October 11, 2015

A Literature Study Guide for Miss Rumphius {Product Review}

We have had the award winning children's book Miss Rumphius on our bookshelf for awhile, but have yet to read it. When I had the chance to review a study guide from Progeny Press, I eagerly asked for digital download study guide Miss Rumphius, so we could finally explore this beautiful book. I hoped that the study guide would be along the lines of our favorite style, the unit study and had high hopes for this highly recommend company.

Product Information

Progeny Press Review
Progeny Press is known for their high quality literature study guides throughout the homeschool world. Their mission statement makes it clear why--they want to help children think clearly, to understand literature, to turn to the scriptures for truth and values...and to enjoy doing it! 

These Bible based study guides, help your child to analyze literature through vocabulary, comprehension questions, illustrations, thematic activities, and more! There are study guides for grades k-12 broken into four categories: Lower Elementary (K-3rd), Upper Elementary (3rd-6th), Middle School, and High School. Each grade level contains guides for many classic award winning books (ex. Courage of Sarah Noble, Charlotte's Web, The Giver, Jane Eyre), as well as some popular books (ex. Hunger Games, The Magician's Nephew, The Hiding Place, Fellowship of the Ring). The study guides are available as digital downloads ($11.99), printed workbooks ($24.99), and CD's ($21.99). There are complete answer keys included with each study guide. The books are not sold with the study guides, but they can be purchased through the company.

The study guides are designed to be used over 8-12 weeks doing about a page a day, though some of the elementary books can be done in much less time. 

We were given the digital guide of Miss Rumphius (Lower Elementary/K-3rd) to use with Baby Britches who is in Kindergarten. 

How Did We Use This Product?

My download information arrived via email, and I easily went and downloaded the study guide to my computer. The study guide breaks the book up into sections--this particular book was broken into three sections. Every section in this study guide contained the following:

The study guide included words from the story to be defined, words from the story to be guessed from context, and some grammar work.

*Questions from the Story
This portion was strictly story comprehension questions. Most were simple one sentence answers.

*Looking at the Artwork
Encourages the reader to look at the illustrations in the story and answer questions based on what they see. Some are definite, other questions are open ended.

*Digging Deeper
This section included additional activities (think rabbit trails), Bible work, art projects and more. It analyzes something from the reading and takes it further.

This study guide also included a "Before You Read" section which introduced us to our topic of goal setting and had a little nature study relating to seeds/plants.

As I usually do, I chose to look over the guide before printing it out and then only printing out about a chapter's worth at a time. I began with the "Before Your Read" and the first section of the study guide and we got started.

Miss Rumphius is a delightful picture book about a little girl named Alice, who grew up next to the sea with her grandfather. When she was young she set two goals for herself: to travel the world and live by the sea. Her grandfather encourages her to add a third goal: make the world more beautiful. The rest of the book follows Alice as she grows up and accomplishes her first two goals--and then shows how she decides to fulfill the third goal. The book itself is a must read with the gorgeous illustrations.

Some of the things that we did using the study guide that were part of the extra activities:

*read the Bible about goal setting
*did some research on seeds
*did watercolor paintings to show sea and sky
*learned about lupine flowers
*read the Bible about taking care of the earth
*made lupine note cards and mailed them to people
*found exotic countries on the globe
*tasted coconut water

We completed this book and study guide in 1 1/2 weeks choosing to do one section per day over 4 days.

Here are some photos from our use of this product:
The study guide with our open ended question
Collecting seeds

Watercolors of sea and sky
I even got in on the act! I love painting!

Some seeds
We had so much more that we did, but these were some of the more exciting things we did as part of the study guide.

What Are Our Thoughts on This Product?

One of the first things I noticed about the study guide is that though this is geared towards lower elementary, including Kindergarten, it is not WRITTEN for a Kindergartner to be able to complete. The open ended questions were much too vague for a 5 year old, the grammar lessons were for a 2nd-3rd grade level, and the Bible portions question and answers were in general too advanced for a typical 5 year old. On the other hand, the activities were very adaptable for an early elementary level, as were many of the comprehension questions, as long as they had concrete answers. 

I realized all of this after just scanning over the first two sections of the study guide, and made a decision to include my 4th grader in this review. The two boys worked together to complete the questions ORALLY and my older son did all the vocabulary exercises that were too hard for Baby Britches. Little Britches (Age 9) had no problems with any of the work and found it easy to complete.
We enjoyed the extra activities connected with the study guide. The boys enjoyed seed hunting and sorting very much and they adored painting. They both had fun finding the countries on the globe too. They both enjoyed the book, though they agreed with each other that it wasn't very exciting. 

We found that the extra activities MADE the study guide. It wouldn't have been as enjoyable without them and all of them were very feasible for us to do without having to purchase or find extra things.
The lower elementary guide we used could not be stretched to longer than 2 weeks without boredom setting in, especially since they are kind of designed to only read a portion of the book each time. I would even go so far as to say that the picture books like Miss Rumphius really are a one week unit. 

