{Schoolhouse Review} ~ Progeny Press

Literature is a huge part of our schooling. And I love using unit study-type learning when I teach. This particular study comes from Progeny Press and is focused on the book Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater. The product is Mr. Popper's Penguins E-Guide and it comes as a digital download.

You might recognize Progeny Press; I went back into my blog archives and I have reviewed three other different literature studies by them over the years:

What It Is:

This is a literature study meant for grades 4th through 6th. Mr. Popper's Penguins is a lovely story about an ordinary house painter who loves anything Antarctica. His dream comes true when someone offers him a male penguin from the South Pole. That leads to getting another penguin, a female, and then yup, soon there are ten more little penguins running around. The twelve penguins are eating them out of their home so Mr. Popper decides to train them to do a circus act. The story follows them through their adventures and finally ends when the Poppers realize that the penguins will be most happy in a new home in the North Pole. This timeless story was written in 1938 and continues to be a read aloud favorite.

Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press  Review}
The book is not included in the E-Guide, but can be purchased from Progeny Press.

Mr. Popper's Penguins E-Guide is opened with Adobe Acrobat. I received two downloads - one was the actual study and the other was the answer key. I really appreciated there being two separate files; my kids are smart homeschoolers and can easily look up answers if the answer key is in the same file. Having separate files keeps that temptation at bay.

The guide is interactive, meaning that students can either enter answers into the computer, or print out the worksheet pages and write it in by hand. In the study guide, the book is divided into 6 sections. Each sections covers 4 chapters of the139 page book.

Each section has sub sections as follows:

Vocabulary - Activities include putting a vocabulary word into a sentence, determining from context the meaning of words, looking up words in a dictionary, matching words, and more. Some words are: debris, neglected, ventilating, stupor, and predict.

Questions - short answer questions about the story line that can be answered in a sentence or two.

Think About the Story - These questions are more thought-type questions that can be answered in two to three sentences.

Dig Deeper - These questions focus on the characters and the reasoning of their actions. Many times these questions asked the students to look up a verse or two of scripture and compare it to the actions in the book.

Optional Activities - Hands on learning is the best! In this section there are suggestions that range from making maps, writing assignments, historical notes and suggestions for further study, and discussion ideas.

The study is meant to be completed in about ten weeks.

How We Used This:

I decided to use this with the younger two girls. The guide suggests having your child read the book in its entirety before beginning the sections. But since Nutsy is right at the 3rd-4th grade reading level I decided that I wanted to use this as a read-aloud, so we went through the sections as we read through the book.

Literature time is one of my "School Musts", and along with Bible and Math, needs to happen every day we do school. So it was very easy to plop ourselves on the couch and read for a good 20 minutes. The girls would draw pictures of what I was reading.

After we read the first four chapters, we started in on section one. I loved learning the vocabulary words that we had just been reading in the story. Some days I required the girls to hand write their answers and other days we did the questions orally. We aimed to do one page of the study guide per day. One day, the vocabulary section asked them to write a sentence using the words, so I had them do it as their handwriting for the day.

And I did ask all of the Dig Deeper questions orally - we found that it did encourage conversations and further thinking about the story.

One question had the students examine Mr. Popper's prideful attitude about his penguins. Good pride (in Christ, in faith) and bad pride (before men, or pride in sin) is discussed. There is section where there are Bible verses listed - and are conveniently written out - that the students read and then decide if they are talking about good or bad pride.

What We Thought:

Going over the above Bible lesson as part of the lesson is why I love Progeny Press. When I teach, I cannot imagine not examining everything to scripture. And Progeny Press is an excellent tool that studies high quality literature but yet also focuses on the Bible.

My girls loved doing this study. Looking back at the other titles I have reviewed I did notice that I usually taught Progeny Press at the higher levels (middles school or high school). This was the first elementary one I have reviewed and I did notice one thing. I realized as we moved through the guide that I was hoping for more hands-on activities. There were a few scattered throughout - my girls loved making a map of the world and playing a fun penguin egg game - but I did wish there were more suggestions for hands-on learning.

There are suggestions to make some items, such as a poster board or display, but I would have loved to have seen templates for such a board and more hands-on, artsy activities.

But honestly that is really a small thing. Progeny Press does such a great job of making literature come alive and through the questions, incredible discussions come about. I loved the depth of the vocabulary words and the variety of the worksheets. And I especially loved the focus on scripture and good character.

At the end of the study is an overview, which can used as a test. There are also pages of additional suggested activities that can be used to further study Antarctica, penguins, historical explorers, and 1930's America.

I was quite happy once again with Progeny Press! They do an amazing job of creating literature studies with new ones coming out every month.

There are many other titles that other Crew members reviewed that range from Early Elementary all the way through High School. Click below to read what they all thought too!

Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press  Review}

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  1. nice to see some of the work your children did. I also appreciated how you suggested how it could fit in with other studies.

  2. Thanks Annette, for stopping by!


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