Tag Archives: literature

High School Literature Class – writing a biography of a secondary character

write bio of 2ndary charac

As she approached the final two books of the year, Miss E was unsure what she was going to do for her final required written work. She had two final projects, one of which had to be a written project of some sort. After reading the next to last book, she still wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. She asked permission to read the last book. And then the brainstorm hit.

“Can I combine the last two books and write about the wives?”

“Of course!” was my reply. What a great idea. So she quickly set about getting her research figured out. Searching the library site for books to request (we can make requests and pick them up curbside during this virus shut down). Ordering a book off of Amazon (that she paid for herself because she thought it sounded really interesting). Looking up websites and images. It brought a lot of excitement.

As soon as she received the email that her library books were ready, she was asking to pick them up. She had a Venn diagram in the works. She was reading and comparing.

Y’all – this is a fabulous project that has brought excitement and enjoyment. This is what learning is about!! This is the reason I wanted her to choose her projects, with some guidelines to focus it. She found something she wanted to do and has been at it full force for a week and a half now! She is reading more books, reading more articles, searching out information, and finding out more. Times, places, people – they all come more sharply into focus when the student has some direction to the search.

I can’t wait to see her final product but I know it will be great! I had planned to do a formal writing project with her meteorology course as a final project but does not need to happen now. I am able to watch and guide this research and it will be a better final product because she chose it and is interested in it. She will write a cover page, a table of contents, a bibliography. Get all that stuff in, do the editing, and we will have checked off a couple of huge items from the “need to know” list. All because of an interest that developed and she was allowed to run with it.

This is a beautiful part of home education. We had hoped to reignite a love of learning for her when we brought her education home. I know now that we have been successful in that.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

write the bio of secondary character

 

High School Literature Class ~ video book report

literature class video book report

Miss E has been working through To Every Nation, a missionary biography based study. We are using this for her sophomore literature class. Her most recent read was Mary Slessor. To close out that part of the study, she decided to create a video book report. She has been enjoying making various videos and movies lately so when we were discussing options, this one just jumped out. She spent several hours deciding what she needed to include, what order to put the information in, and then putting together the video.

The interesting part of this, and something that shows true learning occurring, is that she did this on non-school days. In fact, she worked on it over the weekend because she found it fun to work on a video with nothing else she had to do interfering.


I highly encourage you to work with your student to find ideas and options that are interesting to the student. They may be ideas that are unique and out of the ordinary. They may not be. You student may enjoy writing traditional reports. No problem with that. Forcing the student to vary their projects does help to cultivate the creativity of the student in their responses and that is a good thing.

What projects have your students been working on?

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

create video book report

Literature Class for High School – create an encouragement card

make an encouragement card lit class

One thing that our 15 year old enjoys doing is creating artwork in the bullet journal style. She can spend hours recreating images that she sees on Pinterest or searches she does on the internet for particular topics. This is great and it has translated really well into a project for one of her books.

She finished reading the  YWAM series of Christian biography (affiliate link) of Corrie Ten Boom. When it came time to decide on a final project, she was struggling. Corrie was an articulate person, or it appears so from everything written about her. She was encouraging. She had tremendous faith yet that even seemed to pale in comparison to her sister Betsy’s faith. So, when it came time to discuss the project options, that was what was keyed in on.

I mentioned ways in which encouragement can play a part in lives and how I have seen my daughter encourage others. She realized that she could create greeting cards featuring quotes from the two Ten Boom sisters. She has designed those cards and will be copying them to send to shut-ins at church. (This is a project that she spear-heads for the teens within our congregation.)

She is going to create a list of scriptures that she can include on the inside of the cards when she gets them copied and is addressing them. (Sorry – no photo of the cards; for some reason, I can’t find one but they were simple black and white cards. Simple but beautiful.)

She loved the project and it not only brought the character to life – Corrie was such an encouraging person and this mirrors that encouragement – but it was a project that was interesting, hit on an ability for my daughter, and will benefit others. Win-Win-Win.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

encouragement card lit class

 

Literature Class for High School – a series of ideas

Disclaimer: This post does contain an affiliate link. I did not receive anything for this post but if you choose to purchase through the affiliate link, I may receive a small commission for it.

