Monday, October 31, 2011

Excellence in Literature :: English I: Introduction to Literature


Literature...This is not something that we have really done before. At least not in the traditional sense. We have never used a formal Literature program before. My daughter is just entering high school this year, and when I found out that we would be reviewing a Literature program, I figured it must be time to get started on it.


We received an introductory program by Excellence In Literature called English 1: Introduction to Literature.


Introduction to Literature is a college-preparatory literature and composition course. Focus works, including novels, short stories, poems, and drama, have been selected for literary quality, and for their place in the historical development of literature. Context readings provide background information about the author, the historical period, and the literary and artistic context of the focus work. 

By the end of the course, students will:

  • Understand the process of writing, including the use of tools such as a writer’s handbook, dictionary, and thesaurus.
  • Have specific understanding of selected representative texts by major authors of the periods studied.
  • Have a general understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the works.
  • Be able to analyze literary texts and present thoughtfully developed ideas in writing.
  • Demonstrate competence in essay organization, style, and mechanics.  
  •  
  • Unit 1: Short Stories by-
    • Sarah Orne Jewett: A White Heron
    • Edgar Allen Poe: The Purloined Letter (This one is not scary, if you're concerned about that.)
    • Guy de Maupassant: The Diamond Necklace
    • O. Henry: The Ransom of Red Chief
    • Eudora Welty: A Worn Path
    • James Thurber: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
     Unit 2: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
    Honors: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

     Unit 3: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
    Honors: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

     Unit 4: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
    Honors: Shirley or Villette by Charlotte Brontë

     Unit 5: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
    Honors: Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot

     Unit 6: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
    Honors: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

     Unit 7: Animal Farm by George Orwell
    Honors: 1984 by George Orwell

     Unit 8: The Tempest by William Shakespeare
    Honors: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

     Unit 9: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
    Honors: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan


As you can see, Janice uses a great list of books for this program. You can find out why she chose these particular books for this program here.

As someone who has never used a formal Literature program before, I have to say that this one is well laid out and easy to use. It tells you exactly what to do for each week/weeks, but encourages you to work at your own pace. And let me tell you that our pace was slow.

Since this was our first time using a curriculum like this, we weren't familiar with some of the terms. For example, one of the first things my daughter was asked to do was write an Approach Paper. Now, I have never in my life heard of an approach paper. I actually Googled it and all I could find were business approach papers, so I am not sure if this is something new, or if I have just never heard of it.

Whether it is actually something new or not, I don't know, but I do know that I liked the approach paper format. Your child has to write a quick summary and list the characters and their qualities. They have to come up with their own discussion questions and choose a key passage that they think is the most important passage in the story.

This approach really makes them think about what they are reading. While I don't think it's necessary to go that deep into everything you read, it is a great option for some of your reading.

We started in Unit 1. The first story is A White Heron by Sara Orne Jewitt.

My daughter worked on her approach paper for weeks! Yes, weeks. It is not any fault of the curriculum, it's just that my daughter is not used to having to summarize things down so much. Summarizing is so hard for her. She is a narrator. She takes longer to tell a story than it would take someone to read it. lol
It took her probably a week just to summarize this story. Having to keep the summary to a certain amount of sentences was very difficult for her. It took her another week just do define the qualities of the characters. 

I tried not to get frustrated. I knew this was her first time doing this, so I let her take her time. She moved faster through the rest of her paper, and she was proud of what she had done. (Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the review if you would like to see my daughters approach paper.)

I know it won't take her as long next time...hopefully.

After she moved on to the next section, filling out a Literature Summary: Theme, Characterization, Plot, Setting and Style, she didn't want to move any further. Neither did I, to be honest. We needed a break.

The program recommends a Writing book to be used alongside this program, but does not tell us where to find the information needed in the book. For example, it does not tell us where to find information on Theme in the recommended writers book. We tried looking up these things, but only found a brief definition, no examples. I am sure they have to be in there, but I don't have time to look through every page of the book to find them.

