We had the wonderful opportunity of being able to review another study guide from Progeny Press. Ever since I was introduced to this company through the Homeschool Review Crew several years ago, I have really enjoyed being able to use their products. I love being able to delve into books, and work on reading comprehension, especially from a Biblical perspective. This time, it was the younger children who had the experience. We have been using The Josefina Story Quilt - eGuide for our language arts these past few weeks, and we've been having a wonderful time.
We received a downloadable PDF copy of the 35-page study guide for the children's book, The Josefina Story Quilt; however, it is also available in a printed version. The guide is written by Rebecca Gilleland, who along with her husband Michael own Progeny Press. The recommended grade levels for this particular study guide are 1st through 3rd grade. Which was perfect for Harold and Hannah.
Progeny Press offers eGuides for four different levels.
- Lower Elementary (Kindergarten through 3rd grade)
- Upper Elementary (3rd through 5th grade)
- Middle School (5th through 8th grade)
- High School (8th through 12th grade)
The books in the Lower Elementary level are either picture books or simple chapter books. Like all the other levels, the books chosen are quality books, and most are even award winners. In the past we have used the guides for Frog and Toad Together (lower elementary) and Charlotte's Web (upper elementary).
What materials are needed for completing this study?
In addition to obtaining a copy of the book (which I easily found at the library), you will need a printer, paper, and ink to print out the study guide pages. As with all their eGuides, permission is granted to print enough copies for single classroom use, though not all of the pages need to be printed out. I prefer to purchase Prong Pocket Folders to keep our study guides organized, but you could also use a regular binder or folder. You will also need normal school supplies such as crayons and/or colored pencils, pen or pencil, plus common craft supplies for completing the related crafts. Some suggestions would be paints, markers, or chalk. Fabric or wallpaper scraps are also suggested, though we didn't have those. Perhaps even some sewing supplies. There is also a cooking activity which would require typical ingredients normally found in a kitchen.
Let's take a look at the eGuide for The Josefina Story Quilt.
The guide begins with a Table of Contents. Then you will find the following:
- Note to Instructor
- About the Author
- Background Information
- Before-you-read Activities
- Looking at the Story: Part One
- Looking at the Story: Part Two
- Dig Deeper
- Crossword Puzzle Review
- Activities, Arts, and Crafts
- Suggestions for Further Reading
- Answer Key
The "Note to Instructor" gives details on how to use Progeny Press Study Guides, including how long they should take to complete.
The "Synopsis" tells what is going to happen in the story, and "About the Author" gives some tidbits about the author's life, including awards won and even a quote.
I enjoyed being able to share the "Background Information" which was like a one-page history lesson about westward expansion in the 1800's. This information went along with the "Before-you-read Activities" that we completed before reading the book.
I appreciated that the children had a chance to work on geography and encyclopedia/research skills, along with some other thought provoking activities to go along with quilts and wagons, though I was disappointed I couldn't find the recommended music to listen to.
Prior to reading the book we also worked on the "Vocabulary" section. There were multiple choice questions, along with an activity that had us looking at a specific section of the book to discover various verbs, using them to complete the sentences, after which they were to find them in a word search. The word search was a bit tricky for Harold, so he did need some help for that activity. Hannah was able to complete it independently.
We then moved into the story. "Looking at the Story: Part One" has us read the first two chapters of the book before completing three pages of short-answer type questions, and "Looking at the Story: Part Two" has us read the remainder of the story, which was four chapters, before filling out the answers for another five pages of questions. The questions ask the children for specific, literal details that can be found in the text, but there are also questions where the children have to think a little harder to come up with the answers, along with explaining why they answered the way they did. For example, they had to know details from the book to answer what Pa had to throw out of the wagon to lighten the load, but then they also had to decide whether that would have been hard, and explain why or why not.
Here is how Hannah answered those questions.
And here is how Harold answered those questions.
(I am allowing him to answer without full sentences, because when we first started the guide he was taking an awfully long time and getting frustrated with all the writing.)
Then there are the questions that help look at aspects in the story from a Biblical perspective. We looked at such things as obeying and honoring parents, looking at what the Bible has to say about friendship in relation to Faith's friendship with Josefina, and a bit about prayer. Bible verses are read and then applied to the story and to the students' lives.
The three-page "Dig Deeper" section helps us review the story and look at it as a whole. Again there are short-answer type questions to answer, along with some questions asking the children to list specific details from the story. Additionally there is even more time to reflect on God's word and answer questions.
The children then need to complete the "Crossword Puzzle Review" to see how well they remember the story.
The remainder of the study guide is more of a resource for the parent.
In "Activities, Arts, and Crafts" you will find a story-related recipe (which we didn't make as it was for homemade bread and I just couldn't have that temptation in the house), plus a couple of art projects, and a couple of craft suggestions. We combined a couple of the suggestions, tweaking them a bit, to make a paper square quilt in memory of our trip to the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter last week.
Each of the children created four quilt squares for this quilt.
Though I was using the actual guide with the younger two children, Hannah and Harold who are going into third and first grade respectively, the older girls did join in a bit. In addition to the quilt pictured above, the older girls did listen in while we were reading, plus they read some of the "Further Reading" suggestions that were closer to their reading level.
The "Suggestions for Further Reading" section suggests several different types of books.
- Other books by Eleanor Coerr
- Books of Related Interest (wagons, quilts, pioneer days)
- I'll Teach Myself Series (sewing and patchwork)
- and the book and cassette of suggested music
The eGuide concludes with the "Answer Key."
How did we use The Josefina Story Quilt eGuide?
First I put the suggested books on hold, so we could have a variety of reading material available. Then Hannah and Harold and I took a few days to work on the "Before-you-read Activities" and "Vocabulary" section. After that I read the first two chapters aloud for Part One of "Looking at the Story." I would then ask them the questions and have them come up with their answers, using the book as necessary. I would have them dictate their answers to me, and then they would copy the answers onto their study guide. About one page at a time was plenty of work for both of them, as they both are not huge fans of writing. We are doing the same for Part Two.
In between reading the chapters for part one and part two of the guide, Hannah actually snitched the book and read it on her own.
We also read quite a few of the books on the suggested reading list. Some were read as family read-alouds, others were read to me by Harold, and some the older girls read on their own. The older girls had an assignment where they had to read one or more of the books and then they had to choose at least one to create a "book report" for.
One of the books Amelia read is Wagon Wheels by Barbara Brenner. She created this story poster:
One of the books Tabitha read is Pioneer Cat by William H. Hooks. She created a scrapbook. Here's one of the pages:
We have really enjoyed our time reading and delving into a bit of America's past with this eGuide for The Josefina Story Quilt. We have been focusing on ancient history all year, so it was nice to do something a bit different for the start of the summer.
As with both of the previous study guides from Progeny Press, I greatly appreciated the chance to delve into quality literature from a Biblical perspective. I love that these guides get the children (and mom) thinking about what they are reading. And, as always, we love having hands-on activities which help to enhance what we are learning.
Both of the children really enjoyed the story.
Hannah liked being able to create a story quilt of our own.
Harold liked writing answers to the questions, though he prefers when there isn't tons of writing to do.
Don't forget to click on the banner below to check out what my fellow Crew Mates think of the eGuides they got to review. In addition to The Josefina Story Quilt, the Crew had the opportunity to review the following eGuides: