Tag Archives: Study Guides for Literature

Sam The Minuteman Study Guide Review

What is a Minuteman?  That is a very good question, and it has a lot to do with American History.


We recently reviewed Sam The Minuteman Study Guide by Progeny Press to learn more about these important people and their role in American History.

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A Minuteman is an American Citizen who is ready to defend his/her person, family, property, neighbors, town, state, and country with just a “minute’s notice”.    There is an interesting fictional story that helps kids learn about these defenders and their role in history called  Sam The Minuteman.  This story is about a boy who’s dad was a Minuteman when the colonies were still occupied by Britain.   This study guide helps you dig deeper into the lives of people, their character, family and community dynamics, and their faith as well as the battle they fought for independence from Britain.

Sam The Minuteman Study Guide

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Sam The Minuteman Study Guide

For Elementary 1st – 3rd Grades

42 pages

e-Book PDF download

Retails $11.99

Table Of Contents

  • Note To Instructor
  • Synopsis
  • Background Information
  • About the Author
  • Before You Read Activities
  • Vocabulary
  • Cause and Effect
  • Word Pictures
  • How the Author Creates Mood
  • Looking At The Story
  • Important Words to Remember
  • Thinking About the American Revolution
  • After You Read Activities
  • Additional Resources
  • Answer Key

How We Used The Sam The Minuteman Study Guide

We received a PDF download of Sam The Minuteman Study Guide to review in our home.  I printed the study guide and put it into a three ring binder.   This study guide was a great addition to our study of American History this fall.


To complete this study guide, you will need a computer, an email address, and printer, as well as the book Sam The Minuteman.  The book is easy to find at local libraries or for purchase through book stores, or even easier is to find it as a read aloud on youtube where you can listen, watch, and read along with the word in the story.


When you purchase the study guide, you can either print off the whole study guide and put into a three ring binder, or have it bound, or you can just read it from the computer screen and print off what pages you need as you go along in the study.  This is so flexible and will fit with just about everyone’s needs.

 Activities We Did In The Sam The Minuteman Study Guide

  • Make Homemade Butter  (in the story they ate homemade bread and butter).  Recipe for making butter provided in the study guide.   We purchased cream, put it into the stand mixer (because shaking it in a jar takes to long) and made our own homemade butter.   We used to do this every week when we had our own fresh milk from our cows.   We also made homemade bread, and made biscuits on another day, to eat the butter on.
  • Historical Timeline (dates and headings provided in the study guide)
  • Crossword Puzzle
  • Worksheets: Vocabulary Words
  • Worksheets: Several “Question and Answer” worksheets throughout the study guide.
  • Bible Study:  Several scriptures and question and answer were listed and encourage character and understanding of the Christian faith.
  • Worksheets: Coloring Page of the Liberty Bell
  • We used several online resources to complete the study guide through Progeny Press, and also to learn more about this period in American History.

Crossword puzzle and worksheets from Progeny Press Sam The Minuteman Study Guide

About the story:  Sam The Minuteman

The story book is historical fiction.   The characters are made up, but are based on historical facts so it is a great addition to any American History study.   Reading this story will help kids understand and relate to people who lived at this period in American History and America’s fight for independence and birth as a nation.


screenshot of Sam The Minuteman read aloud on youtube

We have a copy of the book, but we also found the book as a free read a loud on youtube (read by Stories with Sarah), and this was a perfect option for us.  The kids had fun hearing another child read the story aloud and following along.  This is a great option for those folks who don’t own their own copy, don’t want to go buy one, or who have kids who are fascinated with everything on digital media like my kids.

The read aloud is only a 10 minutes long and the kids can read right along with Sarah as she reads the book on the video.  In addition to the book, we added in watching several other videos about Minutemen and read through the wikipedia explanation, did coloring pages, made a lapbook, and more too.  These activities really helped the kids appreciate the learning material and activities, and deepen their understanding in the Study Guide even more.


screenshot of Sam The Minuteman on youtube

The main character in the story is a boy named Sam Brown who lives with his mother and father on a farm in Lexington, Massachusetts.   America has not become a nation yet and is still a British colony, but has formed it’s own local governing proclamations. The people living in the colonies are upset because of the increased taxation and trade regulations placed on them by Britain, and the increased presence of British soldiers and governors the King has sent to enforce the new regulations.

