Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Moving Beyond The Page {Schoolhouse Review}

Moving Beyond the Page Review

Have you ever found a curriculum that simply blows you away and makes you reconsider everything you've ever used for homeschooling?  For me that curriculum company is Moving Beyond the Page.  Their unit studies are so thorough, so simple to use and yet so much fun!

For this review, we were given access to our choice of products.  Trust me, this was NOT an easy decision to make.  Since we have been studying the Revolutionary War in relation to our Hometown of Georgetown, SC, I choose two units that I thought we best fit to our current lessons.  For our Language Arts Package, I chose Abigail Adams and for our History Package, I chose Revolution.

{Language Arts - Abigail Adams,   History - Revolution}


 

As soon as I saw Moving Beyond the Page listed as one of our vendors, I knew I didn't want to miss out.  I reviewed another set of packaged programs for this company with the Schoolhouse Team last year and we absolutely LOVED it.  I wanted to see if we'd feel the same way this year and I'm happy to say we still LOVE them.

Our Language Arts Package provided us with an online guidebook to use and a physical book to read to learn all about the life of Abigail Adams.  The book we received is Abigail Adams Witness to a Revolution by Natalie S. Bober.  It is filled with information on Mrs. Adams life and the things she saw during this important time in the early beginning of America. 


The online guide for Abigail Adams provides a wonderful lesson plan which is simple to follow.  You simply log into the website and follow the links.  There are activity pages that can be printed out to use with the lessons being learned.  There are also bonus suggestions from others to help you extend your lessons  even farther.  I really enjoy the formatting of the online guide and the extra content that helps to bring the lessons to life.

I must admit though, my children found the book on Mrs. Adams lengthy and slightly boring and so did I since I was reading it to them.  I think this book and lesson package would be better suited for a more structured homeschool setting than ours.  I was able to find readings from various websites and books from the library to help us make our lessons more interesting.  There were some areas where reading the information provided in the book Abigail Adams Witness to a Revolution could not be avoided and we read through and did learn a lot from the reading.

For our History Package, we were sent a physical copy of the Revolution Guidebook, along with the hands-on book Great Colonial America Projects You Can Build Yourself by Kris Bordessa and We Were There, Too!  Young People in US History by Phillip Hoose.  I will admit this package was immediately a favorite of both myself and the kiddos.  Both these books are amazing and they add so much to the lesson itself.



Great Colonial America Projects contains so many interesting facts and super-fun projects to complete!  It includes words to know which can be used for Vocabulary exercises and also for copywork.  It features different persons from the time period throughout the book, providing a better look at those important historical figures and their influence on American History.  This book also gives timeline tidbits would could easily be used to create a physical timeline in your lessons.  There are so many things we learned from this one little book!

We Were There, Too! is a beautiful book itself.  It's a glossy covered, hardback book that is sturdily made.  It reads like a textbook but the stories are so interesting.  They really draw the reader in and the students as well.  Beginning with the discovery of America, this book takes you on a long walk through History.  One that you won't soon forget.

We Were There, Too! also contains new words that can be used for Vocabulary, Spelling, Copywork and more.  Lessons on the specific people who made History happen can be easily expanded upon though the book is pretty thorough in examining these people and is historically accurate in it's information.  This book is a wonderful addition to our lessons and our homeschooling.

The Revolution Guidebook is approximately 168 pages long.  It begins with covering history from the settling of America which did surprise me, as I was expecting it to only cover the actual Revolutionary period and the War itself.  I was thrilled to discover it began with America's settlement and covered some information that we had already been discussing in our homeschooling over the weeks before we began this study.

The guidebooks for both of these packages are written so that the teacher can jump right in and begin right away.  The packages come with the books and some packages come with extra activities that may otherwise be hard to locate so that you can easily begin the study.  These packages are set up as unit studies and as most unit studies do, they cover the information being learned thoroughly both by providing excellent reading selections with the chosen books and by providing a thorough and completely planned guidebook to direct the teacher through the lesson. 

  We used these unit studies together in conjuction as much as possible.  They fit well together, since Abigail Adams was a witness to the Revolution which we were discussing in the Revolution study.  We used these lessons almost daily over the review period and we learned a lot from them.  We also learned a lot about the history of our hometown, and nearby Charleston in the process.  We enjoyed how the lessons brought so much of our home's past to life for us.

The guidebooks provide lessons activities, extensions, suggestions for extra books to read and so much more.  Best yet, they are so so so easy to follow.  We have learned so much with these lesson packages in such a short time because of the simple and easy layout which makes it easy to jump right in and learn.  I'm really considering switching other parts of our learning program to Moving Beyond the Page because of the ease of using the program and it's completeness.

The packaging prices aren't bad either.  The Language Arts Package for Abigail Adams with the Online Guidebook is priced as $26.88 at time of this review.  This includes access to the guidebook online and the physical book Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution.  This package is designed for use with students ages 12-14 or who have a reading level of 8-9th grade.

The History Package for Revolution with a printed copy of the guidebook is $65.93.  It comes with the guidebook in print copy, a copy of Great Colonial American Projects You Can Build Yourself and We Were There, Too!: Young People in US History.  This package is designed for use with students age 12-14 or who have a reading level of 8-9th grade.

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