Literature Class for High School

Literature – that word either thrills you deeply or scares you deeply. Your reaction could very likely be a response to the literature classes you had as a high school student. For me, I had a strange literature year in 9th grade where one semester we focused deeply on a single writing assignment before the teacher moved to Germany and the other semester we had a creepy teacher who taught only Sherlock Holmes novels. I also think about the year that Ms. McKay taught lit in junior high and we had a fabulous time with all sorts of unique ideas for how we shared about the books we read. I like to try to allow my girls to lean more towards the Ms. McKay style year than the other one. Literature has so much to teach us but it can be easy to make it a miserable experience when the focus is in the wrong place.

So where should the focus be? Why, the story of course and what the reader is getting from it. The focus should not be on what the teacher thinks the student should get from it because we are all different and see different things in stories. And what a wonderful thing that is. My girls have taught me so much by listening to their thoughts on books. That’s why we did Story Spiels one year. And why we have not done a traditional book report. Ever.

I would suggest the following for a literature class for high school.

  • Allow the student say in what is read and studied. Yes, it is a good idea to have them read stories they would not naturally pick up but they shouldn’t ONLY be reading things they wouldn’t normally choose. A good blend of their choice and yours is stronger than either by itself.
  • If a prepared curriculum is preferred, there is no reason to not use it. Try to allow for modification, if would make the experience more enjoyable. We have used Sharon Watson’s materials and loved them, planning to use them again, because of the way in which she approaches the story of any book. We did not use it 100% as written but used a large part it and will with her other one in the future. We are also using one this year and modifying it to fit age level (see what I share towards the end on To Every Nation).
  • Allow the student freedom in how they will share what they glean from the story. A one-size-fits-all report form is not going to sit well with a student who really understands on character but doesn’t really pay all that much attention to what year it is in the story. Finding a way for the student to share their own insights will broaden their understanding and give them a pride in their shares.
  • Require a mix of creative and unique ways to present coupled with some writing. It is high school and if there is any chance whatsoever that the student will go to college, there is a need for the student to be able to express their thoughts not just verbally but also in writing. Having a challenge of half of their presentations for the year involving some form of writing will give them freedom to choose which books fit more naturally into a written form and which they would rather do something wildly creative with.
  • Provide ideas that are open-ended. With specific ideas, it can be difficult for students to broaden that to their own creativity. With open-ended ideas, they can adapt the idea to their particular story and idea. Open-ended suggestions give freedom and open the option of creative ideas that might not even be on your radar but fit the student’s ideas perfectly.
  • Allow for a mix of paper/pencil projects, technology, artistic, theatrical, and more. Every idea should be allowed for consideration.

We have selected the books that our sophomore is reading – the YWAM series of Christian biographies (affiliate link). She is also working on the workbook To Every Nation (courtesy link) from Not Consumed that we purchased. In addition, since the books and workbooks fall “below” her reading level, we have required her to add a final project for each of the biographies. We created a list for her to choose from following much of the criteria above.

I am going to share an idea a week (at least that’s the plan) with you from our list of what project choices we have come up with. I am going to share with you whether Miss E has used that option and if so, how it has gone. I can’t wait to encourage you in thinking “outside the box” for high school literature. After all, there is so much to learn from reading literature books that we ought to make it fun and enjoyable.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

a series of teaching ideas

Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 4 ~ a Crew review

Hewitt Homeschooling Lightning Lit 4

While my youngest girl loves stories and being read to, she doesn’t always have the drive to read for herself in a constructive and discerning manner yet. Hewitt Homeschooling Resources has a series of literature and composition curriculum that I have long been interested in. We were actually a part of their grade 3 beta program a few years ago and used it for several books. I liked the way it flowed and so when we were given the opportunity to work with the Grade 4 Lightning Lit Set, I was glad to do so. It came with the Teacher’s Guide and the Student Workbook, both soft cover books.

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While Miss J is often considered 5th grade for this coming school year, I took a good look at the samples for the level on the Hewitt Homeschooling website. It showed me enough to know that since Miss J is a strong reader but is not always able to answer comprehension questions about the reading easily, this might be a really good fit for her. The books are pretty challenging, in my opinion, for a 4th grader who is not a super strong reader with strong comprehension. Take a look at this list.

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There are a total of 12 books on the list. Not included in this picture from the Student Workbook is Tuck Everlasting and The Borrowers. I also felt that the grammar includes so many skills and covers so many concepts that she has not yet dealt with that this would be a very good challenge for her. With a total of 36 weeks of materials, this is easily a full literature, composition, and grammar curriculum.

