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 Classical Homeschool Method, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Literature

Memoria Press’ Tenth Grade Literature Guide Set

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If you prefer classical Christian education then you need to check out Memoria Press and their Tenth Grade Literature Guide Set which includes the To Kill a Mockingbird Literature Guide.  As someone who loves to read, and more importantly loves to read quality literature.  I was thrilled for our family to have the opportunity to review this Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press.  Through our years of homeschooling, our family has always found Memoria Press offers quality Christian based materials that meet our family’s needs.  This package includes The Scarlet Letter, Julius Caesar, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Romeo & Juliet. This tenth-grade set is suitable for students in Grades 8 – 12.

All of the guides begin with preliminary information to help the students get started including how to mark a book, how to set up the notebook, and other helpful suggestions.  Then each guide moves into the actual work of literature being studied. The Student Guides are designed for the students, while the Teacher Guides are designed for the Teacher/Parent.  The Teacher Guide includes the Student Pages along with answers to the questions for those pages in the margins, tests, quizzes, writing assignments along with other features designed to help the teacher.

The Student Guide includes directions for the student, questions to answer, and other information necessary to help the student complete their work.  For our daughter, who is 16-years-old, little assistance or instruction was needed from me in order for her to complete the actual assignments.  However, if you were using this with an 8th or 9th grader, they may require additional assistance.  I think these guides would work exceptionally well for students close in ages/grades to each other.  If I was using these with our oldest two sons who are two years apart, I would definitely use one level for both sons.  However, they have graduated already, so that is not an option.

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We elected to start with the guide for To Kill a Mockingbird.  The set includes a Teacher Guide and Student Book.  Rather than writing in the Student Book, students are required to set up a literary notebook.  In addition to the guides, families will need a copy of the book (I recommend a physical copy since students may want or need to mark in it). Also, the student will need a notebook or other means of keeping up with the written assignments.  We elected to use an online word processing program to make it easier for us to pick up the work and go.  Plus it made it frees us from worrying about papers getting damaged or lost.

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The guides include Vocabulary assignments, comprehension questions, basic features and backgrounds, useful literary terms, setting, and more.  Our daughter appreciated the reading notes at the beginning of each chapter in the Student Guide.  She stated some questions were very straight-forward and simple to answer, such as when the author was born or when her parents were married.  However, other questions required more thought and effort to answer.

In addition to the vocabulary work and comprehension questions, essay assignments and Tests and Quizzes can be found in the guides as well.  We felt these items helped keep students on track and allowed parents to see how much their student was retaining.  Since we are on a summer schedule, I am allowing our daughter to work at a slower pace than I would if it was our normal school year.   The first test for To Kill a Mockingbird does not come until after chapter 11, we did not complete that quiz yet.

All of the guides contain the same features of completing vocabulary, comprehension questions, reading, and either quizzes and tests or just tests.  Our second son is looking forward to his sister completing the two works by Shakespeare.  So we will see if he provides his sister with assistance when we begin those two guides.

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Here are sample pages from the other guides.

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You can find Memoria Press on social media at these links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/memoriapress/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MemoriaPress
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/memoriapress/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/memoriapress
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/memoriapress/

You can find out about their affiliate program here

Other members of the Home Schoool Review are blogging about their experiences with Memoria Press and their Tenth Grade Literature Guide Se along with other levels of their literature guides.  So click here or on the graphic below to read additional reviews.

Posted in Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Literature, Uncategorized

Review of Memoria Press’ Poetry, Prose & Drama: The Old English & Medieval Periods Set

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I love Memoria Press so I was so excited to receive Poetry, Prose, and Drama: The Old English & Medieval Periods Set this time to review.  With a daughter in high school, I am always on the lookout for quality, classical materials for our daughter to use, and the products from Memoria Press never disappoint, especially if when searching for Classical Education materials.

Memoria Press, a family run company, provides easy to use Classical Education materials ranging from Latin to Poetry to Reading and more.  From the foundation that Cheryl Lowe began before her death in 2017, the company continues to provide a wealth of classical educational materials.  For this review, we received the Student Workbook, Student Textbook, and the Teacher’s Guide.

