Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A TOS Review: Mr. Popper's Penguins Study Guide

One of Josiah's favorite read alouds when he was younger was Mr. Popper's Penguins written by Richard and Florence Atwater. It was also about the same time he started asking for a zebra.

In any event, when I discovered I had an opportunity to review Mr. Popper's Penguins E-Guide from Progeny Press I knew I needed to take it.  I love filling our homeschool days with good literature.

I have reviewed products from Progeny Press before. Last year, we got to enjoy the Tuck Everlasting E-Guide. And the year before that we reviewed The Door in the Wall Guide. Both were excellent products.

If you aren't familiar with Mr. Popper's Penguins let me fill you in.

Mr. Popper is an ordinary house painter with a fascination with travel and exploration. Now mind you...he doesn't do any traveling or exploring himself. He just likes to read about the adventures of other folks. His favorite locales are the North and South Pole. Mr. Popper greatly admires one explorer named Admiral Drake. He even writes to Admiral Drake.

What happens next is unexpected. Unlike my own penpal (a nice girl from England) who only sent me music suggestions and an occasional travel brochure, Admiral Drake sends Mr. Popper a penguin named Captain Cook!

Did I mention that Mr. Popper has a family?And that penguins require a certain kind of care? Not to mention that Captain Cook gets lonely and Mr. Popper has to go into the penguin match making business.

It is a cute story. The Mr. Popper's Penguin E-Guide is intended for grades 4-6. However, I chose this guide for my 14-year-old to work through for a few reasons. For one, Josiah is dyslexic and while he is reading beautifully, I wanted to assign him some independent work. He was familiar with the story and wanted to see how he progressed with the E-Guide without the frustration of reading a book that was more challenging for him.

You have the option to either print the E-Guide or use the interactive features to type in the answers and save as you go.

Personally, I am a paper and cute, sparkly pen kinda girl. The sound of rustling paper makes me happy. But, I knew that Josiah would enjoy the interactive aspect.

The E-Guide begins with a synopsis of the book and a brief biography of the authors. It also gives the reader some background information on the exploration of the North and South Poles; as well as information about vaudeville. Because, yes, there is vaudeville in Mr. Popper's Penguins.

Before the student gets into the chapters themselves, he or she is given a list of suggested projects to do beforehand. We decided to watch a video about penguins. Though it wasn't on the list of suggested videos, it was handy. The E-Guide did give us a link to the live Penguin Cam at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium.  Warning! Watching this is just a bit addicting. Who knew?

It is also suggested that the student reads the book in its entirety the first week. Progeny Press estimates that it will take 8-10 weeks for Middle or High School students to finish a literature guide. It takes us just a bit longer.

To use the E-Guide you will need a dictionary, thesaurus and a Bible. We also made use of the internet as was suggested.

Every section of the E-Guide is made up pretty much the same way. The vocabulary section requires the student to first define a word in their own words. Then they have to look up the word in the dictionary and compare. I thought this was an excellent exercise. Josiah has always had an excellent vocabulary so he didn't struggle ....using a dictionary is always a bit more challenging, but he managed.

The student is also asked a variety of questions. These are usually comprehension questions. Then he or she is asking to think about the story and maybe dig a little deeper.

For example, I love the following question. And although this study is meant for students younger than my son, I feel like this is kind of where we are right now in his life. For some reason, my photo tool didn't grab the whole imagine of the question...but you can see the intent.

This study uses lots of Scripture. A big emphasis is placed on stewardship and being wise with what God has given us. There is also a lot of teaching on being a servant. I LOVE all of it.

A unique section to this E-Guide talks about money. This is an optional section and deals with things like credit and the value of money. There are also optional projects you and your student can work on. I personally love all the hands-on activities for post-reading given at the back of the E-Guide. They range from creative writing projects to cooking to art projects. It looks like there is a little something for everyone.

This is a fun study! You can check it out for yourself by visiting this page.  There is an option to download a sample of the Guide.

Go check it out!

You can read more reviews by clicking on the banner below. Other members of the Crew reviewed other guides...there might be something there that floats your boat.

Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press  Review}

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