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I really like the way the Student Notebook is put together. The pages are perforated and set up by week. I can easily take one week’s worth of work out of the book and staple it together. Miss J then only has to deal with those pages and not the whole 400+ pages of the workbook.

Miss J started at the beginning of the workbook and has worked through several of the weeks. She is currently working on the book The One and Only Ivan. She has completed The Earth Dragon Awakes and Morning Girl. Each week is set up with four days. The fifth day is left as an optional day where additional work could be completed on the composition project or maybe completing an optional workbook page. Each week from the Student Workbook has a cover page that indicated the week and the pages of the book that will be read during that time.

Lightning Lit

The second page of the week has a checklist that shows what will be done during the week. It includes the readings, broken up into four parts. There is also the grammar pages to be completed on each of the four days and what they are, such a common and proper nouns. The composition is also included here and broken up into four parts, as well as any extra activities that can be completed if assigned. I did assign the extra worksheet pages, as I felt they were really helpful and Miss J completed them on day 4 of the week.

 

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The readings did a great job of putting the story into smaller chunks for each day. There were daily comprehension questions to go along with the reading. These always asked the student to think deeper than the surface understanding of the story. For example, in The Earth Dragon Awakes, there were questions regarding the understanding one of the characters has of another. In Morning Girl, the student was asked to recognize the emotions of the character and to use examples from the text to support the answer.

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The grammar portion of the work builds slowly upon the work that comes before it. This level started with nouns on the first day. Then it added the recognition of common nouns and proper nouns. The week ended with abstract nouns. Week two dealt with verbs, including linking verbs and helping verbs. Week three added types of sentences and week four added adjectives.

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a simple start to diagramming sentences

Each week, there was also diagramming sentences, beginning in week 3. This is something I have never done formally and so it was a learning experience for both Miss J and myself. The diagramming is handled very well, adding very small chunks each week. It is not overwhelming and the Teacher’s Guide is really helpful for me here.20190613_135255

Speaking of the Teacher’s Guide, let’s take a look at what it offers. It does include the expected – answers for the workbook pages the student completes each day. But there is quite a bit more to it. It is quite a bit more compact that the Student Workbook as it contains only around 250 pages. It begins with the table of contents listing each of the books for the weeks. The information is also listed by week, after the initial “How to Use This Teacher’s Guide” section.

Don’t skip the “How to Use” section. It includes a lot of information about why the curriculum is organized the way it is and why the choices were made to include things. There is information that will help with understanding the best ways to guide your student and suggestions for modifying where needed.

Each of the week’s lessons have additional information for the teacher that will help you be prepared to address concerns with your student or to guide them in discussions. Each section of the student’s workbook pages have a section in the Teacher’s Guide, giving answers or suggestions.

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I do wish that the Teacher’s Guide has a listing of all of the aspects of grammar and composition that are specifically addressed. This information would be really helpful if you are coming to this from a different curriculum or need to go to a different one for next year. (Grade 5 is in progress for Lighting Lit. See their website for the listing of books and outline of what is coming in Grade 5.)

The grammar and composition pretty well go hand-in-hand throughout the study. What is being worked on in grammar is often part of what they are being assigned to include in the composition. The concepts covered include:

  • nouns
  • verbs – from basic verbs to linking and helping verbs to the different tenses of verbs
  • adjectives
  • pronouns
  • conjunctions
  • articles
  • homophones
  • poetry – terms, types, rhyme, stress
  • punctuation – commas, quotations marks, ellipses, etc.
  • capitalization – sentences, in poetry, in letters, names and titles, etc.
  • figures of speech – onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, personification
  • writing techniques – alliteration, assonance

Through the lessons, the grammar portion circles back to review concepts and ideas that had been previously taught and to take the student a little bit deeper. This is done through intentional reviews or by including the more complex form of the concept, such as specific types of clauses or different tenses of the verbs.

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Yes – this is my handwriting instead of Miss J’s. It was a hard day but she walked me through what to do and I did the writing for her. She learned the diagramming information, regardless of who did the writing.

And almost always, this is tied into the skill of diagramming a sentence. Teach the idea; practice the idea; diagram a sentence with that included. This is the process and I feel like it is a strong model for continued growth and learning.

