Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Moving Beyond The Page Review

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Moving Beyond the Page is very unique homeschool curriculum because it was created by a group of ladies that have a mix of professional qualifications as well as real-life homeschool experience. There are 4 amazing authors and you can read more about them here. Each of these ladies is highly qualified in the field of education and passionate about educating children at home. They have all experienced the joy and struggles that come with homeschooling.

A moms review:
If I had to pick my all time favorite curriculum it would definitely be Moving Beyond the Page. We first learned about awesome curriculum last year when we reviewed it as part of the TOS Crew. So when I found out we had yet another chance to review Moving Beyond the Page I was super excited. This year per my daughters request we reviewed Language Arts Package - The Sign of the Beaver - /Online and Social Studies Package - Native Americans.

As you know we are unschoolers so the children choose topics they want to explore and we use various resources, hands on projects and fieldtrips to learn all we can about the topic. Well since Moving Beyond the Page is a literature-based unit study curriculum it is the perfect fit for our family. The curriculum lays out everything for you in a simple, flexible format. And there are a plethora of units to choose from. You can purchase the curriculum as a full package or purchase individual units to use as a supplement with your current curriculum.

There is so much I love about Moving Beyond the Page, that I never know where to begin with my review. So let me first tell you the top two reasons we love it. The first reason is that it is a literature based curriculum that will help your children grow in their love of learning. And the second reason is that Moving Beyond the Page encourages real-world application using project-based instructions. And we love hands on, experiential learning.

There were many units we were able to choose from for this review. After discussing the topics with the children Gwyn choose the Native Americans unit and Sign of the Beaver unit. Native Americans are something she is really passionate about right now and she just can't seem to learn enough about them. These two units are for children ages 8-10 and I used them with my 7 and 8 year old.

About Moving Beyond the Page:
As mentioned above, Moving Beyond the Page can be purchased as a full year curriculum package or purchased individually and used as a supplement. There are Language Arts (vocabulary, grammar, writing, spelling, story elements and figurative language), Science and Social Studies (geography, history, government and culture) concepts for children ages 4-14.

All of the concepts utilize both fiction and non-fiction literature. This use of extensive literature will help your child:
  • understand and internalize ideas,
  • practice reading skills,
  • discuss literary elements,
  • analyze story structure, and
  • learn from characters.
All children will benefit from Moving Beyond the Page, but especially children who are creative, gifted and love a hands on approach. It is a great for curriculum for all learning styles and fabulous for boosting critical and creative thinking skills. And there are tons of challenging and engaging activities, projects and worksheets included. Moving Beyond the Page also meets State and National Standards at each level. However they also strive to enable critical thinking, creativity and higher level thinking making them go above and beyond the Standards.

Did I mention how much I love ALL the flexible options for using and purchasing Moving Beyond the Page? When purchasing the full year curriculum package you can choose from the hard copy student curriculum workbooks or online student curriculum workbooks. The entire package includes EVERYTHING you need. However if you need a more budget friendly option you can choose to eliminate items from the package such as books and manipulatives (which you can buy used, borrow from the library or borrow from a friend). The books are a MUST for the curriculum (so if you will need to borrow or purchase them)!

Each year children explore four concepts that each contain approximately 9 weeks of instruction. Within each concept, they will work through three unit studies. Each unit contains 2-3 weeks of daily lessons. Every unit ends with a final project where your child will finalize the knowledge and skills they have learned in the unit study (like making as scrapbook, etc).

Need an even more budget friendly option? You can purchase individual curriculum units, books and manipulatives to create an eclectic learning experience for you children. This is how I will continue to utilize Moving Beyond the Page. Simply choose the unit studies that your child is most interested in and you're off. If you choose to purchase the individual units you can also choose between the hard copy student workbook or the online student workbook. And you can buy the units with or without the books and manipulatives!