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screenshot of read a loud book on youtube

During the story, Sam experiences the beginning of the war.  He sees British soldiers from Boston pass through his town as they trying to keep orders for the King, and he feels the frustrations of his father and neighbors.   Then one night, the church bells ring and wake Sam and his family and this is the signal to his father that it is time to go and defend his freedom.

They meet with other men and learn that the British soldiers are marching to Concord where the colonists have hidden weapons.  Then Sam goes with his father and the other minutemen to try to hold back the British and give the Americans time to defend their supplies and hidden weapons.  One of Sam’s friends gets shot, but survives.  Eventually the Minutemen Militias grow stronger in their fighting skills and are able to drive off the British soldiers.

Additional Resources We Used To Further The Learning:

We love turning everything into an expanded unit study.   That is what I love about study guides, they spark your curiosity and invite you to dig deeper.    We expanded our learning with several additional fun activities including videos, reading, Legos, cooking, life skills, and more to learn about this fascinating period in American History.   We would like to take a field trip too. Several years ago, we went to see some Revolutionary War History in Charelston SC,  another trip to Kings Mountain where the Mountainmen (Mountain Minutemen) fought a battle with the Brittish Soldiers, and another trip we went to a Revolutionary War Museum and State Park with a Ford (where the militia crossed the river).  We are also creating a lapbook to hold our completed the Sam The Minuteman Study Guide activities, and additional projects we did while learning about Minutemen Militia.


Minuteman received notice (image source)

Legos:  I have 6 kids and 5 of them are boys.  We love building with Legos and it just makes learning fun!   We recreated and retold the story and the events we learned in the study guide with Legos.  The kids set up a village and a house for Sam’s family, and showed him and his dad riding a horse out to meet the other Minutemen to fight with the British soldiers coming down the road.


Sam and his dad are in the Minutemen Militia. Story retold with Legos.



Coloring Page Paul Revere (notified the Minutemen the British were coming and then rode out to the army to notify them the British were coming to take away their weapons and subdue them).


Coloring Paul Revere as he rode out from Boston on his horse to warn the Minutemen the British were coming.

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Who were the Minutemen?  Wikipedia

Geography Map

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Geography and History video:  The American Revolution in 9 minutes.  This was our absolute favorite “quick” video that explains the history and geography of the war, and best of all it is told with stick figure animation.  This is much more fun for kids to watch than other history videos.   The kids also have fun watching a grade school class retell the events in a video they made called American Revolution.

History of the part time militia known as Minutemen 

History video: the Force Of Citizens

History video: Minutemen Militia from “History of the US Constitution”.

Visit the Minutemen Historic National Park

Volunteer with Friends of the Minutemen

American Revolution Lapbooking Pages

It is amazing what you can learn from history and how it applies today.  A Minuteman is a person who is ready to handle trouble at any minute.   Formed in 1645, these homegrown militia men were to be ready within 30 minutes of being warned and carry with them three days provisions of food, shoes for both snow and regular weather, and weapons.  They played important roles in history from 1645, 1750, 1774-1776, through the Civil War (mountain men), and beyond.    The government passed the Militia Acts of 1792 by Congress requiring all citizens to arm themselves with a musket, a bayonet, and no less than 24 bullets.   The Militia Acts of 1903 passed by Congress states that 1) the organized Minutemen Militia will become the basis of the National Guard and 2) a provision that states able bodied citizens ages 17 to 45 are to take up arms to defend themselves and the country.

American Minutemen (image source)

American Minutemen (image source)

We actually learned there are Minutemen Militia (also known as Watchmen Militia and Family Protection Group, etc) today all across this great nation we live in that are ready on a moment’s notice.   The Discovery Channel produced a documentary about them.  They meet together in groups and are trained to use weapons, and secure resources such as food, water, and have supplies on hand to last from several weeks to several months. These groups are made up of people from all races and from all walks of life from mechanics to librarians to students, etc. The documentary followed men and women from across the USA who get together and practice drills in Florida, Indiana, and Arizona for combat in the event the government cannot protect or help it’s citizens.  That kind of circumstance could happen when mobs breakout in the cities, such as when natural disasters happen (hurricanes, tornadoes, floods) and folks are without resources, nuclear meltdowns or if there is an EMP or asteroid that takes out communications and infrastructure, and during racial tensions in inner cities and mobs breakout, as well as illegal drug smugglers coming across the borders, and with mass shootings and terrorists attacks.

