Moving Beyond the Page is the very first curriculum company we tried when we started out homeschooling. It feels like so long ago! As an eclectic homeschooler, I love unit studies and the freedom they give me to explore topics more deeply when Bug shows an interest. Moving Beyond the Page has always been a staple in our homeschool and my go-to company for unit studies, so I was thrilled to be given two of their individual units for a review with the Schoolhouse Review Crew. For this review, we tried units from the 8-10 level, Ben and Me, and the science unit meant to complement Ben and Me, Magnetism and Electricity.
Moving Beyond the Page has been around for a long time, but just recently they changed their format to make it easier for Homeschoolers to use selected units as a supplement to their studies instead of needing to buy the full program. This means you can purchase a full year of Language Arts, Social Studies or Science…. or buy only the units that interest you. Moving Beyond the Page units each last 3 weeks, and include a daily schedule with all activities, reading, experiments – everything scheduled in to make your life easier.
The units, while they can be used separately, are intended to be used together. For example, for this review, the two units I was given are complementary. They are scheduled to be started on the same day and used together, so everything we learn reinforces the other subjects. If you buy the complete unit, it comes with everything you need to teach it – the teachers materials, student pages, readers, and manipulative.
What We Tried: Ben and Me Literature Unit & Magnetism and Electricity Science Unit
Ben and Me (online version)
This unit came with online access to the teachers manual and printable PDF student pages, the book Ben and Me, and a kite kit. Ben and Me is a book about a mouse, Amos, who befriends Ben Franklin. Amos is the “brains of the operation” and gives Ben all his best ideas. This book is probably the funniest “biography” I have ever read – it’s part fiction, part history and Bug ate it up. This is a language arts unit, but on top of learning about grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and literary elements in the unit we also learned about the 13 colonies, what life was like in Ben Franklin’s time, inventors, Ben Franklin’s sayings and ideals, his electricity experiments, the revolutionary war, and so much more. (whew!)
Along with the literature unit, we used the coordinating science unit:
Magnetism and Electricity (print version)
With this unit, we received a physical copy of the teachers manual and student pages, the book Electricity and Magnetism, and two science kits, the Moving Beyond the Page Force and Power science kit, and the Science Wiz Electricity kit. You would not believe how excited I was to open up our Moving Beyond the Page Force and Power kit and see this:
Everything I needed was in the box, down to the paper bowl, rubber band and battery. Even better, each activity/experiment had its materials packaged in a separate little bag. I didn’t have to sort or organize anything, and there was no planning required to do the lesson. I simply grabbed the correct bag, and we dug in. One of the things I struggle most with when it comes to hands on activities is finding materials and the time it takes to prep them. With Moving Beyond the Page, all the work was done for me, so I could spend all of my energy and attention on teaching the materials.
This science unit allowed Bug to do his own electricity and magnetism research. He loved reading about the things Ben Franklin did (with Amos!), and then being able to also learn about electricity in a very hands on way.
We tried this program in both formats offered: the print version, and online version. If you order print copy units, you will receive the physical teachers manual and student book along with all the supplies. The online version has the teachers manual online in a really user friendly format. You simply click on the day’s assignments, and everything is listed for you there. If the unit has any weblinks to visit, they are hyperlinked from that page. All student pages are available as a printable PDF. The books and materials are the only things shipped to you.
The benefit to online is that you can start immediately when you hit purchase. If you already have the book at home or at the library, it’s less expensive and you can dig right in. Personally, I much prefer the physical print version. The print copy allows me to have the computer put away during lesson time which helps stop distractions, and I like to be able to take notes in my teachers book. I also like being able to reuse my curriculum with all my children, and with the print version, the only thing I need to repurchase to use with other children are the student pages, which are available for about 5 dollars per unit per child.
How it Worked in Our Home
We loved these units. Bug just lit up as he followed the instructions with the science unit and built circuits. He spent more time reading his Electricity and Magnetism book under his blankets in his room at bedtime than he did reading it for assigned class time. This unit light a fire for him, and even though we are finished with it, he is still building and rebuilding the circuits and learning as much as he can.
The literature unit was a huge hit also. Bug thought Ben and Me was “Funny and Interesting!” I had a hard time getting Bug to keep the recommended pace for the unit, because he wanted so badly to read ahead. This unit had him completing so many varied activities, like participating in an interview while pretending to be Ben Franklin, and coloring and labeling a map of the 13 colonies. We were never bored using this unit, we had wonderful conversations about the difference between Fact and Fiction. I think Bug preferred the idea that Amos the Mouse was the genius!
As a parent, I appreciated that every activity we did, worked. All the supplies were provided, the instructions were clear, and nothing was a dud. This unit was very experiment heavy, so it’s saying a lot that we didn’t experience a single hiccough.
Crew Members reviewed just about every different combination of unit studies available, so if you are looking to teach a certain subject, check out their reviews and consider Moving Beyond the Page for your unit studies this year!
Ben and Me Online Version (with all materials) $29.12
Electricity and Magnetism Print Version (with all materials) $89.92