Classic Literature e-guide {a TOS review}

For the past several weeks Connor and I have been using an e-guide for the classic book, Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner.  This Christian English guide is offered, along with many other guides, by Progeny Press.

Progeny Press offers study material for lower and upper elementary as well as middle and high school levels.  Their unit studies are offered in several formats:  printed workbook, CD or a downloadable e-guide.  The CD and e-guides are interactive, meaning your student can type right on the document and save his/her work.

Along with the guides, Progeny Press sells the novels you will need in either audio or paperback.

What I received was the digital version of the 65 page study guide for Stone Fox as well as the teacher's answer key.  This guide is found in the "upper elementary" section of the website, which is intended for grades 3-6.

Progeny Press Review

The study begins with a short little blurb about the authors of the guide, followed by a peer review panel.  A note to the instructor briefly describes how to use the guide and at the end indicates that, at the high school level, colleges that assess homeschool transcripts will usually accept one-fourth credit per guide completed.  Even though we are not at the high school level I thought this was something to definitely note for future reference.
Following the note to the instructor is a quick synopsis of the book and a note about the book's author.
Background information is next, which I particularly liked as it gave us a clearer picture of the book we were about to read and it tied into the pre-reading activities given.  A map of the United States is given, following the pre-reading ideas, so I printed this off and set Connor to work locating and labeling as is first assignment. 
We located the Indian Reservations, Yellowstone and the city of Jackson.

Afterwards I had Connor begin to read the book.  He finished it rather quickly (in one afternoon) because he just loved the story.  He was a little shocked with the ending, but still came away with an overall good feeling. 
We carried on with the guide at this point, with our first assignment being on vocabulary found in chapters 1 and 2.
The e-guide, as I said before, is interactive in that your student can type right in the document and save.  Connor is just entering the 3rd grade and while his reading and comprehension is advanced, his writing is behind - so this is an excellent feature.  Even so, I opted to print the pages we would use for the day and we went over them together, with answer given to me orally. 
Some of the things we accomplished with the guide were: 
  • characterization that the author uses and thoughts on why
  • biblical perspective on emotions such as grieving or sadness
  • looking words up in a dictionary and learning the synonyms and antonyms
  • fact vs opinion
  • biblical perspective on tax collecting and debt
  • similes and metaphors
  • vocabulary presented as fill in the blank, multiple choice, or use in a sentence
  • comprehension of the story
  • cause/effect

After completing the study of each chapter there is an overview provided to use as a test or as another discussion.  There's a puzzle game and ideas for essays or projects.  Connor is on the youngest end of the recommended grade range so we skipped the essays for now.

The post-reading activities provided had some wonderful ideas for us to further expand our little unit study.  Connor went on to read about potatoes with two picture books we happened to have in our home library.  We also began to learn sign language, as suggested, and Connor is having so much fun with that and is so proud of his progress.

If I had a do-over I would still choose to review Progeny Press, but I would definitely choose the lower elementary, for grades K-3 because much of this was way over Connor's head.  He still greatly enjoyed the book, and said the guide was fun and he liked talking about things with me.

What I loved most with the digital guide is having options.  We could type in answers, or chose from a drop down list for multiple choice.  In addition I could print out pages we would need for the day if we weren't going to be at the computer.  This proved most useful when we went on a mini-vacation.  I just printed up a couple pages and we were able to continue on with our study on our down time.

We do plan on using Progeny Press again, but in the lower elementary section so it's a little easier on Connor and we can include little sister.  There are so many great choices, several of which are already on our "to read" list.

To see what the other reviewers had to say about Progeny Press, and to see what great choices they studied, click the banner below:
Progeny Press Review

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