Moving Beyond the Page

Moving Beyond the Page

Our family enjoys learning through a variety of methods, one of which is hands-on. So when we were recently told about Moving Beyond the Page, I was excited to try their curriculum out. We chose to review a Science Package- Weather and Climate and a Language Arts Package- An Independent Study

What is Moving Beyond the Page?

Their name says it all! They take learning to a whole new level (beyond the page) with a hands-on and engaging curriculum. It is a literature based homeschool curriculum for ages 4-14. They offer a variety of ways to use their curriculum. You can purchase a complete program for your child or you can choose to use their unit studies to supplement what you are already doing. They not only offer physical curriculum but an online option as well.

Moving Beyond the Page covers science, language arts, social studies as well as offering math and reading for the 5-8 year olds. Their comprehensive curriculum meets state and national standards. What makes their complete homeschool curriculum unique is the way they integrate science, social studies and language art in a unit studies approach. For example, a student may study tornados in science while doing a language art study on a fictitious book about a character experiencing a tornado. While many of the unit studies compliment each other, they can also be used alone.

How the online curriculum works:

When I first logged on for our online Language Arts Package- Independent Study, I was overwhelmed at all the information that was there. The online curriculum provides the lessons for the student as well as the student activity sheets that can be downloaded and printed.

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The above photo is a picture of what your table of contents screen looks like and where you start. While there is a lot of information, it was organized and easy to navigate. You could print out all the student activity pages right from here or throughout the lessons when the pages were needed, an icon was on the screen to download the page at that time. We chose just to download the pages as needed. It also told you about how much time it takes to do each lesson. In a whole, Moving Beyond the Pages state that each of these unit studies takes approximately 3 weeks from start to finish.

My oldest daughter chose to review this so I sat down with her for the first lesson in case she had any questions. She had no problem doing the lessons on her own as the curriculum guides her what to do next.

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Each lesson gives an intro of what the student will be learning as well as listing the supplies that are needed, different activities to complete both online as well as writing projects and a conclusion at the end of the lesson. She then had the option to click "lesson complete" and it crossed off that lesson on the main page. Each time you logged in you were taken right back to where you last left off so you didn't have to click through to find your place.

As you can see in the above photo on the bottom right corner, there is a section for "idea share" where previous users of this curriculum may have shared something that they did with this lesson or a resource they used. Likewise we also had the ability to share ideas we may have done to help other users of this curriculum.

We appreciated the activities section and how the student was given the option of 2 activities and could choose which one she wanted to complete. This made it easier to adapt to my daughter's abilities and learning style.

For this Independent Study that my daughter completed, she got to dive into both online news websites as well as perusing the newspaper to better understand what & how propaganda & bias techniques are used by the media and advertisers. Throughout this unit study, all the activities were leading up to the final project at the end. She was taken through the research process of how to write a persuasive paper on the topic that she chose of illegal immigration and better border patrol. 

How we used the physical curriculum:

My daughter absolutely loves learning about the weather so it was a no-brainer that she chose to review the Science Package- Weather and Climate. She was so excited when the box arrived and saw everything that came with it! We received a 159 page, spiral bound book that contains the student plan, parent overview and activity pages. Also included was a hardback book called Weather  by Brian Cosgrove that contained many colorful images as well as a clipart CD and a huge poster to hang on a wall. Because this unit study had experiments sprinkled throughout, we also received a box of most of the supplies needed to complete the experiments.

Before my daughter started, I sat down with the Weather and Climate book to read how they suggest to use it. In the beginning of the book it contained a list of supplies that you would use throughout the book as well as a vocabulary list of words that would be covered during this unit study. There are 10 lessons in this book with a few of the lessons taking more than one day (which was noted at the beginning of the lesson). Each lesson had a "getting started" section which listed the supplies the student needs, ideas to think about and the reading pages assignment to read out of the Weather book.

After that was the activities section. Sometimes this involved answering questions, drawing pictures,writing stories, watching videos online and of course, many experiments!! Throughout this unit study she also kept a weather journal that is included in the curriculum, documenting temperature, cloud description, precipitation, atmospheric pressure, humidity & heat index (they also had options to fill in if it was cold outside).

Finally the lesson ended with a "wrapping up" section that reviewed what they had just learned as well as suggestions of other activities the student could do or how to apply to real life what they just studied (like predicting the next days weather based on their weather journal). Throughout the book are boxes for the student to check mark as they completed each section. This made it easy for me to scan through to see that she completed what was needed.

In the back of the book includes a parents overview. It is basically a summary of of each lesson and what the student covered. It also contains answers to any questions they had in each lesson.

This unit study was laid out clearly and easy to follow which made it great for my daughter to complete on her own. By far her favorite activities were the experiments. The experiments listed each step in order and also showed drawings of how to build or complete each step. Some of the things she did was make an anemometer, finding the dew point in the bathroom, made lightning, and made warm & cold fronts meet. She also learned how to read a weather map and what the different symbols mean. At the end of the unit study there was a test for her to take (included in the book) as well as a final project she had to complete. She put her on spin on this part and did a short report on tornados as well as a guide on how to prepare for a tornado to include with it.

Summing it up:

While the online & physical curriculum have many similarities, one point to note is the slight differences. With the online version, you can download and print out as many student pages as you would like to use for multiple children though you only have access to your online curriculum for 3 months. Personally if I am purchasing a curriculum I would prefer to have unlimited access. With the physical curriculum guide, it's obviously yours to keep but you would need to purchase additional student pages if you wanted to use this unit study for more than one child as copying is not permitted.

Overall, we were very impressed with both Moving Beyond the Page unit studies. They were chock full of information and presented it in a very engaging way that kept my daughters attention and had her wanting to do more. Their website contains many different unit studies and would make a great full curriculum or even a wonderful supplement to what you are already doing.

Language Arts Package- Independent Study is for ages 11-13 and is available for $16.99
Science Package- Weather and Climate is for ages 10-12 and is available for $50.28

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