Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Moving Beyond the Page {Schoolhouse Review}

I love to investigate homeschool curriculum, and Moving Beyond the Page is something that has caught my eye more than once.  Moving Beyond the Page is a literature-based curriculum that is geared towards creative, hands-on and gifted learners.  It is a different style of teaching than I am used to doing, but I was still intrigued.

Moving Beyond the Page sells complete curriculum, but they also sell individual units so you can customize your studies or supplement your current curriculum.  They were generous enough to allow the Schoolhouse Review Crew to choose two of their many units to review!

I chose the Language Arts Unit Tornado and the Science Unit Amazing Weather, which can be used separately, but are designed to be used together as complimentary units to study the Environment.  Moving Beyond the Page classifies units by a general age range, and both of these are from the 7-9 age range, and include everything you need for a full study.  I did these units with my 6 year old, so I did more reading aloud and oral assignments to adjust for the age difference.

Language Arts

"Enjoy a story about the special friendship between a boy and his dog.  Experience the effects of weather on farm life." ~ Description from Moving Beyond the Page website

With approximately three weeks of daily lesson plans, the Tornado unit includes:
  • Tornado Teacher's Guide
  • Tornado by Betsy Byars
  • How the Turtle Got Its Shell - Tales From Around the World {a Little Golden Book}
The Physical Unit is $24.97, or $20.91 for the Online Unit.

For language arts, I received a full physical  unit.  The Teacher's Guide is a spiral bound book with the lesson plans and student activity pages included.  One negative to the physical copy is that pages are not perforated so it makes them difficult to remove, and they cannot be copied.  You can buy a separate set of student activity pages if you want to have access to your Guide while your student is working, if you've used your student pages and want to reuse a unit for a younger sibling, or for multiple students working together.

Some of the activities we explored as an introduction or extension to the book Tornado were discussing farm life, learning about the area of the United States called Tornado Alley, and working on language topics like main ideas, punctuation and choosing descriptive words.

One of the things I liked, but adapted for our family, was the daily journal.  The idea was to respond to each reading in a student journal.  We are Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, and prefer oral narrations at this age, so I asked for an oral narration in place of the journal entry.  I felt like this kept the integrity of the activity while still fitting our family's needs.  Overall, I found the program to be very flexible in this way.

This was a fitting book for us as my son is forming a strong bond with our family dog, and we live adjacent to the family farm where my husband grew up.  It's interesting to see how he relates things he's learned from this unit to things that he sees happening around him.

Amazing Weather

Amazing Weather
"In this unit, your child will explore why weather in the environment changes. She will learn how scientists measure the weather, and she will even build her own weather tools. Throughout the unit, she will keep a daily log of the weather in her environment."  ~ Description from Moving Beyond the Page website

This unit includes the following:
  • Amazing Weather Teacher's Guide (online)
  • On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer and Frane Lessac
  • Weather and Climate - Geography Facts and Experiments by Barbara Taylor
  • Boiling Point Thermometer

It is s $29.91 for the Online Unit or $33.97 for the full Physical Unit.

I received the online teacher's guide for the science unit.  It includes all of the lesson plans, and you can print the PDF student activity pages in one file, or as you need them straight from the lesson.  The printable online units seem more appropriate and cost-effective for multiple students working together at the same time.

One perk of the online lessons is that directly within each lesson is a button called IdeaShare.  If other parents have submitted ideas for extending that lesson, there will be ideas/links for you to explore.

Just a few activities included in the lessons were discussing temperature and reading thermometers, keeping weather logs, identifying changes in weather over time, and learning scientific terminology related to weather.  My little science-lover enjoyed expanding his vocabulary!

There were many opportunities to hypothesize and experiment.  I really appreciated the weather logs, because I felt like it brought attention to an area of nature study that we had previously neglected.

The final project was a fantastic way to revisit everything learned, and practice public speaking skills!  If it had been during the school year, this would have been a fun activity to share during project day!

Final Thoughts

  • The teacher's guide was well laid out and easy to follow 
  • This was a great isolated summer study for us, but I can definitely see how these units would make excellent supplements to other curricula
  • I felt it was a little heavy on the worksheets for our preference, but the science unit offered more hands-on interaction with the subject matter
  • We're relaxed Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, so we appreciated the literature based approach, but these were definitely designed for the unit study family.  That being said, it was still fun!
  • I love that Moving Beyond the Page recognizes children have individual needs, interests and learning styles, and may be at varying levels for each subject, so you can pick and choose which language arts, social studies and science units will be right for your situation
  • Easy to customize and use for more than one child, because you can pick and choose activities within the units for their developmental needs

We enjoyed the book selections, and particularly enjoyed the science activities.  I will definitely keep Moving Beyond the Page in mind when I'm looking for science supplements!

Want to Know More?
Request a catalog
View samples

Also, be sure to check out what my Crew mates think of the various Literature, Science and Social Studies units for all ages!

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