Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Moving Beyond the Page

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I had never heard of Moving Beyond the Page before the company appeared on the list of vendors for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I am so glad I have heard of them now!  We have had a wonderful time while reviewing  the Ben and Me Language Arts Unit along with the Magnetism and Electricity Science Unit.  

The Ben and Me Language Arts Unit is for students in the 8-10 year old age range.  It can be used as a stand alone literature unit or used alongside the Magnetism and Electricity Science Unit.  The listed prerequisites for this unit are to be able to read and comprehend chapter books at a 4th-5th grade reading level and to be able to write an organized paragraph. Through this Language Arts Unit your child will learn about the life of Ben Franklin through the eyes of a rodent named Amos by reading the book Ben and Me by Robert Lawson, answering comprehension questions, and completing hands on activities.  They will learn about the elements of historical fiction and what the difference is between fact and fiction.  Children will have an opportunity to design and fly their own kite and discover information about early inventions and the invention process.

The Ben and Me Language Arts Unit contains both parent instruction pages and student activity pages.  It has 10 lessons and is designed to be completed in about 3 weeks.  Chapters Include:

  • Lesson One: Ben Franklin and the Colonies (2 days)
  • Lesson Two: Setting the Record Straight
  • Lesson Three: Swimming
  • Lesson Four: Electricity
  • Lesson Five: Electrifying
  • Lesson 6: War
  • Lesson 7: France
  • Lesson 8: Amos's Account (2 days)
  • Lesson 9: The Rescue
  • Lesson 10: Back Home
  • Final Project: An Interview or Party for Ben (2 days

The Ben and Me language arts unit is available as  a physical package for $33.18 which includes: Ben and Me Curriculum,  Ben and Me by Robert Lawson, and a pocket sled kite kit.  Or you can purchase the unit for $29.12 which includes online access to the Ben and Me Curriculum for 3 months once activated, a physical copy of Ben and Me by Robert Lawson, and a pocket sled kite kit.  Each of the components can also be purchased separately.

You can see samples of both the online and hard copy units on this page.

The Magnetism and Electricity Unit can be used on its own, but it was designed to go along with the Ben and Me language arts unit and to be used by students in the 8-10 year old range who are able to read chapter books at a 4-5th grade reading level and write an organized paragraph.  Students will explore magnetic forces and observe how magnets and electricity are used in daily life.  They will make their own circuits and experiment with different materials to see whether they are conductors or insulators.  They will learn about the relationship between magnetism and electricity.  This unit uses Electricity and Magnetism by Peter Adamczyk and Paul-Francis Law, comprehension questions, and many hands on science experiments.  Magnetism and Electricity contains both the teacher notes and the student pages and is designed to be completed in about 3 weeks.  Chapters include:

  • Lesson One: The Power of Magnets
  • Lesson Two: Experimenting With Magnets
  • Lesson Three: Magnetic Fields
  • Lesson Four: Magnet Action
  • Lesson Five: Magnetism on Earth
  • Lesson Six: Exploring Electricity (2 days)
  • Lesson Seven: Conductors and Circuits
  • Lesson Eight: Motors and Batteries
  • Lesson Nine: Products of Electricity (2 days)
  • Lesson Ten: Sources of Electricity 
  • Final Project : Magnetism and Electricity

The physical package is $89.92 and includes:  Magnetism and Electricity Curriculum, Electricity and Magnetism by Peter Adamczyk and Paul-Francis Law, Force and Power Science Kit, and Science Wiz Electricity Kit.   The online option is $85.86 and includes the same components as the physical package with the exception that the curriculum will not be a physical product but instead you will receive online access of the unit for 3 months once it has been activated.  Each of the components can be purchased separately as well.

You can see samples of online and hard copy units on this page.

Moving Beyond the Page offers many individual units for language arts, science, and social studies for children ages 7-13. They also offer full year curriculum packages for ages 5-13 with a 4-5 year old and 12-14 year old curriculum packages being added soon.  You can go to this page to see their full year curriculum packages or this page to see all of their individual units.

I chose  Ben and Me with the corresponding Magnetism and Electricity Unit to use with my almost 8,9,and 11 year old boys.  I started looking for something in the 8-10 year old age range so I could use it with all three of them.  My boys are particularly interested in science and Ben Franklin and his inventions which made this the perfect unit for them to study.  We did all of the readings as read alouds, did the comprehension questions orally, and worked on the activities together.  We received all of the components to both units to review.  The Language Arts Unit we had online access to and the Science Unit we received a physical copy of.

