Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Timberdoodle's Asteroid Escape Smart Game Review

Our Asteroid Escape

You hear me say this a lot, we love space!  I have another Timberdoodle game to share with you, the Asteroid Escape Smart Game.  Think of this as a Sci-Fi equivalent for a car chase.

If you read our recent review, this is similar to Brain Fitness Solitaire Chess in that it is a single-player game and is geared for ages 8 to adult.  Yes, I can play too!  It also comes with a challenge and solutions book.

Game Board - 7 puzzle pieces with asteroids and 1 puzzle piece with the spaceship

The goal of Asteroid Escape is to navigate your spaceship through the asteroid field and through the exit or in other words, slide the puzzle pieces around until you can slide the spaceship off of the game board.  You select a challenge and set up the puzzle pieces as indicated.

Ground Rules:
  •  All puzzle pieces must remain horizontal.
  •  Tilting or lifting puzzle pieces is not allowed.
  •  While asteroids can overlap empty parts of other puzzle pieces or the border of the game board, they can never overlap other asteroids.
  •  Likewise, the spaceship can overlap empty parts of the puzzle pieces or the border of the game board but it may not overlap asteroids.
  •  Only the spaceship may slide off the game board.
Setting up a challenge

 Moving the pieces

Winning the challenge

The pieces slide easily...

 Unless you are trying to make an illegal move.  The spaceship cannot come off the game board in the above photo because it bumps the asteroid next to it so this move is not legal.

There are 60 challenges with five different levels to choose from:  Starter, Junior, Expert, Master and Wizard.  If you get stuck, the challenge booklet contains the shortest solutions for each challenge.  Now, this might look super easy.  The very first challenge requires only 6 moves to win the game.  But I want you to know that the last challenge requires 109 moves to complete!  Wowza.  There is definitely planning and strategic problem solving involved in this game.  My family enjoys it.

Here you can see the game board with its lid on top.

I love that it comes with a lid making storage for everything a breeze.  This also makes it more portable so it's easy to carry along in the car and such.

I was not familiar with Smart Games before the beginning of this school year.  A received Anti-Virus Mutation as part of her Timberdoodle 9th Grade Curriculum kit (review coming soon!) and now we own Asteroid Escape as well.  Smart Games encourage planning, problem solving, spatial insight and flexible thinking.  They are both great additions to our homeschool.

You can see Asteroid Escape circled in red in the bottom left corner.

Asteroid Escape Smart Game is a part of Timberdoodle's 8th Grade Curriculum Kit.  This would be a great addition to your own homeschool resources, games and would even make a fun unique gift for that hard to find child.  And at under $15, it's a great price.

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  Timberdoodle sent my family the Asteroid Escape Smart Game for a discounted price in exchange for our honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Techie Homeschool Mom Solar System Online Unit Study Review

You guys know how much we enjoy learning about space!  Today I want to share with you the tech-based learning discovery experiences of the Solar System Online Unity Study from Techie Homeschool Mom.

Solar System Online Unity Study

Who is this for?  The online unit study is designed for children mid-elementary to middle school age who can read and navigate the Internet on their own (students access websites, videos and complete digital projects).  Younger children can participate with assistance.  We chose to do this study together as a family.  Although G and F (2 and 5) mostly played with their rockets and I had them complete a Solar System puzzle.

F and G with their puzzle

What materials do you need?  Along with the outside book that you choose to read as a companion (you could choose a book that you already own or check one out at the local library), you will need some supplies for hands-on projects.  And since it is a digital study, you will need a computer or device with Internet access to use it.

How is it scheduled?  How long do you have access?  This course is self-paced.  You can choose to do bite sized lessons or sit down and tackle larger chunks in less time.  This is what we chose to do.  Again, flexibility.  The completion time for this course will vary depending on how you chose to approach it but it is estimated that each module takes around 2-3 hours to complete.  I say each module because there are various to choose from:  Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Famous Artists Vol. 1, Famous Artists Vol. 2, Famous Inventors and Solar System.  Once you enroll, you have unlimited access to this course across all devices that you own.  Sweet.

What content does this digital study cover?  This course focuses on:

  •  Solar System Overview
  •  The Sun
  •  Planetary Orbits
  •  Gravity
  •  Planets
  •  The Rocky Planets
  •  The Gas Planets
  •  Comets, Asteroids and Meteors

Within each section there are videos, information and hands-on projects for each topic.  Students are introduced to Google Sheets and shown how to record and evaluate scientific data.  There is also a Book Club section in which you are encouraged to select an outside book to read along with your study.  Suggestions are listed but you can ultimately pick your own book that goes along with the Solar System theme.  This study concludes with a final project of creating a solar system model.

