Monday, July 1, 2013

Moving Beyond the Page (Review)

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Moving Beyond the Page is a literature-rich, unit based curriculum.  Because it focuses equally on critical and creative thinking, it appeals to multiple learning styles.  Children respond to what they read through engaging activities and projects.  
Moving Beyond the Page offers full-year comprehensive curriculum or can be used as supplemental materials.  Individual Language Arts, Science and Social Studies unit studies are available for 7-13 year olds. Our family had the opportunity to review the Tornado language arts unit and the Amazing Weather science unit - both designed for students ages 7-9.  These two units were designed to be used in conjunction with one another. 
Age 7-9: Concept 1 - Environment: Unit 1
Purchase Options:
#136 - Language Arts Package - $24.97
(includes: Literature Unit (physical copy), How the Turtle Got Its Shell, and Tornado)
#1024 - Language Arts Package - online - $20.91
(includes: Literature Unit Online, How the Turtle Got Its Shell, and Tornado)
#153 - Literature Unit - Tornado - physical copy only - $16.99
#1087 - Literature Unit - Tornado - online only - $12.93
Age 7-9: Concept 1 - Environment: Unit 1
Purchase options:
#914 Science Package - $33.97
(includes: Science Unit (physical copy), On the Same Day in March, Weather and Climate - Geography Facts and Experiments, and Individual Boiling Point Thermometers)
#936 Science Package Online - $29.91
(includes: Science Unit (online), On the Same Day in March, Weather and Climate - Geography Facts and Experiments, and Individual Boiling Point Thermometers)
#1250 Science Unit - Amazing Weather - physical copy only - $16.99
#1144 Science Unit - Amazing Weather - online only - $12.93
As you can see just from these two titles, the prices vary among the unit studies.  You have the choice of purchasing only the unit guide in either physical or online format.  Another option is to purchase a package which not only includes either the online or physical unit guide, but also includes the actual literature/books to be read. 
While many of the literature titles are common and would be easy to find at the local library, I'm so glad we received the full packages.  It was wonderful to open the box and have everything I needed to teach right at my fingertips.  We received the physical unit guide with our Language Arts package, but utilized the online unit guide for our Science package. 
As a personal preference, I usually like hard copies best.  There's just something about having the spiral bound pages to thumb through that adds an element of ease.  However, because teacher and student share from the same book, I actually found that I preferred the online guide this time.  This is great for so many reasons...
1. It's cheaper (yay! for this frugal mom!) 
2. I could use the laptop as my teacher's guide and/or print the instruction pages I desired. 
3. I was able to print only the individual student pages that were needed. 
4. When my perfectionist child gets upset because something didn't turn out "just right," I can simply print another page opposed to deal with the tears and come up with a way to salvage the project. 
There were some prerequisites for using the Language Arts - Tornado unit including:
  • reading & comprehending chapter books at a third or early fourth grade level
  • answer comprehension questions in a daily journal
  • the ability to write three or four sentences about a topic
Because I was using this unit with my 6, 7, and 8 year olds, we did a little tweaking to make it work for us.  We used the literature as read-alouds.  Caleb did some of the reading (with help from Mom on a word here and there), and I read the remainder.  Instead of responding to the comprehension questions in writing, I used the prompts to guide our discussion.  As far as the writing activities, I only had Caleb complete these.  The suggested hamburger paragraph organizer really resonated with Caleb.  We'll continue to use this model in the days to come.  Rather than write, Jeremiah and Rachel did some drawings and narration.

Because my kids are animal lovers and are constantly trying to persuade me to cave in and let them have a dog, I knew they'd enjoy the story.  It also proved timely as the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma made the news.  We collected items to send to the victims and the kids created encouragement cards too.  Getting to read a story that helped them to better understand a tornado and then explore some of the science behind the weather was very beneficial. 

**My only caution about this unit is to note that this company is secular.  Some may be concerned by the inclusion of How the Turtle Got Its Shell.  My kids understood that it was fiction, but also immediately picked up on the fact that it did not support our "young Earth" beliefs.  As always, just a chance for us to discuss what it is that we believe about creation science and why we believe it, so it didn't cause our family any problems at all.

The Science - Amazing Weather unit was also a hit.  We loved the accompanying books.  On the Same Day in March has darling illustrations, and the Weather and Climate - Geography Facts and Experiments is an excellent resource that we can continue to use in our studies.  In the weather unit, the kids learned about heat, wind, rain, weather patterns, weather vanes, etc.  We tracked and charted the weather which the kids had done before in their science co-op class.  We were able to compare the current weather with that of the weather in February and had a great discussion about seasonal effects on weather.  A new element for us with this study were the geographical terms and being able to aptly describe a landscape.  It is so fun now to hear the kids use this new terminology and vocabulary.

We enjoyed the titles we had the opportunity to review.  Whether using the curriculum exclusively or as a supplement, with all the choices, you may be a bit bewildered as to where to begin.  I recommend visiting the Choosing the Right Age Level page.  This will guide you in determining the right fit for your child.  Likewise, there are helpful pages for identifying what units make a perfect pairing.  To identify these suitable couplings, view the Year at a Glance page for each age range:  7-9, 8-10, 9-11, 10-12, and 11-13.  
Moving Beyond the Page curriculum offers so many extras.  Parents will want to access the online forum to connect with other homeschooling families.  It is a safe place to ask questions, seek support, and draw from the experience of others.  Additionally, IdeaShare is an online space to locate and share ideas to supplement or aide in teaching specific lessons. 
The Schoolhouse Review Crew Members used a wide variety of Moving Beyond the Page units.  You are sure to find a review of a unit that peaks your interest in all of the age ranges.  Click below to take a look!


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