Saturday, March 17, 2012

TOS Review - Progeny Press

I love to read, and my kids love to read too.  I think gaining perspective from good literature is a wonderful way to learn, but my kids aren't always easy to convince, and sometimes I just run short of ideas on how to incorporate literature into our learning.  So I was glad that we had the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with Progeny Press and their Study Guides during a recent review.


Progeny Press provides over 100 study guides for literature, for all ages.  The guides focus on critical thinking, comprehension, literary analysis, and Christian application.  And all with the goal of teaching children to think clearly, to rely on Scripture, and to enjoy themselves while studying literature!  The titles currently available include a wide variety of selections, from The Bronze Bow to Beowulf, Charlotte's Web to Pride and Prejudice.  (You can see all of the study guides in the online catalog.)

We chose to do a middle school level book, The Cay by Theodore Taylor.  Landon read the book and worked on answering the questions in the interactive .pdf study guide.  I was glad that Landon read through the book quickly and seemed to enjoy it, and judging from what he's done in the study guide, he understood many of the themes and didn't read it just superficially.


Normally I'm not a big fan of downloadable products, but I really do like the interactive .pdf format.  Landon was much more willing to type in answers than to write them down, so I think I got more out of him.  He is still a man of few words though!  The middle school level guides are intended to take somewhere around eight to ten weeks, and we took less time than that for this review, but still managed to get quite a bit out of the study guide.  The guide gives a synopsis of the book, tells a bit about the author and background of the book, and suggests a number of activities to do prior to reading.  Then the study guide is presented - ours had a set of questions and activities that covered two chapters at a time, with each set of questions about seven pages long.  The study guide covered vocabulary, comprehension questions about the story, discovery of literary devices used in the story, discussion and deeper thinking questions that guided the student to make inferences and comparisons, and Scripture references and questions that encourage Biblical thinking about the book's themes.  Optional activities are also included - things like writing poetry, doing map work and research.  A number of essay and project suggestions are made at the end of the study guide as well.  This really provides a very thorough study of literature!

I suspect we will be turning to Progeny Press again in the future for study guides of other literature.  This guide was so well constructed and thorough, without compromising the ability to read the book for enjoyment while working through the study materials.

What we liked best...

  • very user-friendly and adaptable.  We could have used it together and read the book aloud.  
  • for individual use, the interactive .pdf format was great
  • in-depth study of literary devices and background
  • Scripture study that encourages life application
What we weren't crazy about...
  • Landon was not at all interested in doing any of the essays or creative writing projects that were suggested.  Of course, he wouldn't have had to do all of them even if this had been our main course of study!  But there were a lot of suggestions for extra activities and writing, which was overwhelming to a student that is a reluctant writer.
Would your homeschool benefit from studying literature from a Christian perspective? Here's what you need to know...

Progeny Press study guides are available in four levels: Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School and High School.  The guides can be purchased in print version, on CD in .pdf format, and via email as a .pdf attachment.  Study guides cost from $10.99 to $27.99 - see the Progeny Press catalog for individual pricing and all the titles available.  The novels are NOT included with the study guide, and in addition to the novel, the student may need a dictionary, thesaurus, a Bible, and research materials.

You can also visit the Progeny Press FAQ page for more information.

Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog for more information, and to read other Crew member reviews.

Note: As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, we received a complimentary download of this complete study guide in exchange for our honest opinions.


tammy said...

Kristin did Johnny Tremain this year and is now halfway through Holes. I used Progeny Press Guides back with my boys, but they didn't have the computer version. I do love the computer version, because Kristin is also more willing to type her answers as opposed to writing them out. For the extra activities/writing assignments we read and discuss....instead of actually doing a written assignment. :)

Homeschooling6 said...

Stopping by to say I love your blog =)

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