Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Progeny Press

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 From the website, "Progeny Press has over 100 study guides for literature, covering kindergarten, elementary, middle school and 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 God's scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!"  Last year, we had the opportunity to review the Julius Caesar literature guide.  You can find my review on it here.  We were very pleased with the study and were very excited for the opportunity to review The Hobbit Study Guide over the last several weeks.

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Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who lives in the Shire in Middle-earth.  He is drawn into an exciting adventure one day after receiving a visit from Gandalf the wizard and 13 dwarves who are on a quest to reclaim their families home and treasure from the terrifying dragon Smaug.    They are in search of a burglar to accompany  them and although Bilbo would rather stay home where he is safe and comfortable, he goes along with them and faces trolls, goblins and worse as they travel to the Lonely Mountain, where the treasure and dragon are waiting.

The Hobbit Study Guide is recommended for high school grades 9-12.  You can purchase it in 3 different formats:

Printed Booklet for $21.99
CD for $18.99
Instant Download for $18.99

To complete the Study Guide, students will also need a copy of the book, a dictionary, a thesaurus, a Bible, and at times access to the Internet.  The high school guides take around 8-10 weeks to complete working on one section per week.  Completing a high school level study guide is equal to 1/4 of a high school credit.

The 62 page guide starts with a story synopsis, information about the author, and several pre reading activities.  Questions in each section include: vocabulary, comprehension, thinking about the story, and digging deeper.  There are also questions on different story elements such as characterization, setting, parallelism, irony, and more.  The guide ends with an overview, writing assignments,other projects, and additional resources.  A complete answer guide is also included in your purchase.  You can choose to print out the pages and write or the answers, or the guide has an interactive feature that allows you to type in the answers on the screen.

My 16 year old daughter has been working through The Hobbit Study Guide on the iPad.  I first downloaded the files from the Progeny Press website to my computer because it was a zip file that you cannot download directly to the iPad.  Then I emailed myself the file and opened it in my Notability app so Chelsea could type her answers right into the iPad.  She has been working on one section per week.

Here are some of the examples of questions and answers.


"Dwalin and Balin here already, I see,"  said Kili.  Let us join the throng!"
Part of speech :  noun
b. party
c. family
d. mess


What do Thorin and the rest of the dwaves hope to accomplish in their quest?
They hope to accomplish the retrieval of their home and their families' treasure.

Thinking About the Story

In the first three chapters of The Hobbit, Tolkien introduces us to four of the many races of Middle Earth: hobbits, dwarves, trolls, elves.  Compare and contrast these races.  What seems to be the most distinguishing characteristics of each?  What race do you find the most appealing or interesting?  Why?

Hobbits-small, large feet, homey sort of creature, enjoys comfort, not very adventurous
Trolls-large, meat eating, unable to be in sunlight, hoarding, disgusting
Dwarves- small, tough, miners, strong willed, determined, able to see beauty in many things
Elves- tall, graceful, ethereal, wise, beautiful

I find the elves most fascinating for their grace, skills, beauty, and language.

Dig Deeper

When Gloin challenges Gandalf's choice of Bilbo, Gandalf replies, "There is a lot more in him than you can guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself."  Gandalf sees potential in Bilbo that others do not.  A reoccurring theme in the Bible is God's choice of unlikely people to do His will. Read 1 Samuel 16: 1-13, Amos 7: 10-15, Mark 2: 13-17, 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.  Why might people in these texts be considered unlikely candidates for serving God?  Why did God choose them anyway?

The world does not consider any of those choices as strong or important, but God sees in them strength and skills that men overlook.  While men see the exterior, God sees what is within.

I love the interactive feature of the Hobbit Study guide.  Being able to complete it on the computer or iPad is wonderful and saves the time and cost of printing it out.  Using the iPad also means it is portable and can be worked on when we are on the go.  The Hobbit Study Guide is a way to dig deeper into the book and increase your child vocabulary and comprehension.  I love the Digging Deeper questions.  I really like the inclusion of not only optional writing assignments but also other projects such as a diorama, acting, or illustrations.

We have enjoyed using The Hobbit Study Guide and look forward to using more guides from Progeny Press in the future.

To see what other Crew Mates had to say click on the banner below.



mokidad said...

I'm wondering if you have tried any other apps. We tried Adobe Acrobat but it doesn't seem to annotate the PDFs. PDFMaster locked up on my 15yo's ipad and now he can't see the annotations he made in the literature guide. And so far, from your recommendation, we are trying Notability but it doesn't seem to take advantage of the editable fields on the Progeny Press PDFs.

The Happy Homeschool Mom said...

In Notability, after opening the PDF, I click on the "T" at the top of the screen which allows you to type in the different fields. After you click on it, you tap the field you want to type in (the blank space under the question) and it will pull your keyboard up to allow you to type in that field.

mokidad said...

Thanks. Doesn't seem to work that way in the one I'm using (The Secret Garden)

The Happy Homeschool Mom said...

When you opened the file on your iPad, you sent it to Notability right and you are opening in in Notability?

I have had no trouble with the Notability app. We have used it for Progeny Press and several other PDF's that I wanted to avoid printing out on the computer. It has always worked fine.

Maybe there is something wrong with the guide? Does it work on your computer? Or maybe your Notability app itself?