Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Moving Beyond the Page (Schoolhouse Review)

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Moving Beyond the Page is a complete (except for math) homeschool curriculum that covers science,  social studies, and language arts using literature and hands-on activities. Each age level is divided into 3-4 week units and the units in each subject area correlate with each other.  For example, 8-10 year olds study magnetism and electricity  in science while they are doing a literature study of Ben and Me.

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Moving Beyond the Page can be purchased as a full-year or semester curriculum or units may be purchased individually as supplements. Each unit includes the manual (either print or online) and an assortment of books and supplies. Currently, curricula is available for grades K-8.

The program is designed to support different learning styles and to encourage critical thinking.

We reviewed 2 books from the 11-13 age level. I love literature-based learning and I also try to integrate school subjects as much as possible, so I was excited to try out these units. They fit perfectly into the time period (Renaissance) that we have been studying too!

Newton at the Center ($40.88 online or $44.94 print, including all necessary books) teaches language arts lessons using  Newton at the Center, a text about the history of science by Joy Hakim. The unit focuses on grammar skills and teaches the process of diagraming sentences. It also focuses on the characteristics of informative works, such as chapter headings, bolded words, index, table of contents, and sidebars.  Activities requiring essay writing and giving oral summaries are also included. Because this text is 450 pages long, only portions of it are used for this study. (Newton at the Center is also required for two other Moving Beyond the Page units, though.)

The Technological Design science unit ($27.88 online or $31.94 print, including the necessary books and supplies) uses the book, Leonardo da Vinci: Inventions You Can Build Yourself to teach about the development of technology over the years. In addition to answering daily comprehension questions, Emily did activities such as drawing using perspective, writing directions to draw an ellipse for another person  to follow, analyzing the technological design and building models of several of Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions, and analyzing the design of modern inventions. The final projects have the student designing and building inventions of their own.

The social studies unit that correlates with the above units is on Elizabethan Europe. After starting with the 2 units I received for review, I ordered this one too! That tells you how much I liked what we have done this far! We’ll start this unit in the fall.

Our Thoughts:

One thing I liked about these units is that they filled in some “gaps” or areas that we haven’t covered. Technology is a subject that we haven’t (and probably wouldn’t have) covered as a focus of study. Practicing note-taking and highlighting, then giving oral or written summaries were good practice for Emily that will improve her study skills in other subjects. Diagramming sentences was also a new skill—one that Emily picked up on quickly.

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Point of view and diagraming exercises

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Analyzing technological design

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Testing da Vinci’s parachute!

I was very impressed with how well designed the daily plans are. No day is alike; the assignments vary quite a bit from day to day—from answering questions to worksheets to internet research to hands-on creative tasks. . Many times, the student is given a choice of two activities. Emily appreciated being able to choose the task that appealed to her more. This level was formatted for the student to use independently, but there are discussion topics for the parent and child to talk about together at the end of the session to review the day

We found the daily work to take more time than expected—often over three hours  for the two units. I think it would have been very difficult for Emily to have worked on all three coordinating units simultaneously as designed. We’re actually stretching these units out to five or six weeks long instead of the recommended three or four weeks (in part due to vacations and other summer plans that kept us from doing full school days this month.) We did use some of the later units in the 11-13 age level, so it is possible that the earlier units are not quite as intensive. I also didn’t think there was enough practice on diagramming sentences—typically just 2 sentences were assigned to practice each concept. We added a few more of our own.

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Classifying types of technology

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Research

We used the online guide for Newton at the Center, and the printed guide for Technology. Both were equally easy to use. I had a slight preference for the printed guide because it’s easier to thumb through to get an overview of what’s coming next. There were many worksheets and charts incorporated into the book, making it a consumable resource. The worksheets from the online guide are printable, but the rest of the guide must be used on the computer.

Emily really enjoyed using Moving Beyond the Page and learned a lot. I felt that it was quite challenging for her and stretched her in new directions. I’m very happy to have discovered this great curriculum!

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I received this product free in exchange for my honest review.

1 comment:

  1. I'm happy to have been able to use this curriculum as well!! Stopping by from the crew! Great review!!
    ~ heather v.
    www.thriftymomspot.com

    ReplyDelete