That is my negative to this program. The program does not make it easy to find the info needed, even in the book it recommends. It does include a glossary in the end of the book, but we were needing more information.

With the information we did find, we decided to move on, but it was a little hard for my daughter. She is a very young 9th grader, so I am not pushing her, but we are going to have to take this a little slower for a while until she becomes familiar with this type of work.

I hope by describing our experience you don't get the impression that we didn't like this program, because we both think it is a great program. Really. It was just hard for us to get used to. We are not used to doing such formal English work. But of all the Literature programs I have ever seen, this one looks the best.

My daughter said that she loved all the writing, but that some of it was a little hard to understand. To quote her exactly, "I think it is really fun, but it's also kinda really hard." (I know, we need English, huh?) Hey, were Okies, what can I say? lol
We are going to continue on with this program, at our own pace, and I know we will reap great benefits.

After the first unit, I will probably pick and choose the units we do, as some of the stories are better suited for my daughters age than others. She is really excited about studying Gulliver's Travels.

I think that this is a great Literature program that we will be able to use for years to come. If you are not used to doing a program like this, it might take some getting used to, but I think you will like it.

If you are interested in the Introduction to Literature, you can find it here for $27 for an e-book, or $29 plus $4.95 S & H for the print book.

Be sure to read what my Crew Mates thought of this program. I know you will find a lot of great insight from them.


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*I have received a download copy of Introduction to Litereature, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion.
No other compensation has been given to me.*


10 – 6 – 2011 
A White Heron 

A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett is a short, two chapter story about a spirited nine-year-old girl named Sylvia, her kindhearted grandmother Mrs. Tilley, their troublesome cow Misstress Mooly, and a handsome young ornithologist whom Sylvia meets one night while fetching the cow to be milked. Sylvia is a little maid who had lived in a manufacturing town for eight years and was the unlikely choice out of her many siblings to be taken to live with her grandmother on her small farm in the New England wilderness. Little Silvia is terrified when she hears a sharp whistle of a boy one evening in the woods as the sun is setting, but she soon finds herself dreaming of love, and she is willing to do anything to make him happy;even betraying her friend the beautiful white heron. But when the time comes to tell the herons great secret, she is unable to forget the wonderful time she has spent with the beautiful bird, and keeps his secret to herself. In the end she wonders if the life of a bird was worth losing over her friendship with the handsome young stranger she admired so much

. Characters 
  Sylvia: Loyal, Lively, Determined, Sweet, Quiet, Shy Mrs. Tilley: Hospitable, Auspicious, Tidy, Talkative The Ornithologist: Kind, Cheerful, Polite, Tall, Charming  

Discussion Questions  
We are told where this story took place, the New England Wilderness, but we are not told when. Taking everything into consideration, (Like $10.00 being a fortune and the fact that there were obviously no hunting laws because the hunter was hunting on Mrs. Tilley's land) what time period would you say this story is set in? In your opinion, did Sylvia make the right decision in keeping the white herons secret? Why or why not? If it had been you, what would you have done?
We are not told a lot about the hunter. For instance: What was his name? Where did he live? How old was he? Where did he grow up? How do these things make this character different from the others? What were your feelings about the ornithologist? Did you like or dislike this character? Why?