When we began our homeschooling journey, Memoria Press quickly became a favorite of our family, especially when we began studying Latin. So when given a choice of what she would like to review,  Poetry, Prose, and Drama: The Old English & Medieval Periods Set was our daughter’s choice.  She loved the idea of studying some of the best pieces from this time period.  I knew I could trust the selections to be ones our family would approve of, and the materials did not disappoint me.  My only concern about the materials is the rather small font used in the books.  It made it difficult for me to read, and since I wanted to work through the materials with my daughter, this was a rather important factor.  According to their website, this set features poetry from the Anglo-Saxon Invasion to the Tudor Accession (449-1485).

The idea is for the student to create a notebook for this course and detailed instructions are provided about how to do this properly.  I was very pleased with the straight-forward nature and explanations provided in both the Teacher’s Guide and Student Workbook.  This notebook is where the student will record all the answers for the vocabulary words, discussion questions, comprehension questions and more.  I appreciate how the Teacher’s Guide gives parents permission to adapt the curriculum to adjust to your own family’s needs.  So I decided to allow our daughter to answer some questions orally rather than writing out answers.  Because this course can quickly become writing intensive, I could see the benefit of using an online notebook along with a program that allows the student to speak and then translates that into the document.  This would be especially beneficial for students who have difficulty writing for prolonged periods of time.

The books cover the Anglo-Saxon Invasion to the Norman Conquest (which includes the literature of the warrior and the literature of the priest), as well as from the Norman Conquest to the accession of the Tudors (which includes literature of the Medieval Church and the literature of the common people).  Because my husband is an ordained Primitive Baptist preacher and has been for all of our children’s lives, our daughter was especially interested in learning about the sections about the literature of the Priests.

Again from the website, the materials include the following description, “The Poetry Prose and Drama Book One: The Old English & Medieval Periods Set includes poems from the Anglo-Saxon Invasion to the Tudor Accession (449-1485). This Set includes Poetry, Prose, & Drama: The Old English & Medieval Periods, the Student Guide, and the Teacher Guide. The anthology contains introductory readings that provide background information and historical context for the works as well as short introductions for each poem. The student book contains notes and instructions to the student, definitions of basic features, and an explanation of how to mark a book as well as pre-reading questions, reading notes, words to be defined, comprehension questions, Socratic discussion questions, and essay prompts. The Teacher Guide features notes and instructions to the teacher, and contains the answers to the questions found in the Student Guide as well as the Tests and Test Key.”

 

The first book in the collection is the Teacher Guide, which lays out everything the student is supposed to do for each lesson along with providing additional information, answers, preparation materials, reading notes and more.  It is meant for the parent to use to guide the student through the material.  However, with our high school daughter doing this set she could have worked more independently.  However, I love completing work with her, and especially literature or history – something this curriculum offers a wealth of each.  So this book provided useful guidance for me as my daughter and I worked through the materials.  The tests primarily use matching as a way of determining what the student remembers.  Our daughter appreciated this when taking tests.

 

The next book is the actual “reader”, meaning the book that has the actual reading material in it.  This includes selections from The Seafarer, The Wanderer, Andreas: A Legend of St. Andrew, Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, Caedmon’s Hymn, The Dream of the Road, Robin Hood Ballads and more.  She enjoyed reading the introductory materials because it gave her a wealth of information to share with her father and brothers.  She appreciated how the information was separated into sections with headings to make it easy to follow.  When we began reading The Seafarer, she appreciated the imagery and descriptive language used.  The section on riddles also captured her attention, since again she was able to share them with her father and brothers.  When we began reading the selection about St. Andrew, she appreciated the language and descriptions given.

 

As she worked through the questions in the Student Workbook, I tried breaking it up for her so she did not get overwhelmed by the material.  We found the mixture of vocabulary words and questions to be a good fit for our daughter.

You can find Memoria Press on Social Media here:  Facebook, Twitter with the Tag: @MemoriaPress, Pinterest, Instagram – with the Tag: @MemoriaPress, and YouTube.