How did we use it?  First, we chose to use our YWAM Publishing Heroes of History Alan Shepard for our Book Club book since it lined up for us really well.  Secondly, as I mentioned above we sat down for larger chunks to work on our study.  There is a nice section at the very beginning called Before You Start that includes a great list of project supplies needed.  I skimmed through this and determined that we had everything we would need already.  Score.  We also used our Ipad for most of this course.  We did move to our PC when making Google sheets.

Solar System Online Unit Study

The website is user friendly and easy to navigate.  As you can see above it has each main section listed in the left column of the site.  As you go through and complete the course, the bar at the top will show you your progress.  Above it is at 24% complete.  There is also a previous button arrow that takes you back as needed along with a complete and continue button that continues through the course.

The first video to watch

Watching the video

My kids enjoyed watching this video explaining the scale of the Solar System.

The kids really liked the videos.  They were fun and engaging.  What's an example of a hands-on project?  The kids first hands-on project was to create a chalk pastel of the solar system using one of the images provided.  This was a simple activity and the kids had fun making their pictures.

A starting her chalk pastel

Completed Work

D and E choose the same image.  Here is E with her completed work.

And D

Here is C's finished work.

Artwork side by side

Within the Sun Spot Lab project the kids created their first Google sheet using the data provided for sun spot activity from 1960-2014.  The kids had never done this before so I helped.  There are other opportunities for them to make more Google sheets within this course.

After making their sheet and line graph, there was a 4 question quiz within the lesson that referred to their chart.


The questions were simple but I liked it because it helped the kids use their graph and think about what the data meant.  There are several interactive opportunities throughout this course.

When you make it to the final project, you are 97% done with the course as you can see above.  This is your last assignment.

Play-Doh Model of Solar System

The kids are working on a few things for their final project.  This is the Play-Doh Solar System model they created but they know that it isn't completely to scale.  They are also planning on adding in moons and details.  I am having them think of more ideas of ways they could make a Solar System model.  Stay tuned!

I don't want to show you everything that we did in this study but I hope that I have shared enough that you have an idea of the feel of this online study.  My family has enjoyed it.

Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of Techie Homeschool Mom.

Solar, Ancients and Famous People Unit Studies {Techie Homeschool Mom Reviews}

I look forward to checking out the other modules from Techie Homeschool Mom, especially Famous Inventors.

Crew Disclaimer 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

He Is Risen - Happy Easter 2019

Happy Easter!

We are having a great Easter.  The kids were up early to see what goodies they could find.  We made Resurrection Rolls for breakfast (a Cummins tradition).  And we attended our new church for the first time on an Easter holiday.

Our Resurrection Rolls this year

The Empty Tomb!

Getting ready to leave for church

G decided to start flossing (he is a ham!).

 B with G

 David with E, F and G

The younger kids brought home these Easter Story Snack Mixes.

Easter Story Snack Mix Card

I haven't seen this before but it is so fun.  The pretzel sticks represent the cross, craisins represent Jesus' blood, round cracker represents the stone that was rolled away, goldfish remind us to be fishers of men, the white jellybean reminds us that our sins are washed away, and the M&Ms are a sweet treat.  I love that the card includes scripture references!  What a cute idea.

 Easter snack

 Hope you are having a great Easter too.  He is Risen :).

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Easter Weekend Fun

Happy Easter weekend!  David and I took our younger crew to a local Easter egg hunt and they had a great time.  I mostly got pictures of G because that's who I was helping.

Excited about all those eggs!

Easter bunny high five

Waiting for the hunt...

Tip - those buckets make great chairs.

Hunting eggs...

 G with all his eggs.

E and F hunting for eggs.

Bouncy Slide Fun

And then we dyed eggs as a family.  Each of the kids got their own box of 12 while David and I shared a box (we had all the eggs that cracked during boiling).  We tried a few new techniques.  We used traditional dye.  We also used Ziploc bags, rice and food coloring to make speckled eggs.  This was a hit and super easy to do.  And lastly, we made swirly eggs using whipped cream and food coloring.  You basically swirl a few drops of food coloring into the whipped cream, roll the eggs in the mixture, let them sit and then wipe them clean.  This was another fun way to make patterned eggs.

G using traditional dye to color some eggs.

E making a speckled egg.

Some of our speckled eggs using the rice and food coloring.

Eggs waiting with whipped cream and food coloring on them.

One of our swirly eggs.

 A with her finished box.

B with her eggs.

C with his eggs.

D with her finished eggs.

E and her eggs.

F with his eggs.

And G with his eggs.

Hope you have a great Easter!