Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
If you have been following my blog for any period of time, you know that I love books and that living books especially, are a huge part of my children’s learning. For that reason we are always excited to find new books to explore and study guides that can help to make the story come alive more and more! Progeny Press is by far one of my favorite resources when it comes to literature; we were given the opportunity to review two excellent stores with them too! Our first one was Animal Farm Study Guide (recommended for grades 9-12) and the second one was A New Coat for Anna Study Guide (recommended for grades K -3). I was excited to explore these with my kids because I honestly, get so much out of these myself.
Each Study Guide is packed full of activities that cover vocabulary, geography, history and so much more. Each guide also provides plenty of questions to help direct discussion, guide critical thinking and really help your children to see those little gems that are within every good story.
Animal Farm is one of those books, in my opinion, that everyone simply must read. And it must be read slowly, with great consideration. Especially with the times we live in right now, there is much we can learn if we are willing to consider the lessons within this simple, yet profound story. My son was briefly introduced to this earlier in the year, through an online program, but this was when we really had him dig in. I knew this study guide would be such a help too.
Since my son already had read quite a bit of this book before, he wanted to jump right in. Since they provide a brief synopsis of the story, I was more than happy to let him get to work. He also kept the book nearby so as he went along he could read a chapter again, or go over certain details with more attention, as needed. It was fun to learn of the origin of the name George Orwell ( my son found it interesting that he did not apply to his studies ). I could go on about this alone as the details provided were fascinating and (hopefully) inspiring to my own son who does not really apply to his studies right now.
My boy spent quite a bit of time exploring the section on governing systems. This is one of those areas that is a real struggle for him; he often finds it “boring”. Being that this is actually one of those things that matters a great deal, I was happy to allow him time to explore and wrap his head around all the systems that are out there. I often stress to my kids that we cannot speak to what we do not understand, whether a differing lifestyle, culture, religion or government. This reminded me too of an amazing book I purchased some time ago, designed for kids to develop their own country, and all that goes with it. Back to this though. There are optional prereading activities for any who dare. 🙂 A lot of these were meant to help them prepare and understand allegories, by exploring film and story that show this literary form clearly.
Right away, we are introduced to the characters and the leaders who they represent. What a great way to help our children learn about historical figures. After meeting and identifying the animals, we look into the meaning behind the farm’s name. We also explore the claims being made by the animals and the incident that caused the revolt. We dig into the Bible to see the connections and explore humanity’s relationship with animals. Dig deeper into both literary styles along with researching reading, vocabulary, critical thinking while also learning about the real people, places and events that inspired this story. I cannot say enough about all there is to learn in the pages of this guide. With the turmoil taking place today, this story has such value to help our older youth to see and begin to understand and see the value of freedom and the democratic republic we live in, for ourselves. We cannot appreciate and fight for what we do not know.
We also received the E-Guide for A New Coat for Anna Study Guide. While I was initially unfamiliar with this story I loved the premise of it and so I was thrilled to get the chance to use this with my younger kiddos. They love being read to and I love when we can read together and just savor the book. These guides make it so fun and easy to do that!
This story was a wonderful way to introduce some of the challenges that came after World War II to my younger children. The war has ended but for many the struggles continue. Anna needs a new coat but when you have nothing, what can you do? This is a beautiful image of hard work, patience and sacrifice, so her mother can provide her a new coat. My older boys are actually learning this very lesson – saving their dollars for something they “need” (nothing as necessary as a coat anyway). This story definitely is one to inspire and make you realize how blessed you are. I do believe too often we get comfortable with all we have and begin to take things for granted. This was even more powerful because it was based on a true story and those are the ones that really hook my kids.
With this one, there was some map work to do. This was a great opportunity to roll out the huge map that we have (and don’t use as often as we should) so we could locate each of the Axis and Allies. My younger son especially enjoyed this activity since he is big on details like that. We were also quite lucky that the farm my oldest son works on happened to be shearing sheep one day while we were out there. This gave the kids a chance to see how it is done and then test out the wool. This wool was shorter and not so good for making yarn, still what an awesome experience. 🙂
Since I was using this with my younger children, we did a lot of the activities together. We chose to work on vocabulary together (orally) and did plenty of discussion My older daughter is learning how to sew and so she had lots of thoughts as we read in regards to the work required to obtain Anna’s coat. In one section we took measurements, as Anna did for her coat, although ours was done for an ice show costume.
We also read through portions of the Bible that related to this story. What does it mean to be proud or vain? The Bible has a lot to say about patience; it was fun to hear my kids talk about how hard it can be to be patient, “especially when it’s something you really want or think you need.”
Being that my children love cake and cookies (I am not a baker) it was awesome for them to have the chance to make a cake for themselves (I supervised, and tasted of course). They also decided to make cinnamon muffins, in donut form, since that idea sounded so tasty to them. They certainly enjoy time spent baking. I am grateful we are slowly making this possible for them to do in a healthy way. There were also puzzles for them to complete; there was also a Pinterest board full of fun stuff to do that was related to this story. I love it! My daughters are eager to make their own loom and practice weaving. Soon, very soon.
I really do appreciate the variety of things that are covered within these guides. There are arts and crafts, for those who enjoy hands on learning; there are also lots of recommended resources so you can explore beyond the pages of these guides. From movies, to additional books there are just so many options. Every time we have gotten our hands on one of these guides we have learned so much and had tons of fun! Go as fast as you want or as slow as you like. Just be sure to enjoy every page.
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They have a wide variety available, click on the banner below and see what other members of the Review Crew used and how they enjoyed these. Affordable and interactive, these are the perfect treat for inspiring curiosity in our kids at any age.