Friday, October 9, 2015

Progeny Press "Carry on, Mr. Bowditch" REVIEW!

Progeny Press Review

If you have been looking for a really good, Christian study guide for literature I urge you to check out Progeny Press. For the last several weeks, we have been reviewing their literature guide for Carry on, Mr. Bowditch , and I have been very impressed. For this review, I received a digital copy of the study guide. I really love digital copies of products. They are great because I don't have to take up shelf space, I don't have to worry about misplacing my ONLY copy, and I can't print as needed. If printing is an issue, they do offer a print copy, as well. But I really prefer digital for my own personal use.  Progeny Press offers guides on a variety of levels from elementary through high school. Carry on, Mr Bowditch is a middle school leveled book (suggested grade 5-8,) so keep that in mind.



The Carry on, Mr. Bowditch e-guide is quite unique to me. It will open in Adobe, and you can print it as usual (which is what I chose to do.) OR, if you prefer, your child can enter their answers directly to the file and save it! I'm trying to reinforce handwriting skills, so I chose to print and have him answer that way. But I would definitely have him answer via typing his answers to reinforce keyboarding when we get to that point. The 63 page guide covers everything you want in a literature guide. The guide includes an answer key that is separate from the guide itself so wandering eyes can't easily locate it. It also has a note to the instructor on how to use the guide, a summary of the book, and pre-reading activities and suggestions.  It helps your student (and you) navigate the book, reinforce comprehension, and make sense of everything they have read. I also really like scripture that is presented the guide. It is really nice to have the guide refer back to verses, and ask the student to apply these verses. 



About the Book: Carry on, Mr. Bowditch

Carry on, Mr. Bowditch is a Newbury award winning book written by Jean Lee Latham, a WV native. The book features Nat, a young mathematical wonder who grew up in the sailing and shipping community of Salem in the 18th century. Nat's father was a ship's captain, so the nautical world only came natural to Nat. Even though Nat was too small to be a true sailor, his hard work paid off ten fold in his work, "The American Practical Navigator" which is also known as "The Sailor's Bible." This led to Natbeing a New England nautical Hero, despite his small physical size! The book's use of historical context showcases the remarkable gift Nat gave to the sailing world at a time when sailors relied on log books and gut instinct to navigate the waters. His quick thinking, and ability to win the hearts of his fellow crew members, teaches children the importance of mental strength in a world of physical strength. 

How We Used This:

I decided to use this as our main reading/literature component until it is completed. Each day I have Mr. B reading for about 30 minutes. He doesn't always finish the chapter in that time frame, so we have had to move a bit slowly through the guide. After each chapter I would have Mr. B do the corresponding guide pages.  We also discussed what he read, and I would have him summarize each chapter, sometimes as he went along. We often discussed in greater detail the questions in the guide. 


Overall: 

Overall, I really like Progeny Press and their literature guides. Carry on, Mr. Bowditch filled the literature gap we had perfectly. It has been a great reading experience heightened by the well written, well planned guide. The guide is broken up into multi-chapter chunks, so determining which page went with each chapter was sometimes a little difficult for me.  The only change I would make to the guide is to have it broken into chapters instead of multiple chapters. It was a little too much for Mr. B to read chapters 1-3, for example, THEN do the all of the pages associated with that. We tried it this way, but found we were spending a lot of time trying that. Sometimes he would have to go back and reread portions, and that was fine with us, but not when it meant spending nearly 10 days just on 3 chapters. This isn't a deterrent by any stretch, but something to keep in mind for special needs learners. You may need to plan your time accordingly to allow ample time for this reason. 

Does Progeny Press Pass My 4 Ingredient Test

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

There is no guided lesson plan schedule included. I would personally find it helpful if there was an included guide, but you are free to move about at your own pace. I wouldn't suggest skipping anything, but you could if you wanted.


2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?


The books do cover multiple grades. "Carry on, Mr. Bowditch," is intended for grade 5-8. There are no hidden fees, or anything like that. This is a physical product. You can choose a CD or digital version, or a print version.


3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

Progeny offers guides for several books, so it is a good bet you will find a guide for a book that your child will really enjoy. I chose this book specifically because Mr. B loves numbers and navigation right now, so it was a perfect fit and held his attention nicely.


4.) Does it tie into other things we already have?


You can choose books that will tie into things you are already doing. Progeny has a VERY large selection of guides available, and they offer the books on their site as well, which makes it easy to find the needed book!



If you would like to check out reviews on more Christian literature guides from Progeny Press, please click the banner below to see more blog posts from the crew over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

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