Moving Beyond the Page – Product Review

I’ve heard a lot of buzz about Moving Beyond the Page, but it wasn’t until recently that I had an opportunity to review some of their products.  I was excited to see what they had to offer in the area of Chemical Change

Our box arrived, complete with lesson guide, the book  Amazing Kitchen Chemistry Projects You Can Build Yourself, and lots of supplies for doing those fun experiments.  The lesson guide is very complete, with step-by-step instructions for each day’s activities.  Work pages reinforce the concepts, and vocabulary highlighted helps increase understanding.  There is a section for Reading & Questions, and the whole lesson is tied up with a “Life Application” suggestion.

The guide itself is a great help for someone like me, whose strong suit is NOT science!  I’m not sure it would be the kind of thing I’d set my kids loose with – especially considering some of the experiments that they need parental supervision on – but it is an excellent map for completing the units.  Just this one unit for ages 10-12  covers:

  • Protons, Neutrons, and Electrons
  • Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures
  • Physical Changes
  • States of Matter
  • Chemical Changes
  • Acids & Bases

The accompanying book – Amazing Kitchen Chemistry – is like a mini-encyclopedia of science, with even more experiments inside.  At $59.41 for the kit, it is possible to buy the supplies (or use household items) more economically.  However, the superior organization and explanation of the guide is well worth the cost.

We also had the opportunity to look at a Language Arts unit for The Giver by Lois Lowry.  Time did not allow us to finish the unit, but the quality of the book was every bit as good as the Science kit.  I appreciated the attention to grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and writing skills, while really digging into the story chapter by chapter.  The Study Guides for literature are comparable to others on the market, but without quite so much repetition.

One great thing about the company is their online or print options.  For Study Guides like The Giver, parents can buy the print version for $23.98 or get it online for $19.92.  The online version is ideal for printing just what you need for the day, or making an extra copy so you can work together!

From their website:

Moving Beyond the Page is a complete homeschool curriculum. Your children will grow in their love of learning through our literature-based curriculum that

I firmly believe that children who need to be engaged and are overflowing with creativity are ideal for this program.  I can imagine that going through the units consecutively would provide a solid educational foundation.  Cost is a factor, as each unit only covers a few weeks, but when compared with umbrella schools and other school-in-a-box curriculums, Moving Beyond the Page does a wonderful job of making learning fun and exciting.

You can read more experiences right HERE,at SchoolhouseReviewCrew.com, and in the words of Reading Rainbow’s Levar Burton, “Don’t just take my word for it!”  Read these other great reviews by parent educators like me!

DISCLAIMER


“Handwriting Without Tears” Lives Up To Name

A common complaint among home educators is the difficulty in getting their students to practice handwriting skills.  It seems there’s nothing more dull than sitting down for a long page of copy work.   In our family, we’ve tried many programs, all touting the *fun* and *excitement* that children will have by using their system.  Not one of them delivered.

That all changed with the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum.  My son  has been using the 3rd Grade Program for several weeks, and while I wouldn’t call it “fun and exciting”, he absolutely does NOT dread doing his handwriting pages!  This is a major obstacle for him to overcome.  He’s struggled with printing all his young life, lacking the fine motor skills to do it easily.  (For the record, it isn’t just holding pencils that is troublesome, but using scissors and similar tools as well.)  Suddenly, with using Handwriting Without Tears, he’s breezing through his exercises and starting to write with confidence.

Just a few of the opportunities in Handwriting Without Tears:

  • Video lessons online
  • A+ Worksheet Maker
  • Handwriting Proficiency Screener
  • Student & Teacher Workbooks for 36 Lessons
  • Cross-curricular and ELL connections
  • Aligned to National and Common Core State Standards
  • Affordability – Teacher’s Edition is $9.25, Student Workbook is $8.25

Why does Handwriting Without Tears work so much better than other programs?  To quote their website, “The Handwriting Without Tears® curriculum draws from years of innovation and research to provide developmentally appropriate, multisensory tools and strategies for your classroom. The program follows research that demonstrates children learn more effectively by actively doing, with materials that address all styles of learning.”

What this statement translates to is that kids practice forming the letters in a variety of ways, using multiple senses, in humorous, non-threatening ways that let each student achieve small successes every day.  My son feels that the exercise pages are achievable.  I believe it is largely because the letter and word formations are broken down into such small bites that he knows he is having success from the top of the page.  In addition, the instructional method is such that errors are practically nonexistent.  He has had difficulty with letter reversals and writing from the “bottom up”, but those bad habits have disappeared.  Really!  I’ve watched him move his pencil from one line to the next, following the HWT guides, and it has corrected his poor print habits!

Handwriting Without Tears is geared for Kindergarten through 3rd grade, and while I’m grateful for getting to repair the damage done in early years, I really wish I had had this tool from the beginning.  HWT has even released a tablet app for early learners that appears amazing in getting kids enthused about writing, and getting it right from the start.

Lessons for the teacher are easy to follow, with lots of ideas for expanding the learning and offering even more opportunities to integrate handwriting skills into the daily program.  For under$20, a teacher and student set can be purchased that will take you through a whole year without the fighting to practice handwriting.  That is well worth it to me!

I had thought that we would be stuck with poor handwriting forever, and that cursive writing would be lost from the start, but I really do have new faith in our ability to make handwriting an easy part of our routine.  Don’t let the simplicity of the cover and design fool you – this curriculum is pure gold!

You can read more experiences right HERE, at SchoolhouseReviewCrew.com, and in the words of Reading Rainbow’s Levar Burton, “Don’t just take my word for it!”  Read these other great reviews by parent educators like me!

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for
my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with
the FTC Regulations.

Homeschool Curriculum Reviews

Hello Learning Lovers!  This past year I did a series on homeschooling methods and current educational approaches.  However, the most common question I get asked is, “What curriculum are you using?”  Now, it’s my personal belief that anyone who homeschools for a few years evolves toward the Eclectic method (“Magpie Syndrome” isn’t that much of a confidence-building term…), but it’s safe to say that I’ve used a fair number of programs out there.  (Do NOT open that closet door without protective head gear and a full-body shield!)

collector

collector (Photo credit: wilgengebroed)

I’m really hoping to be included in the The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Review Crew, evaluating and commenting (right here!) on some of the options out there for us book-junkies.  While I’m waiting to hear back on that, I’ve had another little opportunity to share an education tidbit with you.

Time4Learning has invited me to try their online curriculum for 30 days in exchange for an honest review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so come back and read about my experiences. Visit them for information about lesson plans, homeschool portfolios or writing your own curriculum review.

Stay tuned, and Keep Learning!