Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Progeny Press (A Homeschool Crew Review)

When I was in school, one of my favorite courses was my English classes. Even in college, I enjoyed my college literature classes because it was in those classes that I was given the opportunity to read and enjoy classic literature.  However, last year, my oldest daughter graduated from high school.  In the course of her schooling, I was very disappointed to find that she didn't really read much as far as classic literature.  No Victor Hugo, Leo Tolstoy, Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bronte sisters, Mark Twain, or even William Shakespeare, which were required reading when I was in school.

One of the things I enjoy most with homeschooling is that I can have control over what books my younger kids have to read through their school years.  I want them to learn to read, appreciate and even love classical literature.  Progeny Press allow me as a parent to go well beyond just reading the story with them. Using their study guides to dive deeper into the story using questions and activities, students are able to develop critical thinking skills, interpretation skills and go beyond just the surface of the story.  For the last few weeks, the kids have been using The Green Book - eGuide from Progeny Press to better understand The Green Book by Jill Patton Walsh.

About Progeny Press

Progeny Press is a publishing company who offers E-guides for literature with a Christian perspective. Offering guides for reading levels from early elementary through high school, each of the Progeny Press guides are designed to help students to better understand the story they are reading as well as to recognize the themes presented by the author. The units contain study questions as well as recommended map work, research ideas, vocabulary lessons, and even Biblical verses that tie into the story.

However, what makes Progeny Press different from other literature study guides is that Progeny Press uses Biblical teachings, backed with scripture, to tie the story into practical lessons. While many books contain content or beliefs that do not align with Christian beliefs, Progeny Press guides direct students to instead study what God says about such things so they will be better prepared and strong in their faith when they face such behavior, language, and philosophy in life. 

How We Used It

We reviewed the 57 page  downloadable E-guide version of The Green Book study guide by Rebecca Gilleland as well as a 6 page Answer Key that accompanies the study guide. The chapter book must be purchased separately from the study unit but it is offered for sale on the Progeny Press website. This particular study unit is recommended for Upper Elementary and is recommended to be used for grades 3rd-5th.  I used it with Ash and Garrett as we read through the book together.

The E-Guide is broken down with questions and activities to use with each chapter of the book.  The activities include vocabulary exercises, word searches, crossword puzzles, venn diagrams, and even a mystery message activities that the kids really liked. At the end of each chapter of the E-Guide is various suggestions on projects and activities to do after completion of the book that tie in arts and crafts, cooking and oral reports.  Utilizing these activities helps to tie other subjects such as Science and physical activities into the study.  (The kids especially enjoyed learning about Fire Opals).

I hate saying it, but the kids and I didn't care for the book itself.  Luckily, I'm not reviewing the book.  The study guide, on the other hand, is very nice and we enjoyed all the various activities.  I especially liked the vocabulary activities where the kids had to take a guess at a words meaning based on the context it was used in the story.  I enjoyed listening to the guesses that the kids made and seeing how correct they were.  For example:  the kids were introduced to the word "treacle" from the text "But what he showed us[...]looked a funny hue, as though someone had brushed it over with a layer of treacle."  This was a word the kids had never heard before.   Ashleigh guessed it meant a blanket  while Garrett thought it had something to do with a tree.  Now, they both know that treacle is the British term for molasses.  The study guide has plenty of vocabulary building exercises like that. 

I've used other Progeny Press Study Guides in the past and I have always found them to be well written and thoroughly cover the books main topics.  Each guide really does well to expand beyond just reading the book but also understanding the underlying elements.  But mostly, I am glad that when it comes time for my kids to read Huckleberry Finn, Beowulf, Julius Caesar or Jane Eyre, these guides will be waiting to help them develop a true understanding of Classic Literature.

For more information about Progeny Press and their large selection of literature study guides, visit their website. You can also find them on the following social media platforms:

New Study Guides for Literature From a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Reviews}

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