Key Passage, From chapter II 
Sylvia, well satisfied, makes her perilous way down again, not daring to look far below the branch she stands on, ready to cry sometimes because her fingers ache and her lamed feet slip. Wondering over and over again what the stranger would say to her, and what he would think when she told him how to find his way straight to the heron’s nest.
“Sylvy, Sylvy!” called the busy old grandmother again and again, but nobody answered, and the small husk bed was empty and Sylvia had disappeared.
The guest waked from a dream, and remembering his day’s pleasure hurried to dress himself that it might sooner begin. He was sure from the way the shy little girl looked once or twice yesterday that she had at least seen the white heron, and now she must really be made to tell. Here she comes now, paler than ever, and her worn old frock is torn and tattered, and smeared with pine pitch. The grandmother and the sportsman stand in the door together and question her, and the splendid moment has come to speak of the dead hemlock-tree by the green marsh.
But Sylvia does not speak after all, though the old grandmother fretfully rebukes her, and the young man’s kind, appealing eyes are looking straight in her own. He can make them rich with money; he has promised it, and they are poor now. He is so well worth making happy, and he waits to hear the story she can tell.
No, she must keep silence! What is it that suddenly forbids her and makes her dumb? Has she been nine years growing and now, when the great world for the first time puts out a hand to her, must she thrust it aside for a bird’s sake? The murmur of the pine’s green branches is in her ears, she remembers how the white heron came flying through the golden air and how they watched the sea and the morning together, and Sylvia cannot speak; she cannot tell the heron’s secret and give its life away.
Dear loyalty, that suffered a sharp pang as the guest went away disappointed later in the day, that could have served and followed him and loved him as a dog loves! Many a night Sylvia heard the echo of his whistle haunting the pasture path as she came home with the loitering cow. She forgot even her sorrow at the sharp report of his gun and the sight of thrushes and sparrows dropping silent to the ground, their songs hushed and their pretty feathers stained and wet with blood. Were the birds better friends than their hunter might have been, — who can tell? Whatever treasures were lost to her, woodlands and summer-time, remember! Bring your gifts and graces and tell your secrets to this lonely country child!


Key Passage Explanation  
I think this passage is important because we see Sylvia's love and loyalty to her bird friends, but we also see that after the fact she regretted her decision in keeping the herons secret and “ forgot even her sorrow at the sharp report of his gun and the sight of thrushes and sparrows dropping silent to the ground,”. Little Sylvia, who started out as a sad little maid, and then became a happy little woods girl after moving in with her grandmother, is left sad and lonely once again and ends up asking herself “ Were the birds better friends than their hunter might have been...?”.







Friday, October 28, 2011

Memoria Press - First Start Reading/ TOS Review


I have heard of Memoria Press, but I thought all they had were Latin Products. When I found out that they had a reading program I jumped at the chance to review it. Their reading program is called First Start Reading. And it is AWESOME! I absolutely love it!

Many of you know that we have been using a different reading program, and while it is a good reading program, it was moving too fast for my son. When I saw this program I knew it would be just what we needed. It thought it would be perfect for him right where he was. I was right...And this has to be the cutest curriculum I have ever seen! The covers are simply beautiful.

First Start Reading comes with a Teachers Guide and 3 student workbooks.


The first workbook starts out with the letter M. The second lesson is letter A, and by the third lesson your child is reading the word am.




As you can see in the above pictures your child is also doing handwriting with this program. I love this aspect. It makes it much easier to have everything in one program. It really simplifies things.

Lessons 3 and 4 have your child reading their first sentences.



The first sentence your child will read is I see Sam. Soon they will be reading sentences like A cat has a rat, and Sam is fast.



The lessons are very simple and they build easily upon one another. Each lesson adds one new letter/sound, and has the child reading new words each lesson. My son loves the coloring pages that go along with each lesson as well.

The last few lessons of Book A are stories that your child should be able to read now that he has completed the previous lessons.



I think it is so cool that my son will be able to read these stories very shortly. We actually just finished lesson 22 which is the last lesson before the stories. My son has already asked me if there were more books for him to do. That says a lot right there. I told him there were two more, and he was happy to hear it.

After your child has completed his lessons and has read the stories, he will do a Word Mastery Review. This is very simple, just a list of words that he should know now that he has gone through the workbook.
He will also have dictation practice pages. 

After all of that is complete he will have an Assessment. During the assessment he will read a list of CVC Words (consonant vowel consonant) and Common Words, and then he will dictate some CVC and Common words as well. That completes Book A. 

