Posted in Home School Review Crew Posts, Language Arts, Literature

A Review of Progeny Press and their Shadow Spinner Study Guide Grades 5-8 &Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide Grades 9-12

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Progeny Press makes earning High School Literature credits easy with high school level study guides such as  Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide and to complete Middle School Language Arts studies with Shadow Spinner Study Guide this time to review. With two students currently in high school, finding quality language arts materials is important to me.  Progeny Press makes finding literature studies simple.  Now I need to state upfront, I ordered the Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide for my children.  However, I ordered the Shadow Spinner Study Guide for myself.

For the purpose of this review, our family received the interactive study guide for both books along with the answer keys for each.  These products were digital downloads that were easily retrieved from Progeny Press.  We did have to buy the actual literature selections ourselves. The e-book pdf has fillable fields so your student can work on a computer from grades 4 and up.   These guides can be reproduced and used with multiple students whether in the home or in a co-op.

According to its website, Progeny Press’ mission is:
“To teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!”  With our family’s Christian values, this mission statement meets exactly what I am looking for in Literature and the English curriculum for our children.

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Because our children are in high school, I want literature plans that include comprehension questions, critical thinking skills analysis, literary techniques as well as vocabulary.  The study guides from Progeny Press meet all those requirements.

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One of the factors that make this company and its Study Guides rank high on my list for literature is the study guides are interactive.  This means I avoid having to print out tons of paper and using a ton of ink.  My children have the ability to answer the questions right on the computer.  Witha quick click of my mouse, I was able to download the Study Guide as well as the separate Answer Key.  The directions state that the answer key should only be downloaded on the teacher’s computer.  Because my children are in high school, I would have no problem with them having the answer key on their own computers.

Our family has always been fans of a television series that had one of the lead characters to portray the role of Sherlock Holmes.  So our teenagers were excited about studying this work.  The guide includes biographical information about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, activities to complete before reading, vocabulary words, literary techniques, moral lessons and character values along with other activities and writing assignments as well as Biblical lessons.

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My children found the exercises to be what they expected to have to complete for a literature course.  I appreciated how a comprehensive list of materials for further reading as well as the movie suggests was provided.  All in all my teenagers were satisfied with this guide.

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The answer key includes all the correct responses for questions that do not require the student to form their own opinion.  So for the middle school guide, students are required to read a sentence and then form their own idea of what the definition of the selected word is before looking it up in a dictionary and writing that definition down.

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Now I personally have watched a television program that mentioned Sharazad, but while in school I never read anything related to Arabian Nights.  So I picked this one for myself.  Even as an adult, I believe no one is too old to continue learning and discovering new information for themselves. The activities in this interactive study guide were similar to the ones in Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide, but at a level that was appropriate for middle school students.  Again, the guide included vocabulary assignments, critical thinking assignments, as well as questions to make the students think.

You can find Progeny Press on social media at the following links:

Facebook: facebook.com/progenypress
Twitter: twitter.com/progenypress
Pinterest: pinterest.com/progenypress

All of the unit lessons are written from a Christian perspective which matters to our family.  So if you are looking for quality literature studies from a Christian perspective, check out Progeny Press and their Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide for High School students and to complete the Shadow Spinner Study Guide for middle school students.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing these guides as well as The Long Way to a New Land Study Guide Grades K-3 and Little House on the Prairie Study Guide Grades 4-6.  So click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews of Progeny Press.

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Posted in Composition and Writing, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Language Arts

Review of Hewitt Homeschooling Resources’ Lightning Literature & Composition – British Christian Authors 19th-20th Century

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I loved using Lightning Lit from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources with our second son before, so I was excited to have the opportunity to review British Christian Gr 11-12  with our 16-year-old daughter.  This program provides a great opportunity for our daughter to develop both her composition skills and her literary skills at the same time.  For this review, we received the student guide and the teacher guide.  However, the program also requires the purchase of four additional unabridged copies of The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis, Why Does God Allow War? by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton, and Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers.  Even though our daughter is in the 10th grade, she felt confident about her ability to complete the coursework.

Hewitt Homeschooling, since 1983, has functioned as proponents of homeschooling.  According to their website, “. Our emphasis includes combining excellent academics with character development, instilling the work ethic, and developing a spirit of community service in the next generation. With a current client base of over 30,000, Hewitt’s operation is currently divided into three sectors: services, testing, and products. Operating out of our facility in Washougal, Washington, we serve parents with students from kindergarten age through high-school.”

Lightning Literature at the high school level is meant to be covered over 18 weeks, however, we used a year-long pace since we were nearing the start of our summertime school schedule when this review started.  Both a semester-long and a year-long schedule are provided so families can use the one that best suits their needs.

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Students read, answer comprehension questions, complete literary lessons, writing exercises, along with reading articles which are sprinkled throughout the course that touch on late 19th through early 20th century British Christian Literature.  The four units, covering one of the four books, includes an introduction for the students to read, information about the selection, and information for while the student is reading.  Our daughter found these sections to be extremely useful.

