Jackson and I have thoroughly enjoyed our latest review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew, with Moving Beyond the Page. Moving Beyond the Page is a complete homeschool curriculum which covers science, language arts, social studies and math in an exciting, creative and in-depth manner. It is full of amazing literature, fantastic science and thorough social studies books and activities. Moving Beyond the Page can be used for students from age 4 all the way up to 14; and whether the student is a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner, he (and his parent, as well) will delight in the enormous variety of learning activities used to teach these subjects!
We received a science unit and a language arts unit, both full packages:
Science Package: Space for ages 9-11, which includes Nancy E. Castaldo’s Leap Into Space and Moving Beyond the Page‘s accompanying Space.
Language Arts Package (Online): The Ballad of Lucy Whipple (also for ages 9-11); written for students who read on a 5th or 6th grade level; and an accompanying online Moving Beyond the Page student guide.
Science Package: Space
You could say that Leap Into Space is the spine of the science package on space. It is easy enough for a student who can read at a 5th or 6th grade level to read independently, yet challenging enough to keep the student’s attention. It provides fascinating reading material on a broad variety of space subjects, including:
- Our own solar system
- The sun
- Stars and constellations
- Moons–not only ours, but those of other planets in our system
- Comets, asteroids and meteoroids
- The Space Race
The reading in each section will engage and engross the reader (whether it’s the parent or the child). The pages are attractively laid out with colorful illustrations and great photos. There is a fun recurring theme called “Faces of Space” which tells more about past and present inventors, scientists and astronauts; like Galileo Galilei, Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Edmund Halley, John Glenn and others, both present and past. And, it contains dozens and dozens of fun activities and experiments, designed to bring deeper understanding of the scientific concepts being taught. Here are some of our favorites!
The second book in this Moving Beyond the Page unit is a consumable, spiral-bound book, Space.
Space contains both a section for the student’s work in the first half, and a teacher’s guide for the parent in the back. It serves as the perfect companion piece for Leap Into Space and is designed to be used together with it. It includes a materials list (for experiments and activities). It has recommendations for how to implement the curriculum. It might be the most amazing and user-friendly teacher’s guide I have EVER seen!
So what does the student section contain?
- Review sheets
- Comprehension questions to answer from reading Leap Into Space
- Flip-books on planets, moon phase records, constellation charts
- Links to websites with further information (meteor craters, the Hubble Telescope, NASA)
- And, perhaps my favorite part….many, many fun and intriguing activities and experiments that will captivate your little astronaut wannabe—homemade solar ovens and rockets, murals, telescopes and more!
Space will take your student deeper in his understanding of this area of science. We learned about ellipses and revolution vs. rotation; the planets’ distances from the sun; the different parts of our atmosphere; details about our system’s eight planets (yes, I still miss Pluto); ancient myths about the sun and planets; layers of the sun; the moon’s phases; the history of space exploration; and so much more! We both found this study exciting and interesting, and a wonderful use of our school time.
The space study is designed so that the student can do some of the work on his own (for example, the comprehension questions, filling in details of the planets, timelines and information about each part of the solar system), and some with his parent. We completed the experiments and activities together, while Jackson did the reading and writing on his own. Space already has each lesson’s instructions and activities laid out in an easy-to-follow pattern; all Jackson and I really had to do was:
- Read the assigned pages of Leap Into Space (Jackson)
- Answer/fill out the assigned writing activities (Jackson)
- Gather the materials needed for each activity (me)
- And last but not least, do the activities or experiments together
The final project for the space unit is perhaps the most creative “final exam” I’ve ever seen! There is a test with fill-in-the-blank answers which covers all the lessons learned in the unit. But then, the student gets to take his family on a “tour” of the solar system! Space provides pages for the student to “script” the things he’d like to share about the sun, the planets, the moon, and meteors. Once this has been completed, he can present the tour to his family. Because of all the experiments and activities in the course, the student will have a LOT of exciting visual aids. And as anyone who’s ever taught a class knows, actually teaching the class certainly solidifies the lessons in the mind of the teacher. What a great bonus for the student!
Language Arts Package (online): The Ballad of Lucy Whipple
The Ballad of Lucy Whipple is a good piece of literature that explores themes of love, loss, humor, difficulties and rising above heartache. Lucy Whipple and her widowed mother and siblings leave Massachusetts to head for the gold fields of California. Lucy is bound and determined to return to Massachusetts, but she has to stay with her family; each and every hand is needed for survival. Karen Cushman’s tale of Lucy’s life in a gold-rush camp (well, it’s almost a town), the difficulties she overcomes and the person she grows into being opens the door to what life was like for those searching for gold. It is a sad tale; but it is a story of hope at the same time.
Moving Beyond the Page has an excellent online companion study for The Ballad of Lucy Whipple. Like Moving Beyond the Page‘s Space, this is a study that will take the student on a journey of activities, vocabulary, map-making and creative writing connected to Lucy’s story and the Gold Rush era in America. Activities and assignments are divided by book chapter and link to Lucy’s adventures in each chapter. Here is a sampling of some of those activities:
- Encyclopedia assignment on the Gold Rush
- Wildlife and geographical features from Massachusetts to California
- Change–what it looked like in Lucy’s life and in the student’s
- Vocabulary, prepositions, synonyms, parts of speech
- Making a Mock Apple Pie
- Drawing pictures of several main characters, then writing about who they were
- Planting wildflowers
The online guide also includes a very thorough Handy Guide to Writing and Grammar. Each lesson has an introduction, activities to complete and a conclusion with further things to think about. By the time the student has worked through each lesson, he’ll have a complete understanding of what Karen Cushman had to say in The Ballad of Lucy Whipple. He’ll have been exposed to a variety of language arts activities and have explored the deeper themes of the book; all in ways that are very accessible to the student. Moving Beyond the Page does a stellar job of helping students dig deep as they read and study.
The cost of these curricula varies slightly according to how many volumes or products are included in each unit. Science Package: Space is available for $29.98 (which includes Leap Into Space and Space). Language Arts Package (Online): The Ballad of Lucy Whipple (which includes a hard copy of The Ballad of Lucy Whipple and the online study for the book) is available for $19.92.
Here’s what my son Jackson has to say about these studies:
“They are both very nice. The Ballad of Lucy Whipple is a very good book, and I would recommend it although it has hard parts. Leap Into Space is also very neat. I have always liked learning about space and it has some fun projects.”
I personally have to say that curricula like that produced by Moving Beyond the Page is my very favorite type; and I think it’s one way that students can learn most effectively. What could be better than reading wonderful literature, then completing a plethora of activities (cooking, creating, drawing, painting, completing experiments, writing, public speaking) that underlines everything the student has just read? Not only does this truly enhance learning, it makes learning a joy and a pleasure. I would be thrilled if we had discovered Moving Beyond the Page years ago, when Jackson was just starting homeschool! I recommend it wholeheartedly.