Book B is very similar to Book A with the exception that it has more stories and dictation built in throughout the workbook. 





And Book C is pretty much the same as Book B. Of course each book gets a little more complex.





By the end of all three workbooks your child will be able to read this story! Can you believe it? I can't wait!

There is a Teachers Guide that goes along with the workbooks. One Teachers Guide covers all three books. Each lesson is laid out for you so that you can teach with confidence.


After a few lessons I pretty much got the hang of how it was taught and rarely used the Teachers Guide anymore. Now that I am about to go over the review parts with my son I will need to pick it back up again. You will need it for parts of this program, even if you don't necessarily need it for every single lesson.

I also received Classical Phonics along with the First Start Reading program.




Classical Phonics is a deceptively simple little book our teachers and families use constantly in both Kindergarten and first grade. It consists of phonetically-arranged word lists for students to practice their growing phonics skills. In a word list there are no context clues, so the learner must rely on his mastery of letter sounds. For instance, if your child can pronounce each word in this list correctly – pot, pat, pit, put, pet – he knows his short vowel sounds, and you can move on to long vowels! If not, he needs more practice, and Classical Phonics is the most effective tool I know of to address the repetition that young ones need when learning to read. Classical Phonics can be used as a supplement to any phonics program and covers nearly all English phonograms and sounds taught through second grade. Classical Phonics is your handy tool for phonics practice and for building confident readers. (Taken from the website)

This book is not necessary to use the First Start Reading program but it makes a great companion.  It could also be used alone with any reading program you may already be using. It could also be used as a great review item for those who have already learned to read but may need a little extra practice.

This program is so simple, yet so complex at the same time. It is a very complete program. I have been so blessed to have this program for my son. My son says, "I like it! I like it because it's easy and it's fun, and you can read a lot of stories after you finish a whole book."

He has been so encouraged by this program. Before, he never thought he could read because it was so hard for him. One day while we were doing this program, he said out loud, "It's easy to read when you know all the sounds."

I have had no problems getting him to do this program like I have had with others in the past. I have actually came into the kitchen and he has been doing it all by himself!

I just can't say enough about this program. There are no negatives that I can see. To me it is perfect. I never thought I would say that about any curriculum. It's just so easy, and it works so well.

*UPDATE: After writing this review I got to thinking a little bit more about the program, and I felt I needed to add one thing to my review. The Teachers Guide is written for a classroom, not one on one teaching. I seemed to have forgotten about that when I was writing this review. After the first few lessons, I just stopped using the TG unless there was something I thought I needed it for. I did what a lot of homeschoolers do. I made it work for me. So, when I wrote that this program is perfect, I was only thinking of how we used it, not how it was intended to use. So, unfortunately there is one negative. The Teachers Guide is written to a classroom instead of one on one, BUT this was really no big deal. I just took the basics of the TG and learned how to use the program the way I wanted to. And so can you. I still highly recommend this program. You may want to tailor the way you teach it, but it is still a perfect program to me.*

I highly encourage you to try this program with your children. I honestly think you will love it too. If you have a child who struggles with reading, or who doesn't want to do their reading lessons, give this a try. It helped us where nothing else has.

You can find First Start Reading here for $29.95. That price includes ALL 3 student workbooks PLUS the Teachers Guide. This is an amazing price for a reading program. And remember it is also a handwriting program. You just can't beat the price.

If you would like additional student workbooks you can buy all three student workbooks for $21.00.

Classical Phonics can be purchased here for $14.95.

I will continue to update you on our progress with this program. I will either add to this review or make a new one for each book. 

If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment. If you purchase this and it helps your child, be sure to let me know. I am thrilled with the progress my son has made, and I would love to share in your joy with you as your child enjoys learning to read as well. Your child will need to know his basic letter sounds before beginning this program. You could still use it, but it would take a lot longer to get through the program. But it is a great beginners reading program that your child can begin as soon as he knows his letter sounds.

