I would definitely classify this year as our "Year of the Book." We've been more intentional than ever to read, Read, READ this school year. From read-alouds to individual reading time we've covered some great literature and that's led to some great family discussions. We've laughed together and cried together as we've traveled to far-off places through the pages of carefully crafted books. We've learned about all different types of people and we've visited past, present and future time periods. Although I've always loved to read, I think I had somehow failed to share that love with my children -- until now! More often than not, I now find books in their hands during down time . . . and I like that A LOT!
In an effort to make sure that my kids are actually "getting" what they're reading, we've been using Study Guides to dig a little deeper into the books they're reading. Progeny Press (a homeschooling family-owned business) offers over 100 Study Guides for Kindergarten - High School literature selections. These Study Guides "concentrate on critical thinking, comprehension, literary analysis, and Christian application."
The goal of Progeny Press "is to teach children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!" As a homeschooling mom who only wants the very best for her children, how could I go wrong with Progeny Press?
The two Study Guides that we've been using are The Cay and Julius Caesar. Here's how they worked for us:
My Sophomore has been working through a 1/2 credit course in British Literature and my Senior has been working on a 1/2 credit course on Shakespeare so Julius Caesar worked perfectly for them both. The 72-page Julius Caesar Study Guide begins with an Overview for the Instructor (that's me!), a Special Note on Shakespeare's plays and a complete Synopsis. The Background Information gave a brief history lesson about Julius Caesar and prepared the student for reading. Pre-reading suggestions included watching a live or videotaped performance of Julius Caesar and recommended starting a notebook of favorite phrases as you read the play. Perfect suggestions for my girls -- they'd just made new notebooks and were trying to decide how to use them. Broken down into the Acts of the play, the Julius Caesar Study Guide was a great companion to my daughter's studies. The vocabulary review was most helpful and the questions forced them to read to understand. The 14-page Answer Key made it easy to check their knowledge base as they read.
We've filled this year with literary fun and adventure for the Boy Scout and the Princess, so The Cay was a perfect read-aloud choice for them. My grandfather was a Port Engineer for a tugboat company in New Orleans, LA and he shared his love of boats with all of us. My son has quite a few boating treasures in his room including a ship's bell and compass and he is fascinated with World War II. The 66-page Study Guide for The Cay suggested pre-reading activities that made our reading time come to life. The Boy Scout chose to make a timeline that included all major battles of World War II and the Princess decided to draw a Dutch Freighter.
After completing these pre-reading activities, we followed the Study Guide suggestions for reading 2 - 3 chapters at a time and then spending time answering questions and studying vocabulary words from each chapter. I especially liked how Bible verses and passages were included in the Study Guide for us to talk about in the context of the story. We completed our study of The Cay with a word study on wisdom and by illustrating our favorite scenes from the book.
Written from a Christian worldview, Progeny Press Study Guides use the Bible as THE STANDARD for learning. I am 100% in agreement with this and can whole-heartedly recommend Progeny Press for use within your family. As parents, we want to point our children towards JESUS in every step they take. The MainMost and I pray that our kids learn to think on their own and make life decisions in light of GOD's WORD.
You can take a look at the sample interactive Study Guide and get a feel for what we've been using to enhance our literature studies. Progeny Press Study Guides range in price from $10.99 to $23.99 (and most books can be purchased to accompany the study guides for $4.99). The full-color catalog offers summaries and descriptions to help you make the perfect choice for your family. You can purchase Study Guides in three different formats: Booklet, CD or Email pdf. You can also purchase the entire set if that will best meet the needs of your family. With so very many study guides to choose from, I know our reading fun is just beginning!
~~I was given the opportunity to use and review The Cay and Julius Caesar by Progeny Press as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The opinions stated are mine and mine alone. I was not paid to share my thoughts and feelings with you. You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew thought of Progeny Press HERE.~~
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