Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mr Q Science: Year 1 Earth Science

A few weeks ago I got a question on my feelings about Mr. Q's science after using it this year. I will tell you how I used it and my expectations.

I started the year approaching science as I had before: gathering my own books from the library, scouring the internet and trudging my own path. I am a trained teacher and I love researching and writing my own lessons so this was sort of joyful for me. Well, when I started this year of Earth Science I just could not find the flow of materials I wanted... in step Mr Q. I had never heard of this program and the $50 price tag for a PDF shocked me. After reading all I could on his site I decided to take the plunge. $50 might be worth it not to have to gather books and create an outline. It was. I liked it so much that at Christmas he had a 50% off sale and I bought both the Chemistry and Physics books. So I got 2 for $50. Bonus.

Now, I have to explain my goals for Science (and History). I truly subscribe to the Well Trained Mind ideal of placing pegs for learning. I am not expecting G to memorize or master this information. We are placing seeds of knowledge so when we cycle through this again it will not be totally foreign information. So with this in mind, I did not use all (hardly any) of the worksheets and I did not do an experiment with every chapter. For a 7/ 8 year old some of them were just to dull. Boys this age want OOOH AAAH science and those are the experiments we did. Right now I have a shopping list to get items to make rock candy- crystals & igneous rock I think... But I do not feel like I am wasting my money. As I said, I subscribe to the WTM 4 year cycle and we will cover this again in a few years and I believe I will use this same package again. This time with the worksheets and all of the experiments.

Price of Printing a PDF text: If you have a laptop you could read it off of the laptop. I could have done this but I like to draw on the text to further illustrate things (not something I would ever do to a bound book... oh the freedom!) But I did not just pull up the file and click print. There are a few blank pages and full color chapter title pages, so I would go in and say for example: print 101-109, 112, 121-124 and I would print 2 pages per sheet. I was a little time consuming to pick out all of the sheet numbers but well worth it in the end. And once I decided we were not going to do all of the worksheets I didn't even print those out. I would print 6 weeks at a time.

There are 36 chapters so enough for a typical school year. We completed 24. Our "official" 180 days are done (WOOHOO!!) but we will still be casually doing 4 more math times tables, history biographies, and the remainder of the science over the summer.

So my recommendation would be: If you can do Life Science start there because it is the whole 36 weeks FREE. Then you can try on his style. His chapters are short and to the point but he has a humorous voice. You can get on his mailing list and he sends out monthly lab notes which have an experiment and you will get notice if he has a sale. I think he had a 20% one this spring.

He is not a big company so if you send him and email he will personally answer you. I will say, Your access to the download links only last a month... I did not pay any attention to that when I first downloaded mine. Well, come to find out when we got to the rock chapters a few weeks ago I had not downloaded them... I remember having trouble before. I emailed Scott and asked if he could just send me that unit... he emailed right back and renewed my ES account for another month! It was so quick and easy. I appreciated his speed and response.

So yes, I still am glad I bought Mr. Qs science... I just tweaked how I used it.

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