During the past few weeks, my boys and I have had the pleasure of reviewing a “new to us” curriculum from Moving Beyond the Page.
Each reviewer from the Schoolhouse Review Crew was given two different unit studies, a language arts unit and either a social studies or science unit. One was a physical copy, and the other was an online unit study, with the necessary books being mailed to us.
My family received Unit 3, “American Heroes” (Language Arts), and “People Change the World” (Social Studies). These are both geared for ages 7 – 9, and are designed to work together, although any of the units sold by Moving Beyond the Page can also be stand alone products. In our case, the language arts unit was the one we received as an online unit, and the social studies unit was the physical copy mailed to us. This way, we would get a good look at how each works, and be able to tell you what we thought of each method.
Here is a picture of what we received, for use with both units.
As you can see, we received the printed copy of the social studies curriculum “People Change the World“, and the accompanying story books “The Starry Messenger” by Peter Sis and “Miss Rumphius” by Barbara Cooney. The Social Studies unit we received sells for $32.97 if you want the physical copy mailed to you, and $28.91 if you wish to purchase the online version. We also received a physical copy of the book “50 American Heroes” by Dennis Denenberg and Lorraine Roscoe. As I said before, we received the online version of the language arts unit, which sells for $ 27.88, while the physical copy sells for $$31.94.
The only big differences between the online version and the physical copy were that with the online version, the curriculum and worksheets are online, so I read the lessons on my tablet and then printed out whatever activity sheets were necessary for each lesson, whereas with the physical copy, all of that was in the printed curriculum book. Because of copyright issues, you cannot make copies of the activity sheets from the book, which is the one downside to the printed version. However, the one downside to the online version is that you have access for only three months. Now, each unit is designed to be finished within about three weeks, so of course, that does give you plenty of time to complete your unit, but personally, my whole goal in purchasing online, downloadable material, is so that it can be used again with younger siblings. With access being given only for a few months, it feels more as if it’s a rental than a purchase. At the same time, because the download version is licensed to a family, you may print out activity pages for each child doing the unit, while the printed version doesn’t permit that.
In our case, we do a LOT of things as a group, because I have special needs children. Between that, and the fact that I am STILL recovering from surgery, and mostly stuck on the couch with my feet on pillows, we did this as a group, and mostly orally, which is one way I tweak a lot of curriculum to fit the abilities of my children. When there was an activity page that could be printed out that they were able to handle, that’s what we did.
Each day, my boys would gather around in the family room and listen while I read to them from the lessons. I read the story books out loud to them as well. Although most of the actual activities were too much for them, we WERE able to go through them orally, as a group, which led to lots of good discussions, and questions. In fact, pretty much every day when their dad got home from work, all of the boys went on their own and told him all about what they had learned, and talked about that day while doing these units. 🙂
Here are all of my boys working on an assignment . . .
In this assignment, they were matching contractions to the words they were made from, and then writing sentences that went with what they had learned that day, with each sentence containing one contraction from the list on their activity page. Off to the side, you can see a stack of drawings. They had each drawn three pictures of inventions or discoveries they felt had changed the world, an assignment from that day’s social studies lesson. Not surprisingly, each and every one of them chose television as one of the inventions! 🙂
From the website:
“All children can benefit from our unique approach to education. This is especially true for hands-on, creative, and gifted learners. A traditional or classical approach will often leave these children bored and uninspired.”
Now, my children are not considered “gifted” children, but even so, they did get quite a lot out of both of these units. I was actually very surprised, frankly, because I wasn’t sure at all that even with major tweaking (which I often need to do with purchased curriculum), that they would be able to handle it. But, I am very pleased to tell you that even with a curriculum that states right up front that it is at least in part geared to “gifted” students, if you take the time to do it in a different way, your special needs children can learn from this, too. My children learned more in-depth about several people (Harriet Tubman, Galileo, etc) than they might have otherwise, BECAUSE we did these units orally, and because I was stuck on the couch and couldn’t do much of anything else, we had the time to devote to their questions, and their discussions. My children were interested and eager each day to get to these units, which makes me happy, because as most of you already know, I am a firm believer that there is no reason at all that learning cannot, or should not, be enjoyable, if that is at all possible. My boys enjoyed this, so I enjoyed it, too.
To read what my fellow crew mates thought of this and other units from Moving Beyond the Page, please click the graphic below!