Students are supposed to develop a vocabulary notebook and reading journal during the course.  For our purposes, instead of requiring our daughter to write everything out, we allowed her to complete the questions, vocabulary and reading journal on the computer using a word processing program.  I also permitted her to answer some of the questions orally to me rather than typing out her answers.

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The Student guide contains all the material the student needs to complete the course including an Introduction which discusses suggestions for reading and writing including brainstorming, outlining, revisions and citing research.  Suggestions for how to use the student guide are included along with Appendices that provide suggestions for Discussion Questions and Project Suggestions, additional reading suggestions, and schedules.  Plus there are suggestions for activities to enhance the student’s experience including developing a Vocabulary Notebook, a Reading Journal, Biographies and more.

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For each unit, there is an Introduction, Comprehension Questions, a Literary lesson – which for the first unit on C.S. Lewis is Writing a Five-paragraph essay.  Our daughter is working on narrowing her topic for her first essay on a hobby.  She is trying to decide between art and music.  We will see what she decides.  She plans on doing the brainstorming and outline for this first essay at the beginning of next week.

All of the Units follow the same basic pattern.  I look forward to reading and learning with our daughter throughout the remainder of the course.  She found the Student Guide easy to follow and easy to utilize.  For the Comprehension Questions, she found most of them straight forward, however a few required deeper thought and attention in order to answer.

 

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The Teacher Guide includes information about the Student Guide, the answers to the Comprehension Questions, Suggested Schedules for either a Semester Schedule or a Yearly Schedule, Writing Exercises, Discussion Questions, as well as project suggestions.  As one of our daughter’s projects, we decided she would memorize 1 Corinthians 13.  Our goal is to have her do a Bible Study with her father on fasting, but his schedule has not permitted that yet.

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You can find Hewitt Homeschooling Resources on Social Media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hewitthomeschooling
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hewittonline
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hewittonline/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/HewittOnline
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hewittonline/

If you would like to read our earlier review of Shakespeare Tragedies, click here.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing various products from Hewitt Homeschooling Resources this week, click here or on the graphic below to read additional reviews of this product along with other products for various grade levels.

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Posted in Critical Thinking Skills and Logic, Home School Review Crew Posts, Language Arts

Review of The Critical Thinking Co.’s Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT – SAT Book 1

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The Critical Thinking Co. makes studying vocabulary to get ready for the SAT and PSAT a breeze with Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 (Grades 8-12+).  This workbook contains 20 vocabulary lists along with 5 review lists.   The Critical Thinking Co. has provided our family with material to help our children develop Critical Thinking, Language Arts, Thinking Skills, Math and more through the years.  So I was confident this book would be useful for our 17-year-old son.  I want to ensure he has the best resources to help him prepare for getting into college and that includes preparing for the SAT and PSAT.

The Critical Thinking Co. provides resources for everything from Critical Thinking Skills to math to vocabulary to writing skills and more.  Their website states on their “About Us” page, “Since 1958, our award-winning products have helped students of all abilities achieve better academic results with highly effective lessons that sharpen the mind as they teach standards-based reading, writing, mathematics, science, and history.”  These products are guaranteed to produce better grade and increase test scores while being fun and easy to use.

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Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 (Grades 8-12+) is a 208-page book will increase vocabulary while stimulating your student’s imagination.  Each lesson teaches PSAT and/or SAT vocabulary words using definitions, pronunciation keys, parts of speech using several different activities including a story that involves students in a classroom.  Students complete exercises requiring critical reading and thinking skills designed to help expand their vocabulary. Correct spelling is emphasized with an activity that requires them to unscramble the word before writing the correct spelling.

Designed for the classroom, homeschool use, or even independent study, Vocabulary Virtuoso is a highly effective and fun vocabulary resource!  Our 18-year-old son found the activities to be age appropriate and for the most part enjoyable.  His favorite part was the puzzles because he loves working on any type of puzzles he can get his hands on at any time.

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Students complete 4 lessons followed by a review lesson.  Our family elected to complete a word list a week.  Each list includes the list of words for the week along with their definitions and sample sentences along with 6 parts to complete.  For Part A, our son had to pick the best word from the list provided on the page that best completed each sentence.  Then in Part B, he again had to pick the best word from the box provided to complete each sentence.  In Part C, he had to choose the best word from the block of words provided to complete the sentences in a story.  In Part D, he was given a sentence that he then had to unscramble letters and spell the word correctly that best complete each sentence.  For Part E, he had to write the best word from the box provided that was a synonym for the word provided.  Then in Part F, he was given the start of various sentences containing words from the week that he then completed based on his knowledge of the word’s meaning.

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We elected for him to complete Parts A – D on their own days and then complete Parts E and F on the final day of the week.  This system seemed to work well for our son.  Then for the weeks containing the Reviews, he had to complete three sections.  The first was a crossword puzzle, the second multiple choice questions and the final section was taking fictional book titles and selecting the best word to describe each book.