I was quite impressed with the concept of Moving Beyond the Page the first time I visited the website.  I loved the idea of teaching subjects around a correlating theme using great books and interesting hands on activities.  I was VERY impressed when I received my package from Moving Beyond the Page (pictured above.)  All of the supplies from the Force and Power Science Kit were in separate bags labeled with the lesson!  How convenient!  Everything we needed to complete the science unit was included with the exception of a hammer for an optional activity and a D cell battery for the Electricity Kit.  The Language Arts Unit did require a few easy to find supplies like scissors, glue, colored pencils, magazines, a globe, tape, dictionary, journal, biography of Ben Franklin etc.. The supplies are shown with the corresponding lesson number so you can easily see what you will need when.

We have loved the book Ben and Me.  It has been a great read a loud for my family.  I think the variety of learning activities is wonderful.  I do not assign "busy work" to my children.  If they are doing worksheets I want them to be worthwhile.  The student worksheets are not just mindless worksheets but instead have a purpose and make children think.  My favorite worksheet was "Something New" where the children designed a new invention from a list of objects.  The children thought it was really cool when we lit a light bulb using a balloon and the static electricity from my hair.  And of course, the kite flying was a big hit!

The Magnetism and Electricity Unit has been a LOT of fun!  The boys have learned so much through the readings and hands on activities.  Having all of the necessary equipment already on hand and divided into labeled bags ensured that we would actually do the experiments.  Many times in science I start out with good intentions of completing an experiment but discover we are missing one of the things we need.  With Moving Beyond the Page, I didn't have to worry about that.  I did many of the experiments with the boys, but one day that I had a conflict I handed them the book, told them which lesson to complete and they handled it all on their own with no problems.  The Science Wiz Electricity Kit was definitely the boys favorite part of the unit!

Pros and Cons of Physical Copy vs. Online Access

Online Pros

  • instant access and no shipping (but honestly if you are ordering other items from MBTP this won't really matter)
  • less expensive
  • the copyright for the online curriculum allows you to make multiple copies of student pages for your family
  • links to websites and further information are only a click away
  • can complete worksheets without printing them out (I did this using Notability on my iPad)
  • it checks off each lesson as you complete it
Online Cons

  • you only have access for 3 months once the unit is activated (if something happens and you need it longer the company will extend this time)
  • you have to have internet to access it
  • you need to have a computer or other device (I used the iPad)  with you to read the teacher's notes (student pages are PDF's and can be printed out)
  • I felt very disorganized for the first few days of using the online unit.  Once I got all of the student pages printed out and divided by lesson and started accessing it on my iPad so it was more portable, It got better.

Physical Copy Pros

  • physical copy that you get to keep
  • very portable
  • you do not need internet to access teacher's notes (you may need internet at some point to access listed websites to complete some assignments)
  • spiral binding allows book to lay flat and keep hands free
  • I felt more organized because everything was all in one place
Physical Copy Cons

  • cannot make copies for multiple students additional packs of student pages are $4.99 each
  • teacher's notes with the answer keys are in the same book as student pages
  • teacher cannot read through their notes while students are working on worksheets
  • little more expensive

My Wish-  I would like to see a PDF download offered.  This way you would not need to have internet to access it and you could print out the whole thing including teacher's notes if you wished, or keep it on a device if you chose.  You could print as many copies as you need for your family, but still keep it forever.  You would still have immediate access and save on shipping costs.

One other thing I wanted to mention was the listed prerequisites.  How you are planning on using the units will help you determine how important it is that your child meets this.  If you are expecting them to do it on their own, they need to be at the recommended ability.  If you are planning on working with them then I wouldn't worry about it too much.  Neither my almost 8 or 9 year olds were at the recommended reading level but have really good reading comprehension.  I read the book aloud and they completed the activities with no problems.

We will definitely be looking at completing another unit from Moving Beyond the Page in the future!

Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed a variety of products from Moving Beyond the Page.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, click on the banner below.



Lorus! said...

This looks very interesting! I haven't heard of this company before reading your review, but it sounds like it might be a good fit for our family.
I would like to see the PDF option you mentioned - then I could order the units I want to complete without having to worry that I would run out of my 3 month window of time. It would make yearly planning much easier too.

The Happy Homeschool Mom said...

The three month window only starts when you activate it. So, you could buy what you wanted say in August, but if you didn't want to start a certain unit until February, it would stay inactive until you activate. Once you go into your account and activate it, it expires in 3 months. The company will extend that time if you need longer no questions asked. So if you activate something but due to illness, travel etc.. you need more time, all you have to do is email them.

I personally think a PDF download option would be more convenient because it would be the best of both worlds.

We had a great time with MBTP! You know you have a hit when your children ask to do school especially in the summer!