Wednesday, July 8

Studying Animal Farm with Progeny Press {Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
Entering the high school years, and given our current political climate around the world, this summer seemed like a great time to delve into Animal Farm, by George Orwell.  We took the opportunity to use the Animal Farm Study Guide from Progeny Press.  Progeny Press has over 100 different literature guides to choose from across all grade levels.  Animal Farm is for students in 9th-12th grades.

We received an instant download of the Animal Farm Study Guide.  To complete the literature guide, we needed a copy of the book, a dictionary and thesaurus, and a Bible.  Given the current pandemic, getting a physical copy of the book was difficult, but we were able to find an e-copy through the library.  The guide took about a week to complete, as it was the only thing we focused on for this week of summer school.  When used as part of the regular school year, this study guide should take about ten weeks.  Completion of four study guides would count as a full year of language arts.

The guide opens with introductory elements, a synopsis, information about the author, and pre-reading activities. These activities are designed to help set the scene for the study, and help the student picture the scene.  Given the allegorical nature of the story, the background information also focuses on Stalin and the multiple systems of economics and government.

Each section of the guide covers multiple chapters, including these elements:

  • Vocabulary – This covers vocabulary words and basic dictionary skills. Various tasks are assigned for learning the new words.
  • Questions - This section consists of straightforward questions about the events in the story to test reading comprehension.
  • Thinking About the Story - This section requires the student to pay attention to the other details of the story.  These questions include evaluating a character’s motive, making inferences about events to come, and discussing the conflict in the story.
  • Dig Deeper - In this section, Bible verses and principles are brought into the study.  The verses shared help the child think more deeply about the characters and conflict in the novel, and lead them to make value judgements about the content of the book.
  • Optional Activities - This section contains ideas like making a poster, having a class discussion, doing further research and learning more about the Russian Revolution.

I was impressed at the material covered and pleased at the diversity of activities provided.   The study guide is challenging and encourages high school students to think about the concepts, how they have applied in history, and (in our house) how they apply to our current climate.  The “Dig Deeper” section is valuable for parents who want their students to read good fiction, but who also want to have discussions about their own views on morality and character in the context of the book.

Something I appreciate about these study guides is that they are interactive.  If we weren't working as a family - if I had my high schooler working independently - he could type his answers directly into the PDF.  This allows me to save paper by not having to print it all out, which is very nice!  For matching sections, he could use a drop down menu to answer.  Multiple choice questions have a checkbox, and short answer questions have an area to type text.  The study guides come with a separate answer key for quick and easy grading by parents.

Other study guides available at the high school level include: The Red Badge of Courage, The Yearling, Heart of Darkness, Jane Eyre, Hamlet, Out of the Silent Planet, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Day No Pigs Would Die, The Great Gatsby, and A Tale of Two Cities.

See what others are saying about Progeny Press at the Homeschool Review Crew!

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