Trying to fit literature into our homeschool day is sometimes difficult. My kids do like to read, but sometimes I don't ever find the time or resources for them to dig deeper. Progeny Press has made this possible. They have created study guides to go along with different classic and new books.
We received two downloadable interactive PDF study guides to review. My younger son reviewed the Little House in the Big Woods Study Guide which is recommended for grades 4-6 and is $16.99. My older son reviewed The Giver Study Guide which is recommended for grades 7-9 and is $18.99. These study guides can either be printed off and filled in or the student can answer the questions right onto the PDF on the computer and saving their work.
The Giver study guide begins with a note to the instructor on how to use the study guide. It then goes into a synopsis of the book, about the author, and gives some background information. The next section lists some pre-reading activities such as researching a coming of age ceremony or making a list of careers that interest you. The next section is broken down into studying two to three chapters at a time. There are vocabulary words for the student to learn about. Sometimes you write the definition of the word, other times you write the antonym and synonym of the word. This is followed by questions about the chapters the student has read. Finally, the last two sections are "Thinking about the Story" and "Dig Deeper." The "Thinking about the Story" questions make the student have to think deeper. The "Dig Deeper" questions involve using the Bible as a guide.
My 12 year old son read through The Giver and worked on the study guide about three times a week. He worked on one section each week. The first day he would complete the vocabulary and questions. The second day he would do the thinking about the story questions and the third day he would answer the dig deeper questions. He preferred to answer the questions by typing the answers into the PDF on the computer.
The Little House in the Big Woods study guide is set up similar to The Giver study guide. There is a synopsis, about the author, and some background information at the beginning of the study guide. There are also pre-reading activities for the student. There are vocabulary words for the student to learn about, questions about the chapters, and the dig deeper questions that use the Bible as a guide. There are also projects and activities for the child to work on such as making butter, growing crystals, making hast pudding, and playing games.
My 10 year old son had already read through Little House in the Big Woods, but he read through it again as a refresher. He also worked through a section of the study guide each week. The first day he worked on the vocabulary and answered the questions, the second day he worked on the dig deeper questions, and the third day he worked on the projects and activities.
At first, my boys were reluctant in doing the study guides. They thought it would be boring. They both enjoyed reading the books, but it did take a couple of weeks before they started to "enjoy" the study guides. After going through the study guide for a few weeks, they realized that the study guides were helping them understand the books a lot better than if they had just read the book. My 12 year old said he liked that the questions made him think about the story better. My 10 year old said his favorite part of the study guide was doing the activities.
I liked that the study guides made my boys think about the story they were reading. I also liked that they used the Bible to help teach a lesson and how they apply to their lives. I am looking forward to possibly using more of these guides in our future school years.