All in all, our family was very pleased with  Poetry, Prose, and Drama: The Old English & Medieval Periods Set from Memoria Press.  Check this set out for yourself.if you are looking to homeschool classically.  You can check out my review of Second Form Latin here.  Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing other products from Memoria Press this week including their Latin programs, various sets from the Poetry, Prose, and Drama Series along with the Classical Phonics with the First Start Reading Program.  So click here or on the image below to check out more reviews for yourself.

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Posted in Hands-On Activities, Homeschooling, Literature, Uncategorized, X-rays

Review of Branch Out World’s Picture Book Explorers – Paddington Bear

 

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Today I want to introduce you to Paddington Bear, a lit-based unit study, from Branch Out World.  For this review, we received a downloadable PDF file to print out.  Even though my youngest child is almost sixteen years old, I still love looking at what is available in the Homeschooling marketplace for younger children. As someone who loves to read, anything based on books is bound to get my attention. This unit study is recommended for ages five years old to ten years old, but if your family lives outside of the United Kingdom, you may find this book works for older children as well.  I could definitely see the benefits of using this curriculum if you have more than one child, even if some of those children are older than 10 years old.

Branch Out World is a company ran by a homeschooling family based in West Yorkshire.  Their family started homeschooling over 20 years ago and they love books.  They have created literature-based unit studies that can be tailored to your own child/children’s needs and interests. These studies can be used with multiple children at one time or with one child as they grow into them.

Paddington Bear is part of Branch Out World‘s Picture Book Explorer series.  The unit study is meant to be completed over five days.  I would definitely recommend starting on a Monday when you know your family could complete all five days in a row so that your child maintains their focus and interest.  To complete the study, you need the unit study printed out, the picture book, possibly the chapter book the unit study is based upon, and any other items listed for each day to complete the activities.  All of the extra supplies needed are listed on page 7 of the printable PDF file.  I would definitely recommend assembling these items the week prior to starting the unit study so you do not have to scramble to find anything.  On page 7 a list of optional extras is listed that include other books about Paddington Bear, books about Peru and a list of films and television episodes.

The unit study consists of reading the book every day and then doing different types of activities each day.  The days are broken down as follows:

  • Day 1 – Exploring the Setting
  • Day 2 – Exploring the Words
  • Day 3 – Exploring the Pictures
  • Day 4 – Exploring Science
  • Day 5 – Exploring Maths, Crafts & More

I have to say as I read through the guide, I was impressed by the variety of activities included and the way those activities are organized.  Each day has background information along with instructions for the day’s activities.  There are suggestions about how to complete the activities.  When my children were younger, they tended to enjoy coloring and map work, which is included on the first day.  I also like the fact that a variety of maps are included so you can pick the one which suits your family the best.  You can pick just one or you can pick more than one.

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If I was doing this literature-based unit study with my children, I would definitely probably have them complete it in a binder so they could add pages as needed and keep everything organized.  Also, since my daughter loves art and drawing, I think day 3 would be her favorite day. As a teenager, I could see myself wanting her to recreate the pictures she saw in the book concentrating on the characters and the architecture.

 

I know when our children were younger, they would have loved making their own passports and then would have wanted to have stickers and other things we could add to them to show where they had traveled through the books they were reading and lessons from history and other subjects.  I know they would have enjoyed the hands-on activities better than just reading a normal textbook.  I wish we had this opportunity when they were younger.

You can find Branch Out World on social media including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

If you have children who love hands-on learning and a variety of activities, I definitely recommend you check out Branch Out World, their Picture Book Explorer Series and Paddington Bear for yourself.  If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Literature, Uncategorized

Review of Progeny Press’ Perelandra-eguide

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Progeny Press makes earning High School Literature credits easy with high school level study guides such as  Perelandra – eGuide.  When I saw the opportunity come up to review this product, I was thrilled.  I thought my science fiction loving 17-year-old son would possibly love reviewing this product.  When looking for literature curriculum, I want products that include Christian values and beliefs.  I also prefer literature guides that utilize an entire book, rather than ones with a lot of pieces and parts from different literature choices.  I also prefer ones that have lessons plans and involve critical thinking skills. For this review we received the e-guide for Perelandra.  This means we received a downloadable study guide along wth the downloadable answer key.

