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Thursday, March 15, 2012

TOS Review : Progeny Press

From the website, " Progeny Press has over 100 study guides for literature, covering kindergarten through high school. Progeny Press study guides concentrate on critical thinking, comprehension, literary analysis, and Christian application. Our goal is to teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!"

We were given our choice of 3 different guides from Progeny Press to review at the High School level: The Screwtape Letters, Pride and Prejudice, or Julius Caesar.  I decided to let Chelsea (15) decide which of the three was her first choice to review.  I was very surprised (also very pleased) when she chose Julius Caesar

"Julius Caesar has been made emperor of Rome for life; many want to make him king. But some in the Roman Senate envy Caesar his success, and others fear what he may do with his power, and so they arrange his death. The conspirators discover that assassination is a messy tool for achieving power, however, and ruling Rome is more complicated than removing Caesar."

Grade Level: 9-12
Setting: Rome

Guides are available in three different formats:
  •  paper bound reproducible booklet $21.99 
  • PDF file on CD Rom  opens with Abobe Reader interactive files can be completed on the computer or printed $18.99
  •  Email attachment opens with Abobe Reader interactive files can be completed on the computer or printed $18.99
You can also choose to order a booklet/CD combo set for $27.99  All formats contain full student text and answer key.  You can order by clicking here.  You can find the book Julius Caesar to go along with the guide by clicking here.

Other items needed to complete the guide are: a good dictionary, thesaurus, Bible , concordance, and at times Internet access or an encyclopedia can be helpful.  The High School guides take from 8-10 weeks to complete by working on one section per week.  Most Christian Schools assign 1/4 credit for each completed guide.

The Julius Caesar guide is 72 pages long and includes: a special not on Shakespeare's plays, play synopsis, information about the author, background information, and pre reading suggestions.  Each act has questions on vocabulary, general questions on the reading, analysis questions, a digging deeper section and optional activities.  There also are suggested topics for essays leaving the topics and number of essays to be completed up to the teacher.

I was glad that Chelsea chose Julius Caesar because Shakespeare can be a bit of a challenge for the teacher and the student and I thought using a literature guide to help us through it was a great idea.  We followed the suggestion in the guide to watch or listen to the play first and obtained a copy of Julius Caesar from Netflix to watch before Chelsea read the play.  Then we checked out a copy of the play from the library and she read the entire play.  After finishing the play. she went back and started working through the first Act activities in the guide.

One of the features I like best about the guide is that it is interactive.  If you want to you can print the pages and fill them out, but you don't have to.  Chelsea prefers to type and the guide allows you to type your answers on the computer and save them.  Completing it this way also saves money by saving ink.  The guide itself is very thorough.  The vocabulary and general questions cover a great deal of information.  I was especially impressed with the digging deeper and optional activities sections.  An example of one of the digging deeper questions is, "Read the account of the Israelites arriving at the Promised Land in Numbers 13 and 14.  In a few sentences summarize what happens in these chapters.  How are these events similar to the actions of Brutus and Cassius in questions 10 and 11 above?"

The Progeny Press Literature Guide was a great way for us to tackle William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.  I will definitely be looking at their other guides in the future.

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

I received a complimentary PDF file by email of Julius Caesar Literature Guide from Progeny Press.  I received no other compensation.

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