• Moving Beyond The Page - Reviews


    movingbeyondthepage-jpg
    Moving Beyond the Page



    Review from member Laina
    Member Ranking - Extremely Positive
    We found this curriculum halfway through my daughter's first grade year. We completed Level 6-8 Concept 2 Measurements and half of Concept 3 Culture. I am very impressed. Each day's lesson includes about five activities. Some are hands-on activities with materials you find around the house, some relate to a book we've read, and some are activities from the Student Activity Book. My daughter has learned a ton and prefers MBTP to any other schoolwork we do (we also use Explode the Code and Math Mammoth). I plan to finish Concept 4 this summer and move her to Level 7-9 in the fall, as well as purchase 7-9 in the fall. We love it so far!
    Pros:



    • very little planning required
    • mix of literature-based and hands-on activities
    • no busy work-- almost all the activities are meaningful and engaging for my 6yo

    Cons:
    • some people find the illustrations very amateur, though they don't really bother me. The books are being revised so some levels beginning with 5-7 will have more polished illustrations
    • somewhat expensive, though cost can be kept down through buying used or getting books from library


    Review from member wife&mommy
    Member Ranking - Extremely Positive

    We have used Moving Beyond the Page for ages 5-7 and also 6-8. I have already purchased 7-9, but we have not started using it just yet. We love this curriculum and my son asks for it every day. He really enjoys all of the hands on opportunities and I really enjoy that everything is all planned out for me. The ideas in the lessons are great and they seem to really cement the ideas in his head because they present many different ways to learn a single concept. Then there is a final project at the end and puts everything together and you can see what the child has learned, we love this alternative to a test. We have no plans to change curriculum any time soon.
    Pros:
    • Everything is planned out.
    • Most of the required books can be found at the library.
    • My child enjoys doing the work.
    • Hands on learning.
    • Not too rigorous but teaches effectively.
    • Doesn't take too long to get everything completed.
    • Child can do a lot of the work himself.
    • The final projects are a great way to bring everything together.

    Cons:
    • There are some typing errors in some of the materials.
    • Hand drawn materials (they don't bother me, but might bother some).
    • Sometimes the order of the lessons don't seem to flow as well as they could.
    • Can feel repetitive.
    • Cost can be expensive, but getting the books at the library does help.
    • Doesn't include enough math for my liking, we did add a separate math curriculum.


    Review from member queenbee
    Member Ranking - Mostly Positive

    Here are snippets from a more detailed review I wrote on my blog:

    Overall, I am very pleased with MBtP. I think that if you use this program for at least several concepts, you will get a real feel for the progression of skills and development. Had I quit using it after just a few weeks, I would never had been able to see how my children are simply blossoming with it. I think there was an adjustment period for me. I have always designed my own program and haven't ever done ʺsocial studiesʺ as opposed to straight history before so it was a bit different. However, I really have grown to like MBtP very much. The things that bother me are not enough for me to stop using it.

    And let me say this: there are times when I think a project or activity seems silly or like something I want to skip.... then we do it and I can't believe the value in the work that the girls produce. It isn't ʺfluffʺ or ʺbusy workʺ (which sometimes at first glance I may think it is). Let me give you an example: I wanted to skip the activity where my 2nd and 3rd grader were supposed to write a biography page for a hero book. It sounded boring to me, and a bit like busy work. I felt like (a) they would complain about the writing and (b) it wasn't worth the hassle and (c) they already know their life story. Boy was I wrong - they got more out of this exercise than I could have imagined. They had to think about things in their past, they had to consider their future, they needed to integrate the characteristics of a hero and think about the lives of the heroes we'd been studying... all in all, they each wrote amazing papers on the subject and really grew as writers, thinkers and scholars. I could see that they truly learned how to think on different levels and apply it to a written paper. And they are 7 and 9. After they completed the assignment, I couldn't believe I had thought to skip it! I think in the past when I did my own thing, I would have shied away from such a project, and I'm glad MBtP has us doing things like this.

    I think curriculum is like clothing - not everything looks good on everyone - so I wouldn't do a carte blanche recommendation to everyone, but in all I think this is a great program. There are things I don't like about it, but in general I am very happy with it.