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Progeny Press is a Christian company that provides literature study guides and e-guides for Kindergarten through twelfth grade. They offer a variety of selections and choices.  The guide we received included activities ranging from vocabulary terms to critical thinking questions to essays and more.  I really loved the study guide included vocabulary, reading comprehension, anaylsis and more.

Because I typically prefer to know what my children are studying and learning about, I decided to work through the Perelandra – eGuide myself before having my son start it.  While I am very familiar with C.S. Lewis, this series was not one I had really heard of , so I was interested in learning more about it.

 

I felt like we were at a slight disadvantage because we had not read the first book in the series.  So I really wish we could have gone through a study guide for the first book in the series before beginning this one.  My recommendation would definitelty be to familiarize yourself with the first book in the series before beginning the guide.  For convenience, we decided to download the actual book for Perelandra by C. S. Lewis on our Kindle app so we could take it wherever we happened to be going. I also downloaded the e-guide and the answer keys on my iPad in iBooks so we could travel with it as well.

 

The guide is meant to be completed in about eight to ten weeks.  Since it is summer here in the United States we went at a slightly slower pace.  We decided to read the chapter(s) in the book before we worked on the questions in the e-guide.  So one day we would read and then we would take the next few days to complete the vocabulary or other questions in the e-guide.  I encouraged our son to take his time with the analysis questions.  If you have a student who finds answering in-depth analysis questions, you many need to provide extra guidance for your learner.

 

You can find Progeny Press on social media at:

Facebook: https://facebook.com/progenypress
Twitter: https://twitter.com/progenypress
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/progenypress
YouTube: https://youtube.com/progenypress

All in all, my son and I have been very pleased with this product and are glad we had the opportunity to use it.  You should definitely check it out for yourself.

If you would like to read more reviews by the Home School Review Crew of this or other products by Progeny Press, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Books, history, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Literature, Uncategorized

Review of YWAM’s Christian Heroes Then & Now – C.S. Lewis

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I love adding  Christian biographies to our studies so I was excited to review Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis, one of the books in the Christian Heroes: Then & Now from YWAM Publishing. We also received a Study Guide to use with our book.  Back when we first starting homeschooling many years ago, when we attended our first homeschool convention one of the first companies to capture my attention was YWAM Publshing.  Through the years, we have collected quite a few of the titles from their Christian Heroes: Then & Now series.  Our family loves books and this company has found a special place in our homeschool library.  So when we had the opportunity to select another book to review for this company, the only problem our daughter had one problem – deciding what title to select. Finally, she decided on CHRISTIAN HEROES: THEN & NOW C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller.

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Our 15-year-old daughter is the one who actually read the book.  I started to read the book also, but then life happened.  From my own experience, I have to say I felt like the book started off slower than other books we have read from YWAM Publishing.  Given that the book is about a “master” storyteller, I felt like it deserved a better beginning.

Our daughter had this to say about the book.  She found it interesting for facts about his life.  They include details and facts about his life that others may have overlooked.  These include things like details about his interactions with other writers and his family along with his background and his roots – meaning where he came from – intrigued her.  She found it easy to read and definitely found it to be informative.

However, she did not seem to be as excited with this book as I would have liked her to be.  She stated while she would remember some of the facts from the book, she was not sure it was one she would necessarily quote information from.

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Due to circumstances in our lives at this time, we did not get a chance to actually use the study guideas much as I would have liked. However, I love the depth and breadth of material included in the guide.  We received this as a downloadable product.  The study guide includes: an introduction, key Bible verses, Display Corner, Chapter questions, Student Explorations, Community Links, Social Studies, Related Themes to Explore, Culminating Event, along with supplemental information included in three Appendicies.

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The display corner (which would included items collected and then displayed from the country the book takes place in – so for this book it would be items from England.  This would have been something interesting for our daugther to do since my husband has actually visited England.

There are six chapter questions for each chapter where the first 3 questions are geared to younger learners and the last three questions are more difficult.  Due to circumstances in our life right now, I decided to have our daughter answer the questions for the chapters orally to me.