We chose this for Miss J and I feel like the material covered, and the way in which it is covered, will more than challenge her this coming year as we continue on with this program. Hewitt Homeschooling Resources seems to have an advanced program so definitely take a look at the samples when you are getting ready to order materials.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Click on the banner below to read the reviews of others who were reviewing materials from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources. These materials included:

Grade 1 Lightning Lit Set
Grade 2 Lightning Lit Set
Grade 3 Lightning Lit Set
Grade 4 Lightning Lit Set 
My First Report: Solar System, Grades 1-4
Chronicles of __ State History Notebook, Grades 3-8
Joy of Discovery w Learning Objectives Adult/Teacher
Gr 7 Lightning Lit Set  
Gr 8 Lightning Lit Set 
American Early-Mid 19th Century Gr 9-10
American Mid-Late 19th Century Gr 9-12
Speech  Gr 9-12.
British Early-Mid 19th Century Gr 10-12
British Mid-Late 19th Century Gr 10-12
British Medieval Gr 10-12
Shakespeare Comedies Gr 11-12
Shakespeare Tragedies Gr 11-12
British Christian Gr 11-12
American Christian Gr 11-12  

Lightning-Literature-My-First-Reports-State-History-Notebook-Joy-of-Discovery-Hewitt-Homeschooling-Resources-Reviews-2019

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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/

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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

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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.

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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.

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.

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

Greek Myths from Memoria Press ~ a TOS review

myths set
Miss L has been fascinated with Greek mythology and the D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths book for probably two years now. When we got a chance to review Memoria Press and their D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths set, I jumped at it knowing just how excited Miss L would be. I have not been wrong. She has truly enjoyed it.

myths work

If you are looking for a company creating classical based Christian educational homeschooling materials, Memoria Press is your company. Their materials are truly easy to use and implement. The instructions are clear and the workbooks are uncluttered.myths workbook page

The D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths set comes with a Teacher’s Guide, a Student Guide, the D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, and a set of flashcards. With a Teacher’s Guide and a Student Guide that work side-by-side, it could not be easier. The Teacher’s Guide has the exact same pages as the student guide, except that the answers for the questions are printed there. In addition, the Teacher’s Guide includes tests and answer keys. There is a test after every 5 lessons, plus a final exam.

Each lesson follows the same plan. The Student Guide shows the lesson and the reading assignment for the lesson at the top left of the page. The student reads the assigned pages and then completes the lesson in the Student Guide. The flashcards can be used to help assist the student in memorizing the names of the gods and places from the lesson, though not all of the flashcards match up exactly with the definitions in the Student Guide and not every item in the Facts to Know has a corresponding flashcard. (I took the flashcards, removed them from the perforated sheets they came in, and punched holes in them. I put the rings on them to help keep them together and to make them a bit easier to use. The cards are 2″ x 3 1/2″.)myths flashcards

We have planned one lesson per week, though Miss L could easily complete more than that. I gave her the guideline of working on reading and Facts to Know one day, the Vocabulary and Comprehension Questions another day, and then the Activities on a third day. She has chosen instead to do all of it in a single sitting each week because she couldn’t stand to break up the lesson. This has worked really well for her. I take the time to quiz her over the memorization of Facts to Know. She is pretty proud to show off what she has learned.

Each lesson has these same components so there is a simple consistency to the lessons. The Teacher’s Guide is set up exactly the same way with the answers typed into the blanks. It makes it so easy to check the student’s answers and to make sure they know the answers they need. We have found through other Memoria Press items we have reviewed that items such as vocabulary and comprehension question answers need to be learned as the guide has it printed since that is how the exams and tests word the questions.

myths being read

I think Miss L has really enjoyed this because it is a curriculum choice that I don’t have to ask if she has completed. She enjoys it so much that she does it first off each week, with a smile on her face. Here is her review:

The [D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths] book was fascinating. I was intrigued the first time I read it. The second time, too; I just knew what was gong to happen next. I like to look at the picture of them sitting on the 12 thrones of Olympus and try to figure out who is who. The [Memoria Press] workbook was very organized; I like to have things organized. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the [D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths] book but it is a very good study program. I think other kids my age might enjoy it if they like Greek myths.

I have been impressed with all of the Memoria Press products we have reviewed (6th Grade Literature set, Famous Men of Rome, and New American Cursive). This product is no different. The D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths set has been a delight.

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The Review Crew has reviewed not only the Greek Myths book this time but also Traditional Logic I Complete Set  and  Book of Astronomy Set. Click below to read those reviews, as well as addition reviews of the Greek Myths set.

 

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press ReviewCrew Disclaimer

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