    Pros:

    • It's secular .
    • Comprehensive and far-reaching - after using the program consistently (all four of my girls have been through two full concepts) I agree that this program reaches kids on a deeper level. If you just use it once or twice, I don't think it comes across, but I do see how well it encourages students to look at issues and apply what is learned in many different ways.
    • If you follow most of the activities (which I try very hard to do), your student will use many different learning tools from the different intelligences to cover the same concept
    • The lessons take the child from the big concept, have her apply to herself and her life, and then goes back out to the big idea again, making it easier for her to relate to and easier to apply to different situations which increases their critical thinking and their creative thinking. A+
    • In-depth literature studies - I feel my girls are getting more out of the books we read through MBtP than the books we've read in the past. The author does a good job of selecting interesting books that relate to the overall concept.
    • The connection between literature, social studies, and science - this is something I have always done (ala classical education) so perhaps I appreciate more than others might. I don't think it is ʺnecessaryʺ for learning, but I do think it helps create a richer learning experience and that things ʺstickʺ better when they apply to more than one area at a time. And this program does a great job with integrating across the different subjects.
    • Project-based - this is actually something I love and detest. I have always tried very hard to be 'project-based' and have been successful, though I do not enjoy the amount of work involved. The same is true here. I love that there are so many fun projects and activities... the kids absolutely love them and will tell you that this is the best part of school. But it is very parent intensive - especially the younger the children.
    • Challenging - this is a challenging curriculum. If a person were to skip any activities which might challenge his child, it may not be. I don't recommend doing this as I feel that we often do the most growth when things are challenging. I would say that my children are definitely challenged and not bored with this program. Particularly with the writing. I also feel that one must choose the correct level for his/her child or it could easily be TOO challenging. Although the concepts may be purchased separately, I believe the program is designed to be used over the year and as such the concepts progress in difficulty, so don't be tricked into thinking it's too easy and jumping up an entire level.
    • The writing - the writing in MBtP is so strong that I wish we had started with this earlier (and my kids are good writers). As I have children in the levels starting with 6-8 and going up to 9-11, I can see the progression and development in the program and I think it is beautiful.
    • Science - I think that for elementary kids this science is just enough. You can always do more, more, more if your kids want more. Do it on things they are interested in (that's what we do). But in terms of tying it in to the curriculum - it's great. And it's fun stuff - very hands on! Some things are so-so (like keeping a weather chart for a month) but for the most part, I give it an ʺA.ʺ
    • Very easy to communicate with the publisher - if you call, someone answers. If you email, you get a reply. At least this has been my experience. And I appreciate this very much!



    Cons:
    • There are many typos and errors. I read this in other reviews and thought, ʺOkay, I can live with that.ʺ And I can live with it, but it is extremely annoying. I didn't realize how annoyed I'd be by it. Maybe because there are more than I feel there should be? Content-wise, the program is great. But it is expensive, and I feel that this number of errors is unacceptable. I know they have hired editors and are trying to remedy this. Let's hope so!
    • Website: on their website, you can actually look at the summary of skills for each unit, but to find this is not easy! You have to go to ʺPurchaseʺ then to ʺIndividual Itemsʺ then you have to happen to notice that link... I think this should be front and center on the curriculum page, and I would have really liked to have found this earlier on in my search.
    • Format. I feel that this program would be so much better if they improved the format:
    • Lay-out: I would much rather have things laid out by 'days' rather than lessons. It creates more work for me to then go back and figure out how everything fits into our calendar because some lessons are 2, 3 or 4 days long. By ʺdaysʺ I mean labeling the lessons separately for separate days (e.g., Lesson 1 - Day 1; Lesson 1 - Day 2; Lesson 2 - Day 3; Lesson 3 - Day 4). A weekly format (similar to Sonlight) would also be okay.
    • The workbooks are spiral bound - ugh!! They should offer a three-hold punch format for those of us that cannot STAND spiral.
    • Parent guides - they do not provide answers consistently, and particularly in the upper levels they should really provide example answers for ALL questions and essays. The program is expensive and I expected more in this area.
    • Spelling - in the guides, the authors go over how to do spelling according to their program. This turns out to be virtually impossible to follow if you try to use the words they give you for spelling. This goes back to format - if they had a planning grid and laid things out by the week this would fit much more smoothly into the program. I don't find this topic to be a deal-breaker, but it's an annoyance and it could be integrated so wonderfully into this program. I have to wonder about why they don't improve this area.
    • In the 9-11+ levels, I think they schedule way too much into each lesson. It's supposed to be a 9-week program, and that means that unless it says 2-days or 3-days, each lesson is one day. And doing everything on their list will lead to a very long day. We've had to modify this level much, much more than the 7-9 and 6-8.
    • Expense - it is a very expensive curriculum considering it's not necessarily a complete curriculum. You still have to add in other subjects, for the younger kids phonics and reading, math, foreign language, art, music, health. There are ways around the expense (buy used, use library books, etc.), and certainly if you have multiple children in the younger years it isn't bad if you can re-use (my youngest will use the level her older sisters are using this year & I only have to buy new student pages and an owl pellet- not bad).

