Tuesday, November 25, 2014

COME AND SEE! a review of one of the Queens Science Currics.

This is my review of the science book "Come and See" by Queen Homeschool.  Here is the synopsis:

"Come and See!  by Casey Queen, story by Mary E. Woodis
180 days worth of science and nature lessons for your pre-readers and early readers contained in one adorable, fun volume!  Join Auntie Mary as she teaches about nature and science through weekly stories and daily corresponding lessons in coloring, drawing, fun facts to read, and hands-on activities for each science topic introduced in the stories!  Spiral bound, consumable."

Sounds pretty fun right?  RIGHT!  So we are in week 14, which is almost half way through the book.  This is the science I do with my boys, ages 4 prek, almost 6 K, 7 1/2 2nd and 9 4th.

One of the things I love about Queens is that there are "suggested" age/grade ranges that the curric works best for instead of the "by grade only" approach that is most common.  One of the reasons I love the broader spectrum that one book can cover, is that it makes it easier for me to teach multiple grades at one time.  Sometimes I have to "beef up" an application or "dumb down" an application depending on what I am using but I have found that THIS BOOK is working very well across the 4 kids/grades I am using it for.

 The story is pretty fun.  Not as "meaty" as say, "Marys Meadow", which I did last year with grades 1st-8th.  Its a light and breezy story of a group of kid/cousins and their Aunt.  As the kids get together to play, they discover things around them.  I love that the kids in the story are learning the same way our kids are learning, through discovery!  As they play, as the seasons change, as they notice things, they are asking questions and learning and we are learning right along with them.

 If I had to pinpoint the "rhythm" of the story to a grade range, I would say it was k-3rd.  My 4th grader though really loves the story and since he is not a big reader (yet), I think he appreciates that the stories are a little simpler than "Marys Meadow" (which he did enjoy).  If he was a strong reader already or say 5th or 6th grade, you could still do this curric but you would prolly want to beef it up and make the applications heavier.  I am not doing that for A9b because this is just right for him this year =)

It is also working well with the other grades I have too.  It really was the best pick for this age range for me this year.   Another thing; my 6th grader loves science and often she teaches the boys their lesson.  Even though she is in the 6th grade she too enjoys the story and the things they are learning.  I often find her doing further research on the topics she did with the boys earlier that day.

There are 36 general, nature science lessons.  Each lesson covers 1 week.  Each week has 5 things to do.  Day 1 is your story and day 2-5 are your applications.  They vary from a coloring page, to a hands on activity.   We block schedule and this layout is very easy for us to accommodate that.  Science days are m/t.  I read the story to them and then they do one or two applications.  Then the next day they do 2 more applications.

The story usually mentions several different "sciencey type things".  For instance: In lesson 13 titled "baby birds", the applications are; Orpington chickens coloring page, Ameraucana chicken eggs/how you like to eat eggs, American Robin coloring page and how to tell if chickens are girl/boy by their combs coloring page.  So those are all the "applications" BUT!!! within the story you also learn about/hear about other things (this is the "sciencey stuff I was talking about) like service berries, mocking birds, worms, other chicken breeds, etc.  Lots of stuff to learn about.

We gather in the living room.  My boys sit on the floor with their school book and crayons and colored pencils and wait (usually with their hands folded because if not they are coloring in their books which they should not be doing...yet).  I hook my computer up to our tv and have google ready.  As we read the story I will stop and look things up, a picture of a service berry bush, a youtube video of a mocking bird, birds eating worms, etc.  It breaks the story up a little but its fun "discovering" with the kids in the story.  It also helps teach research skills early on.

After the story they do their application.  All the coloring pages in this book was a pretty big shift for us from last years "Marys Meadow".  But "Marys Meadow" is a mid/upper elementary/junior high book.  I had to "dumb down" a lot of applications for the younger kids.  I am not having to do that this year and that has been great!
  There are not to many "write this down" applications either.  Which I actually like since most of these boys have limited writing, although they can copy things just fine.  A word or two here or there is much better and doable vs the sentences and paragraphs asked for is some of the higher books.   There are some hand on things that come up like nature walks, or a craft/science type projects. All are things you can do right outside your door or with things you would normally have around your house.  You can use your own imagination as well.
 One week when we were studying bees I googled a craft project to do with them that they all really liked.  I point this out because you CAN HAVE flexibility! It was raining outside and I knew they would blow through the coloring pretty quick so we did painted hand bees and hives.  There was nothing wrong with what was in the book, but there was also nothing wrong with doing something different.

So far we have covered things such as: the life cycle of a frog, bees vs wasps, how to make maple syrup,  flowers, cows, armadillos, opossums, vegetables, different berries, different birds, cats, chickens, grubs, dirt, etc.  Its fun!  It's thorough!  And because you are learning about many different things within one story, you are also learning about how everything is connected together!

The only things I do not really like (and this is for all the science books I have done of Queens so far) is that the books do not correlate to the seasons that follow along the school year.  And lets face it, most homeschoolers still school September-end of May (give or take ;)  Because this is natural science, so many of the applications and projects have to do with what is going on seasonally.  It's kind of weird being told to do a spring planting project in October- kwim?  When I hot stuff like that I usually just youtube it.  This is a small thing though and not anything that "makes or breaks" the program.

My boys are really enjoying this science and look forward to it every week. It is really facilitating a love for learning science and its pretty neat to see just how much they really are retaining.  I think the topics being covered are varied enough that things stay exciting but are not far fetched or over their heads at all.  The story is cute and keeps their interest and thats also a plus!  We are enjoying it, thats for sure!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this review! It sounds perfect for my son. Love your blog!