We had the opportunity to review one of the eGuides from Progeny Press, which is a Christian-based company offering unit study guides for all ages and reading levels. We reviewed one of the literature eGuides for lower elementary level, The Josefina Story Quilt – eGuide. We do a lot of readlouds due to my kids being so new to reading and they loved this story. But beyond that, we were able to go much deeper into the whys and hows behind the story due to the guide from Progeny Press.
To give a plot synopsis of the book we were reading to go with this eGuide, the Josefina Story Quilt is a beginning chapter book about a girl who is leaving her home to travel with her family to the west. She has a beloved hen named Josefina that her father wants to leave behind because “she’s too old to lay eggs and too tough to eat.” The family sews quilt blocks to remember things that happen, similar to how we use pictures nowadays, so the girl in the story is sewing blocks to tell about their journey westward. The hen dies after squawking to save the sleeping family from robbers, and the last quilt block is made to commemorate her burial alongside the trail. The family puts the quilt together when they reach their destination.
I really do prefer to download study guides and those types of things. That way, I can print only what I need. It’s fast, there’s no shipping, and usually there is a license to use it with multiple kids. The Josefina Story Quilt eGuide from Progeny Press allows use for the family. Note that pictures of the pages we were using are blurred out for copyright protection purposes.
I noticed on the Progeny Press site that there are many downloadable eGuides but some are interactive, which sounds interesting. They do also offer discs and printed workbooks on some of their unit studies, if you prefer those formats. They also have the books that go with the guides available as well. Lots of options for those who love literature studies!
How We Used the Progeny Press eGuide
I printed off the entire eGuide for me to use as the teacher, and then printed only the pages I wanted them to do. My girls are 6 and 4 so their writing and reading abilities are limited still. I used my coil binder to add a spiral to each to keep all the pages together.
We read the book aloud several times, with them pitching in as they were able, and started on the eGuide, with the book available for reference. We used the map at the begining to mark off several important geographical features to show what they were doing in the book.
The eGuide consists of a plot synopsis, author information, background historical information, a few discussion questions, and then it jumps into written material. I like how one of the activites was to “pack your wagon train” so we could think about what we might want to take along if we were in that position.
After that, we had some multiple choice vocabulary questions, a lesson on verbs with fill-in-the-blanks and a word search, some written questions that we did aloud (these are for reading comprehension) and also some Scripture reading with discussion on how it relates to the story. The next section is also written questions but these are along the lines of critical thinking about WHY the characters did things and related pratical questions that could apply to any kid’s life. I do like how the Bible is referenced every so often in the study guide so we can always be applying God’s Word to what we are taking in.
The following section is called “Dig Deeper” and it has a lot of open-ended questions with spaces for the children to answer. These involve going back through the book to search for specific answers, so kids can learn to look for answers themselves. We did not do this due to lack of reading skills but this is excellent for a child who is a proficient reader. It does recommend using a dictionary, thesaurus, or Bible for some parts, so those are more helpful skills for kids to develop.
The Josefina Story Quilt eGuide has a crossword puzzle toward the end and then it has hands-on activities you can do to supplement the written work. There is a recipe, some drawing suggestions, and tips for making a story quilt. I’ve long wanted to teach my girls how to sew, but my machine needs to be fixed, so I used my coil binder to punch holes into some pretty cardstock and had them use embroidery floss to weave in and out and “sew” the pieces together.
They thought it was fun (maybe a little frustrating at times) and it gave us a chance to discuss real sewing techniques, like pressing seams, whip stitching, right sides together, etc. I used a rag quilt I made to help explain. The guide suggests making a story quilt by drawing on squares of fabric, which will be a fun project to do after I get my fabric unpacked from our recent move.
There are suggestions for further reading which include sewing titles for quilting and general machine use. All of the answers are in the back of the eGuide so you could conceivably use this for independent work.
My daughter who will be turning five next month felt like it was too much writing. It is quite a bit of writing for youngsters, even with as much as we did aloud instead. It’s good handwriting practice, but the lines are pretty close together for a child who is not very good at writing yet.
My oldest daughter, who is almost seven, enjoyed the shorter writing lessons, like the fill-in-the-blanks, and also the word search.
Overall, they both seemed to like the story and talking about the history of it, especially with the map as a visual aid. They got a kick out of making the paper quilt as well.
Ultimately, I liked this eGuide from Progeny Press and I’ll likely use their products again as the kids improve their reading and writing skills. I like that it’s written from a Christian perspective so I don’t have to worry about it bringing up things we disagree with. There are tons of eGuides on their site so it should be pretty easy to find one for titles we choose in the future. They are not all titles we personally would choose, but there is a large variety to pick from for any age or ability level.
Please take a moment to read over some of the other reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew! We have been reviewing all levels of the eGuides to bring you as much information as possible about Progeny Press’ literature eGuides.
PIN IT FOR LATER!