    Review from member Lou
    Member Ranking - Mostly Positive
    MBtP works wonders for our family. I loved how there are 2 year age ranges, so you can work at various paces. I was able to use it for two of my children and eliminate having my children doing different things. Makes teaching them together much easier, just tone it up a bit for the younger one and down a bit for the older one. Both of my kids are gifted, but one is more intense then the other, so pushing him too hard results in shut down. I also found that accomplishing all 4 concepts in one year was more work then we were up for, so 2 concepts a year works well for us. We use other curriculum in addition to MBtP, so getting all four done in one year was not going to happen. I don't know many gifted students that accomplish all 4 concepts each year. Most of the gifted kids I know have interests of their own they want to spend time on. I'm sure there are gifted students out there that work that fast, but I don't know any. MBtP is a great curriculum choice IMHO.

    Review from member BeckyG
    Member Ranking - Mostly Positive
    I have used this curriculum for 1 year. We used ages 7-9 last year with my son, and really enjoy it. I like the books that are part of the curriculum and the discussions that we get into with the questions and assignments. I like that it is almost a complete curriculum (except for math). It does take a while to get into using it. For a while it seemed like it was taking way too long. We've finally figured out how to use it and get school done and still work our other activities in at the same time.

    Review from member PetVet
    Member Ranking - Extremely Positive
    We have used all of 6-8 and half of 7-9 and are both enjoying this curriculum very much!

    Although 6-8 was too easy for DS7, 7-9 is just about right. He finds the LA challenging, especially the writing requirements, but I do supplement spelling and grammar, using MBtP to test what he has learned elsewhere. The SS is interesting but can be repetitive, so we often go off onto 'rabbit trails' which is quite fun. Their science is relatively easy but again is a good review for what he has learned elsewhere. I very much appreciate that MBtP makes use of multiple methods/modalities (plays, poems, journals, timelines) both in teaching and testing - DS really has to think about what he has learned and integrate information from different sources in order to 'show what he knows'.

    Pros:

    • critical thinking
    • connections across curriculum
    • literature based
    • whole child approach - character, leadership, making a difference, etc
    • multiple learning styles
    • introduction to books i might not have chosen on my own
    • if you buy the books, your child will have a nice library at the end

    Cons:
    *repetitive - at times leading to boredom for DS: ʺWe did this already!ʺ
    *some of the drawings on the worksheets are *terrible*! to the point that even i often found them hard to decipher
    *expensive - especially considering is primarily LA/SS


    Review from member hockeymom
    Member Ranking - Somewhat Negative

    I was hoping to find a comprehensive "all in one" curriculum when we decided to try MBtP, but what I found instead was a curriculum light on real work and heavy on busy work. We found the concepts to be way behind age level, and overly discussed. The projects were childish, and only amounted to busy work. On the other hand, the writing expectations exceeded my son's ability, so we ended up scratching most of the writing and nearly all of the projects. Science was basically non-existent (again, way way below level) and history was jumbled. We both gave a huge sigh of relief when we finally decided to give up on it entirely.
    Pros:

    • It had a few interesting projects
    • It could be good for arty kids and for kids who aren't ready to think too deeply about the subjects at hand
    • The spelling list was on level

    Cons:
    • We felt it was too repetitive
    • The themes, science, and history were way below level
    • The concepts were beaten into the ground
    • Too much busy work and not enough meat



