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Old 03-12-2014, 03:20 PM   #1
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My Moving Beyond the Page Review

I was messaged about my experience with MBTP & typed up a reply that was too long. So, instead I'm sharing my thoughts here
If anyone else has any experience with this curriculum it would be great if you could also share your thoughts or a list of pros & cons!


An average day where I read the week's story, follow the lesson plan, do two of the activities, and 1-2 workbook pages takes about 90min (including 1 break to dance/grab a snack/use the bathroom). I'm doing the 4-5yr old level with 2 kids, it would go faster with 1. Our level doesn't include an additional math or reading program, but 2-3 days a week I try to add on about an hour of Right Start or ABeCeDarian. Those days we can end up with 2-3 hrs of school depending on how well my girls are enjoying things & if they are willing to come back & do more after breaks. We usually need a break every 40 min.

It's easy to change MBTP to suit your needs. If I skip the craft activities we can get a day's lesson done in as fast as 30 min. Some weeks I condense the 5 days into 2-3 days of the lesson plan & one day of crafts/activities. It is easy to skip days, combine days, add onto the things that really interest your child, & rush through topics that your kid may not be as interested in. There is very little prep work. The crafts come packaged by week in large zip lock bags. I usually take 5-10 min to skim the lesson & grab our supplies before I start each class. I skip about half of the crafts. It is very easy to customize your days on the fly.

I really like it a lot. What I appreciate the most are the discussions my girls have with me through the suggested questions revolving around each book. Today I was directed to tell my girls a funny story about them they don't remember & then read the book 'Umbrella'. The book 'Umbrella' was about a Japanese girl living in New York who was told a story about her 3rd birthday she did not remember. I had fun doing the lesson today & felt like it brought my girls & I closer through sharing stories about their baby & toddler years. This book also used Japanese Kangi characters & tomorrow's activity involves them getting to try to draw the characters for tree, sun, fish, wood, river, and a few others. Today we talked about what 'unfortunately' means because it was used in the book. I would start a sentence such as 'We were going to play outside, but unfortunately......and the girls took turns finding silly ways to end the sentence. Then we switched to using 'fortunately' rather than unfortunately. We did a few word problems with umbrella die cuts (I did not have to spend time cutting anything out). Ex: 4 people were at the park with umbrellas & the wind blew 2 away, how many were left? Or, 3 people at the slide had umbrellas & 2 more joined, how many were there? It instructed having your child write each equation outside with the supplied sidewalk chalk or inside using a white erase board. Another activity involved walking around the house & doing & undoing things such as a lock, zipper, button, shoelace, Velcro, etc. The last activity I chose to wait another day for involves walking around your neighborhood with an umbrella & rain boots & talking about how things look or feel different in the rain & sounds the rain makes. It recommended pretending it was raining if none was in your forecast.

My favorite part of MBTP is that it gets my girls & I talking. We're using it for preschool. I have been really impressed with the story selections. It's part of the program to ask my girls a lot of questions, and I really like this. I've realized that I assume too much about my kids & don't let them answer for themselves enough. This curriculum has adjusted my parenting. I am so much more interested in hearing their thoughts in their own words rather than finishing sentences for them or only 1/2 listening because I'm sure I already know what they're going to say. The girls really enjoy having discussions about the stories with me. Based just on the discussions we've had, while I ask questions presented in the manual about each week's story, this curriculum is AWESOME.

I do get annoyed with some of the craft/busy body stuff. Some of the crafts tie in with the lessons really well & some seem like a waste of time. But, MBTP is designed to give options & most of the activities are merely suggested. You're not expected to do them all.

We are going to try public kindergarten in the fall. But I still plan to buy the 5-7 MBTP & do a little on weekends & school breaks. I really like sharing a new book with my girls each week & want to continue that. Plus, I'll have the next MBTP level ready & will feel prepared if I need to pull them out of public school.

The part of the workbook that is the same every week is a little cheesy. We've bought better basic activity workbooks at Target. Every week there is one page for an uppercase letter, one page for the lowercase letter, and 2 pages for matching pictures to their beginning letter sound. It's a little lame. Some weeks have a page or two for a great additional activity. The workbook at least doesn't push kids to boredom or frustration. The pages are short, I think they only write each letter 12 times. I just wish there was more variety in what the workbook offers.

A lot of concepts revolve around friendships between characters, asking questions that make children think about how the characters were feeling, and coming up with ideas on how characters could have problem solved differently. My kids have learned the difference between fiction & non fiction. They also understand what an author does as compared to a narrator and illustrator. They've explored some cultures, weather, seasons, past/present/future, dinosaurs/fossils, poetry, holidays, land formations, primary colors, blending colors, maps, and a lot of basic science/nature & geography concepts.

I think the suggested weekly children's journal is a great idea, although I did not see the initial value in having preschoolers do it. So, our journals are really lacking. This coming fall I really want to get into MBTPs idea of having my girls keep a journal. They are supposed to create a drawing & use their limited writing abilities (or have you write their thoughts in their exact words) to explain something they learned that week. I've learned that I shouldn't be so fast to discredit the parts of MBTP I think are a waste of time. There have been several instances where I only found the value in part of the curriculum after several weeks.

This is my first stab a homeschooling & I have nothing to compare MBTP to. But, I do recommend it. Because of MBTP, I have less & less interest in trying public Kindergarten the closer we get.

I hope this helps,
Rachel

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Old 03-12-2014, 06:35 PM   #2
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Thanks so much for this! I'm really thinking we might give it a shot next month!
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