Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
I think the first time I ever heard of Progeny Press was while I was teaching at a small Christian school for two years just before I got married, and a friend loaned me a homeschool supply catalog. Though I had been homeschooled all the way through, I had never even heard of literature studies, other than the two times a book was assigned in the Language Arts curriculum my mother had used, and the idea of a unit study based on a book was very intriguing to me. Of course, I had been quite a bookworm for nearly 20 years by that time, so I loved any excuse to read another book! I never got to actually look at a Progeny Press guide, though, until two years ago when we reviewed the one for A New Coat for Anna. We enjoyed that so much that last year I volunteered to review the one for Wagon Wheels, one of our favorite easy readers. This year, we got to use two guides, The Story About Ping Study Guide (one of our all-time favorite picture books), and Farmer Boy Study Guide. We have always loved the Little House books, so no one minded hearing that one read again.
Both guides begin with a synopsis and some background about the author. Then, there is a page of prereading activities. We didn’t do all of them, but we did find the locations on a map and talk about the cultural background a little. With The Story About Ping, we spent some time learning about ducks. Next, we read the story. Ping is a picture book, so we read it all in one setting—actually, I think we’ve read it three times since we started the study! Farmer Boy is a lot longer, so we’re reading a chapter a day. The activities for this one are divided into sections of about four chapters each, so we don’t work in the study every day, but when we have finished reading a group of chapters, I have the boys answer the questions for that section. Each study ends with a list of related books to go along with the topic, and there is an answer key in a separate file. These study guides come as a PDF file. They are fillable on the computer, but as you can see here, I printed them. Our family does much better with physical products for learning, but if I was to use these study guides for high school literature, I would probably have my children fill them out digitally.
Because Ping is a picture book, it doesn’t take very long to answer the questions about the story. There are a couple of pages of vocabulary work first, and then comprehension questions. After that, we studied the artwork, and then there is a section of Bible study. After that are fun pages. There is a word search, a maze, and some coloring pictures, and then suggested activities if you want to go even farther. These include doing a water safety class, visiting a poultry farm, and a couple of art/craft projects. This guide was created for K-2 students.
Farmer Boy is a fairly long book. We haven’t made it through the entire study yet, but we’ll keep plugging away at it. Each section of chapters has a variety of different types of questions. These include vocabulary word study, questions about the characters, comprehension questions, and several that make the student think hard. There are also suggested activities at the end of each section, such as making stacked pancakes like Almanzo’s mother did, or making a birthday card. The final projects at the end of the study offer several ideas for essays. This study guide is for grades 4-6.
Progeny Press has done a very good job of putting together these guides. They are a great way to practice language skills in the context of an engaging story. I really like them as a supplement to the other things we are doing for Language Arts. Click the image below to read other families’ reviews of these, plus two more book studies.