I hope you are comfy and your tea cup is full to the brim, I have so much to share with you today about a new to me company Moving Beyond the Page, and in particular two products that I was able to review Newton at the Center & Technology and Invention.
Moving Beyond the Page – the Website:
On these reviews – I don’t often talk about the actual vendor or publisher, this time, it is key to understanding the products. The first time I looked at their website, honestly, I was overwhelmed. It took a while for my mind to track all of the choices. But as I spent time clicking through options, the products became clear. This is one vendor that I had passed on, assuming that I would be reviewing book guides. Then I heard about the program a bit more, and saw what was included, and quickly changed my request to begging to see the product and use it. It took a bit of dedication – knowing that we would be receiving this on the week that most kids get out of school – and I am happy to report – that the last month or so has been SO worth it!
Looking through their site, you’ll notice that the products are divided by ages. They make a statement that their product is written towards the advanced student. So for the 11/13 age product I reviewed, they suggested that the student be at a late 7th grade reading level. My just finishing 6th grade son was able to handle the work, but did struggle with a bit more of intense amount of reading level.
As you click through the titles of the books, you’ll notice that they are geared towards semesters and units. Each unit is aligned with Literature, Science and Social Studies. Each product, if purchased as a set, comes with the literature listed, so you’ll want to click over on the “What is Included” line. Those items may also be purchased individually, and many are at the local library, especially the younger texts.
The program has two options, Text or Online. For our family, we were given one of each and the hardbound text made it so much easier to work with. We generally have our electronics off during seat time, and enjoy paper instructions. For $4.00ish difference, I’d say it is worth it.
My suggestion would be to focus on the age of your child right now, and spend some time working through their website.
Language Arts Program
We started with the online version of Newton at the Center which is geared for ages 11-13. It is a Concept 2 course intended for Semester 2:Unit 4 of their Language Arts. The online package is valued at $40.88, while the paper version is $44.94
As the title suggests, this is based on the book – Newton at the Center, by Joy Hakim listed on Amazon for $27.00
We received a hardbound copy of this book. MBtP suggests that you might want to order the Parts of Speech Cards to help with this unit, although we did not see that we would need to. They suggest that the child have a 7th or 8th grade reading level and list a few other prerequisite learning levels on their product page.This work is a bit above my son’s current learning level for self paced learning, so we read through the activities together. We still have 3 lessons remaining.
Although our Language Arts and Science ended up being two different levels (Product Availability for Reviewers, not suggested for you to do on purpose) they were in sync with inventors and science. My son embraced learning about Newton and the many people introduced in the text. For language arts, they want you to do quite a bit of sentence diagramming, and we looked through them but did not participate with pencil and paper.
One thing that slowed us down was the online only availability during a time that we were away from the house several times a day. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I finally figured out where to download several PDF’s. It is a complete problem on my end and not theirs. When you log into their website, you click on the Online tab and the Available Units popped up. For the first couple of weeks we used their screen by screen instructions for each lesson. There are 7 lessons and then a Final Project. We just finished Lesson 6.
For Lesson 6 it gives us the introduction and our page numbers to read, in this case Chapter 21. In the next day it gives a couple of activities. One is for some sentence diagramming to the second is a fun activity demonstrating lift with a hair dryer and a ping pong ball. On the conclusion – you would demonstrate the ping pong ball activity and explain it to the parents.
MBtP is set up to be child led. There is a toggle to turn on or off the parent guide in the questions, meaning the answers. At an early 7th grade level, Jon was not able to figure out his assignments on his own, but he is weak in this area. We are just now starting to do child directed curriculum for him. I am not sure how long it would take for the boys to be able to use the online version on their own. You’d need to print out the notebooking pages for them, we downloaded them as a PDF.
If I sound a bit jarbled – I think it is because we had a hard time with all that was available online – they really do go overboard (in a good way) with equipping your family with everything possible you might need to be successful. We will finish Lesson 7 this week and I am very glad for the experience.
Science and Social Studies
The second product that we tried is Technology and Invention . This product is for the 9-11 year olds, is a Concept 3 Unit 2 program in their Discovery and Survival. It is designed to be used with the literature unit, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Jon checked this book out of the library and has been reading it, without the Language Arts unit.
