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Jun 30

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Moving Beyond the Page – A Schoolhouse Crew Review

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Today I would like to share with you a great new curriculum that I had the chance to review for the TOS Review Crew. We were sent a language arts unit, A House of Tailors and a social studies unit, The 50 States from Moving Beyond the Page.  I used this curriculum with my 10-year-old son Drew.

About the Company: The material in Moving Beyond the Page is authored by a team of 4 homeschool moms who have extensive backgrounds in the field of education. You can read more about them here. The philosophy behind Moving Beyond the Page is focused on not just sitting down to read a textbook, but expanding your knowledge beyond the pages of the book to form new ideas. The focus is on active learning. Students are encouraged to experiment, reflect, discuss and interact with literature, social studies and science.

About the Products:

Language Arts Unit, A House of Tailors  – geared for ages 9-11 or roughly 4th to 5th grade.

Price
$18.43/online
$22.49/physical materials
A House of Tailors-MBTP
We received the online materials, which includes the physical book, A House of Tailors by Patricia Reilly Giff, access to online instructions and printable student worksheets with teacher’s notes for 95 days from the date of unit activation.

Tailors

 This unit is focused on developing the student’s use of commas in writing. There are also many other language arts topics covered including things such as character analysis, reading comprehension, developing communication skills and increasing vocabulary. There are eleven lessons developed to be completed over the course of fourteen school days. The A House of Tailors unit was designed to be completed in conjunction with the social studies unit, Immigration, but can be completed as an individual unit or with other units in the same age range. The student has daily reading assignments from the book and then is assigned worksheets and projects to help him explore the literature in a creative way.
Social Studies Unit, The 50 States – geared for ages 9-11 or roughly 4th to 5th grade.
Price
$56.58/physical materials
$52.52 /online
50 States-MBTP Kids Love AmerSculpey
Scrambled States
We received the physical materials for this kit. The items included are shown above.
  • The 50 States workbook with instructions and student worksheets, maps, etc.(shown in picture above left) You can view some samples from this material here.
  • Original Sculpey – Terra Cotta (1.75lb)
  • Kids Learn America! by Patricia Gordon and Reed C. Snow
  • The Scrambled States of America Card Game

This unit focuses on exploring the geography and uniqueness of our 50 states of America. Relationships between Americans and the regions in which they live are explored. The Kids Learn America book gives lots of great facts and interesting information about our states. It is broken down into regions, making the information easier to assimilate. The 50 States workbook gives instructions with checklists for assignments as well as student activity pages to complete. These worksheets and projects help the student interact with the material on a deeper level than just sitting down and reading through the books. The Sculpey clay is included for a project involving making your own pottery when you study about the American west. The Scrambled States Game is a fun and exciting way to learn the state names, nicknames, state shape and geographic position on the US map. This unit is designed to be used in conjunction with the unit entitled, Poetry, however, it can be used alone as well.

How we used these products in our homeschool:

DSCN3264 As soon as the box of materials arrived, my kids quickly reached for the Scrambled States of America game included in the 50 States social studies unit. We found the directions easy and the game fast-paced and easy to follow. Even my 7-year-old was able to participate. This game was highly motivating for my 10-year-old and after just a few rounds of the game, he began to study a states placemat we keep on the table in the kitchen. (See photo below) He was hoping to memorize the states location on the map, so he would have a better chance at beating Dad at the game. I love this kind of healthy competition. Within just a couple of weeks, he had memorized all 50 states and could point out their location on a map. Now Mom and younger brother are working on this challenge as well. To play the game, this memorization is not required, but it is seems to have motivated us to be better acquainted with our United States geography. The social studies unit took us about one and a half hours to complete per lesson. We found the reading very interesting, but the worksheets regarding state regions were a little tedious because they were very similar and required you to research such topics as climate, natural resources, landforms, bodies of water, etc.

 

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DSCN3269

 

These same questions were repeated for each of the six regions. We were working on this during our summer break, so I think my son was less receptive to the workload than he would have been had it been during the regular school year when he is used to sitting down and schooling for hours at a time. We enjoyed the map worksheets thoroughly. Here is an example of one of the maps we completed.

 

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We enjoyed starting a United States quarter collection as part of this study and I am planning to find a way for my son to display them this fall as we attempt to  complete the collection. He will enjoy continuing to draw the images found on the quarters in the workbook on the activity pages.

 

The House of Tailors language arts unit was an excellent introduction to the diverse nationalities of New York City and early American immigration issues. We enjoyed following Dinah through her journey to New York City from Germany. The reading comprehension questions were thought provoking and the culmination of the unit was writing two poems about New York today and New York in the early 1800’s. We enjoy poetry and my son has been writing some of his own poems the last several months, so this was a good fit for us. I didn’t really have any complaints about the language arts unit. We felt the grammar instruction was great and we learned more about how to use commas in our writing.

My Opinion of these products:

We used these units as supplements and if you stretched them out and just completed a couple of lessons a week, they would be a nice complement to other studies. We had recently studied early American history, so I chose the two units above based on things we will be studying in the fall. I basically used them as an introduction to our upcoming study of the second half of American history and geography. If you were using the Moving Beyond the Page full curriculum, I think the workload and amount of time involved would be just about right for most homeschoolers. I liked that everything was planned out for me with supply lists, checklists and it was in a format that my son could follow with minimal direction from me. I thought the literature selections and reference texts were great choices. The books were engaging and fun to read. We will reference the Kids Learn America book in the future and I am sure that we will read A House of Tailors again. My only con to these units was the abundance of worksheets. I felt like it was a little overkill at the pace we were doing them. This could easily be remedied by spreading out the lessons over a greater length of time.

Drew’s Opinion of these products:
I enjoyed the book, A House of Tailors. I learned more about the history of New York and how difficult the lives of immigrants were. They faced many challenges and hardships. I liked learning about the 50 states. I found the information about each state interesting. I learned to recognize the states by their shape and LOVED playing the Scrambled States of America game. We will continue to enjoy this game as a family.
My colleagues are reviewing many other units from Beyond the Page. Click the graphic below to read more.

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Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2013/06/30/moving-beyond-the-page-a-schoolhouse-crew-review/

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