I think that I would prefer to use a printable workbook, but at the cost ($24.99) I will probably always end up with a digital one. That being said, I would like to see a lower price point on the study guides for the elementary grades in general--especially the lower elementary. The books themselves are shorter, and thus the guides are not as long or as detailed, yet they cost the same as the high school guides. I think something in the $7 range would be much more affordable considering what you are getting. I do believe the cost of $11.99 for the digital guides is good for the longer guides in the middle school/high school and well worth the cost.

Would I Recommend This Product?

We had a good experience with this product and I would be comfortable recommending it...with a few notes. I would not advise using it if you are just going to do it with a child in the 5-6 year old range. Though the company says that the lower elementary guides are good for K-3rd, I think the material is too advanced for anything less than 2nd grade. I highly recommend looking at the samples of the study guide before making your decision. 

That being said, I think this guide is PERFECT for someone wanting to use ONE guide for multiple ages. If you have several students falling in the K-3rd grade level, it will be easy to work through together as we did. Some of it could be done orally for they younger students, while the older students can write out their answers. The projects are excellent for multi-age.

So, will I use it again?
Unless the price point comes down for the elementary level to the range I mentioned, we will probably not be turning to Progeny Press for the elementary level guides. BUT, I will definitely be considering them for the middle school/high school level, as I believe they are excellent and priced well. They have exactly what I want for a literature study...and I know they carry guides for many of the books I plan to incorporate into our curriculum later on. 

Want to Know More?

We were given the digital download study guide of Miss Rumphius from Progeny Press. We enjoyed using the guide and exploring this great book. Make sure you visit my fellow crew members to read about their thoughts on the guides they used--especially the ones for the higher level grades!
Progeny Press Review
You can stay in touch with Progeny Press to learn more about their new releases and sales via these social networks:
We enjoyed reviewing this product and had fun with all the activities that were included. It definitely fit our unit study style and was enjoyable for us all.
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October 9, 2015

Random 5 for Friday 10/9/2015

October 9th. Seriously? I can't believe we are already almost to the middle of October! But here we are yet again. I have another Random 5 for Friday post that I'm squeaking in while it's still actually Friday!

1. "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." I must say that I agree with Anne Shirley. October here in Kentucky is simply stunning and nothing like it was growing up back in the Pacific Northwest. Evergreen trees are very regal, but nothing can compare to the hillside here when the trees--sycamore, hickory, walnut, chestnut, buckeye, maple, birch, ash--when these trees begin to put on their autumn finery! The sunsets shimmer and glow reflected of the jeweled toned leaves. And the air! Nothing like a crisp foggy morning that burns off to roasty sunshine.

2. I am thankful I homeschool. I know this is a simple statement. But this time of year when the weather is simply perfect and nature is changing so quickly, I'm so grateful to be homeschooling so we can be out enjoying it! We shift at least half of our day outside now. We enjoy the warm sunshine as we complete our watercolors, or dive into our literature. Having so many wildflowers and trees and plants, makes a nature study on seeds ideal for this time of year. What fun to explore the plants to see what we can find and to be outdoors in the sunshine and Indian Summer weather while the other children stare longingly out the windows while stuck indoors.

3. I love monarch butterflies. One of the beautiful things of October are the arrival of the migrating monarch butterflies. One day this week, I was working outside and happened to glance over at my butterfly bush to find there were two monarchs feasting. I welcomed them gladly and wished them well on their long journey ahead.

4. I love new boots. Love-Of-My-Life spoiled me rotten we were away keeping the Feast of Tabernacles down in Jekyll Island, GA. He took me shopping and stocked me up for the fall with new shirts, a new jean jacket, new jewelry, a new dress, and a pair of simply fabulous brown boots. There is just something about boots that screen fall. I look forward to wearing them tomorrow with my new dress and jacket. We are going out on a date tomorrow night...no special reason except that we love each other. And you don't get a better reason than that!

5. Finish strong. I am determined to finish this last quarter of the year strong. I have a new homeschool planner (I am reviewing it, so stay tuned!), plans of attack and goals for school, a new routine, continuing in my successful daily Bible study program, and yes, even health goals which include increasing my water intake and getting outside for physical activity. I want to finish the year strong so I can shift into 2016 with a sense of purpose for a healthy mind and body. New habits take time and I want to have new habits for the 2016 year!

May your weekend be blessed! I have a review for Progeny Press that will be posting on Sunday, and then one for Fish Flix coming on Tuesday. There are reviews going to be posted at least once a week for the next 6 weeks as I finish out my 2015 year with the Schoolhouse Review Crew, so stay tuned! I also have a couple book reviews to write up and yes, even a recipe or two! I really do plan on getting back in the swing of regular and consistent blogging...I just needed things to settle down.

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September 30, 2015

Poppins Book Nook...will be delayed

It is the last week of the month and that means that I usually have a new Poppins Book Nook post up for you...but we are on our annual trip to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, which means I am not able to do my regular blogging. I really hoped I could have something up this week, but I don't see it happening until we get home mid-week next week! 

In lieu of my own post, please make sure you visit these other great bloggers to check out what they have put together for the theme of Newberry Medal Winners!

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