    Review from member elkhollow
    Member Ranking - Somewhat Positive

    Levels used: Ages 7-9 and Ages 9-11

    Anything that is advertised as a comprehensive program for gifted children needs to meet high expectations to deliver. This doesn't quite hit that high mark, however I have found it very useful as a supplement. The quality of the instruction is somewhat inconsistent. Most of the activities make very good use of time and meet learning objectives. Some of them do not seem worth the time, however. This is more often true of the craft projects than other types of activities. We do the ones that look like they will reinforce the lesson and skip the others. The time to complete a day's lesson can also vary, with some lessons containing many activities and others only a few. If you are a planner this is a drawback. There are some grammatical errors, too, which I find unacceptable in a program that is this expensive and raises such high expectations. It does not have enough grammar or writing instruction. The science and history are fun but they lack depth and rigor. I also would prefer more technology integrated activities. There just isn't much technology used, other than a few websites for research, and this is a serious oversight. I hope this improves with the new middle school levels. The reading level is erratic, so I'm going to guess that you would also need a separate incremental reading program with the younger grades.

    The strength of the program for me is that it is literature based. I like to incorporate picture and chapter books into learning all subjects and this program lays it all out for me. I also like that the subjects are interconnected. This is one thing public schools do not do very well. When subjects are taught in isolation some children have a hard time making cross curricular connections.

    I justify the cost by buying the online version only and using it for more than one child. What books we don't already have are easily found at the library. Be aware if you use the online option the units never expire unless you activate them. Once activated you have only 3 months to use it, so print a copy if you have children who will be using it later. I also do not use it the way it is intended. We go chronologically, in a more classical fashion. I cannot fathom teaching history in such a haphazard, confusing way, and I wish this curriculum was organized that way. I use the units that correspond to what we are studying, which is why it is useful to us that the units do not expire until you activate them. The units have a 3 year age range and options are given for more and less challenging work. My children are two grade levels apart so they can both work on the same unit which is a HUGE time saver for me.

    BOTTOM LINE: The curriculum is a great supplement, bringing in literature to liven up and enrich lessons, and connecting learning across subjects. It is not comprehensive or rigorous enough to stand alone. I have to shore it up with solid grammar, writing, and spelling programs and add spines for science and history to fill in the gaps.I don't know from experience but primary grades might also need a reading program.
    Pros:

    • Secular
    • Standards and research based
    • Written by certified educators, not homeschoolers
    • Three year age range allows for concurrent use with more than one child.
    • My kids like it and ask to do it first.
    • Great use of literature to enhance learning. Does not rely on textbooks.
    • It is cross curricular.
    • I think the price is worth it for the online version since I use it with more than one child and most of the books can be borrowed from the library.

    Cons:
    • Lacks depth and rigor in all subjects to be a comprehensive curriculum.
    • History is not arranged chronologically which does not allow for learning cause and effect.
    • Inconsistent quality of instruction.
    • Lacks technology integration (at least in the levels we have used)
    • Expensive to use as a supplement when you have to add in other programs and spines.



    Review from member Jackielyn
    Member Ranking - Mostlly Positive

    I have three kids on three different levels, we have used or are using 5-7, 6-8, 8-10, 9-11, and 11-13 levels. I enjoy using this curriculum because everything is planned out ahead of time, it's pretty much open and go (except if you have an experiment). Some of the times, the experiments do not work or we never have what we need to do them (my fault for not looking ahead). Otherwise the materials are simple craft items.In the older levels, it allows for more independence. They has been very helpful since I have three children in three different levels. My oldest pretty much does all his work on his own with occasional clarification on an assignment. The 11-13 level is a lot more work, FYI. Instead of alternating science and social studies in the lower levels, he has to do both now. Three subjects, four units per semester. The website allows you to purchase everything you need. Unfortunately, it is rather expensive and could be cost prohibited for larger families if the age gaps are large enough (a nice thing about this is if you have two children close in age, they can do the same level). They do allow for payment plans which can relieve some financial burden. We stick with this curriculum because it relieves some of the burden of piecing together a comprehensive curriculum. I also like the literature.
    Pros:
    • Open and go
    • Great literature options
    • Options to purchase units separately
    • Secular
    • Lots of projects




    Cons:

    • Can be cost prohibitive for a larger family
    • Some of the experiments don't work
    • Some repetitive busy work (skip over)







    To submit your own review of this curriculum, click here
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