Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Review of Progeny Press's Macbeth E-Guide

Progeny Press

Over the past ten years of homeschooling, we have completed more Progeny Press study guides than I can count, many of which I was lucky enough to get through the Homeschool Review Crew. You can read my past reviews here. This time around, we delved into the murky world of Macbeth with the Macbeth E-Guide (Grades 9-12)! 

Macbeth - E-Guide
The Macbeth E-Guide is comprised of the following parts:

  • Note to Instructor
  • A Special Note on Shakespeare's Plays
  • Synopsis
  • Background Information
  • About the Author
  • Suggestions for Prereading Activities
  • Act I
  • Act II
  • Act III
  • Act IV
  • Act V
  • Overview
  • Writing Projects
  • Additional Resources
  • Answer Key (in a separate file)

The Note to Instructor explains how Progeny Press study guides work, including expected pacing. The note on Shakespeare's Plays recommends a particular edition for ease of use and also points out that the plays were originally intended to be read aloud; hence, an audio recording can enhance the experience. Next comes a two-page synopsis and one page of Background Information, relating the play's historical basis. The About the Author section refers to Shakespeare's Bio, and not that of the Study Guide author (hey - I wasn't sure which it would be, so I wasn't sure if anyone else had the same question!). Among the Suggestions for Prereading Activities are background research work on the time period during which Macbeth takes place, map work on Scotland, reading Machiavelli's The Prince, and other topical and interesting activities. 

Then comes the meat of the study guide. For each act of the play, the study guide follows the same format.

  • Vocabulary 
  • Scrambled Quotation
  • General Questions (short answer)
  • Analysis (longer answer)
  • Dig Deeper (more of an essay with more analysis required)
  • Extra Activities (could be formal essays, art projects, scenes to act out, and more)
The exception to the above format is that Act IV includes Discussion Questions. Following Act V, there are 15 final questions that tie the entire play together. They can be done either as oral discussion questions or as essay questions. They are intended for the student to reflect on the play as a whole.

At the end of the study guide are eight Writing Projects. These make great final essays, demonstrating mastery of the subject matter of Macbeth. They result in longer papers than the questions just preceding. Additional Resources round out the study guide. This is a page listing other plays by Shakespeare, books about him, and Shakespeare videos like Emma Thompson's Much Ado About Nothing from 1993. 

Nicholas and Macbeth

The target age for Macbeth is high school, so I had originally decided that Nicholas (14) would be the one to use this study guide, as he is a freshman in high school. However, since he doesn't love reading for school, and since Macbeth is a play, I decided that I would read it to all of my younger three children (Nicholas and my 12 year-old twins). It's never too early for Shakespeare! Proceeding in this manner, I read Act I of the play, and then a funny thing happened. As I was beginning to go through the study guide with Nicky, the twins were piping up with the answers. In that way, we ended up doing most of the study guide orally. Now, because Nicky is the one in high school, he did end up with a couple of paper assignments, but it was wonderful being able to use the study guide to generate discussion questions among the four of us. A question like:

is much more interesting when multiple people can share their opinions and discuss in a family group!

The essay questions were right on target for Nicholas's age. They were not too difficult, but they were far from too easy. In the past, I have found some of Progeny Press's elementary study guides a little too elementary for my children, but I have always enjoyed their high school guides very much. This one is certainly no exception. The Answer Key is thorough and provides you with everything you need to know to accurately evaluate your child's responses.

Homeschool Review Crew members reviewed several different Progeny Press guides, so be sure to click the banner below to read all of the reviews!

Study Guides for Literature {Progeny Press Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

No comments:

Post a Comment