Review: Moving Beyond the Page Homeschool Curriculum

 

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Several years ago, we pulled our son out of public school. He had just completed 2nd grade and we were just not feeling the love for the system. We’d talked on and off about homeschooling before he even started kindergarten. The idea, frankly, both excited and terrified me.

I was excited because of all the obvious reasons: having my son home, letting him explore subjects and ideas that interested rather than being spoon fed a one-size-fits-all curriculum, being able to work at our own pace, and mainly….making sure that he would never lose the love of learning.

Terrified? You bet! What if I’m not organized enough? Or what if we spend too many days curled up, cozy and lazy in our pajamas? Or what if I’m not smart enough to handle his future, more challenging work? The idea of sitting down at the beginning of a “school year” and planning out just what we needed to accomplish each day, week, month, and year was absolutely overwhelming. And…what if I couldn’t hold his interest? What if I became the most boring teacher on the planet and got zero interest and respect from my own child?

EEK, right??

Never fear! Moving Beyond the Page has taken the guesswork out of homeschooling your child. MBTP is a secular, literature-based, hands-on curriculum for the gifted learner.

As soon as our first box of awesomeness arrived from MBTP four years ago, I knew I could take my OCD lesson plans and everything else I had obsessed over and chuck them out the window.

As soon as I opened the first book, I was greeted by all the info and organization I needed. After a thorough introduction and explanation of this literature-based curriculum, MBTP goes so far as to give you an idea on just how your average day will go. Sweet!

typical_day

 

Just a few pages in, they provide a list of all the materials you will need to have on hand to complete the lessons in that given book. No surprises down the road!

 

materials_list

 

Getting started is a breeze. The break down the lessons for you and let you know if that particular piece will take 1, 2, or 3 days to complete. Of course, you can work at your own speed, but having that guideline is super handy.

 

day_lessons

 

Every single book along your Moving Beyond the Page journey includes all that info and takes a huge amount of pressure off of Mom/teacher. If you’re not already in love and ordering, let’s move on.

Let me break it down, yo.

First, MBTP is not divided into grades. They use age ranges to give you flexibility and freedom to give your child just what he or she needs at that time. It’s broken down in ages 6-8, 7-8, 8-10, etc.

(One key thing to remember about this curriculum: It does not include math! They do suggest several math curricula, but you’re free to add in whichever one suits your child’s learning style.)

Once you choose the level for your child, you can purchase the whole year’s worth of books and supplies and you’re ready to roll.

OR, you can go through and order a bit here, a bit there, to customize it just how you’d like.

For instance:

Each year’s worth of curriculum is broken down into four Concepts. In each Concept, they find a common thread that ties all of your subjects together to enable your child to see the big picture. For instance, the 9-11 level is broken down into the following 4 concepts:

  • Relationships
  • Diversity and Independence
  • Discovery and Survival
  • Systems

(You don’t have to do the concepts in order! If one is particularly relevant to a big event in the news or your personal life, grab that one!)

Then the Concepts break down into Units. Example: The 9-11 Concept 4 “Systems” breaks down into the following Units:

  • Space (science)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (language arts)
  • The Human Body (science)
  • Lincoln (language arts)
  • State Government and Economics (social studies)
  • Independent Study (language arts.

 

9to11_systems_workbooks

(We skipped the Lincoln unit because we’ve covered him heavily outside of this curriculum.)

Because each level is broken down so neatly and because you’re able to order each item separately, you can really pick and choose just what you need. This also helps if you’re working on a budget! You don’t have to buy the whole year up front. Rather, you can pick each Concept or Unit or workbook or manipulative to suit your needs.

Speaking of manipulatives, the ones they include in their lessons never fail to make my children squeal with delight when a new shipment arrives.

 

manipulatives

 

Now that little sister has finished public kindergarten, we’ve decided to homeschool her as well. Where the levels for older children are self-guided and encourage independent work, the younger ones come with the workbooks for the child as well as a parent guide for us teachers. It really helps to get you in the swing of things, especially if you’re new to homeschooling.

 

measurement

 

So, to wrap this up and let me get back to our lessons, let me say this:

Moving Beyond the Page has allowed me:

  • to move confidently into the world of homeschooling
  • to give me the freedom and peace of knowing everything is ready to go right out of the box (toss those lesson plans!)
  • apply what my kids are learning to real-life situations and current events
  • mix and match, piece together just what my kiddos need
  • not spend a frikkin’ fortune each time we order new books

Whether you’re new to the world or homeschooling or an old pro just looking for a change or supplemental work, I highly recommend you go take a look around their site, watch their informative videos, and give Moving Beyond the Page a try.

If you’re a MBTP veteran, I’d love to hear your thoughts on your experience with it! Also, feel free to add anything that I might have left out of this review. There’s just so much to say!

 

 

Homeschool Art Lesson

A week or two ago, my sweet neighbor Michelle told me she would like to do an art project with my kids.  See, her mom is a 4th grade teacher and recently taught her students about Jackson Pollock.  She shared her PowerPoint presentation with Michelle who, in turn, wanted to share it with us.

Today, Michelle came over with the presentation, paint, canvasses, and other supplies.  She taught us that Pollock’s work is considered abstract expressionism and then showed some examples of his work.

 

 

 

 

We discussed how this style of painting is much more than dripping & splashing paint onto a canvas.  The kids talked about how each painting made them feel and about what emotions they though Pollock might have been experiencing when he created each piece.  Then, Michelle showed us a video of Pollock himself  that I thought was very interesting.  Notice his boots.  I was fascinated by his boots.

 

 

Then, it was time to head outside and try our hands at his methods.  Michelle brought 2 smaller canvasses (one for each of the kiddos) and one larger one (it will hang in her living room).

Elliott started on hers first.  She declared that she was happy and she wanted her painting to represent that.  She chose pink and yellow to start with and then incorporated more colors as she went.

 

 

 

 

Before long, we all had dabs, sprinkles and smears of paint on us.  Every artist needs a little paint on her nose, right?

 

 

While Alex waited his turn, he brought out a LEGO artist to go with the theme of the day.

 

 

Little sister was really getting into her painting at this point.

 

 

Everyone chipped in and soon her canvas was set aside to dry.

 

 

Next up: Alex.  He is very excited about a fun weekend he has planned with his best friend, so he wanted to show that excitement with some orange and blue paint.

 

 

 

 

He added some other colors and decided it was just right.

 

 

Things were getting pretty messy by now.  “Hey, Mom? I think I have a little something on my face….”

 

 

 

 

Then we all grabbed some paint and started slinging it onto the large canvas.  Michelle wanted her painting to feel joyful, so there are lots of bright colors in hers.  However, I forgot to take a photo when it was done, so that might come in a later post.

 

 

Like I said: messy.

 

 

After the paintings were put away to dry and the supplies were stored away, the only mess left was…..well, everywhere.

 

 

 

 

Michelle, thank you so much for doing this. The kids had a blast and I look forward to more art days in the backyard!

 

 

Homeschooling parents:  I highly recommend Jackson Pollock Day for a great art lesson.  I’ll be looking for ideas for future art projects, so feel free to leave suggestions of your favorite artists and styles.  What art lessons have you tried and loved?