Moving Beyond The Page {Review}

Thrift Schooling
Moving Beyond the Page Review

Moving Beyond the Page is a research-based curriculum that strives to challenge students to reach their highest potential in education. This is a complete curriculum, however, individual units in the areas of language, history or science can also be purchased separately. They can be used as unit studies in addition to your regular studies. Depending on your preference, you can purchase an online curriculum guide package with physical elements mailed to you that coincide. Or, if you prefer the hard copy curriculum guide package, that is available as well! For our online experience, we chose the Language Arts Package: Tornado / Online and our hard copy package was the Social Studies Package: Communities Change Over Time.

Moving Beyond the Page causes children to think critically, use research and create with their own hands, in a literature-rich environment. Although opportunities are provided in every lesson to work on physical worksheets, the highlight of the program is when the child literally moves beyond the page, using the world as their classroom!

Social Studies Package: Communities Change Over Time
Ages 7-9

What is Included:

 Physical Curriculum Guide

 A Street Through Time 
by Dr. Anne Millard and Steve Noon

by Paul Fleischman and Kevin Hawkes
This unit consists of nine engaging lessons.
Communities Change
Elements of Culture
What is a Civilization?
A Street Through Time
Cultures Around The World
Ancient Civilizations
Medieval Times
America Yesterday and Today
Technology and Transportation

The way it works is you receive the materials listed above in the mail. The guide is 121 pages long and includes a write up on how to use the program, a list of the required books/materials by unit, a list of vocabulary words with definitions, and detailed lesson plans. Within the lesson plans are both the information for the teacher and the worksheets needed for the student. The book is consumable, you are not allowed to make copies, so one needs to be purchased for each student. The way that I used this with my seven year old was I would tear out the appropriate pages for the day and then read from the book as we would go through each lesson. Most lessons are designed to be completed in one day, although some are broken up into two separate days. 

One of the highlights of this unit was the use of the book Weslandia. I had never heard of this book and was pleasantly surprised! A young boy is different than the rest of his classmates, he stands out. Then, summer rolls around and a whole new world is opened up to him, in his backyard. By the miraculous planting of a seed, this boy is able to create his own civilization. He makes his own clothing, produces his own food and is able to find entertainment all in this one plant. The interesting thing is, this doesn't make him stand out anymore but it draws the other kids in! The story is inspiring and thought provoking. And.... right up my son's alley! 

What I loved about this lesson, is that it encouraged him to thrive off of the knowledge he already had, but it challenged him to gain new understanding in the process. He learned a new term, "civilization," and what it means. He also expanded his knowledge on the use of natural resources which he had a small grasp on before. Then he was able to connect these two concepts. One of his favorite parts of this lesson was actually creating his own civilization. His civilization had it's own alphabet, lived in bamboo homes, provided jobs for others and for fun the kids would see who could eat the most blackberries or raspberries!

When learning about natural resources, he took his worksheet outdoors to see what could be found and how they could be used to survive! This seven year had some fun with this activity!

He found garlic!

"I'll toss the rock to kill animals" ~ Aaron

"And use a stick to spear fish!"

He also grabbed our new favorite meal additive- lamb's quarter, an edible weed!!

In addition to the books provided, some lessons recommend using your own books, or ones from the library. Fortunately, I had  If You Lived in Williamsburg in Colonial Days on hand. This resource tied in perfectly when my seven year old was learning about culture! He was able to compare America today and America in the past. He read through the book and was able to easily pick out differences in clothing, food, transportation and jobs.

When learning about cultures other than our own, he enjoyed creating a Brazilian tambourine. For this lesson, several crafts were suggested but I chose to stay away from ones such as the Kenyan mask, which  conflicted with my personal religious beliefs. That said, I appreciate the variety of hands-on activities provided in each lesson so if you feel the need to pick and choose, you don't feel as if you are missing out on anything! The experience of the activities in these lessons are rich and meaningful and don't take too much time! Honestly, no more than 45 minutes would be spent each day and the time would go by quickly since it was always jammed packed with a variety of  both writing and hands-on activities.

Brazilian Tambourine

What I enjoyed about this craft, was that it was a perfect fit for all three of my children. I asked each of them to go find a "y" stick in the backyard as I set out a hammer, nail and bottle caps for each one. They then carefully pounded the cap flat and struck a hole in the center of each cap. They loved the independence of working with tools with this craft as well as the beading element!

Another activity that provided independence was when my son was able to pick an ancient civilization to study. I provided him a list of different cultures and he chose Ancient China. He was able to research and learn on his own terms. The primary project for this lesson was a diorama. Rather than the typical shoebox style that I remember creating in school, he went for a pagoda version!

Ni Hao!

Language Arts Package: Tornado / Online
Ages 7-9

What is Included:

Online Curriculum Guide

by Betsy Byars

How The Turtle Got It's Shell
 by Justine Fontes

There are some pros and cons to choosing an online curriculum guide as opposed to the physical copy. For one, the price. You basically cut the price in half when choosing to work online. And, you are able to print out as many copies as you want for your family with the online version. Even though I enjoyed having the hard copy for the history unit, using the online version worked great for the literature unit for us. I chose to use this unit with all three kids since we enjoy doing our literature studies together when possible. Since the guide is available online with login info, I simply bookmarked the page and was able to access it as we studied the unit together. I printed out the worksheets for all three kids ahead of time and each day we would sit on the couch as my seven year old would read a chapter. Actually, we are working on his reading comprehension skills, so call me a stickler, but I would have him go off and read the chapter alone first. Then, he would come back and I would ask him the questions for that chapter. Then, he would read it aloud to the rest of us! Sounds intense, but that's the format his second grade reading program used and I wanted to continue it partway through the summer to keep him on track and ready for the upcoming year!

The difference between this book, Tornado and his reading assignments last year is the fact that this is a chapter book. This happens to be the first chapter book he has ever read as a whole! He was so proud of himself when he finished this book, on his own! The story line was engaging and fun with some twists and turns in the end. 

Would I recommend Moving Beyond the Page? Well, I already have! I reviewed some of their studies last year and have raved about them to fellow homeschool moms that I know! My only concern with this program is some of the extra resources that were recommended. From a creationist standpoint, both A Street Through Time and How The Turtle Got It's Shell mention time frames that are against new earth creationist thinking. I simply adjusted those lessons to line up with our way of teaching and moved on! The quality of the material presented is rich and informative and I would use this company again if I needed a good, hands-on unit study to keep my busy boys (and their little sister) engaged!

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