Sunday, March 18, 2012

Progeny Press Helps You Get Into Literature

Progeny Press, a family-owned and operated company, has been producing quality literature study guides since 1992. They have 100 literature guides for your family to choose from, with study titles ranging from beloved children's classics such as Across Five Aprils to timeless literary masterpieces such as Pride and Prejudice.

Progeny Press Study Guides are designed to help your students better understand and enjoy classical literature by helping them understand the process of writing, as well as teaching them the process of literary analysis and its terminology. Students are shown how to thoughtfully consider the ideas and themes presented in each story from a Christian perspective, and encouraged to put their own thoughts and ideas about the stories into writing. Every guide takes care to draw the student back to the Bible by examining how the stories connect to Biblical principles, and by pointing out parallels with Bible events and pertinent verses that clarify these ideas.

Progeny Press Study Guides come in four levels: Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School, and High School, and each guide includes a variety of elements, depending on the level of the study. You can see a sample of the types of questions and information contained in the guides at their website. The literature guides are also categorized by both genre and grade-level, making it easy for teachers and parents to choose a book that is appropriate for their personalized course of study.

The guides are very user-friendly and are currently available as a print version, on CD in pdf format, and via email as a pdf attachment. Parents and schools can print multiple copies of pages for use with all of their students. All of the study guides are now available in a new interactive format which allows the student to type in the answers directly on their computer screen! Progeny Press Guides cost from $10.99 to $27.99. You can check out their online catalog for more information and individual pricing.

We were given The Bronze Bow and Julius Caesar to review since we are studying Ancient Cultures this year. The Bronze Bow worked well as a read-aloud for our diverse group of ages (2-14), and the guide facilitated some quality discussions, though we did not complete a large part of it since the majority of the children are younger. The Background Information section was very helpful, though, and I did appreciate the Digging Deeper Questions which allowed us to delve into more serious aspects of the story with the younger children.

The Summary Section tested our overall knowledge of the book at the end, and since the Extra Resources section suggested watching Ben Hur as a further resource, I found an animated version the kids all enjoyed, as well as an instant download documentary on Netflix.

If we had had more time, I might have taken this more slowly and had my older student complete each of the definitions and questions using the new interactive format (you can type the answers directly onto the computer screen) since he would have loved that (he likes anything online!), but we had so much else scheduled, that just completing this portion of the study (it has a lot to is not a quickie study) took up the time we had available.

Tex is just starting Julius Caesar using the interactive format. He has not gotten very far yet, but between listening to it online (Librivox), reading Mary and Charles Lambs' Tales from Shakespeare, and perusing the text on the Kindle Reader (who knew that gathering random good literature and putting it on our Kindle account would make him want to read them voraciously??), he seems to be interested in the story in a way I never was at his age (I purposely begged boredom in a known boring English teacher's class just to avoid Shakespeare...since I made a convincing argument that I wasn't sufficiently challenged, I got to skip 9th grade English into the fun 10th grade teacher's class who had much more interesting (and less intimdating) material to study...bad, huh?? I did finally have to take a full Shakespeare class in college and found I adored his comedies and histories... but I still dislike the tragedies...go figure).

In any case, true confessions aside, I know that with the interactive format, Tex is going to stick with this study until the end and he will get  a lot out of it. There are some excellent recommendations for further study that are for sure on our "to do" list (I do love Kenneth Branaugh in Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing), as well as a video or two I know are available on Netflix about Shakespeare and England in his time that we will view. I believe that due to the structure of this study, Tex will be able to emerge from reading Julius Caesar with much more understanding than I had when I read it for the first time, plus his background knowledge of the time period is better than mine was.

I would highly recommend these studies for any family who has a student who likes to work independently. I think they are also ideal for older students and those who are eager to move ahead, but need some accountability and structure. The study was useful in a read aloud setting with younger students, but not completely necessary. However, the background information and guiding questions did make it possible for us to dig more deeply than I likely would have on my own and I did not have to do one bit of work to prepare for the discussions we had. I believe the studies are a good value for the money and a valuable addition to any homeschool literature curriculum.


Disclaimer: I recieved a copy of two Progeny Press guides (The Bronze Bow and Julius Caesar) in order to use the guides and review them here on my blog. The opinions you read hear reflect our family's experiences with the guides. If you have any questions regarding what I have said here, please feel free to contact me.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...