Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Moving Beyond the Page: Little House in the Big Woods & Native Americans {A Review}

Moving Beyond the Page sent us their Language Arts Package - Little House in the Big Woods Online ($19.92) and Social Studies Package - Native Americans ($27.97) for ages 8-10 to review.

First Thoughts
Moving Beyond the Page incorporates the use of literature to create their studies. Reading is top priority around here, so any program that starts with a book starts off on a good foot with us.

Online Versus Physical Copy

You can obtain any of the individual units or packages as an online version or physical copy. The physical copies include a physical guide and any physical components that are provided. The online option includes a physical guide and the additional physical components that are provided.

Physical components include things like literature needed for the unit or kits required. These are listed under their "what's included links" and are provided on each individual unit's page.

There are additional materials recommended for you to purchase separately based on each individual unit. These recommended materials can be found listed in the guides (both physical and online). 

Tips for Getting Started with the Online Curriculum

After you purchase an online component for the first time, you will need to register a new account or use your login and verify the account. Then read through the Getting Started page. There is a video to watch. Once you activate your purchase, you have 95 days to use it. 

Initially, I spent some time reading through the materials and checking out what was included. After I felt comfortable with the program, I printed off pieces of the guide for myself to follow, the student pages for each of the kids, and the vocabulary pages. I wanted to make sure I was able to get to the things I needed right when I needed them and didn't want to be printing things off as we were trying to work. With Wheel, I never know how much time we will to work at something.

Time Commitment
We found that this curriculum requires a large time commitment in both preparation and working on the lessons. For most lessons, I would spend about 30-40 minutes reading over the instructions and gathering the materials. Then when it was time for the lessons, we spent about 2 hours working together on the readings, student pages, and vocabulary components. Units are meant to take 3 weeks to complete when working about 4 days a week.

Our Experience with the Little House in the Big Woods Unit

The Little House in the Big Woods Unit (online version) comes with the book Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, an online Little House in the Big Woods guide, and online student pages. Additional materials that are recommended are ingredients for recipes, common materials (markers, scissors, index cards, etc.), and some media devices (we used online resources for the square dance music and TV episodes).

While literature and social studies are the main focus of the unit, there are many different components used throughout this unit: drawing, writing, using graphic organizers, crafts, cooking, researching, time lines, geography, vocabulary, spelling, critical thinking, grammar, poetry, holiday traditions, science (of maple tree farming and the seasons), physical exercise (dance), music, story-telling, and reading aloud.

(researching animals)

(looking at our book of centuries)

(comparing homes of today and yesterday)

(graphic organizers)

We like to be involved in hands-on activities as much as possible, so many of our favorite components were the things that got us moving and creating.

Square dancing was a big hit. We watched some of the suggested videos from the IdeaShare section (where folks that have used the curriculum offer tips to share with others) and then practiced from the directions provided on the student page.

And it wasn't long until Li decided to get out the harmonica for us to dance along.

One of the activities for the Pioneer Family Night was to make an Orange Clove Decoration. Although I have always planned to make one, we'd never gotten around to it.

Little of what we eat is processed, so it was not difficult to do another of the activities in the Pioneer Family Night. We made a food with fresh ingredients. We chose pancakes (like Almanzo made in The Long Winter).

And we made a favorite Christmas treat...and frankly I'm always looking for an excuse to make these!


To wrap the unit up, we went to stay in a cabin for a couple of days. While it had more than one room, the kids were able to get a feel for what it was like to share the space with your entire family.

(furniture made from logs and wooden plank floors)

(fire pit)

(outdoor table and chairs)

(Li playing with wooden animals)

Our Experience with the Native Americans Unit
The Native Americans Unit (physical version) comes with the books If You Lived with the Cherokee by Peter Roop and Connie Roop, The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose, and the Native Americans guide with student pages. Additional materials that are recommended are ingredients for recipes, common materials (markers, pencils, glue, etc.), and some craft materials based on the individual child's exhibit.

The girls both really enjoyed the readings and chose a favorite tribe each. Ceesa was interested in the Hopi tribes. We spent some time researching them online. Jo-Jo thought the Cherokee were interesting and laughed when she learned the children were naked until they turned 8.

They were both excited to draw the various homes of different regions. Ceesa thought the homes of the peaceful Hopi tribes were unique. The holes in the ceiling to get in and out of were her favorite part.

Jo-Jo decided to draw Cherokee homes on the back since there wasn't a place to fill their homes in on the front. She liked that she learned about their summer and winter homes and how they stored their food.

We've made corn husk dolls before and they are lots of fun to make.

We played a Native American game that was popular in the winter. You are supposed to roast one side of the bean, but we colored it with crayon instead.

For this game, you need 6 beans and a basket (we used the lid to a box). If you get all white sides, you get 3 points. 

We read about wampum from the guide. Then using shells we had, we made some wampum jewelry.

Jo wanted to make some wampum in different colors. So she grabbed the paints and made her shells colorful.

We worked on pictographs from the student pages.

The girls decided that they really needed a symbol for fire, so they made one.

We made our own pictographs on stone with paint.

They built tepees like the Plains Indians from skewers and paper towels.

Ceesa decided to make her own Native American family puppets. She drew them out, colored them in and cut them out.

Then to wrap up our study, we visited a tepee at a local park.

Start by determining the age level that is right for you and look at the sample pages by clicking on the ages that you are interested in. You could use it as a supplement (by purchasing individual units or whole subjects) or a comprehensive curriculum.

Wishing you homeschool blessings,

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Adena F said...

I am loving all of these reviews on this curriculum!! Really thinking of purchasing it to use next year for at least one book. You stayed in a cabin with your kids??!!! Best homeschool mom award goes to you no doubt :)

Bethany said...

So glad they are helpful. And thanks for the "award!"

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