Monday, July 1, 2013

Moving Beyond The Page {Review}

When I signed up to review Moving Beyond the Page, I thought it was just going to be the usual, boring old kind of curriculum where the student reads the book and completes the worksheets involved.  I had no idea that Moving Beyond the Page was going to be so awesome, so amazing, so wonderful!  From the moment, you open the box the package arrives in, the excitement begins and does not stop.

Our curriculum package arrived in the average cardboard box, once again leading me to believe it was nothing more than a box of books.  But upon opening the box, my opinion quickly changed.  Inside the box was everything needed to learn about the subjects we had chosen to learn, except for common items like pencils and paper.

The package I chose to review from Moving Beyond the Page was something we could easily relate to our hometown in Georgetown, SC and our family interests.  I chose to do a Literature and Science/History combination, choosing American Tall Tales and Legends for our Literature portion and Colonization and Revolution for our Science/History portion.  

American Tall Tales and Legends interested me because these were my personal favorites to learn about when I was a child, as well as Josh's.  It is often something we find ourselves discussing and I had been looking for a way to introduce more of these wonderful stories and legends to our children in our homeschooling lessons.  As usual, God provided a way to make this happen through our Moving Beyond the Page review.

I've also been looking for ways to get my children involved more in our local history.  There's no better way then to take them straight back to the foundation of our town, by teaching them more about how our area was colonized and the Revolutionary War that led to our nations founding.  Being able to take these ideas even further by showing them things that relate to our readings makes it even better.

Back to our curriculum package.  Upon opening our box, I discovered our Colonization and Revolution lesson book.  This spiral bound book contains everything needed to complete the Science/History portion of our program.  The box also contained the books we needed to read to learn more about our lessons.  The New Americans: Colonial Times 1620-1689, The American Revolution for Kids: A History with 21 Activities and You Wouldn't Want To Be An American Colonist!: A Settlement You'd Rather Not Start were all included to use with our Colonization and Revolution study.

Our lesson book for American Tall Tales and Legends was available for use online through the Moving Beyond the Page website.  This program allowed me to read through the guidebook straight from the website and print copies of the activity pages needed to complete our lessons.  This was wonderful since it allowed me to print copies of lesson activities for each child, as needed.  In the box for this part of our lessons, I received an American Tall Tales reader and Cut From The Same Cloth: American Women of Myth, Legend, and Tall Tale.  Both these books came together to provide the wonderful stories needed to teach my children about the legends and tales of the United States.

One additional item came in the box for use with our curriculum.  A kit to create our own dream catcher was provided as an activity to be used with our Moving Beyond the Page American Tall Tales and Legends package.  This was a fun addition to the program and something that the kids really enjoyed creating.

The online version of our American Tall Tales and Legends lesson book was a bit different than our printed version of our Colonization and Revolution lesson book.  The printed version laid out how to use our Moving Beyond the Page lessons in the front of our book, then provided a list of required books and materials for the unit study by lesson.  This made getting everything together very easy.

Following the materials list is a list of vocabulary taught throughout the unit, listing words and definitions for each new vocabulary word.  A Unit Review sheet follows the vocabulary list, allowing for a look ahead at each lesson taught through the unit.

Lessons themselves are broken down, beginning with a Getting Started section that shares stuff you will need for the lesson, ideas to keep in mind during the lessons and things to know about the lessons.  A list of questions for the lesson is provided next, followed by lesson activities to complete.  Activities are simple but thorough and get the child thinking about things they have learned, allowing them to absorb the lessons, not just hear them.  

Each lesson in a unit builds in preparing the student for a final project to be completed at the end of the unit study.  The students are asked to complete five of the eight final project suggestions for the study but could do more or less depending upon your schedule.  Some of the projects will require assistance and supervision from the parent to complete.

Much like the print lesson book for Colonization and Revolution, the online lesson book for American Tall Tales and Legends provides an intro to the lesson, complete with lists of materials needed for each lesson.  This is followed with the activities for each lesson, which are to be completed by the student.  Rounding out the end of the lesson is a conclusion that provides additional activities for student completion, like reviewing stories and vocabulary discussed in the section and the sections of the region being discussed at the time.  Just like the print addition, the end of the unit wraps up with a final project for the student to complete.

A nice addition of the online lesson book is that there is an Idea Share section that allows users to go in and add their personal ideas for the unit.  This allows others to share things that have worked for them in aiding to provide projects to make students break free from paper learning and expand to projects in relation to the lessons being learned.  Each lesson has one of these sections to provide additional ideas for activities.

These units are amazingly thorough and so well prepared.  It did not take a lot of work on my part to put them together and the company does provide everything possibly needed for studying the units, included the necessary books for completion.  The only I did not receive for my units was the Timeline of American History but this was not something that I had to have for my unit though it would be a great addition if I were to purchase a full curriculum package from Moving Beyond the Page.

Moving Beyond the Page provides unit studies in full year curriculum packages or in various individual units to study, like was provided for our Schoolhouse Reviews.  They provide studies to be used with children beginning with ages 4-5 up through ages 12-14.  Individual units can be mixed and matched to meet interests and needs of the child.  Individual units do include suggestions for unit matches in the description.  The two units I chose for review were not a suggested match but they worked well together for our needs.

Moving Beyond the Page's American Tall Tales and Legends Literature Unit is available in print form or as an online version.  It is written to be used with students ages 9-11 and is Relationships: Unit 3 of the full curriculum package for this age group.  Books needed to complete this unit are included in the unit package.  The print version of this package costs $33.47 while the online version costs $29.41.  Once again, this includes all books needed to complete the study.

Moving Beyond the Page's Colonization and Revolution Science/History study is also available in print or an online version.  It, too, is written to be used with students 9-11 and is Discovery and Survival: Unit 1 of the full curriculum package for this age group.  The print version of this unit costs $51.88 and the online version costs $47.82.  The price of this unit also includes all necessary books to complete the study.

This was a review that my children and I truly loved.  We will be purchasing more Moving Beyond the Page curriculum very soon and look forward to learning more from this company.  


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