Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Product Review: Moving Beyond The Page

When you shop for homeschooling curriculum (which is on my mind right now since it is summer) do you ever wish that you could just buy one item and have everything you would need to complete the course?

Well I was given exactly that to review from Moving Beyond the Page. I received two units from them; the science unit Work, Tools, and Simple Machines; and a language art unit on the book A Single Shard.


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What It Is:

First off, what is Moving Beyond the Page? Well to put it in a nutshell, it is a complete homeschool curriculum. This creative, hands-on approach is perfect for those textile learners and gifted students who thrive when their education goes beyond a textbook. Within each year of study are four concepts (for example: matter and movement, or similarities or differences). And within each concept are three units; which include science, social studies (history), and literature. You can choose to use Moving Beyond the Page as your main curriculum and go through each year, or you can supplement your own curriculum choices with individual units. You can read more about how to use this resource as a main curriculum on their website. Each unit takes between 2 and 3 weeks to complete; to see all the individual units by age, click here.

Work, Tools, and Simple Machines, which is meant for ages 8-10, is divided into 7 lessons; these include:
  • Work
  • The Six Simple Machines
  • The Incline Plane
  • The Screw and the Wedge
  • Lever, Pulley, and Wheel and Axle
  • Tools and Machines Make Work Easier
  • Tools and Machines Over Time
Each of the above lessons is divided into days, so there is no confusion as to the schedule. Each lesson includes activities and experiments, discussion ideas, thought questions, with the answers conveniently given, and applicable worksheets. With this science package we also received Science In a Nutshell: Plane and Simple. This gave the hands-on aspect to this curriculum and included everything we needed for the experiments.



A Single Shard is a literature unit, meant for ages 11-13. I received the online version, which is accessible on the website. The online version comes with lessons, student activity pages, reading and question pages, vocabulary lists, and a review sheet. You can conveniently choose to either print out the pages or, type them into fields and then print the worksheets. Throughout the online program are helpful website and Adobe links that can be used for further study.




What You Get:

The units vary in price. The science unit, Work, Tools, and Simple Machines is sold for $61.99. The book is laid out in an organized way; with the teacher's guide and worksheets in order by lesson. The bulk of the cost is the Science In A Nutshell box which contains an incline plane, a screw eye, washers, wooden shapes, a spring scale, clay, and much more. There is an Activity Guide, which has experiment instructions for the parent, and three Activity Journals for the students to fill in.

The Single Shard Language Arts Package, which comes with the online curriculum guide and a physical copy of the book, is $19.92. The online guide has everything you need, including a Handy Guide to Writing and Grammar, a Summary of Skills, and a How To Page. You can see sample pages of the online version here.

How We Use This:

First off, the science unit. This I deliberately chose between Dasher and Nutsy's age range, with the intent of using it with both of them. Each day the three of us sat down and followed the lesson plan. Had Nutsy been a bit older and writing better, I would have bought her a guide to fill in as well, which you can purchase for $16.99 on their website. Using suggestions from the guide we would discuss the activity, and then follow the instructions to do the experiments. I found the length of the daily lessons to be perfect for their ages; we spent 20-45 minutes a day on this unit. The Science In A Nutshell really had almost everything we needed in it; I only had to produce things we had around the house like a toy car, glue, tape, a bar of soap, and scissors.

As an overview of the six simple machines, they cut out all these everyday tools and machines, then organized them by type.






A cassette tape, which in case you were wondering, is a wheel and axle.


All the different screw machines...if you look hard you'll find one that doesn't belong. :-)



We used the lever and triangular piece to make a wedge, and then raced things down it and compared the angle of the lever to distance the object traveled.




The worksheets were one page long and had age appropriate questions.



 We took a couple of extra days to do a few of the lessons and finished the course up in about three and a half weeks. ( The suggested schedule would take you 14 days to complete.) Each unit has a final project, and this particular one was to give a presentation to an audience about simple machines. Dasher created a poster board with the six different machines she learned about and then gave a verbal overview of each machine and demonstrated how each worked.


The Literature unit, A Single Shard, I gave to Bookworm to do.



The online guide suggests reading a couple of chapters and then doing the lesson, but I know she sat up the first night and read the whole book. The book is a wonderful story about a poor Korean boy who dreams of working with pottery and becomes an apprentice to a great potter. Through the story there are strong character traits that emerge; faithfulness, hard work, and honesty are prevalent. I gave this to her to work on independently. Each day she logged onto the website and read the overview and completed the activities. She chose to print out the worksheets and fill them in herself. Her final project was to write an essay comparing and contrasting the apprentice and the master potter. She completed this unit in three weeks.


What We Thought:

In the Work, Tools, and Simple Machines unit I really appreciated that all the tools I needed to complete the experiments were in the science box. That, with the daily schedule, streamlined this unit and made it super easy to teach. There were a couple of suggested experiments that I had a hard time understanding (a photo or illustration would have been helpful), but after reading it through a few times I got the idea. The hands down, favorite experiment was The Whipping Cream Experiment, where we used a fork, whisk, and electric mixer to whip up different bowls of cream. We had a hypothesis, results, and a conclusion, and decided which method produced the thickest cream. (The mixer, of course.) I feel that both girls came away with a better understanding about machines and how much we use them every day. The projects were very age appropriate and gave a hands on way to learn about science.

Bookworm loved reading A Simple Shard. She enjoyed the literature guide; although at times she felt it was a bit tedious. This unit has a focus on pronoun and antecedents and has many grammatical exercises enforcing the concept. There were fun activities interspersed; including a kimchi recipe, mapwork, and places for creative drawing. I really appreciated the depth of the essay in the final project. There was an essay rubric, or checklist, which was extremely helpful. The activity pages also included an essay organizer, and a convenient page listing editing symbols and abbreviations. This unit also had an end of the book test, which help me as the teacher judge how much of the unit she had grasped.

I really liked these units. The whole program is very flexible; you can purchase an entire year of curriculum, or each unit separately. Doing the program as a whole is very appealing, as each unit is interconnected with other units within the main concept. And Moving Beyond the Page is your one stop shop for everything, as packages can be purchased with all literature books and supplement materials included. On the website you can shop by age, or by subject.

Other members of the Crew reviewed many other literature, social studies, and science units. check out what they thought by clicking below.

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2 comments:

  1. This is an excellent review, Charlotte! I loved all the details and the explanations and photos. Thanks so much!

    Kate

    ReplyDelete