There are many advantages to online student workbook. The first advantage is that it will save you some money. The second advantage is that you can print the student activity pages as many times as needed. This is really helpful if you have multiple students. The online license gives you one use access of the curriculum. Each unit is available to you for 3 months before it expires (the timer begins when you activate it). If you have another child you wish to utilize the program with at a later time Moving Beyond the Page will renew your license for 1/2 price. Or you can just make sure you download or print all of the PDFs before your course expires. Their customer service is fantastic and I even heard that they are very gracious if you need extensions due to extenuating circumstances. The online version worked great on my Android devices as well (which is another huge plus).

There are two great resources for parents the Forum and IdeaShare. The online forum is where you can connect with other homeschooling families and to ask questions in a supportive setting.  IdeaShare is a place to find and share ideas for teaching and supplementing specific lessons. I used IdeaShare a few times. 

More on the two units we received and how we utilized them: 
On the Moving Beyond the Page, FAQs section there are recommended typical day outlines all laid out for you (very helpful if you are using the comprehensive curriculum). Each workbook also includes a "how to Use Moving Beyond the Page" section. We have been utilizing our two units 3-4 times a week. Each day for about 1-2 hours we would work a little bit on the lessons out in our social studies and literature unit.

Because this is a unit study curriculum you can always add and supplement additional resources (books, videos, activities) and fieldtrips. We would work these in on the off days.

There were a few prerequisites (listed below) for the 8-10 age level that my children did not meet, however we were able to easily improvise (see more details below). I highly suggest visiting the Choosing the Right Level page to help you choose the grade level right for your child.
  • Able to read and comprehend chapter books at a 4th or 5th grade reading level
  • Able to write an organized paragraph
  • Usually used by children in third or fourth grade
Sign of the Beaver - literature unit:
Ever wonder what it would be like to live during the 1700's for pioneers and Native Americans? Well this fabulous book examines the relationship between two boys from different cultures who come to appreciate each other. In this fantastic survival story you will learn details about living in the wilderness and the relationships that formed between white settlers and Indians. With each turn of the page the children were on the edge of their seats. They begged me to keep reading more every time we finished a chapter.

We read the book together as read aloud and then we would go over the discussion questions. The children would take turns answering the comprehension questions and I would record their answers. They loved the variety of the activities and worksheet pages but were not too thrilled with all of the handwriting so I had to assist them with several of the worksheets. We skipped the spelling tests for both this unit and the Native Americans unit.

Here are a few of the things we learned about: Maine, natural remedies, relationships, survival, beavers, stereotypes, cause and effect, values, story elements and more.

Native Americas unit - social studies unit:
This unit was the perfect complement to the Sign of the Beaver unit but it can also be use independently. Children learn all about the daily life of Native Americans, their unique culture and their interdependence with the natural world. Two great books came with this unit: ...If You Lived With The Cherokee and The Very First Americans.

This unit also included a variety of activities and worksheets, but the worksheets did not require as much handwriting so they were able to complete most of them on their own . They loved all of the hands on activities in this unit including which included crafts, games and even cooking. Even these activities they could do primarily on their own.

We learned about Native American tribes around the USA, crops, languages, symbols, famous chiefs, the trail of tears and more. The children loves the hands on activities and even expanded on the unit by creating some of their own crafts. We made cornhusk dolls, built a teepee, sang songs, drew symbols, made head pieces and more. We even worked in a few fieldtrips too!

Free resources:
Moving Beyond the Page has lots of samples of their products on their website. Be sure to check them out to see how amazing this curriculum is.

Gwyn (8 yrs old) review:
I loved learning about Native Americans. I learned many things I did not know. I liked The Sign of The Beaver book a lot. We also watched the movie but the book was better. I liked all of the crafts and projects.

Links to follow:
-Moving Beyond the Page Facebook page 

Where to buy:
The Full Year Curriculum Package for age 8-10 is $769.83 for the hard copy curriculum. The online curriculum version is $681.16. Both come with manipulatives and literature. Remember additional options are available like getting curriculum only package (borrowing or buying literature and manipulatives) and purchasing individual units one at a time.

Click here for more Moving Beyond The Page reviews (many different products were reviewed) from the The Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Click to read Crew Reviews

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