Literature study guides are relatively new to me and our homeschool. Before this year, we’d only used them a couple of times. However, being on The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew has allowed me to review several of them. And to tell you the truth, we’ve greatly enjoyed each one. Having a literature study guide to walk you through the themes and ideas in stories is incredibly helpful. They really bring a new depth to every book we examine and enjoy.
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch Literature Study Guide Review
A little about Mr. Bowditch . . .
At a young age, Nathanial (Nat) Bowditch found himself thrown from a life of education and dreams to that of a servant on a ship. Though his lifestyle has changed, his desire to learn has not waivered. While working on the ship, Nat still manages to teach himself Latin and master mathematics.
Once his nine year servitude is up, Nat decides to go back to sea and discovers that the tools used by sailors are dangerously full of errors. Thanks to his mathematical genius, Nat was able to write a book, The American Practical Navigator, invent new and more effective nautical devices and train other sailors.
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch is the epic tale of Nathanial’s adventurous life. The children’s biography is written at a middle school level.
How the Literature Study Guide Works
The study guide is divided into sections, roughly three to four chapters each. Each section contains several different activities:
- vocabulary from the chapters– sometimes matching or fill in the blank, other times the student is asked to use a dictionary to define the word as used in the book
- characterization– getting to know who is who in the book and how each character is built
- questions– answers are found directly from the book
- thinking about the story– critical thinking that requires written answers
- dig deeper– bringing biblical truths into critical thinking
Other helpful resources in the study guide:
- mid-reading activities like map use, extra reading and research
- more insight into The American Practical Navigator (They highly recommend you find it at your local library to see it. Unfortunately, none of my libraries had it.)
- an end summary that could serve as a test
- additional resources if you’d like to read more by author Jean Lee Latham or related interests
Some items to have readily available to go through the guide:
- Map or globe
- Bible (NIV is used)
- Concordance or topical Bible
How we used the literature study guide
Julia (my 7th grader) read Carry on, Mr. Bowditch and she worked through the study guide. We both loved that the guide is interactive so she could type right into the PDF and save her work as she went. You also have the option to print the guide.
It is recommended that the student read the entire book first and then go back through one section per week. I had Julia read through the sections of the study guide before reading the chapters, that way she was aware of what would be expected.
Overall she liked using the guide and loved that she didn’t have to pick up a pen; getting her to write is like pulling teeth.
The guide should take six to eight weeks to complete, depending on your child and the extra activities they complete. Each guide is valued at one-fourth high school credit.
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