Thursday, July 19, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: The Green Book eGuide from Progeny Press

Progeny Press

This summer we added the review product, The Green Book - eGuide, from Progeny Press to our Language Arts curriculum studies. This downloadable digital PDF-formatted literature study guide is available immediately after placing an order. I wanted to focus on reading comprehension and vocabulary using high-quality literature over summer break. Progeny Press was the perfect answer for our light schooling summer reading adventures.
Green Book

Progeny Press offers a conglomeration of study guides to meet your child's needs which are organized into four broad categories: Lower Elementary (K-3), Upper Elementary (3rd-5th), Middle School (5th-8th), and High School (9th-12th). It'll take you approximately 8-10 weeks to complete each study guide if you are only working on one page a day. The eGuides make scheduling flexible.

This 57-page literature study eGuide was written by Rebecca Gilleland. It is geared towards upper elementary aged students in 3rd-5th grade. It is designed to be utilized with The Green Book written by Jill Paton Walsh. This 84-page chapter book is NOT included with the study guide but is required, therefore you will NEED to purchase the book separately. There are 7 chapters in this short science fiction book.

Let's get back to the study guide. A Short Biography about the study guide developer is found in the eGuide before the Table of Contents. There's a two-page Note to the Instructor which explains how to use the Progeny Press study guides. The company recommends that you have a dictionary, thesaurus, NIV Bible, a Bible concordance, supervised access to the Internet on a computer, and a set of encyclopedias to refer to while utilizing the components of the guide.  

The next section in your eGuide is the Synopsis which is basically a book summary. The story is about a family boarding the LAST ship leaving a dying Earth. They travel for 4 years on an old ship with little fuel in order to land on a distant planet (later known as Shine) which will become their new home. They must learn how to survive and live on this unfamiliar planet with the other refugee families. Shortly after they begin to settle and form a colony, they realize that nothing on the planet is edible and they wonder if they will be able to grow plants on the new planet. Each person was allowed to bring one book. What book would you bring? Pattie records her adventures and life changes in her blank little green book covered with gold-leaf tooling. To find out what life is like on this new planet and if they'll survive - you must read the book while using the eGuide. A blurb about the book author follows the synopsis.

The 3-page Pre-Reading Activity section contained four activities that will surely get your kiddo in the mood to read the book. A bulleted supply list is provided for the journal activity and the step-by-step directions are outlined with lowercase letters. Other activities such as drawing and discussion opportunities are listed.  

The majority of the eGuide consists of the Chapter sections. Each chapter is numbered and contains activities for following categories: Vocabulary, Questions, Think About the Story, Dig Deeper, and Optional Projects and Activities. Each is clearly indicated in the eGuide. There's a wide variety of activities provided.
  • Contextual Vocabulary activities are offered in addition to matching, word searches, identification, fill-in-the-bank activities, and multiple choice question formats. Dictionary skills are necessary. Students will write their own definitions for some terms before looking them up in a dictionary. 
  • The Question section offers the student blank space to write their responses using complete sentences. Both literal and inferential types of questions were asked.
  • The Think About the Story section dives in deeper into the text and applying it to your life. This is also the section where you'll find literary techniques defined and practiced such as similes, foreshadowing, idioms, mood, metaphors, and so much more. She did a wonderful job identifying similes and choosing which sense evoked a picture in her mind. She analyzed the character's traits and feelings better when she was asked why she thought Pattie's father was sad when she didn't know what the words "cloud" or "daffodil" meant.  


  • The Dig Deeper section contains referenced Biblical verses for the student to read and write about. This section helps them formulate opinions and back them up with reasons. The author invites the child to relate and apply the verse to their life or to the story. For example, after Alyssa read 2 Thessalonians 3:10-13, she thought about and discussed what the Bible says about those who do not work and how Christians should respond. Furthermore, she shared the rules she would implement on planet, Shine, and explained her reasoning for them after reading Exodus 20:3-17.   

  • The Optional Projects and Activities include Writing and Reading extensions, hands-on projects, Internet research, field trips, nature connections, recipes, discussions, physical activities, and so forth. This was one of Alyssa's favorite sections! 

Researching Jellyfish and Whale Oil Lamps

An Overview section adds in more fun with crossword puzzles, Venn diagrams, mystery messages,  and teaches her about other story element components like Conflict and Theme. This section asks the child to think deeply about and analyze the whole story. Moral lessons and character values are weaved throughout the story such as teamwork, trusting in God, courage, and friendship. Her favorite activity was figuring out the mystery message.     

The 3-page After-You-Read Projects section is jam-packed with hands-on excitement. There are ten activities to choose from. You can do one or do all of the activities depending on your schedule. Bulleted supply lists and detailed directions are provided for specific projects. A few of the activities listed include growing a mini crystal garden, making dinner muffins, or learning how to spin thread. Check out all the hands-on activities found in the study guide!    

A one-page list of Additional Resources is added to the eGuide for your convenience. Numerous books worth checking out are listed by title and the author is stated. Most of the books are organized by grade level ranges. They also include an educational link to the Progeny Press Pinterest board where you can find more possible projects and activities related to the book. 

The eGuide includes a 6-page detailed Answer Key in a separate file. I appreciated the fact that the company separated the answers from the interactive guide so that students aren't tempted to check their responses before they are finished forming their own thoughts. The answer key is organized by chapters which are indicated in bold print. Each section is in italics. For example, you'll notice in the screenshot below the words Vocabulary, Questions, Think About the Story, and Dig Deeper are italicized. You can click on the screenshot to enlarge it. The font is smaller than the font as seen in the interactive eGuide. Mini-versions of the crossword puzzle and word search with the correct answers are found in the answer key. 

