Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Literature Study Guides with a Christian Perspective: A Review of The Long Way to a New Land Study Guide

Using study guides for literature happens to be one of my favorite ways to approach reading lessons for our homeschooled children. So when we had the opportunity to review another product from Progeny Press, I was very happy to pick The Long Way to a New Land Study Guide which is geared for grades 1-3. (Last year we used and reviewed the Perelandra Study Guide with our teen.) This year, our first grader and I are reading through the book The Long Way to a New Land and use the study guide from Progeny Press.

What is Progeny Press?

Their mission: "To teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!"

There are so many great products offered by Progeny Press. They offer their study guides in a variety of ways including printed workbooks, CDs, and e-Guides that you can download right to your computer. You can also purchase books to go along with your study guide on their site.

What Did We Receive?

For this review, we downloaded the 49-page study guide written by Colleen Schreurs for the book written by Joan Sandin. We purchased the book separately but you could also pick it up at a library or purchase it through Progeny Press. The story, The Long Way to a New Land is set in both Sweden and in Ellis Island, New York in 1868. It is an I Can Read book level 3 (for children reading alone). The family is struggling in Sweden and decides to travel to America for a new opportunity.

As you and your children read the story, you can easily incorporate the study guide activities into your homeschooling day. The study guide contains a number of activities to complete with your child before, during, and after reading the book. For example, my husband and I helped our son complete a family tree prior to reading the story. We also worked on creating the different flags to represent where his ancestors originated in Europe. (Both he and his sister really enjoyed this activity!)

Those activities that relate directly to the chapters in the book contain the following parts:

  • Vocabulary 

  • Questions regarding the content of the chapter 
This was a fun exercise asking why the family packed different items into their trunk for America

  • Literary Techniques and Grammar (such as cause & effect, prediction, synonyms, action verbs, etc.) 
  • Comparing past and present 
  • A section entitled Dig Deeper that consisted of Bible quotations and questions for reflection such as read Matthew 4:4 "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'" with a question asking children why the Bible was an important item for the family to take with them to the New Land

There were also a number of activities for when we were finished reading the book including writing letters to grandparents to learn more about ancestry of the family, the creation of a family booklet with photos, and a cooking center (the study guide contains a recipe for Quick Whole Wheat Bread).

There is also an answer key to help you correct the objective questions.

Note: All the units are written from a Christian perspective. The study guide contains references to Bible quotes using the NIV translation.

How Did We Use the Study Guide?

During the course of the review period, we set aside our other language arts work to focus solely upon reading The Long Way to a New Land and using the study guide. Our son read through the entire book as soon as it arrived. We then completed the before-you-read activities together. When we started working on the sections of the study guide that were specifically geared towards the chapters, I would read the chapter aloud to both our children before our son worked on the questions.

Referencing the book to answer the questions

I only required our son to complete one part for each chapter each day. If he were older, he could probably complete the entire work for each chapter during one day. So the way we worked through the study guide, it will take us about five to six weeks to complete. If you were working at a faster pace, it would probably take you about four to five weeks to complete.

What Did We Think?

I am very pleased with The Long Way to a New Land Study Guide. The variety of the activities means we had something new to work on each day. All the activities were closely connected to the book which I appreciated. This was a perfect fit for our homeschool day.

I also like how you could tie in social studies and history to this study guide. In fact, we were able to talk about the Statue of Liberty (which our son had studied a bit earlier in the year) and examine some stamps from Czechoslovakia as some members of my own family were from Slovakia.

I think the study guide would be perfect for a second grader. I found some of the work to be a bit more challenging for my first grader but as we are homeschooling, we have the flexibility to work through the questions together. Some of the ways we adapted the study guide was taking turns writing out the answers to the questions, reviewing the book as we answered each question, and I gave our son clues as to where to find the vocabulary words in the word search.

Our son's favorite activity from the study guide was creating the flags. He said, "It was so much fun."

He also enjoyed the vocabulary activity where he had to define the word in his own words and then look it up in the dictionary. Some of the words he had to define included homespun, copper, and seaport. From the vocabulary activities, he also really liked completing the crossword puzzle and the word search.

He also enjoyed being able to draw objects from the present that related to objects from the past and coloring in his pictures. For example, he drew a fancy tower (floor) lamp since we no longer use oil lamps like the family used in the story.

I would recommend the study guides from Progeny Press. They are excellent for focusing upon one story or book with your child and allow for tons of learning opportunities.

P.S. Progeny Press has a lot of fun activities and ideas pinned to a board just for The Long Way to a New Land Study Guide! We can expand our time studying about Ellis Island, Immigration, and the Statue of Liberty using their board.

Do You Want to Learn More About Progeny Press?

Progeny Press offered four different study guides for review. Please visit the other reviews to see how they incorporated the study guides into their homeschooling day.

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