Be sure to check out what my fellow Crew Mates thought of First Start Reading. Some of my Crew Mates also reviewed one of Memoria Press' Latin programs, so be sure to check that out as well.


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*I have received First Start Reading and Classical Phonics, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion.
No other compensation has been given to me.*



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Marshall Publishing - George Washington Carver DVD/ TOS Review

http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/yhst-59124551425647_2180_40078813

I hate to admit that I really don't know anything about George Washington Carver. I mean,  I have heard of him, but I don't really know anything about him.

Well, I can't really say that anymore. I learned a LOT from this movie.

I must admit that when I first started watching this movie I was a little disappointed. I think that is because I didn't really feel like I was watching a movie. It felt more like I was watching snapshots while there was audio playing in the background. I was feeling like this would be better as an audio, rather than a DVD. It was hard for me to focus on hearing what was said. It felt like the audio and the video were competing for my attention.

As I got further into the DVD however it got easier for me to focus, and I was actually very interested in what was being said. I think it just takes a few minutes to get into it. By the end of the movie I was having to keep myself from crying. Don't ask me why, I am just emotional. It was just so awesome to hear his life story. I loved hearing how he felt about money, marriage, and what he thought was important in life. It really made me think about my own life, and how I am living it. It made me want to strive to do better. That is what a good movie, book, etc., should do. And this one does that.

My first misgivings about this DVD have vanished. I felt that even though it was little slow going at first, it was worth watching. I can see how this would be a great addition to a unit study.

It was great to see clips of GWC actually speaking!
You can even find a study guide and complete information about GWC on the website. 


I am very picky about what I let my kids watch, and I found nothing inappropriate in this film. This 30 minute film is geared towards grades 4 and up.


I would say that overall I recommend this DVD. I know that at first I wasn't sure about it, but after watching it the whole way through, I am very happy with it. I learned a lot about GWC that I will never forget. (I am purposely not telling you about the movie itself so that I don't spoil it for you :)

Marshall Publishing offers an array of DVD's. I would love to have all of their DVD's, especially the historical ones.
They have DVD's on things like Lewis and Clark, Bridges, Trains, Railroads, the 1880's and more.

You can find George Washington Carver-His Life and His Work at Marhsall Publishing on sale for $19.95. Normal price $24.95.

BUT DON'T ORDER YET because I have a coupon code for you to use! Use the code TOSC1 when you check out and you can get an additional 15% off of your order.

I hope you find this DVD as encouraging and moving as I did. Let me know if you decide to buy this DVD, and be sure to let me know what you thought of it!

And don't forget to check out what the other members of the TOS Crew thought of the GWC DVD. Some members of the Crew also reviewed a DVD about Fire Safety, so be sure to check that out too!

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*I have received a copy of George Washington Carver - His life and His Work, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion.
No other compensation has been given to me.*



 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Say Anything Family/ TOS Review

Last year I reviewed a game called Wits and Wagers Family by North Star Games.

This year I got another chance to review one of their games. This one is called Say Anything Family.

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Again, this was a game that our family really enjoyed. You may have heard of the game Say Anything. This is the family version of that game. I have never played the original but I would think that if they came out with a family version that the original may not be appropriate for children. Now, I don't know this for sure, but just want you to know that there are two different versions.

Say Anything Family is a fun, simple game that you can play with your whole family. Six people, ages 8 and up, can play at one time. My son is only 6 though and he can still play with us. He can't read a lot or write a lot, but he can draw so he just draws the answers. I think even a younger child could do this as well.

How it works:

The youngest player goes first and asks a question from the question cards. (Or has someone else read it for them if they can't yet read.)


After the question is asked, everyone else has to guess what they think the person who asked the question would answer.

Each player writes their answers on their answer board.


Then everyone places their game pieces on the answer they think will be chosen. You can place your pieces on your own answer or another players. Before everyone places their pieces, the judge will secretly choose his answer on the spinner. Afterwards everyone places their pieces on the answer they think the judge will choose.