How We Used The Green Book Study Guide
I used The Green Book eGuide with my 10-year old daughter, Alyssa, who is going into 5th grade as her core summer Literature curriculum. We utilized the study 3-5 times per week for approximately an hour a day. Some days it took longer to complete the assigned pages. My daughter was going to her father's house this summer so in order to finish the book and study guide before she went she completed multiple pages a day. We also worked almost every day. 

Your computer will need access to the Internet so that you can download the FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader program which enables you to open, read, and interact with the file. The eGuide link was sent via e-mail. The process of accessing the study guide was very simple and easy. The eGuide was immediately downloaded so that I could check out the activities. I printed out single pages as Alyssa completed them on the computer. We wanted to have a printed copy of her work for her portfolio. This study can be utilized on a PC or MAC computer. We accessed the study on a MAC OS High Sierra 10.13.5 computer using Chrome as our preferred browser.

First, we skimmed the information about the study guide creator and novel author. We learned that Mrs. Gilleland is the co-owner AND associate publisher of Progeny Press. She also homeschooled her seven children. We also learned that The book author, Ms. Walsh, wrote over 30 young reader books in addition to books for adults.
Then, we read the four Pre-Reading Activities before beginning the book. My daughter glanced through our pioneer book collection searching for books related to the topic of traveling to a distant land. We talked about which book and personal item she would bring on the trip if she were in Pattie's shoes. These activities really helped get her prepared for what's to come in the story and ignited a sense of curiosity. All of the activities were fun and incorporated other subjects into the assignment such as Reading, Writing, and Art. What a great way to start before you begin reading!

Each day Alyssa would receive her chapter reading assignment from me. As the parent, you have a lot of flexibility with what you want to assign. After she completed the reading and corresponding activities for the day, we thoroughly discussed her work. She definitely strengthened her writing, dictionary, and typing skills. I used the answer key as a guide during our conversation. She was allowed to use the novel as a reference while working on questions. In the beginning we read aloud together, but she ended up reading most of the chapters silently. I wanted to foster more independence at this age. Since this was summer school, I also wanted to keep things light therefore no grades were given. Look closely and you can see her typed answers in the pages below.  She was not able to circle her responses fo the Imagery Senses activity.

One of the activities my daughter enjoyed from the After-You-Read Projects section was making Dinner Muffins. They were delicious and she plans on making them again in the future. They had a hint of sweetness. The recipe reminded us of cornbread but they called it pan bread.

Another activity she adored from Chapter 2 listed as an Optional Project was the Wind Water Bottle & Balloon Experiment. This activity still fascinated my daughter even though we did it three years ago. 

You can purchase the E-Guide for $17.99 through the online Progeny Press store. The Green Book, which is the corresponding text, can be purchased for $6.99 from their online store. The study guide title is available in three different formats: CD Format, E-Study Guide, and Printed Workbook. The advantage of purchasing the downloadable digital format is that you can get started immediately. You can make copies for your classroom or homeschool.

Overall Experience
The Green Book Literature E-Guide has definitely improved my daughter's level of comprehension. She was asking herself more thought-provoking questions about the story's plot enabling her to dive deeper into the themes.

She really appreciated the interactive feature of this eGuide. This was our first time using one a Progeny Press literature e-Guide with the interactive feature. She had a blast typing in answers rather than writing them on the lines. This feature was a huge motivator this summer. It's a lot easier to require complete sentences when your child can type them.

The study guide offered activities that could be done before, during, and after she read. The pre-reading activities sparked her curiosity about the book's themes and topic. Every once in awhile she would stop and I could see the wheels turning in her mind. The book's plot really encouraged her to use her imagination. Not to mention, she was constantly making connections to a show she was watching. Shout out to the author of the novel. My daughter absolutely LOVED this story. A parent or educator could easily have children write their own endings to the story as a way to integrate Writing. 

What We Liked
  • Interactive Feature - Perfect for Struggling Writers or Those Who Dislike Writing
  • Detailed Answer Keys are Provided
  • Applicable Themes and Message
  • Various Subjects Integrated Within the Study
  • Complete Study
  • Answers Can Be Written or Typed
  • High-Quality Literature Selection
  • Variety of Activities Included
  • Comparable Price to Other Study Guides on the Market
  • Christian Perspective
  • Make Multiple Copies and Reusable for Many Years
  • Immediate Availability
  • Contextual Vocabulary
  • Analytical and Inferential Comprehension Questions
  • Flexible Usage
Possible Cons
  • We had a few issues with answers deleting when she scrolled down and there were a few pages that did not print answers properly. The same answer would be listed for each question even though she typed different answers.
  • More typing space was needed for responses.
I highly recommend this eGuide to Classical, Eclectic, and Christian educators utilizing a Literature-Rich approach. The study guide is complete for it purpose and is jam-packed with a variety of activities. It will help develop your child's analytical and critical thinking skills. This is great for students who dislike writing intensive curricula, because the interactive feature allows the user to type their answers directly on the pages. The eGuide also encourages the child to dig deeper into the Bible while making personal connections. This is a wonderful Christian-based study for your upper elementary student. About 3 years ago, we reviewed the Miss Rumphius E-Guide if you want to check out that review.

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Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read the Progeny Press reviews for The Green Book eGuide and other study guides such as The Josefina Story QuiltThe Scavengers, and Perelandra.  
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