Monday, March 19, 2012

Pride and Pejudice and the Bronze Bow

While bookworms abound in this house, and we do a lot of reading, we tend to do less dissecting, so when Progeny Press offered a variety of their Literature Guides to the TOS Crew for review, I was very pleased. I had heard a lot about the Progeny Press guides but had never seen one in person. They offer Literature Study Guides from a Christian perspective for over 100 titles ranging from Kindergarten through 12 grade. We chose to review the guide for Pride and Prejudice for Eldest, and The Bronze Bow for Middlest. *Note: the guides are available as emailed pdf files, physical CD pdf files, and printed booklet form. Crew members received the emailed files for review.

Although the guides suggest having the student read the novel in its entirety before starting through the study guide, my children preferred to work through them chapter by chapter. However, reading the included synopsis is a good plan. :) Eldest is working through her guide independently, but we are using The Bronze Bow as a read-aloud (as we have never read this book before, but it's been sitting on my shelf for quite some time), with Middlest completing the study guide.

Each set of chapters requires the use of a dictionary and/or thesaurus as well as a Bible and sometimes a concordance and  tends to follow this format:
  • Vocabulary~ Both of my students appreciated the variety of ways that the Vocabulary was presented~ sometimes it was matching, define the word yourself and then compare with the dictionary, crossword puzzle, list antonyms and synonyms~ basically, mixing it up. This made it much more interesting for them.
  • Questions~ Basic comprehension questions
  • Think About the Story~ In The Bronze Bow these tended to be more comprehension questions or "Why do you think______?" For Pride and Prejudice this section tended to deal more with Literary Devices~ hyperbole, analogy, parallelism, etc.... This section tends to be the most time-consuming as it requires... thinking!
  • Dig Deeper~ This section is where the Christian worldview comes in to play~ relating Scripture to what is happening in the story. This section is one that takes a bit of time a "digging" in the Bible, and it is one of MY favorite elements of the Progeny Press study guides.
  • Sometimes Various Literature Elements are covered as a separate section(Characterization, Setting, Conflict) at least in The Bronze Bow.
We were able to take advantage of what I understand is a new feature for the pdf versions of the Progeny Press study guides. The Grades 4-12 study guides are now interactive pdf files. This means that the students can enter their answers directly into the pdf file on your computer. Pretty spiffy!(If you click on the image below you'll be able to see a little more clearly how this particular page was filled out)

Because we only have one really workable computer (My laptop), and computer time is somewhat limited for the kids, Middlest was the only one who took advantage of this feature. It was very helpful though, as he tends to "molt", and doesn't always put books and papers back where they belong, so this became an easy way to help him to NOT misplace his work! :D *Note: the recommended method for working directly in the pdf file is to create a copy of the file (in my case named "Middlest Bronze Bow") and save that file each time he does work. That way the original file remains "Clean" for future sibling work, and he has his own copy, which could possibly be printed for portfolio work.

I installed a copy of the pdf file  on Eldest's ipod touch, and she worked from that, into a notebook, so clearly, it can be used many ways (I don't believe that the interactive feature works in any of the apps that we have, although I'm not 100% certain about that).

I really appreciate the Christian worldview that is present in these guides. Incorporating Scripture into the study of Literature provides a clear example for our children. A literal application of Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. I believe this comparing and contrasting Bible truths with what is written in these novels increases their ability to create  filters that will help them to separate the wheat from the chaff as they grow and become more independent in their reading and viewing.

Nitty Gritty~ 
Progeny Press Literature Guides
  • Ages ~ K-12 (Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School, and High School levels)
  • Price~ varies from $10.99 to $27.99 depending on the level and size of the work
  • Formats~ pdf email attachment, CD pdf files, printed booklet, booklet/CD combo (pdf files for Grades 4-12 are "interactive" allowing the student to type directly into the file)
  • Browse titles online, or download the online catalog to your computer
  • Download an interactive sampling of a page from each of 8 different guides to get a feel for how the guides are set up, and the sorts of questions that are asked. 
In general, I must say that I am very pleased with the scope and quality of the Progeny Press Study Guides, and feel that they fill a need in my particular homeschool~ opening  interesting discussion points and analysis, and I don't have to reinvent the wheel! :D

For other TOS Crew opinions (And information on some of the other study guides) please visit the TOS Crew Blog, and click through to the linky.  As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where to spend your homeschool budget.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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