I had never thought to use a literature based curriculum in my homeschool, because, really, I had never heard of it. Being on the Schoolhouse Review Crew has been such a blessing to me and has let me explore many items that I probably would have never even thought to use for my kids. Moving Beyond The Page is a curriculum published by Epiphany Curriculum, LLC. We were given two units to review: Language Arts Package: Secret of the Andes and Social Studies: Slavery and the Civil War.
What is Moving Beyond the page?
Moving Beyond the Page is a research based, hands on curriculum for language arts, social studies, and science through unit based studies. Moving Beyond the Page encourages the student to use their critical thinking skills. They offer curriculum that is based for 4- 14 year old students (K through middle school). They offer a complete curriculum or individual unit studies that are geared for ages 7-14.
About Language Arts Package: Secret of the Andes:
We received the online version of this unit. This unit is geared for children ages 10-12 and costs $19.92. Included with this package is the online curriculum (teacher guide and student worksheets) and a physical copy of the novel, Secret of the Andes.
About Social Studies Package: Slavery and the Civil War:
We received the print version of this unit. This unit is also geared for ages 10-12 and costs $39.93. Included with this package is a spiral bound curriculum (teacher guide and student worksheets) and two other books, If You Lived When There Was Slavery In America and War, Terrible War- A History of US Volume 6.
How we used each unit:
I had my 10 year old son work on the Secret of the Andes study and my 12 year old son worked on the Civil War study.
Both units had 4 pre-requisites that the child should be able to pass to use the study:
- Able to read and comprehend novels at a late 6th or 7th grade reading level
- Able to write multiple paragraphs on a topic
- Familiar with the five paragraph essay
- Usually used by children in the fifth or sixth grade
The online study of the Secret of the Andes is only available for a certain amount of time after purchasing the unit. When you first log in, you will see the above screen (without the lines through each lesson). The first lesson is a preparatory lesson. The child spends the time exploring, in this case, the Andes Mountains and the country of Peru. There are also 3 activities for the child, subject/verb agreement, the Andes Mountains, and a vocabulary crossword puzzle.
For the subject/verb agreement activity, the parent prints off the pdf of the activity. The answers are located right below for the parent when the parent overview is turned on.
Some activities require the student to click on a link that will take them to an external site to learn more.
The next eight lessons are about the book itself. The student is required to read two chapters a day and answer questions, do activities, and visit websites about the chapters that were just read. The final 3 days, the student works on a narrative essay.
I had my 10 year old son read through the required chapters each day. I would then log in to the curriculum and print off the pdf’s for the day. He worked on those and after finishing them up, I would let him visit the external sites (if there were some) to learn more. There are 10 lessons and a 3 day final project.
After using the print version for Slavery and the Civil War, I find that I liked the print version better for the student. Everything is already printed for you and the student can write directly in the book. The parent overview is in the back of the book. The online version lets you toggle between having the parent overview on or off with your password.
The lessons are set up the same way. The student is to read pages from the required books and answer questions and do the activities. There are several lessons, some taking 2 days, and then there is a final project for the child to complete at the end.
My 12 year old son worked on the Civil War unit. I gave him the workbook each day and he was able to find his lessons, do the reading, and do the activities after reading. I would check his answers for the questions when he finished. He was also able to visit external sites to learn more about the places of the Civil War. MBTP made it easy and shared the clickable links on a page called IdeaShare so we didn’t have to type them in every time.
What we thought:
Having not used unit studies in the past, I was worried my boys would not like them. My 10 year old didn’t like using the online version. He said he would rather have had all of the instructions printed out rather than having to keep looking at the computer to see what the activities needed to be done. I printed all of the activities (they are PDF’s) and gave him the ones he would need for the day. He did like that he was able to just click a link to an external site instead of having to type it in. He also did like visiting the websites and learning more about the people and country he was reading about.
The only thing about the online version that I did not like was having to print off the pdf’s of the activities and questions. I liked that it gave the parent overview within each lesson rather than in the back. It was easy to turn off so the student cannot see it.
My 12 year old son liked having everything for his study right in front of him. He enjoyed doing the activities and learning more about the Civil War. The only thing he did not like was that some of the activities took a while to complete. He likes to get things done fast.
I liked having the print version rather than the online version since everything was already printed for me. Even though the parent overview is in the back it is easy to find and refer to during the lesson. One problem we ran into was the website link recommended for the online timeline is no longer correct. I had to search on the website for the correct link to the timeline. With a quick search on the site, it was easy to find and use.
Overall, we prefer the print version over the online. We loved using unit studies and we may have to do a few more during our school year. Even though some of the activities did take a while, my boys did enjoy doing them.