Review of Moving Beyond the Page

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We used Moving Beyond the Page for our 2009-2010 school year. We purchased the 7-9 and the 8-9 curriculum packages. I made the choice this year to return to my own cobbled curriculum and am happy I made that decision.

I've noticed that people are interested in reviews of Moving Beyond the Page, and I have been asked to give my opinion via email of that curriculum. So, I've decided to post one of my responses here in the hopes of helping others.

I will say that I think that Moving Beyond the Page is changing somewhat. For instance, they offer an online curriculum that was not available when we were purchasing. Other changes may have been made as well.

Here is the text of a recent email that I wrote:

Hi there,

I'm happy to discuss MBtP with you. Frankly, although not quite right for us, I think it's a good program overall.  I, too, really like the cross-curricular approach, and I think they do it very well.  The tie-ins are good, not far-fetched.

Our problem was essentially two fold.  First, my boys are very asynchronous in science. I ended up skipping whole science units because my sons already knew the material. At that point, we lost the benefit of the literature tie-ins, since we had to do the literature by itself. (I also had to pay for the science units because they could not be separated from the social studies units.)

Second, I teach three boys. When using MBtP, I was supposed to teach separate science, history and art lessons for both sons. By moving away from the boxed curriculum, I can teach the same lesson to three boys are different levels. This simplifies the homeschooling day considerably when teaching more than one child.

I had a few other lesser concerns. At least for my boys, I felt that they needed more practice with grammar than MBtP provided. A worksheet every few days on a grammar topic is not enough for them.  I also did not like the spelling component. Essentially, they provide a list of random words at the back of the unit and tell you to test them on them. I prefer spelling lessons that are organized around a rule.  Both of those issues could be easily remedied with supplements, though.

Finally, I would tell you that I know of no one that follows the daily lesson plan exactly. Some throw it out completely. Others hit or miss, selecting activities as they see fit. At times, there is simply way too many activities and too much material to cover in the time allotted. Other times, you may come across something your child already knows and move through very rapidly. That said, if you don't hang up on the lesson plan and go with what is working for your child, it's great material. For myself, I tend to like to follow guidelines carefully, so that aspect really bothered me for a while.

Now, here's the funny part. Given everything I've just written, I feel my sons learned a great deal from MBtP. The way they present the subject matter allowed the boys to really delve into it and understand what we covered on a deeper level.

I hope that helps. Please feel free to ask more questions. I'm happy to help.

-- A

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