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The workbook contains both the worksheets as well as the answers.  I love how everything is self-contained. It means we do not have to worry about papers being scattered all over the place. Also, it makes it easy to just pick up the book and take it wherever we happen to be going on a given day.

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The lessons begin with a list of words and the definitions for them.  This feature made it faster to complete the assignments since our son did not have to refer to actual materials.  Another thing I liked about this workbook is that it requires students to learn the definition of a word, but then they had to use other forms of the word, which helps reinforce what they are learning.  Also, I appreciate that the assignments for every list are laid out the same.  Students know exactly what will be expected of them from week to week.

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We loved the variety of words included in each lesson. As I looked through the book, I found words that I was not sure of the meaning. So I can see this book benefiting adults as well as students. Truly, it is perfect for anyone who desires to increase their vocabulary.  Furthermore, the fact that each list repeated the same series of requirements made it easy to know what needed to be done.

You can find The Critical Thinking Co. on social media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCriticalThinkingCo
Twitter: www.twitter.com/criticalthinks
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/criticalthinks/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsVEVNa6UpVqXxo_t5sbb7Q
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecriticalthinkingco/

Having already reviewed one product from The Critical Thinking Co., I was glad to be able to review this product. You can also check out our family’s Review of The Critical Thinking Co.’s Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 by clicking here.

The Critical Thinking Co. makes studying vocabulary to get ready for the SAT and PSAT a breeze with Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 (Grades 8-12+).  Also from now until December 31, 2019, you can use the following coupon code to save 15% on any size order along with free shipping.

Other members of The Home School Review Crew are reviewing this product as well as other products, so click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews from this fantastic company.

Posted in family, Home School Review Crew Posts, Language Arts, Vocabulary

Review of Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder from Roman Roads Media

 

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If your goals is a classical education, then studying Latin is a must and Roman Roads Media‘s  Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder from Roman Roads Media.  I was thrilled that our entire family had the opportunity to review this product.  Currently in our home, we have my husband and myself, our 22-year-old son, our 19-year-old son, our 17-year-old son, our 15-year-old daughter and my almost 80-year-old mother.  I was thrilled for everyone in our family to have the opportunity to review this product.

Roman Roads Media states on their website, ” Roman Roads specializes in classical curriculum for home and classroom use. We craft our courses to delight both students and their parents.” They offer products for old Western culture, Rhetoric, Logic, Latin, Poetry and History.

Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder is designed for students in junior high school, high school, and college.  It focuses on general vocabulary, which includes verbs, adjectives, prepositions and nouns.  It helps students develop proficiency in reading Latin.  It is meant to assist students with a deeper understanding by using pictures, audio clips, and more.  The program includes a 14-month subscription once activated.  Additional family members can be added for a reduced rate.

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I love the fact there are several different difficulty levels, so multiple family members can use it regardless of age.  For my mother, she thought it would help her retain her memory.  She also loves doing the same school work our children are doing, so this was perfect.  For our oldest son, who is working as a Nursing Assistant, it helps familiarize him with Latin words he may be required to know as he continues progressing in the medical field.  Unfortunately, his work schedule did not really permit him time to use the program.

For our second son who graduated from high school in the spring, it was a way to help keep his educational skills and study skills fresh.  For our youngest two, who are still in school, it was a great way to build their vocabulary.  For my husband and I, I knew it would be good for us to be doing the same work as our children.  Plus, it would help build my husband’s vocabulary and keep his mind sharp.

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There are 212 different campaigns for students to go through.  With each campaign, the students are working on different skills and different vocabulary words.  Students are initially introduced to words regarding maps, school terms, people and family and more.  As students progress through each level, the next level is unlocked.  I love that students can work at a pace that suits them and their ability to learn.  So older students would typically be capable of progressing through the work.  Students who struggle with vocabulary may need to take longer.

The one wish I had for this program was to have some kind of handout to refer to – especially when it cam time to actually spell the words.  I have some children and a husband who often find themselves challenged when it comes to spelling, so this could become a large subject of frustration for them.  To compensate for this, I found it helpful to write down in a notebook each new vocabulary word as it was displayed along with the important information on the screen.  My visual learners loved that there were pictures to go with the terms.  We also loved the fact that the pronunciations were given.  Having never studied Latin formally when I was growing up, I have found I love studying it with the children along with Greek.

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Our family was definitely pleased with this product.  I must state up front, we initially planned on my mother doing this by herself.  However, about the time we received this product, she lost her hearing basically.  So she instead did it with me, when I was working on mine.  She loves doing schoolwork with the family.  I must say she loved this program and was glad to be doing it with our family.

So check out Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder from Roman Roads Media along with their other products including Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric (complete program) or Picta Dicta Natural World for yourself.

You can find Roman Roads Media on social media at

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RomanRoadsMedia   @romanroadsmedia
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/romanroadsmedia/  @romanroadsmedia
YouTude: https://www.youtube.com/user/romanroadsmedia  @romanroadsmedia
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/romanroadsmedia  @romanroadsmedia

If you would like to read reviews of these three products from other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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