Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Private Eye


About the product

The Private Eye is a nationally acclaimed, hands-on learning process that rivets the eye and rockets the mind.
In the arts and the sciences, you’ll build close observation skills linked to the mental muscle of thinking by analogy. Learners write, draw and theorize at higher levels.

Discover new worlds. Magnify minds.

See what others are saying about The Private Eye.

Our experience

I discovered The Private Eye after another homeschooler posted about it on one of our city’s Yahoo groups.  The title intrigued me and I decided to google it to see what it was about.    As soon as I landed on their page, I was hooked.   It looked like a marvelous tool to have to do some nature study and incorporate into other activities in language arts and so on.    That’s when I decided to request it as a review.   They rapidly answered me and within a week or so, I received a box containing the following items.

bookcovrThe Private Eye Teacher Guide

This lively introduction to The Private Eye program will propel you, your students and colleagues into the drama and wonder of looking closely at the world, thinking by analogy, changing scale and theorizing. Designed to develop higher order thinking skills, creativity, literacy and scientific literacy — The Private Eye's "simple" tools produce "gifted" results. You'll use everyday objects, a jeweler's loupe, and simple questions to accelerate and magnify thought, whether you're working in science, writing, art, math, social studies, invention or even humor.
You'll discover how The Private Eye builds habits of close observation and inquiry across subjects. You'll learn how the loupe (a magnification tool with a simple but amazing difference) along with three powerful questions can transform the curriculum. You'll see examples of student writing, drawing and theorizing as you tour the process — with over 200 lesson plans, ideas and ticklers to enrich the five core disciplines. The Private Eye process builds communication, problem solving, and concentration skills as it develops "the interdisciplinary mind."

7 The Private Eye Loupesloupe

The Private Eye Loupe, the best magnifier for classroom use, magnifies 5X with its marvelous lens! The superior optics and comfortable fit make focus easy and ultra-sharp for any age, and make entry into The Private Eye process a sure thing. Hold it up to your eye, place the wide, open end against your skin, sblock out the rest of the world, and see the wonder and concentration begin! Nest two loupes together for 10X magnification — you’ve got a little microscope that moves easily outdoors and back inside.

Used by preschoolers and PhD’s alike, The Private Eye loupe is the highest quality eye loupe of its kind. Durability? We’ve had teachers tell us they’ve been using the same set of Private Eye loupes for over ten years! We introduced the loupe to the world of education in 1989 and since then thousands of teachers and over two million students have entered The Private Eye state of mind: critical thinking skills and creativity. When using the loupe with The Private Eye process, you see more, you think more. This is the experience everyone’s excited about!

Five Fun StepsThe Private Eye: Five Fun Steps (Pocket Version)

The perfect Cliff Note version of The Private Eye process, and a great companion to the teacher's guide. Plus - a wonderful book for kids or to read with kids! Adventure through the core Private Eye steps for writing, drawing, theorizing, and design. In full color with fabulous illustrations. NEW, enlarged version!

As well as some activity sheets for grades K-2.

Not too long ago, we packed the whole family and embarked on a journey toward Toronto because my husband had a contract there.    In our RV, I made sure we had some homeschool work with us – French and nature studies.  And since I wanted to open up the mind of my kids, I brought the jeweler loupes with us.

From the first days the loupes entered our home, the kids were eager to use them.   They immediately brought them outside in our backyard and started to explore it.



But it didn’t stopped there.    Every time they had something new, they would yell to the others to come and check it out.


So when we were planning to leave for a month, I knew we had to bring these with us.   We went exploring the section where only tents could go at the campground and found plants and a spider to observe.   We go close and personal with sand, flowers, wood and more.


During a trip at the Royal Botanical Gardens, I had packed the loupes in the camera bag and a whole new world opened up to us.   We had numerous plants to observe and discover.   Even my husband took a loupe and was amazed at the quality of the close-up he got.   

Here Alexandre is observing one of the numerous plants at the Royal Botanical Gardens.


The fact that we are using The Private Eye helps us to be more observant now with the nature around us.   When immediately see what makes it so alive.   Opportunities of great photos are now possible because the kids call me when they found something interesting.


While at the Royal Botanical Gardens, we also discovered an interesting spider which would bring two of its legs up as if it goes in a ninja pose to keep predators away.      We spend some time looking at it and learn more about it.


And since The Private Eye is helping us to expand our observation, we also found a wasp building a nest under the ledge of the wall at the Royal Botanical Gardens.   Needless to say we didn’t use the loupe to observe this one but it was interesting to see it at work.   I wish there would have been no wasp so we could have observed the miniature nest though!


Finally, we encountered an interesting spider at the campground.   Well it was the second “ninja” spider we met during our time out of town but this one was white. 


The book itself is packed with ideas on how to use the loupes and incorporate them in various lessons throughout the year.   The first section of the book will introduce  you to the process and the tools.  It will give you detailed explanation on how to use the loupe and how to stir the thinking process in your kids by going through five simple questions: What else does it remind me off? Why did it remind me of that? and Why is it like that?. 

The biggest section of the book, will help you to build your own collection of things to observe from the cantaloupe to the simple rock using a variety of containers.   While we were camping, I had an old peanut butter jar where we put the insects we had found for further observations.   The loupes can be also used throughout the school year as well as in arts, science, writing and mathematics.   It is a tool that is multidisciplinary and will expand your possibilities.   For example, take your hand and observe it.  What do you see?  There are many activities you could do based on simply observing your hand.  In writing you could come up with a poem.   You could ask your kids to draw their hands by observing it with the loupe, explore maps in geography, learn more about fingertips in science and so on.  

The book also contains ideas and plans for you to use throughout the year in writing, art, science, math, and social science.  It will help your kids to expand their vocabulary and become more aware of their environment.    As Christians, having the loupes open up a whole new way of observing and pondering of God’s amazing work.    Seeing the delicate details in a flower is breathtaking in itself.    Using the loupes at the Royal Botanical Gardens, we were able to discover the reproductive system of a flower with amazing details. 


I will be honest and tell you that at this point in time, I only brushed the basics of possibilities for this curriculum.   I know there are so much more I could do with it to expand the thinking process and also their abilities to utilize the loupe elsewhere.  This book and the loupes will help me expand their creativity and develop their scientific side.   Already all my kids are excited about the loupes and ask for them whenever they can.  The loupes are included in the camera bag for easy access when we are on a field trip.  

I hope I have picked your curiosity about  The Private Eye and that you will consider it to become part of your homeschool (as well as school for teachers reading this).   You can purchase the book and the loupes at their online store.  Personally, I wish I had the money to purchase the World in a Box which looks absolutely fabulous.  But I will keep looking in the nature to find what we need to expand our learning possibilities with The Private Eye.  If we keep our eyes open we can find many things to discover and observe. 

The Private Eye is an amazing curriculum that will help you to develop various skills in your kids.   Not only will they observe nature up close and personal but they can write about their thoughts and draw what they see.   That’s only a sample of the activities that can be done with The Private Eye.   I highly recommend this curriculum to anyone interested in expanding their learning experience.   It will take your breath away!

Disclaimer: Thanks to The Private Eye for sending me the above mentioned products for review purpose. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.