Just like they were through out American History, these modern day Minutemen Militia are ready at any minute to handle any trouble that arises to defend our towns and people from threats of danger.   Approximately 30% to 70% of Americans are legally armed depending on what part of the country you live in.   The nationwide average is about 80 million gun owners who own at least one registered gun, (there are between 280-310 million guns), or approximately 1 out of 3 households are armed.  These registered gun owners are willing to protect their homes, family, friends, and neighbors from attack from those who would attempt to cause harm to life, liberty, and the pursuit of freedom in our country.

Progeny Press has created a great study guide to get young people interested in American History using a simple story with characters they can relate too.  Would you like to learn more about the Minutemen Militia and the American Revolution?  Then you might want to go on this learning adventure, and check out this great study guide from Progeny Press, and perhaps your family will be inspired to be a part of the Minutemen in your local area and will gain a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices so many have made for the freedoms we enjoy today.

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Little House In The Big Woods Study Guide Review

For the past several weeks my kids have been learning about the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder through the Little House In The Big Woods Study Guide by Progeny Press.  I was thrilled to learn that TOS was going to review a unit study based on Little House In The Big Woods.  I knew this was just the guidance we needed to maximize this learning experience.   

Little House In The Big Woods Study Guide
For Upper Elementary or Grades 3-5
Downloadable Interactive PDF Study Guide
Retails for $15.99
This is an interactive 56 page study guide.  You can fill in the blank on the computer, and save your work, or print it out and fill in the blanks and activities on paper.  It also comes with an answer key in a separate downloadable file.
Have you heard of Laura Ingalls Wilder?  Almost everyone has.  Little House In The Big Woods is on the library shelves of most homeschool families I know.  It is a mainstay in homeschooling, a right of passage so to speak for every homeschooler to read.  Last year we acquired our own copy of this wonderful book and I had big plans to use it for a unit study with our homeschool park group.  Then life happened, and we packed everything up and moved out of state. So our study on Little House In The Big Woods had to wait.
Laura lived from 1867 to 1957 and she wrote a series of stories about her life, and these stories were published in a series of nine books.  Her father was a pioneer and she moved several times as a child in the process of her dad securing food, areas to hunt, local work, or land to farm, until they eventually settled on a homestead.  Her stories have been compiled into books, a tv series, and movie.  There are several historical museums that honor her life in the towns where she lived.  I visited one of her childhood homes turned museum when I was growing up in Kansas.  She is an American icon.
This story shares the ups and downs of her family’s life on the frontier.  All of us can identify with growing up, and with relationship issues with family, friends, and neighbors.  But that is where much of the similarities end and a whole new adventure begins.  Laura grew up learning how to raise and hunt for food, trade and barter for things, bake, fish, travel by horse and buggy, and a one room schoolhouse, and other things most kids these days don’t experience on a day to day basis unless you are Amish.  
You can pick up a copy of her books at your local library, or find them online.  You might find them in used books stores too.  When writing this review I came across an audio rendition the book too.  If you have an audio learner, or just want to add another dimension to this learning experience by listening to the book being read outloud, here is a link to the audio of the first chapter. http://youtu.be/Svby9kpiWto and additional chapters are available too.
For the purpose of this review, I had both my 11 and 13 year olds read the book and study guide.  Sometimes the younger children would sit on their lap or nearby and listen to them read too.  Though this study guide is for grades 3-5, it is very adaptable for other ages too.   However, I was not as organized as I wanted to be to work with the younger kids on this project so I just let the older two work on it with assistance from me when needed.

