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The Scarlet Pimpernel Study Guide Review by Colton Dumont

Barbara Blakey
Total Language Plus
PO Box 12622
Olympia, Washington 98508

This product is a student study guide for the book The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy. The book is split into six units, and those are split into the five-day school week. Each unit is designed to take exactly one week. The curriculum exposes the child to reading, writing, analyzing the book, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar.

In the reading section, the student reads the assigned portion of the book, usually 40-50 pages. The same day he/she answers questions about the events in the book and analyzes the book in the enrichment/writing section. This includes questions about the author's style, and writing your own essay or paragraph on a certain topic in the assigned passage. In the vocabulary section, the student is first given a word in a sentence and is asked to derive the meaning of the word from context. The rest of the week, the student works on exercises to aid in remembering the meaning of the word. The spelling words and the vocabulary word are the same; so while working on the spelling flash cards, the child can also see the vocabulary meaning on the back. The spelling section also includes the Latin counterparts for the words. In the grammar section of the book, the student has passages from Scripture dictated him the first two days. The third day, there is a dictation from the book itself, relating to the passages of scripture. The fourth day, the student must correct errors in a given sentence. On the fifth and final day, the student is told to write a paragraph explaining the relevance of the Scripture dictations to the book dictation.

This curriculum is tailored to a child between the ages of 12 and 15. This program is exclusively for a homeschooling environment, considering how it allows the student to work independently without the help of a teacher.

This product is very effective for teaching spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and writing. I was very impressed by how the vocabulary, spelling and grammar sections were centered on the same set of words. Instead of having three different programs to teach these things, you can have one program that uses the same words.

On the other hand, the analysis part of the curriculum is slightly inadequate. Instead of using the Bible as the plumb line, the student is just asked to explain why certain characters did what they did.

This is one of the best products for teaching the art of language. Without a doubt, I would buy this product if it were not already in my possession.

Product review by Colton Dumont, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2008