While we’ve used a variety of curriculum over the years, we’ve always utilized literature-based learning from the beginning. Many times this meant buying an entire curriculum or a supplement that felt overwhelming, but we managed, happily celebrating our completion. Then a review opportunity helped me discover a new favorite literature-based program that we can’t wait to do again!
The creators of Moving Beyond the Page have produced something wonderful, at least my family thinks so. They offer a plethora of literature-based “units” to help teach Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts. During the past couple of months, my family and I have enjoyed the online Language Arts Package – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and their physical-copy Social Studies Package – Early Explorers, both programs geared towards ages 8-10.
Normally, I’m not a fan of online programs, but we loved this one. As far as literature-based programs go, Moving Beyond the Page’s online guide was one of the most busy-mom friendly curricula I’ve used.
Straightforward and easy to implement, the online language arts package costs $21.92 and includes:
- The online Language Arts Guide for The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
- Reading Comprehension
- Character analysis
- Critical and Creative Thinking Skills
- Writing and Editing
There are also a variety of activities and hands-on projects to go with the other assignment sheets and discussion question pages.
An advantage to the online guide compared to the physical is that I’m able to print off as many sheets as needed to work with more than one child. A family has access to the program for three months once they begin. If working straight through, a unit can be completed in approximately three weeks. Our family had no trouble doing a lesson a day and then there are two days for the final project. If a family needs to skip a day in between, someone is sick, an emergency comes up, etc., a family will have plenty of time to complete the unit.
And if you want the unit for siblings in future years, you can re-purchase the online guide for half price.
How we used it:
Not only do I have six children, including two with their own special needs therapy schedules, I had a fussy two-month-old baby. Also, one child is on the autism spectrum, and his reading skills vary from day-to-day, so there were times when my husband or I read aloud.
How did we make it work? I sat on the rocker with a nursing baby and a laptop, a copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and my children gathered around me. We took turns reading from the book; and I either asked questions directly from the screen (the answers are there, too), or I printed out the discussion question sheets for them to fill in themselves. I could even pull up a document enabling a child to type answers directly into the document. Supportive material links are included throughout the lessons, which was incredible. After quickly clicking the link, my children were able to visit other sites and dig deeper to complete assignments.
Activity sheets included doing research on the author, finding plurals within the book, logic riddles involving the characters, and more. While we’ve read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe before, using the Language Arts guide brought out things in a unique way.
Spelling lists, along with a printable sheet with directions printed on the page (e.g, on Monday, the student writes the word five times and on Tuesday, the child uses the word in a sentence), made implementing spelling a breeze.
Bottom line is that even with our busy schedule, a new baby, and children with various abilities, this literature-based Language Arts program worked for our family!
A few issues a person may have with the online version include not having reliable internet, unable to print off several pages, or are on the go and need something portable. The physical guide may be best for these families.
Just as the Language Arts guide was straightforward, the Early Explorers physical package was also thorough and easy-to-use. The entire package is $33.97 and includes:
- Early Explorers Physical Guide
- Exploration and Conquest: The Americas After Columbus: 1500-1620 by Betsy Maestro
- Explorers Who Got Lost by Diane Sansevere-Dreher and Ed Renfro
Because of the copyright, the physical product is for one-person, so the user can’t make copies of the activity sheets, and they write directly in the book as well as cut and paste. If you want to use the unit for future siblings, a new copy will need to be purchased. The half-price re-purchase is only applicable to the online guides
One of the perks compared to the online program, is portability, such as being able to take the entire guide to the local craft supply store to pick up any items that I didn’t have around the house. Both of the guides listed supplies in the beginning, which again makes it functional for the busy mom. While I can get access to the online program through my phone, internet isn’t always available. Also, if we were running errands or dropping off someone or picking them up from a therapy session, the book, complete with activity sheets, was within reach.
- Reading Comprehension
- Critical and Creative Thinking Skills
As with the Language Arts unit, the Social Studies unit is designed to be completed within three weeks, but no time limits as there are with the online program.
How we used it:
Not to be confused with a year-long study of the explorers, this unit covers a theme of “exploration.” It begins with the early explorers, such as Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, and others; the Incan and the Mayan culture; and moves into more modern exploration, such as space. The unit is heavy on hands-on projects and activities, such as making a compass, playing games, constructing a small solar system on paper, pretending to be an explorer, etc.
The set-up was like that of the Language Arts guide, but because it’s designed to be used with only one child, we used it with my ten-year-old son. We encouraged him to use it as independently as possible and within reason.
Moving Beyond the Page Overview
Moving Beyond the Page can provide any of the following:
- A full year of curriculum
- A full year of a particular subject
- A single semester of one or more specific subjects
- A short-term supplemental unit
If you’re looking for a complete, year-long curriculum, Moving Beyond the Page has you covered. They offer curriculum for ages 4-14 and the material is written to meet state and national standards. A family can visit their site, select a full year, customize their math (they offer choices among Right Start, Life of Fred, and Singapore), and are good to go. Phonics programs are available for younger students. A full 36-week year will encompass four concepts, including three units with ten lessons each and a final project–about nine weeks worth of work for one concept.
Have a favorite core curriculum and want to try a literature-based approach to Social Studies, Language Arts, or Science? Want to try out a new Math choice? Visit their site and select what you need.
Providing short “units,” Moving Beyond the Page works well as a supplement or even an enjoyable summer program. Have a student who loves science? Select a unit from science. Have a student who loves to read? Select a novel and keep his or her Language Arts skills fresh.
With over 150 individual units from which to choose, the possibilities abound. We talked about using these not only as a summer program but as something to do on Saturday mornings or throughout the week. Our family is made up of book worms, and my children have already created wish lists for guides they want to use as they re-read a few favorites and prepare for new ones.
When selecting a program for your child, be sure to read through all the skills required for each level. If your 10-year-old is still struggling to write a paragraph, don’t be concerned about moving down a level–these units only take a few weeks to complete, but they have tremendous substance. Take time to master skills, and build up to the next level.
While units can be used independently as a stand-alone, some are designed to work concurrently with one another. For example, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe guide was written to be used with The Power of People Social Studies guide, as both are part of the Force and Power concept. The Early Explorers Social Studies guide was designed to be used with the Pedro’s Journal Language Arts guide, as both are part of the Exploration and Survival concept. Even though we had a fabulous time working through the units, future orders will include corresponding units as I can’t help but wonder how much our studies will be enhanced.
Want to know how to use essential oils and herbs in your home? In this guide, I share my top 10 favorites.
Plus get our latest content and news, including giveaways and freebies.