In the 1980’s a TV series was also made based on the stories of Laura’s life called Little House On The Prairie.  This was one of my favorite TV shows growing up.  I am sure it has been the favorite show for many Americans, especially from my generation. I am so excited it is still around and my kids can enjoy it too.  This year is the 40 year anniversary of this program and there was a recent news broadcast of the cast reunion and new high definition blue ray technology that has improved the entertainment experience.  I sure would like to get a hold of the new dvd’s and be able to watch episodes with no commercials.  This is going to enhance the experience a lot when we re-do this learning adventure and include these too.

There are so many fun activities listed in the Interactive Study Guide to make this learning adventure lots of fun in a hands on way.  Besides reading the book, listening to the book, and watching the hit TV show or a movie, they have listed lots of great activities through out the guide.

The Interactive Study Guide corresponds to the chapters in the book.  It has summaries, questions, bible verses, vocabulary, word puzzles, writing prompts, and suggestions for activities.  It suggests field trips such as visit a local cheese factory, maple syrup farm, chicken farm and see eggs processed,

carve soap, visit a museum, make homemade butter, make pancakes and johnny cakes, graph the weather, make a seasons collage calendar, visit a beekeeping farm and also eat some fresh honey, give a speech, write a report, etc.  

Some of the fun activities we did similar to Laura’s childhood experiences included gathering eggs from chickens, 

hunted for animal tracks in the back field and found dear, racoon, squirrel, rabbit, dog, and bird tracks.  We found Indiana crawfish holes in the mud, and in the picture above we also found a 3ft long snake.   
We went out several times and hunted for wild food and found asparagus, dandelion greens, and wild strawberries, but we did not find any mushrooms.  The wild mulberry trees have green fruit that will soon be ripe and ready to harvest too.
My boys love to whittle, and the study guide suggested whittling or carving soap with a dull knife, but my boys just wanted to carve lots of sticks with their pocket knives.  We did several cooking projects and made butter in a jar from cream, ground oats into flour, made pancakes (we used the blender because we don’t have an old fashion grain grinder), and ate local honey on fresh homemade biscuits.   I really wanted to tap the maple trees in the front yard a few months ago too, but we could not locate the equipment to borrow in time.  We heard from several folks who tap that it was not a good year for maple sap this year due to the long winter weather we had and it messed up the season’s harvest.

I think this study guide is adaptable and you could easily add a lot more fun hands on options to help kids relate to Laura’s childhood.  I plan to do this study again with my younger kids and do things like: read the bible or other book by candle light or lantern, grow a historical garden or a kitchen spice mini garden, make beef jerky, preserve food for winter, listen to someone play the fiddle or try to play one yourself, go fishing and cook your fish for dinner, visit a horse farm and watch them shoe horses and care for them, take a horse and buggy ride, visit a dairy farm and milk a cow or goat, harvest and grind corn or wheat or rye (get some grain still on the stock or cob, thresh the grain and remove corn from cob, grind it into flour and make something with it), dye yarn or cloth and weave it or make something like a rug or scarf, sew an apron, set up a barter with a neighbor (trade tomatoes or something you grew in exchange for eggs or sugar or flour, or trade your labor or the scarf you made for sugar or flour), butcher a chicken and cook it for dinner, render lard or beef tallow, split and stack firewood, visit a living history farm and learn how things were done in the 1800’s, and make a scrap book or lapbook to record all the fun activities and store the worksheets and questions you answered in the study guide, etc
The study guide has lots of character building opportunities through in depth questions about the story and characters.  It also has bible study in a section called Dig Deeper.  I really liked how it related scriptures, dilemmas in the story, and real life for my kids to tie it all together with their faith.  Here is an example of the dig deeper sections of the study guide.  This one is dealing with the character trait of envy, jealousy, revenge, and choosing what is right to do :
This is a great hands on Interactive Study Guide that helps bring the book Little House In The Big Woods to life and I definitely think it is a great addition to our homeschool learning.  I plan for our family to redo this study this fall with all the kids all together, and either read it to them or have them listen to the audio of the book and then I will read the study questions to them and we can discuss as a family.  I hope to spread out some of the activities and begin them this summer so that they can relate more to Laura’s character in the book.  I want the younger children to have the opportunity to benefit from this learning experience and we will repeat many of the activities in the study guide.  We will also set aside a regular time each week to watch the reruns of the hit TV program to enhance our learning experience.  I am very excited and I am sure the kids will be too.  

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