A player gets points if their game piece is on the correct answer, plus one extra point if you are the one who wrote the answer. The judge also gets up to three points if there are games pieces on the answer he chose.

One person will keep track of the points on the scoreboard. The game ends after each player has asked two questions. The player with the most points wins.






To be honest, at first I didn't care for this game, but it was because I didn't understand that we were trying to pick what we thought the judge would pick. Once I understood that and played it a few more times I started to like it. The kids liked it right away. It is one of my daughters favorite games now.

My 6 year old says "I love it!", and my 14 year old daughter says "Best game ever!". So there you have it!

If you are interested in this game for your family, you can find it at retailers such as Target and Barnes and Noble for around $19.99.

Have a great family game night!
Be sure to check out what my fellow Crew Mates thought of Say Anything Family!

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*I have received Say Anything Family, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion.
No other compensation has been given to me.*

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Educating the WholeHearted Child/ TOS Review


For the last couple of months Mardel has had all of their Apologia products on sale.

I have been wanting to get this book while it was on sale, but it has never been in stock. It must be a great seller!

Anyhow, when this came up for review, I was very excited, hoping I might get a copy to review. And I did!

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this book. After I finally got it, I opened the book and started reading it. "Hmmm, this sounds kind of familiar", I thought.

As I was reading, and looking at the quotes and the Bible verses in the sidebars, I was thinking, "Man, this seems really familiar".  Then it hits me, "I have this book!"

What in the world? I realized that not only have I seen this book before, but I already own it!

The cover is very different, and it had been so long since I had looked at this book, that I didn't even realize it was the same one. (Here is what the last version looked like. The one I already own.)


You can see the difference in the covers. The covers aren't the only differences though.
The last edition had 256 pages, and the new edition has 376 pages. Over 100 new pages! It is now a very thick book.

The second edition is also now published by Apologia Press.

This is one of the most helpful home teaching books I have ever read. I think for me it is because there is such a huge emphasis on what the scriptures say about teaching your children.

It also has a big emphasis on the child as a whole. It has many verses that talk about your child's friendships, and about disciplining and training your child as well.

This is not your typical homeschool book. This books talks about every part of your life. It gives you tips on home management, discipline, homeschooling, Bible training, etc.

Here is a quote from the book that explains it pretty well.

"God did not forget to include "school" in his biblical design for raising children&mdash:home education is a natural expression of all that God intended for parents and their children. Clay and Sally Clarkson's Educating the WholeHearted Child is about rediscovering God's original design for the family. What you'll find in this book is a homeschooling model that makes sense. It's an approach that is based on sound biblical principles of nurture, discipleship, instruction, and learning. Newly revised and significantly expanded, Educating the WholeHearted Child is about much more than homeschooling; it is about life. Effective Christian homeschooling must begin with the sure foundation of a Christian home, and the Clarksons' uncomplicated, common-sense approach to life and learning will provide you with the tools you need to experience God's abundant blessings for your family."

There is so much in this book that I agree with. There were so many times that I was like, "Yeah, why don't people get this? Can't they see what Scripture says about this?" It is good to read a book written from a like minded mother.

This is a fabulous book that will lead you and your family towards God's way of raising your children.

I absolutely recommend this book, and think you will be really blessed and encouraged by it.

You can find it at Apologia's website for $22. Well worth it in my opinion.

You can read a sample chapter here

Let me know if you get this book and if it encourages you as much as it does me.

And be sure to check out what my fellow Crew Mates thought of this book too!

 
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*I have received a copy of Educating the WholeHearted Child, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion.
No other compensation has been given to me.*

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Young Scholor's Guide to Composers

Young Scholar's Guide to Composers (CD-Rom)

I told you recently that I was accepted as part of Timberdoodle's Review team, and I am very excited to be able to share a new Composer Curriculum with you.

