Winter Promise American Story
Product: American Story 1 & 2
Subject: History/Science/Language Arts
Levels Used: Basic Theme (1-4) and Middler's Package (5-8)
Dates Used: 2006-2008
WP is a literature-rich program. The philosophy of WP is a multi-sensory experience by throwing yourself into the historical period by means of historical fiction, biographies, visual non-fiction books, hands-on activities, videos, notebooking, mapping, writing, games and websites.
This approach appeals to every kind of learner because the WP guidebook is like a big menu of activities to select from. It is very similar to Sonlight in the layout - it is a 4-5 day grid with everything mapped out for you in an "open and go" style.
It includes the geography, mapping activities, timeline work, videos, websites, activities and notebooking, etc., so you do not have to spend time pulling all that together. You are experiencing the information in many ways so retention of information is better. There is a student schedule for activities the child is to work on independently (yes!!!!!).
There are also factual books in WP and the book selections are age appropriate (not covering mature topics with young children.) WP guides do not include specific literature questions for books but include a few pages of narration prompts which can be used with any literature.
Here are some features:
Based on Charlotte Mason's philosophy
Thematic units based on history and/or science
Literature based, learning together approach
Guidebook has schedule which is all mapped out in 4 or 5 day weeks tying everything together
Includes Student schedule of independent work (****a huge benefit)
Incorporates timelines, mapwork, notebooking, hands-on activities and websites
Multilevel packages - offers extension packs for younger or older children
Provides coordinating language arts programs
Offers (independent) readers at various levels for the units
You just add math and possibly science.
My Experience with Winter Promise:
The reading selections in Winter Promise are great. The books chosen are on target with the age level of the child. Learning through literature has really brought the time period to life for us. There are also several non-fiction titles (filled with great illustrations for younger levels) and a nice spine for the theme.
I found that the levels that WP recommends are appropriate. The only exception to this statement is their Language Arts independent readers, which are more advanced than the level that WP recommends.
About the schedules, we found that reading 4-6 books a day can be a bit choppy. Instead of reading the schedule for the day, we read all the pages assigned for the week in one sitting (usually we just read the entire book in 1-2 days since the kids don't want to stop reading). If you have seen Sonlight's schedules, WP is similar and we just complete it horizontally
rather than vertically.
Student Schedules are a huge benefit for us. The entire schedule can be done independently by my daughter. This eliminates wait time - if I am busy elsewhere - she can get right to work. Younger children can just listen in as we read aloud, they are very interested in the history because much of it is well illustrated or action packed literature.
About the activities, which include recommended websites, paper projects, coloring pages, notebook pages, hands on projects (you supply all the materials), timelines and review cards/games.
** The websites are excellent - saves time surfing the internet for us.
** The paper projects might appeal more to some children than others - my daughter likes them. Both kids like the coloring pages.
** The notebook pages are a variety. In American Story (geared for grades 1-3) they provide more information at times or summarize what has been covered in other readings - meant to be placed in a notebook. Other notebooking pages (for older grades) are more interactive or student oriented.
** Hands-on project ideas are waaay to many for us to complete in our week. The kids love them but we have become accustomed to viewing them as a menu
of options to choose from.
** The timelines are excellent. Each week the schedule tells you which figures to use from either Winter Promise figures (which are less detailed, precolored in, and there are fewer) or Homeschool in the Woods (more detailed illustration to be colored in, more detailed summary under the figure).
** Review Game and cards - love them, but it took a lot of time copying and cutting up the cards to assemble.
I found it very easy to use WP. What WP provides for me is coordinating literature with chronological history, websites (no wasting time piddling on the web looking for the best sites for children), projects, notebooking (and writing assignments if you also do the LA with the themed package) and timeline figures already assigned. There is a student schedule which your children do independently. I will never do projects or websites unless it is spelled out for me and this really helps cement the information and makes our learning "3-dimensional".
Truly, the time saved for me is what I love. I do not have the knowledge or time to research each book for my children. We have enjoyed the book selections and variety.