Literature Study Guide For Carry On, Mr. Bowditch ~ Review

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Learn about the life of Nathaniel Bowditch with this easy to use study guide for the book Carry On, Mr. Bowditch. A fun interactive guide my kids enjoy!

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch study guide

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this product for review, all opinions are 100% my own.

Since I began homeschooling our children the largest part of our studies have been literature based.  We really enjoy the variety and depth of study that using a living book brings to our learning.

So when I began to pick out what programs I would use this year I was so happy to have the chance to try a study guide from Progeny Press. I’ve heard rave reviews about their programs before. We used Carry On, Mr. Bowditch Study Guide. I have to say if you’re looking for a awesome high quality literature guide that is from a Christian perspective you really should check these out!

My oldest and I picked out the Carry On, Mr. Bowditch Study Guide because it really peaked our interest.  I’ve seen this book on a large number of homeschool reading lists and yet I hadn’t heard of Nathaniel Bowditch!

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch Study Guide

I received Carry On, Mr. Bowditch Study Guide in e-book format, and  it is 63 pages in length.   I also received the answer key as a separate PDF file.  What I loved most about it is that it is an interactive PDF e-book!  This gives the user the option of printing out the PDF and using it like a normal book or having the student type the answers directly into the PDF and save a copy.

  • Grade Level: Middle grade 5-8
  • Time period: 1700’s Massachusetts, USA
  • Author: Carole Pelttari
  • Pages: 63
  • Format: Interactive PDF

Who Is Nathaniel Bowditch?

The book Carry On, Mr. Bowditch is about Nathaniel Bowditch who loves to work with numbers.  Nathaniel’s dream is to attend Harvard, however he has to quit school to work for his father.

Later on he becomes an indentured servant working in a ships chandlery (store).  Nathaniel Bowditch does not let this circumstance destroy his dream of having an education.  Nathaniel teaches himself working hard during the day and studying in the evenings.

By the time Nathaniel’s indenture is over he has the opportunity to go to sea.  He finds out just how dangerous sailing is because so many of the maps and resources sailors use have errors.  Nathaniel Bowditch finally has a situation that can put his skills to good use!

Nathaniel creates a new book that fixes these errors and it’s still being used by sailors today!

At the beginning of the study guide it has a synopsis of the book.  I loved this, because it gives both my daughter and myself a quick overview of what we are going to be learning about.

The next two pages are short bios of the author and illustrator.  The next page contains some background information about the time period that the book Carry On, Mr. Bowditch is set in.  Covers mainly the shipping industry in Massachusetts from 1770 to the early 1800’s and the major factors that had an impact on it.

Then the guide moves into some pre-reading activities.  These include looking places up on a map and doing some background research.

A sample question:

Research the term “indentured servant.” Write a paragraph to explain the life of an indentured servant in colonial America.

Can you see how the first parts of the study guide are helping the student to build a picture?  They are learning about the time period the book is set in, including the culture, geography, schools and character.  This is all before they start to actually read the book.  I think this is wonderful because it gives the student a wonderful contexts to understand the book in.

The worksheets for the book are grouped in sections of 3 chapters.  The idea is that the student will read 3 chapters and then work through the worksheets.  They start with vocabulary words and sentences taken right from the book.

The vocabulary words are largely older words that aren’t used any more, or terms relating to ships.  Things like towhead and bellows.  The guide pulls sentences from the story and the student has to pick the correct word that is missing.

They are helped with a modern term that is placed in brackets under the line for the missing word.

Then there are questions that help you think about the character of different people in the story.

An example:

How did Granny react when she heard Nat’s father talk about men “drummingmup a crew for another privateer”? What does this reaction tell you about Granny?

There are also many questions that help to dig deeper into the story.

How We Used Carry On, Mr. Bowditch Study Guide

When I received the guide I decided that I wouldn’t print it.  My daughter really wanted to be able to type her answers.  I have to say I just LOVE that you can do that with this guide!  It takes a subject that my daughter normally doesn’t like and makes it more enjoyable for her.

We started off working on the pre-reading questions.  I broke these up over the first week because there was a large amount of writing and research that could be done.  After that she’s been working through the story at a slower pace.  For her reading 3 chapters at a time and then going back to answer the questions didn’t work well.

She found it difficult to remember the answers for so many details and had trouble looking them up in the book.  So we decided to read 1 chapter at a time and then do the worksheet for that chapter.

In addition to this we’ve also been doing oral narration after each reading.  I have always done this because I find that it really helps to see what your student has remembered from their reading.  We have also used the study guide questions as a starting point for much discussion.

What Do I Think?

I have really enjoyed using the study guide for Carry on, Mr. Bowditch from Progeny Press with my daughter.  I love that they start off letting the child learn background information about the stories setting before diving into the reading.

The questions are well thought out and really make children think about the answers.  These are not simple one word answer questions, except for some of the vocabulary questions. You can use the questions as a oral discussion or written  what suits your family best.  We have been doing a mixture of both.

I’m very glad that we’ve had the opportunity to try the Progeny Press guides and I plant to use more of them at the high school level next year!


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