We always enjoy receiving materials to review that are research and project based, as these are easy to integrate into our homeschool. Moving Beyond the Page provides a variety of curriculum based on these educational strategies. We reviewed the study guide for The Giver, as well as a unit on Geography and Landforms.
When looking at a curriculum site, sometimes it is difficult to figure out which age/grade level would work best for your child. Moving Beyond the Page takes the guesswork out of choosing curriculum, with prerequisites clearly outlined and sample pages for parents to use as guidelines. Both units we reviewed are for ages 10-12 who can read on a 6th-7th grade level, and are able to write a short essay.
Moving Beyond the Page offers individual units, complete curriculum packages, physical products, and downloads. I tend to prefer downloads, which allow me some flexibility as to how I use the product, choosing what to print and when. Sometimes I print as we go, other times I will print the entire workbook, use a 3-hole punch, and insert into a binder. With The Giver, I wasn’t sure what our pace would be, so every Saturday I viewed the lesson plans online, and printed the Reading and Questions pages I thought we would need for the following week. The materials list provided was helpful in making sure we had what we needed to use the Student Activity Pages. I then printed a few Spelling worksheets for Kenny to keep track of unfamiliar words, and the Vocabulary List of challenging words we would encounter in this unit.
I can tell that reading time is a favorite part of school for Kenny, because he grabs the book, runs and jumps over the back of the couch, and settles in quickly for story (and snuggle) time. He loves the story of The Giver, which creates an extraordinary world devoid of chaos and pain, but then through the young life of the protagonist Jonas, asks questions about whether this world is actually preferable.
We started out reading one chapter a day of The Giver, then on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we used the study guide pages to review parts of the story such as plot points, theme, and symbolism. Kenny practiced his writing and composition skills by answering questions in complete sentence form, as well as short essays.
We very quickly went from reading one chapter a day to two or three. We had to step up the pace a little with the study guide, but the questions were interesting and Kenny enjoyed being able to think through the implications of the messages in the story. The activity pages included charts, notebooking pages, and rubrics that worked great for my visually-based learner.
Other helps that were included:
- Summary of Skills
- How to Use Moving Beyond the Page
- Review Sheet
- Handy Guide to Writing and Grammar
History and Geography are currently receiving some intensive focus in our homeschool. Sometimes kids realize that they really do want to know this stuff, and when they indicate that they’d like to dive in deeper, I never protest, even if that means we set something else aside for awhile. MBTP‘s Geography and Landforms fit right in to our studies. Included in this package were The Geography Book: Activities for Exploring, Mapping, and Enjoying Your World by Caroline Arnold, Geography of the World: The Essential Family Guide to Geography and Culture by Jayne Parsons, and the MBTP Geography and Landforms unit, which I received as a 200-page spiral bound workbook with a sturdy, glossy cover.
The workbook provided instructions for how to use the course, a list of required materials, a project rubric, notebooking pages, tests, and an answer key. One of the best characteristics of unit study guides is their flexibility. Geography and Landforms could be used as a comprehensive curriculum, incorporating science and language arts into the program. It can also be used as a stand-alone Geography curriculum.
We read the suggested selections from Geography of the World and The Geography Book, answered questions in the workbook, then chose which activities and games we wanted to use to reinforce the topics and vocabulary. Kenny is fascinated by geography right now, and inhales pretty much everything we do with this unit. The only thing that stops him is his growling stomach at lunch time.
The workbook covers these topics:
Lesson 1: What is Geography?
Lesson 2: Maps of All Kinds
Lesson 3: Landforms
Lesson 4: Representing Landforms on Maps
Lesson 5: Human Geography
Lesson 6: Interacting with the Land
Lesson 7: Water Everywhere
Lesson 8: The Geography of South America
Lesson 9: The Geography of North America
Final Project: Local Geography Book
I found the unit to be engaging, comprehensive, and flexible. It works for parents who want step-by-step instruction, or those who like to pick-and-choose.
Curriculum from Moving Beyond the Page is available as individual units or complete packages, printed hard copies or online.
- The Giver is $23.98 for the hard copy study guide, and $19.92 for online access and downloads.
- Geography and Landforms is $51.93 for the printed study guide, and $47.87 for the online version.