Sunday, April 21, 2013

Progeny Press Review

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 photo a64736b1384e26ea12427c_m_zpsd85a8791.jpg photo a64739f13876d7e650edf3_m_zps62f7a3c9.jpg We have been using Progeny Press study guides for years and absolutely love them.  The company was founded by Michael and Rebecca Gilleland who continue to edit and review each new study guide that is created to be sure it adheres to the guidelines and mission of the company.  There are over 100 study guides for all ages but, for the purposes of this review, we were able to use the Golden Goblet Study Guide for middle school and Beowulf Study Guide for high school.  We had Beowulf at home to use with a different study and borrowed The Golden Goblet from the library.

I chose The Golden Goblet because Paige, my 5th grader, loves Egyptian history.  She has not enjoyed this book, however.  Not enjoying the book makes it a little bit more difficult to enjoy the study.  I had been making her read it by herself.  In the past week after discussions with some friends, I am going to be changing the way I do school with Paige, so I will be reading the book along with her.  In an effort to catch up to where she is, I read the book on our trip from Florida to Pennsylvania.  I actually really enjoy the book.  Now, I know this review is not about the book but the study guide.  Since I myself have now read the book, the study guide makes more sense to me.  I have always liked the fact that there is a section on vocabulary for each chapter.  It is presented in different ways so as not to become boring.  Sometimes there is a crossword puzzle.  Sometimes they look at different parts of speech like antonyms and synonyms.  Paige doesn't like looking up the vocabulary words so, when one of her vocabulary words shows up in life when not related to school, I like to remind her that she just learned it in her study guide.  This helps her see the application of these vocabulary words.

The guides always have questions about the chapter that has been read for reading comprehension.  Paige was able to answer these questions pretty well for the most part.  She fared much better when I allowed her to read the questions before she read the chapter.  That way she could pay attention while she read and look for the answers and write them down right away.

There are many other activities in the study guides besides vocabulary and reading comprehension questions.  The "Dig Deeper" section has the student look up various Scripture references and tie them to something read in the book such as when passages about lying are discussed.
Sections on Egyptian culture allow the student to learn more about the history than just what they learn by reading the fiction book.  There are also notebook projects.  The student is encouraged to make a notebook and include things like extra vocabulary, learning about Egyptian gods and goddesses, the dress, hairstyle, preparations for the dead.  Optional activities include some fun ideas like visiting a jewelry store or an artist's studio to see how they make gold jewelry like Ranofer did in the book.

The CD and instant download are each $16.99.  The printed book is $18.99.  The physical book, The Golden Goblet, is also available for $6.99.  The answer key is included with each study guide.

Jacob, my 9th grader, used the Beowulf study guide.  He actually likes the book and understands it even though it is in the form of poetry.  There is a great deal of information related to the historical context of Beowulf at the beginning of the study guide.  The lessons are broken down by lines.  Vocabulary is included at the beginning of each and is presented in different ways, including word searches and crossword puzzles.  Students are asked questions.  They are given the chance to analyze various literary elements such as alliteration in the reading.  Scripture references are included in the high school study guides as well.  Optional activities include such things as researching Anglo-Saxon "rune markings" and researching dragons.

There are so many different things included in these study guides.  There is no need to do everything, but there are certainly enough activities to keep the student busy and learning.

The high school study guides are a little bit more expensive.  The CD and instant downloads are $18.99, and the printed booklet is $21.99.  The answer key is included as well.

I have used the downloadable forms of these study guides.  In my opinion, paying the few extra dollars would be worth it to not have to use your own ink to print these out.

I have learned that four high school study guides count as 1 credit for high school.  I have already purchased our four study guides for next year.

Not all of the books are Christian in nature.  You need to be aware that some books have swear words and vivid descriptions.  I would be sure to check out the book first before you commit to buying one of the study guides.  The study guides, however, are above reproach and discuss topics with a biblical perspective.

I highly recommend these study guides to anyone looking for a great literature approach to their language arts' program.

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