myPerspectives Homeschool Bundles
These are courses that are robust in every meaning of the word. These Pearson standards-based courses provide three distinct learning environments for each unit: whole-class, small-group, and independent learning. Obviously designed for classrooms and blended with online resources, they will work well for co-ops but can be adapted for home use as well. Close reading, literary analysis, composition as well as grammar instruction are scaffolded (taught at sequentially more difficult levels) through the courses. Reading assignments are extremely diverse, academically challenging, thought-provoking, and, frankly, just plain fascinating. Moral issues (such as survivor guilt) are tackled regularly throughout the readings which draw from literary and non-literary sources. There are high expectations for students in terms of reading, writing, research, speaking, and presentation assignments but students are led through preparatory exercises that make those expectations obtainable.
What do I mean by "high expectations?"
- Allows students to take ownership of their learning.
- Encourages social collaboration.
- Links together knowledge and learning behaviors, and
- Provides opportunities to personalize learning.
There is a decided effort to make assigned texts relevant with the use of media, blogs, films, multimedia, etc. The learning environment is teacher-led but student-centered. Students read multi-genre material and respond through conversations and writing. The Close Reading routine is simple: Notice, Annotate, Connect, Respond. Teachers model concepts. Students collaborate to accomplish specific tasks but they likewise complete independent work. Tasks are performance-based and incorporate knowing and using skills. The result is complex multi-step writing and/or speaking and listening tasks. All of this sounds rather complicated and maybe even too lofty of goals. The bottom line, though, is that each step is carefully delineated. Preparation is thorough and detailed. Support is solid and readily available. All of this means attainable standards-based goals.
Assessments are an on-going part of the course. There is a variety of year-long (beginning of year, mid-year, and end-of-year tests) as well as unit-level assessments and reading selection tests. These can be administered in print and/or online. Labeled "performance tasks," which may be a new concept, there are opportunities for the student to show they can perform the task independently for which they have been training, using acquired skills. Students are expected to integrate knowledge, apply critical thinking skills, cite evidence, and use effective expression. A complete assessment rubric is provided.
Student Books are full color worktexts that not only provide much of the required reading with space for annotations but also a full range of support information; author/background info, close read notes, vocabulary/word study, comprehension questions, and literary analysis. Detailed instructions for learning assignments, such as in small groups, are provided in step-by-step fashion. Examination of conventions (grammar) and style as well as writing/speaking/listening assignments are likewise taught with depth and clarity. Practice exercises are abundant and serve as instructive stepping stones toward more comprehensive assignments.
The Teacher Edition is daunting - at first glance. But stick with it just a bit and you'll begin to see the well-organized support it offers. It's a wraparound text with reduced copies of student pages with answers, writing samples, and talking points supplied. Teaching helps start with a pacing plan (30 days for each of the six units in the high school courses; 36 days for each of the five units in the middle school courses). Daily lessons are well laid out and around-the-edge helps include lesson objectives, when to incorporate online material, vocabulary development, learning strategies, performance tasks, reading/standards support, close read notes, literary analysis notes, language conventions (grammar) coverage, extensive writing instruction notes, and formative assessments. Extensive information at the beginning of the TE provides an overview of the course objectives, materials, and methodologies.
Online Resources include digital/interactive teacher and student editions as well as access to program resources which are available for laptops/computers as well as mobile devices (tablets and phones). [I'll admit that my old-fashioned educator's heart did a little blip when I saw the words "have your students scan the BouncePage? icon with their phones" as part of the teacher instructions.] These icons are interspersed throughout the student text and are read by scanning to a downloadable app for android and apple mobile devices. Scanning provides a wide range of multi-media content including unit introduction videos, media selections/media enrichment, modeling videos, and selection audio recordings.
Information on how to access the online digital components is included on a card with the curriculum bundle. The process involves setting up a homeschool account. The Interactive Student Edition allows the student to view related media options, annotate and highlight the text, take notes, and respond to prompts. All work is saved in an online notebook which students can revisit. Through the Interactive Teacher Edition, the teacher can easily manage and customize the online digital components: rearranging content, uploading content, adding links, editing resources, as well as editing assessments. Additional online resources are extensive: a digital library with 140+ eBooks.; interactive writing & research lessons; writing and research PowerPoint presentations, academic vocabulary interactive lessons, and English language support lessons. There are 2-3 trade book suggestions for each unit that have lesson plans and assessments.
Course components include a hardback Teacher's Edition, soft cover Student Book(s), and one-year access to PearsonRealize?, the online destination for digital resources, assessments, and data. Although the online resources are extensive and valuable for those who are comfortable accessing and utilizing them, I'm impressed with the robustness of this course even without the online content. True, there are some unit and year-long tests that are only available online, but there are end-of-unit performance tasks that could be substituted grade-wise.
Middle school courses have a single softcover Student Book while high school courses have two. Middle School TEs are 750+ pgs, hc; Student Books are three-hole punched and 600+ pgs, pb. High School TEs are 950+ pgs, hc; Student Books are three-hole punched and 1000+ pgs, pb, in two volumes. ~ Janice