A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers by Bright Ideas Press, is your dream come true curriculum for studying the composers.

I love Charlotte Mason's methods, and have always wanted to study the composers, but it has always seemed so complicated. The curriculum that was out there either wasn't simple enough, or I had to try to piece it together myself, which for me, was no easy feat.

I have several books on different composers, but didn't know what else to pull in to make a complete study.

I don't have to worry about that any longer. A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers has been such blessing in this area.

Let me tell you a little bit about how it works.

This program includes:
  • 32 Weekly Lessons
  • 26 Bios of Famous Composers
  • 6 Eras of Music Explained
  • Easy-to-Use Comparative Timeline
  • Easy-to-Use Maps
  • Composer Info-Cards & Game Directions
  • Note-taking Pages
  • Quizzes
  • Answer Keys
  • Listening Suggestions
  • Intricate Coloring Pages
  • Resource Books


I will admit that at first I was a little confused on how to use this program. It does not tell you what to do for each composer, but rather gives you the guidelines to use for each composer in the beginning of the study. Once you complete one composer though, it is easy to understand. I guess I just needed to actually do everything once before I could completely understand how it all worked. 

In the beginning you will study four musical periods:


The Baroque Period
The Classical Period
The Romantic Period
The Contemporary Period 

Then you will study composers from these time periods throughout the year. You will study composers such as:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ludwig van Beethoven
Antonio Vivaldi
Johann Sebastian Bach
George Gershwin

For the four musical time periods your child will take notes as they listen to you read aloud, or they could take notes as they themselves read. 

I really liked this aspect and took the opportunity to read to my daughter and let her practice her note taking skills. I told her to read all of the questions ahead of time so that she would know what to listen for. Here is an example of the note taking pages:








For the composers you will read around 3 pages per composer. You will learn about their life, their work, their character, their religion, or lack thereof, who they were influenced by, or who they may have influenced. 

After you read about a composer your child will have a student review to fill out. 




Your child will also fill out a composer info card, fill out a timeline, a map, and will put all of this into a folder book. 






I don't have any pictures of a folder book because we just couldn't figure out how to put it all together the way they showed in the book. Here is the picture from the book. The timelines that they have in the book though are different than the ones shown here. They are much bigger. That is why we had trouble putting it together in the way shown.


For now we are just keeping everything in a folder until we can figure out how we want to put it together. 

We are using this as a family. I am reading it aloud while my children color the included coloring pages. 




This program is suggested for grades 4-8, but I think you can easliy use it in younger or older grades as well. 

My daughter is 14 and in 9th grade, so I am mainly using this with her, but my 6 year old son listens in and colors the pictures. And of course he also listens to the music with us. It is a great way for him to be introduced to this type of music. When he gets older he can fully do this program. 

There is a suggested schedule included in the book. We are pretty much following this schedule. 


You can follow this schedule or go along as you see fit. We homeschoolers are great at making things work for us, aren't we?

One thing that I really appreciate is that this is written from a christian company. They try to be careful of what they include in their writings, and they have the children look into the lives of the composers to see if they can tell if they were a christian, and why or why not they came to that conclusion. 

We have really been enjoying this study. This is not something that I thought I would ever say. lol

We will probably stretch it out and make it last longer than one year. We will probably do one time period at a time and then take a break. 

I highly recommend A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers for your family. I think you will really enjoy it. Now, we haven't gotten through the whole thing yet, so there may be content that you may find inappropriate for younger ones, I don't know. I haven't seen anything, but I haven't read every word yet either. I just wanted you to know that. But from what we have done, I absolutely recommend it. I really love it. 

If you are interested in purchasing A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers you can do so here
The list price is $34.95, but Timberdoodle has it for $31.50 plus you'll earn 32 Doodle Dollar Points. 


Timberdoodle also has other great music products that you may want to check out. Some of it would go nicely with this composer study. 


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As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.




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