I am a lover of literature who happens to be homeschooling a ten year old boy who just doesn’t like to read. No matter what we read or how we do it, he is bored. He is restless. And he doesn’t seem to get much out of the stories we are reading. So I am always eager to explore different materials that might help us to get the most out of story time around here. Progeny Press is an amazing company that does just that and we were so blessed to have the chance to review The Sword in the Tree E-Guide in our home. These are recommended for grades 4-6 (upper elementary).
The study guide can be printed or used on the computer directly as an interactive download (this is what we did). You can type all of the information into the areas on the guide which seemed to be my son’s preference even. I admit I was hopeful we would print since his handwriting needs some work and I like to use all opportunities to exercise this with him. But I didn’t want t quench his enthusiasm either so online it is. The guide is approximately 42 pages in length and about 25+ pages are “worksheets”. There are lots of great activities to really encourage our kids to get so much more out of the story! Some of these are:
- Ideas for PreReading Activities
- Discussion Questions
- Going Deeper
- Various Projects
- Fact or Opinion
- PostReading Activities
Throughout this program and the study guide there are such great opportunities for our students to go a bit further. One example is a question in the digging deeper section: Read Proverbs 26:18–19. What do these two verses teach us about saying you were only joking when you behave badly? I love this! It is so timely in fact because this is something my boy especially really need to learn. The projects are especially fun for my kids since my oldest is really more of a do-er. In one such project he had to do a characterization study; as he read, he listed the physical and personality traits of each character in the book. The really opens the door for discussion and reflection too for our older kids. What were some things you liked about this character? What did you dislike? Why? He actually did complete a list for himself too. It was a great way for him to see the good things about himself and those things we need to work on changing or strengthening too!
While we did not complete this one in its entirety during the review period we are still working through it. With my oldest son we tend to have moments of learning in our home; so 10-15 minutes here and there. Longer as he is able and willing to focus. He was really encouraged by the amounts of Scripture used in this study. He loves the Word of God (such a blessing to have a boy that does!) and seeing it used definitely helped him understand it more personally. Also it really got him into his Bible and familiar too as he went to review various verses. He got to learn more about wisdom, humility, and obedience (these are things we are really focusing on this summer in fact!). This is such a wonderful study guide; so many levels and opportunities for our kids to expand their understanding. And themselves too as they go through the story and the guide. We are really enjoying The Sword in the Tree story and E-Guide and my oldest is shopping for the next one but we have not been able to agree on one just yet! haha
Progeny Press also has guides for Lower Elementary, Middle School, and High School. All you need to use any of these guides is the book, a Bible, and a dictionary too. Some of the optional activities do require additional materials but nothing that you wouldn’t have around your house. I really am so very impressed with this study guide! And last year we used one of theirs as well for Sam The Minuteman which was also an excellent way to enjoy this book! I do love how these really make every book come to life for our kids! While my son still is not a lover of reading, this has encouraged him and helped him to see a bit more of the value. Its a start right? That said, these are so worth every penny although I have to say the cost is very reasonable. I definitely think these are a great asset to anyone’s collection of resources momma. 🙂