September 11, 2017

Exploring The Bears On Hemlock Mountain with Progeny Press {Curriculum Review}

The Bears On Hemlock Mountain E-Guide by Progeny Press {a Review}
We incorporate a lot of literature into our schooling, and I love it when I can introduce the boys to classic literature. I also appreciate it when I can find an online resource that helps me take our reading further with a literature guide. One of the best selling publishers for literature curriculum, is Progeny Press. I have already had the blessing to review two of their E-Guides (Miss Rumphius and Mr. Popper's Penguins) with my boys, and was happy to review the The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide with my youngest son.

About Progeny Press

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. .

Titles available as E-guides include:
*The Big Wave
*The Bridge
*Charlotte's Web
*The Bears on Hemlock Mountain
*The Cricket in Times Square
*The Door in the Wall
*Farmer Boy
*Mr. Popper's Penguins
*Sarah Plain and Tall
*A New Coat for Anna
*The Drinking Gourd
*Miss Rumphius
*Anne of Green Gables
*The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
*The Giver
*Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe
*The Hobbit
*Hunger Games
*The Silver Chair
*And many more!

We were given The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide to review with my 2nd grader.

Our Thoughts on the Product

Because we have used two other literature E-Guides from Progeny Press, I knew the routine--log in, download my file, and open it up for printing. While I have the option to type in the E-Guide, I choose to print mine out. I looked through the pages to determine how many pages I needed to print out and then did so. Once completed, I clipped them together for easy reference. The best way to get started, is to get yourself a copy of the book to read, and then look through the e-guide to see how it is laid out so you know what to expect. The best way is to look at the table of contents--I have written it out below...

Table of Contents
⋆Note to Instructor
⋆About the Author
⋆Background Information
⋆Before-you-read Activities
⋆Chapters 1 & 2
⋆Chapters 3 & 4
⋆Chapters 5 & 6
⋆Chapters 7-10
⋆Mystery Words
⋆After-you-read Activities
⋆Suggestions for Further Reading
⋆Answer Key

To begin, I always look at the "Before-you-read Activities" to see what kind of things I can introduce the book with. The suggestions include everything from open ended prediction questions, to nature study topics, to craft ideas. I chose to do two of the pre-reading activities for this book. We read a favorite book about animal tracks and tried to find the bear tracks when it was time. We really like this book, and he enjoyed looking at the different tracks to guess the animal before he flipped the pages for the answers. The second activity we did, was to make the bears and trees from construction paper and string them. Once we did these, I was able to introduce the book, and it made him more eager to read it. We also predicted what the book would be about just based on the title and cover.

From here on out, we simply used the E-GUIDE for the book as we read. While my son could have easily read the book, I knew he would enjoy it more if I read it to him. I only read the chapters for each section of the guide as designated by the Table of Contents. Each section was split into different parts including: Vocabulary, Questions (about the story), Dig Deeper, and/or Word Pictures. The Vocabulary was drawing more attention to certain words from the story and having them talk about what they mean, or matching them with their definitions. The Questions portion, was simply comprehension questions from the book, although there were also times when biblical passages were made, and then the questions were connected to the verses. The Dig Deeper section simply goes outside the story and incorporates questions relating to the theme. The Word Pictures introduced the concept of similes and metaphors.

I would say that for each of the reading portions there were about 10 total questions to go with them. Because I really wanted my son to open up in his responses, I had him dictate to me his answers and I recorded them on the papers.

Here was my favorite question/answer:

Apparently he thinks crickets remind him of God and how He's always there, even when you can't see him. I loved it.

He was able to work on the Mystery Word part by himself...

We finished this book very quickly, even doing the pre-reading and post-reading activities (we enjoyed sugar cookies!). I suppose you could stretch it if you wanted to, but the book is actually just 10 short chapters. We completed the unit in three weeks working on it twice a week. My son really enjoyed the book--mostly because it was about a boy and bears. He liked to make predictions about what was going to happen next. You really can't go wrong with a classic tale from Alice Dalgliesh.

This is a curriculum that could be done with multiple students and at different grade levels. I would definitely say it is for the grades 1-3 level. I enjoyed the biblical connections woven into the story and the passages we were able to read from the Bible. I also liked the options to do nature studies as part of the pre and post reading activities. This would make it a great unit study option. It was definitely an open and go program--you only needed the guide, the book, and access to bible passages. My only real concern is that this is a super short E-Guide because it's a short book. I don't know if I would pay $11.99 for just one unit when it is this short. If it was a longer unit--8 to 12 weeks, that would be different.

Want To Know More?

We reviewed The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide from Progeny Press. This is just one of the many titles that Progeny Press carries in their E-Guide collection--and just one of the four that our team was able to review. I hope you will visit some of my fellow crew member's blogs to learn more about Progeny Press!
Study Guides for Literature {Progeny Press Reviews}
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This was our third E-Guide from Progeny Press and it was another great experience with the product. I highly recommend these easy to use literature guides in your Language Arts studies.

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