The online version is $56.91 and the hardbound version is $60.97
This includes the book – The Picture History of Great Inventors, by Gillian Clements on Amazon for $13.99 and the Technology and Invention Kit for $29.99. This is targeted for kids with a late 5th or 6th grade reading level used by kids in the 4th or 5th grade. It doesn’t mention it here, but part of the Technology and Invention Kit was a small book called Simple Machines that helped them with their studies.
Out of the two products, Jon really took off with this one. I can see a real difference with the reading level. So – we sort of were at a strange crossroads. He was able to read and complete these levels on his own, however, outside of the history part of the program, he didn’t really learn anything ‘new’ about science. We used this product to help him with our goal of having him learn to do assignments on his own with little help from me.
Again, with our family preference, he did better having the physical text of the assignments followed with the rubrics and notebooking pages. He still prefers to refer to notebooking pages and complete his project on blank paper.
This week he looked up Rube Goldberg online to view his comics. He was challenged to complete draw a project based on what he looked up.
He finished quickly and I giggled at what I saw.
You see, Rube Goldberg draws the images that take several steps and simple machines to perform an easy task like turning on a coffee pot or such. Above is his example of how to get the channel changed in our home. Sigh.
He got back to work with a system to feed his fish. When he showed me his cartoon, it had a wedge, pulley, wheel, and inclined plane. Looking at the rubric, it didn’t have 6 steps. It also, at first, was not labeled as directed. He used little black dots and circles and explained – this moves here like this over to that to move this to make that . . .I encouraged him to replace all of the this and that’s with objects. One of the items on the rubric was for creativity.
And this is what I adored about both products we purchased.
As Charlotte Mason, Relaxed etc – I know we like to read great living books with our kids. I had previously checked out the book above Newton at the Center, by Joy Hakim from our library. We looked through the pages, found a few interesting facts and ended up owing the library a few dollars in late fees. But we didn’t DO anything. These guides give us interesting activities to fill our day – not busywork – but fun interactive learning. It encourages us as parents and the children as learners to be intentional. It would help a new mom – and an ‘old’ mom like me to come up with challenges and questions to ask. For busy moms and those with younger children – I love that ALL of the products can be purchased.
He read the rubric again and re-drew his design.
Tomorrow he is planning to redraw it on poster board, color it with markers and present to dad and brother this weekend to explain simple machines and his cartoon.
The Invention Kit was /is amazing. It has all of those tiny needed supplies all in one spot. We were able to have Jon read his assignment, find his book, and gather his tools. You know you do it, read the ‘items needed’ list and then put it off. Instead of doing a lesson you find yourself scrounging through the junk drawers. The Invention Kit is a blessing. We plan on keeping it in tact with our manipulative pile in the resource room. It came with a general bag of odds and ends, and then an activity bag specific to each activity. To the left is a machine that flies.
We experimented with all of the simple machines and had a blast. I think for Jon – he would do better with one level under his current grade level if he were to be successful at doing the lessons completely on his own.
We worked through the Language Arts package together. I applaud Jon for picking up such a challenging course in June in between baseball playoffs, surfing contests, and company. It says something though, for both of the products, that even with the lake water turning warm, Jon willingly did the activities.
I should mention, that if one were to do Every Single Activity Exactly As Required – and the child was the sole reader and sole writer – you would need to allow 90-120 minutes per lesson. So that would be 2 hours per day for Language Arts and 2 hours per day for Science and Social Studies. We read together, verbally narrated and chatted through the questions. He filled out quite a few of the notebooking pages and finished his end review of scientists and their inventions yesterday. We spent about an hour and a half on the Science part, and then about a half of an hour on the Literature, since we read it together.
Our crew has reviewed several of these. We were given a wide range of products to choose from. I can not stress enough how wide this curriculum reaches. I’d encourage you to browse the other reviews to see how you would like it. I can’t imagine a family that I know of, who would no love this product. Cons? Maybe that it will take a while for the parent to set up the lessons – but once you’ve done one unit – You’ll be good to go.
Edited: I forgot to add – that the online version has a time limit. You are given a file, and may activate it when ready. They want to keep their product from being misused – if you need more time, a quick email to the company will get your time reset. Moving Beyond the Page is an excellent company to work with.