 

There are also student explorations which include a variety of activities to suit a variety of learning styles.  I plan on our daughter possibly creating a diorama depicting an important event from C.S. Lewis’ life.  I also plan on  having her draw a sketch of C.S. Lewis based on his own description or making a story quilt using her drawing table that connects to the computer.  We will have to see if we can fit in time for her to do both projects.  It may be something we do later when life settles down.

 

 

For this review, if she had to select a second book, she would have chosen Heroes of History – Theodore Roosevelt.  She felt like she would have enjoyed learning more about his life.

In June of 2017, we had the privilege to review another book from YWAM Publishing, we reviewed Christian Heroes Then and Now Betty Greene,  Wings to Serve.  If you would like to read our review of this title, click here or on the graphic below.

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You can connect with YWAM Publishing on social media using the following links:

If you would like to read other reviews by members of the Home School Review Crew on this book or others, click here or on the image below.

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Posted in Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Literature

Review of Writing with Sharon Watson’s Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

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For quite a while now, I have followed the blog for “Writing with Sharon Watson”, so I was thrilled when our family received the opportunity to review one of the literature products from “Writing with Sharon Watson”. I  have loved reading about all of the products from Writing with Sharon Watson so I was super excited to add Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis to our homeschool curriculum list!  Considering that I have a son who loves anything from Shakespeare, I was very excited to see “Much Ado About Nothing” was among the selections included in this course.

In addition to “Much Ado About Nothing”, a short story entitled “A Jury of Her Peers”, another assortment of short works, and the full works of “Frankenstein”, “Silas Marner”, “Sense and Sensibility” and “The Hobbit” are included.  The materials our family received include a Teacher’s Guide, text, Quiz and Answer Manual, Novel Notebook (downloadable from the website, and online quizzes (which may be accessed on the website).

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Illuminated Literature: Characters in Crisis” is not grade-specific, but is instead designed for any high school student.  So the beauty of this program for our family is that all three of our high school students could use the same program.  On the website, you can download sample chapters, grading grids, quizzes on the course page.

The first component we received was the Teacher’s Guide, which recommends using the coordinating versions of the literature books that can be found on the Writing with Sharon Watson website.  This is because the textbook matches up with the page numbers in those versions.  This eliminates wasting time or becoming frustrated.  If using an e-reader or tablet, students should be able to use the search function proficiently.  The first pages provide a list of the books and short works that will be covered in the course.  A Grade guide and sample grading grid are also included.  This makes keeping up with requirements simple.  Course objectives are also included.  Suggested schedules, a book-of-the-month club guide and more are included in this guide.  This truly is a guide meant to direct the teacher in what students need to go along with providing an answer key.

 

The next component is the textbook, which is to be used by the student.  It includes an introduction to the course.  At the beginning of each lesson, there are certain activities the student is to complete prior to reading the assigned literature.  Some of these our children enjoyed, while other ones did not capture their attention as much.  A suggested reading and homework schedule is provided as well.  Information, descriptions and more are included for each lesson.  Our children felt the amount of work per lesson was reasonable – even if they did not always enjoy everything.  Then the students read the selection while reading the extra information along with activities.  Students complete additional activities along with a group of final selection of activities the parents or students can choose from.  For our family, I narrowed the number of choices down and then let the children select the ones that caught their attention the most.

Next, is the Novel Notebook, which is the only free downloadable component from the website.  Parents can select what questions the student answers.  Then during a discussion time, students share what they found. Or if a student is doing it alone, the teacher/parent may simply look at the novel notebook.

The final component of the program is the Quiz and Answer Manual.  Students may either complete quizzes on paper or online.  The benefit of completing the quizzes online is that feedback is immediate.  Plus, for our family, it saves paper and printing costs.  Each quiz contains approximately ten questions that demonstrate how much the student is retaining what they read.  Our children found them relatively painless to complete.

 

All-in-all, our family has been very pleased with Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis from Writing with Sharon Watson.  I encourage you to check it out for yourself.  You can read other reviews by other members of the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking here or on the graphic below.

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You can find Writing with Sharon Watson on social media at the following Links:
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/WritingWithSharonWatson
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/writingwithshar

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