Thursday, June 27, 2013

Moving Beyond the Page {Schoolhouse Review Crew}

Unit studies; theme studies; project-based learning has always been the main part of our home education. My children are predominately hands-on learners. We also prefer literature-based learning.

We've spent the past few weeks using a couple of units from Moving Beyond the Page. Little Bit chose Tornado, a Language Arts unit. Botanist Boy received the Tales from the Middle Ages Language Arts unit.
What is Moving Beyond the Page? It is a complete homeschool, literature-based curriculum, which encourages critical, creative thinking, and supports different learning styles. Challenging and engaging projects are provided. This approach is especially beneficial for hands-on, creative, and gifted learners.

You can purchase physical packages, or online packages. The online portion is the teacher's portion, as well as the students' pages in PDF, which can be printed off. We had one of each option: Tornado was online, and the Middle Ages was a physical package.

Jen has a little book called, Tornado, which she's had for a number of years now. Little Bit likes getting that book, and uses if for "copywork." He will copy page after page from it. Well, he'd never actually read it (nor had it read to him), so when I saw it was one of our possible choices for this review, we just had to choose it! Even though he will be 11 (tomorrow!!), his developmental and learning delays have him more within the 7-9 age range (or grades 2 or 3) recommended for this study. We used the online version.

(I like that the projects are crossed off as they are completed!)

In addition to the online access to the online unit, we were sent physical copies of the book, Tornado, and a go along book, How the Turtle Got Its Shell, which tells some of the myths of how the turtle got its shell (Alert: this book mentions the world being "billions of years" old).

Tornado is really two stories in one: The family seeks refuge in the cellar during a tornado, and while they are in there, Pete (who seems to be the farmhand) tells of a dog he had has a boy, named Tornado. Naturally, we talked some about weather, and tornadoes in particular.

For this, we pulled out a couple of Tim's extreme weather books (since he has always been interested in extreme weather and natural disasters, he has a collection of books and videos on the topic!).

Each day we read from the book, Tornado, then we would do the accompanying activities, like writing a summary of the chapter, and illustrating it, answering comprehension questions, and one or two other activities. There are also spelling and vocabulary activities.
Each day we discussed what environment is, and how environment affects animals and humans.
We also learned about things like plot, story setting, sequence, and resolution. I printed off the student pages, and assisted Little Bit in filling them in.

I'm not sure how much all of this "stuck" with Little Bit, but I know he was thrilled to finally have the book, Tornado, read to him! LOL

Botanist Boy has long had a strong interest in castles and knights and all things Medieval (check out the castle he made awhile back), so we chose this Language Arts unit for him to work on, which he did mostly independently. (Later, I plan to go through it orally with Little Bit)

We received the physical package for this one, which included spiral bound book. The front portion is the student worktext, while the teacher's notes are at the rear of the book. This unit is recommended for grades 6-8.

Along with the worktext, we received The Midwife's Apprentice, and Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! He was free to refer to our copy of the DK Medieval Life book, as well, if he wished.

The Midwife's Apprentice is a story about a young girl who is given the opportunity to assist a midwife, and is, of course, set in the Middle Ages, possibly in England.

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village illustrates a typical manor in England in the year 1255. It portrays various figures associated with such a manor, and is written mostly in poetry form.

Each day, Botanist Boy read from one book or the other, then worked on various activities, such as filling in charts, venn diagrams, crossword puzzles, etc. He was also given website suggestions, to look for recipes to prepare a meal from the time period.
One of the suggested projects
He enjoyed reading the books, but wasn't that thrilled about doing the written work. (If he's going to spend time and energy writing, he'd rather spend it writing his own "book," it seems. <big sigh>).

Topics covered include different points of view, differentiating between active and passive voice, using simple, compound and complex sentences, etc.

Purchasing options include either buying the whole package (which includes the student/teacher worktext, and the books needed to go along with the study), either the physical package, or online package. Or you can purchase just the student/teacher book, and pick up the books at the library, or perhaps you already have them on hand.

If you plan to use it with more than one student at one time, you will either need to have a worktext for each child, or if you choose the online version, you can print off copies of the worksheets for each child.

Each unit takes around 3-4 weeks to complete. You are given 90 days access to the online unit, once you activate that unit. But you can request an extension if necessary.

You will want to be sure to check out the rest of the Crew's reviews, because there were many choices.

Cost: Tornado, complete physical package costs $24.97; online costs $20.91. Just the worktext, physical copy, $16.99; the online copy, $12.93. The Tales from the Middle Ages physical package costs $30.97; online costs $26.91. The physical worktext costs $16.99, while the online version is $12.93.

Contact Information:
Moving Beyond the Page
3413 Settlement Dr
College Station, TX 77845
Phone: 919-351-9687



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