TOS Schoolhouse Crew Review

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain from Progeny Press {Review}

We are big lovers of literature around here. There are books everywhere; we love to read on our own and together aloud. My younger son (8) loves to read even though he really struggles with it right now. I want to grow his love for books while at the same time helping him to get stronger and more confident in his abilities as a reader. As a part of the Homeschool Review Crew, we are often given the opportunity to try things that we may otherwise never have explored. We used  Progeny Press in the past, with my oldest son, but this was the first time my younger son had the opportunity to use one of their study guides. We received The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide for our review. This is recommended for grades 1-3 so it was a great fit for my son who is somewhere in the middle right now. 🙂



Sometimes even reading the best book ever, it is hard for our kids to really get into the story and connect for themselves. Thankfully there are study guides like these, offered by Progeny Press, to really bring the story to life!  These are study guides, from a Christian perspective, helping our children to think and understand truth. These also help our children to connect scripture with stories read and life as we live it. Keeping what matters most in the center of it all.  Our worldview matters and its so important for our children to see (early on even) how everything is connected.



These are such a wonderful way to expand on the books you read! All you need is a Bible, a dictionary and a thesaurus. Now and then I would pull out my concordance (my oldest used it a bit too when he had one of these study guides) but my younger son wasn’t quite ready for that. However when they are older, its a wonderful way to explore and learn even deeper. Progeny Press has a wide variety of study guides too for so many books from the lower and upper elementary all the way through high school.



There are no bears on Hemlock Mountain. Or are there? This is such a fun story! I am surprised that I had never heard of it before this review opportunity came along. What a blessing right? What a wonderful story to enjoy together – are we really alone? ever?  – through this simple, set story we learn about the meaning of and results of, procrastination. We also see the value of courage and the excitement of a journey (even in the dark, under a pot, among bears!).



That is all I will say about the story though. The study guide is what we are reviewing here and was it ever a good one. 🙂


My younger son is not an independent worker – mostly because he enjoys time with his momma – so this did require me to be pretty hands on.  They study takes about eight weeks to complete (give or take) and since he and I were doing this together, we didn’t rush things. I want him to enjoy exploring these books. This study guide is a treasure trove of learning opportunities. There are tons of discussion questions, vocabulary to learn and review, character study and even some fun baking!


This was definitely more advanced than we expected (I think closer to third grade than first honestly) but again, since we were doing this together, it was not something that was an issue for us. We began with learning about folk tales (this story is based on one of those) and then a couple activities to get us warmed up before we began reading. This involved some really fun stuff: since we recently joined a local nature club this story encouraged my kids to go and look for animal tracks; it also launched a study into how to identify different tracks from various animals. They are even encouraged to sketch the prints themselves – a nice way to encourage a journal of sorts- as we explore more out and about.  My son loved that!





Once we began reading the story itself, things got really exciting! If you have a strong and confident reader/writer, you could probably just print this and let them loose! my younger son however is not there just yet so this was something we enjoyed together. Lots of talk as we read through the story. Discussing words and phrases used within the pages of this book. A new favorite phrase of his is, “that was the way of it.”



We read scriptures together so that we could learn how to show God’s love while practicing hospitality towards others (even when we don’t want to, especially when we don’t want to!). Can we do all things without grumbling or complaining?


What an example Jonathan came to be to my son too, as we read. His show of kindness (feeding the animals out there) and showing great courage even though he was alone and so very afraid.


This isn’t just all about learning definitions and matching words with their meaning; this is about building relationships and strengthening character. As we read we learn simple truths (there is a difference between observing and seeing donttcha know).  There are powerful lessons to be learned about the value of truth; we see again and again how God’s word reminds us that we are never truly alone.


“Kings take pleasure in honest lips; there is great value in a man who speaks truth.”



We really enjoyed doing this. Together. And I recently realized that they have a study guide for Frog and Toad (my son’s favorite book of all times right now!) ad Henry and Mudge too. With the amazing selection they offer we are definitely going to be using these more regularly! I see so many titles that I am sure both of my boys would enjoy and I am always excited about things like this that help them to learn and love great stories too. 🙂


Get to know Progeny Press:


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