Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Progeny Press ~ It's Elementary!!! :) (Sam the Minuteman)

I have had the honor of reviewing many Progeny Press Titles before (in fact, I'll have one more coming tomorrow!), but this is the first time that I have had the opportunity to review one of their Early Elementary titles. Because my youngest is all about history and the Revolutionary War, I was pleased to be able to use the Sam the Minuteman study guide with him.

Side note: We live in New England... you would think that this would be a VERY easy title to find, but there are only THREE copies in our whole library consortium of over 30 libraries! Crazy!

Because this *is* my first time looking over the elementary titles, I was very curious to see what they looked like in comparison to the older Jr. High and High School titles.

While the elementary study I used was for a book that didn't have any chapters, many of the elements of the study guide were similar to those of the older students.

I am going to give you a rundown of what the guide includes and our thoughts or how we used each section. Note: this is a PDF download, and rather than printing up pages, we used it on my ipad, via the pdf-notes app, so that we could write directly on the pdf. We also took turns writing, as handwriting tends to tire him out...

  • Synopsis of the story 
  • Background information (this was helpful for my youngster, as it answered questions he had as he read the book... like "What *were* the Minutemen, really?" 
  • About the Author (Added to the information in the back of the book)
  • Before-You-Read Activities (Youngest enjoyed doing a timeline using our Timeline Builder from Knowledgequest~ he likes typing information in vs writing it down...) 
  • Vocabulary (Great opportunity to use and improve his dictionary skills~ took longer than it should be cause he kept getting sidetracked by other entries... ;) words and dictionaries are cool! :) )
    • There was a "mystery word" exercise  in this section that included scriptures that talked about courage... something that my youngest struggles with, so it opened up the opportunity to talk about it a little more. :) 
  • Cause and Effect (Good introduction to the concept~ don't think that we'd discussed cause and effect specifically before...) 
  • Word Pictures (Similes and Metaphors ~ this was mostly review for him as we *have* covered both multiple times.)
    Word Pictures and Author Creates Mood Worksheets
  • How the Author Creates Mood (Very simple exercise that was a good introduction to the concept of creating mood)
  • Looking at the Story (Comprehension Questions ~ Think About It questions ~ Bible Verses, Dig Deeper ~ apply it to your life ~ These are the "Meat" of the study in my opinion, and what sets Progeny Press apart from other study guides.)
  • Important Words to Remember (What it says it is~ the "key words" of the story. In this instance they were used in a crossword puzzle.. fun!
  • Thinking About the American Revolution (This is a little deeper section
    • Counting the Cost of Freedom asks the student to consider the impact of war on a family ~ in a fairly gentle manner 
    • The Declaration of Independence is introduced, which may be an activity for the older end of the recommended age group
    • The Liberty Bell included a poetry activity, after talking about Freedom, and bells as communication method.
    • Freedom and Responsibility brings it back to the Bible :) 
  • After-You-Read Activities (Suggestions to extend the learning... there were a number of them, one we chose to do was make butter~ a Colonial Activity)
  • Additional Resources: (Books to read and Books for other Crafts)
  • Answer Key (For those that might feel more comfortable having cut and dried answers to the black and white questions. As well as the "OK" to have varying answers for open-ended opinion questions... sometimes we need to see that written down. ;) 

I am happy to report that I like the "Jr." versions of the Progeny Press guides almost as much as I like the "Sr." versions. If your kids like color and bells and whistles, you can add it in a little if you have an ipad or other electronic device (like we did), letting them use colored pencils, glittery gel pens, etc, if using paper versions.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
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