy of a book for her, as a 6th grader. I had  purposefully chosen an easier book with the hopes that it would make the answering of the questions more pleasant for her. She struggles to answer the questions other people deem important with a book. So, this choice was done to attempt to help ease that struggle of figuring out how to answer those questions. Well, it didn’t work for her. She struggled through this.

The questions are not the issue for her. The questions are fantastic and very well done. The questions range from simple knowledge questions (Who was ____? What did he do? ) to fairly in-depth analysis questions (Does this count as an apology? Why or why not?). There are also questions that ask the student to look up additional resources, in this case Bible verses, and apply them to different aspects of the story. One such application: looking up some Proverbs and applying them to work and attitudes.

There are also a variety of ways to answer: short answer, drop box for selection options, fill in the blank, and even some that require a discussion with someone.

Each sections includes:

  • Questions (most seem to be knowledge level questions)
  • Think About The Story (questions where you are looking into people and their actions or attitudes)
  • Dig Deeper (applying ideals and perspectives to characters and their actions, as well as your own thoughts and actions)
  • Optional Activities (hands on activities to help you experience or explore)

This particular e-guide also tackled various aspects of a story and writing: setting, fact vs opinion, simile, comparison vs contrast, characterization, foreshadowing, imagery, point of view, theme, and more.

These guides are fantastic. Miss L has used a Progeny Press e-guide before (see our previous reviews for Sarah, Plain and Tall, as well as Little House on the Prairie and The Courage of Sarah Noble) and she adored it. She will probably take a gander at this one next fall. She enjoyed being able to type in her answers and use the computer. She like seeing her progress marked by going page by page through the guide and finally reaching the end of it. So, she’ll take this up in a couple of months and I know she will enjoy it.

My take on it all:
Progeny Press has done a beautiful, thorough job of giving us a study guide to walk students through the depth of a book, learning and exploring all that it has to offer. They encourage the student to look deeper into the purposes of characters and to find all the book has to offer. These are great for students that do well with structure and are able to process the deeper thinking questions that are found throughout the guide.

Progeny Press offers study guides for students of all ages with such a variety of titles that everyone should find something that interests them. Find out more about some of the specific titles that the Review Crew used for the past few weeks by clicking on the Read More banner below.

At Home.

 

Find Progeny Press on Facebook and Twitter.

Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press  Review}Crew Disclaimer

%d bloggers like this: