Progeny Press: Treasure Island {TOS review}

Progeny Press is a business run by homeschoolers Michael and Rebecca Gilleland, who “believe in looking at the world clearly and openly with the Bible firmly in hand,” and want to assist other homeschoolers in educating in the same manner. For more than 20 years, their focus has been on creating Christian-based study guides to be used alongside classic literature. We had the opportunity to review the study guide they created for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

The Progeny Press study guides cover literature for children grades first through third (lower elementary); grades third through fifth (upper elementary); and grades ninth through twelfth (high school). They also carry additional resources for students (see resources).

The Treasure Island study guide is part of the fifth through eighth grade studies and includes a synopsis of Treasure Island and a brief biography on Robert Louis Stevenson. There are also some suggested pre-reading activities like researching some of the coins and the boats that are mentioned in the book and reading about the Courts of Assize or the Assizes. Another suggested activity is an “As-You-Read Activity,” which has the student creating a map of the island as they read through the book.

The study guide covers all 34 chapters of Treasure Island and is broken up into six sections:

Part I – The Old Buccaneer: Chapters 1-6
Part II – The Sea Cook: Chapters 7-12
Part III – My Shore Adventure: Chapters 13-15
Part IV – The Stockdale: Chapters 16-21
Part V – My Sea Adventure: Chapters 22-27
Part VI – Captain Silver: Chapters 28-34

Each section includes:

Vocabulary (ex: calumnies, mutiny, duplicity, avowed, etc.) with different activities like defining the word and writing a sentence.

Questions (ex: What does It mean that the captain had “run up the colours”? What possible consequences does this have and why do they all feel it worthwhile when he refuses to strike his colours?) that promote more thinking.

Thinking About the Story (ex: Hubris is a Greek word describing a pride so excessive that it just, necessarily, lead to a character’s downfall. In what way does Long John Silver show this type of pride in Chapter 20? How might this foreshadow his downfall?

Dig Deeper (ex: Does this mean that the wicked will never win, and that the righteous will always be saved? How is God’s view of time and eternity bigger than ours? If God doesn’t promise us health and prosperity, what does she promise? Look at 2 Timothy 3, Romans 8:35-39 and Matthew 6:19-21, 25-34.

It finishes with an overview that offers more insight into the story and more activities for the student with a look at Biblical comparisons and relationships in the book. Also included are eight essay suggestions and additional resources.

We read through the book at rate of about two chapters a day starting on Monday and finishing on Wednesday. Then River read through the Vocabulary and Questions on Thursday and the Thinking About the Story and Dig Deeper on Friday. If more time was required for Dig Deeper, then he would finish on Saturday.

A really neat feature is that the study guide comes in a PDF format that is “interactive” allowing the student to enter his work onto the pages using a computer. The student’s answer may also be saved for future reference.

My children enjoy reading and with that comes books they choose to read for pleasure and books that I assign them to read for school. I pretty much leave them alone when they are reading their books of choice, but I prefer for them to get a little bit more out of the books they read for school. Progeny Press‘ study guides take a book and make it more than just something to read, but also something to study and make a connection with the Bible as a base.

The Treasure Island study guide is $16.99 (instant download or CD) and $18.99 for a printed booklet. You may read more about the product and how to purchase.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

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