Monday, September 30, 2019

StikBot Studio Review

I have a fun Timberdoodle product to share with you today, StikBots!  Remember my review on the Stop Motion Animation Kit from Stopmotion Explosion?  Timberdoodle's StopMotion Explosion 2.0 with StikBots is perfect because you get both the Animation Kit and the bots themselves!

Our StikBot Studio set

StikBots are translucent, plastic action figures that you can pose to create fun stop-motion animation.  Their little, jointed bodies are held together with elastic cords to help make posing easier.  They have suction cups on their hands and feet so they stick to pretty much every smooth surface and also to each other.  They come in a variety of colors and are also available as pets.

Inside our set - StikBot man, StikBot dog, tripod and scenic background

Our StikBot man posing

They really do stick!

Our set came with a blue StikBot man and a red StickBot dog and has everything you need to begin.  You just download the free App and start creating your very own stop-motion video starring your StikBots.  The tripod is great because it allows your phone to stay still while taking multiple photos, allowing for better animation.  It can be adjusted for different phone sizes.

The back of the box will direct you to the App.

Here is a view of the App after I downloaded it.

The App has some great tutorials for learning how to make your StikBots move and creating videos.

Check out the video of our StikBot man and StikBot dog doing cartwheels that the kids created using the App below.

And here is another of our StikBot dog dancing and then he is joined by a StikBot dinosaur.

StikBots are super fun and a relatively inexpensive way for kids to learn about and make animation!  We really enjoy them.  And my kids also just like to play with them as well, similar to action figures.  These would make fantastic stocking stuffers as we head into the Holiday season.

G with our StikBots

You can see StopMotion Explosion 2.0 with StikBots circled in red at the top right corner.

StopMotion Explosion 2.0 with StikBots is a part of Timberdoodle's 5th Grade Curriculum Kit.

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

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Soccer, Soccer, Soccer

Well, F has definitely found another sport that he loves, soccer!  These days it's a lot of what he talks about.  Mom, when is our next soccer practice?  What time is the game today?  Do you think I will start the next game?  These are common questions of his.

F at a game

Headed down the field with the ball.

Water Break

Going through the tunnel at the end of the game!

I love this boy.  It is amazing to think that he has never played before this season.  He has great instincts and he is a fantastic hustler.  It's funny to think that I began playing soccer at the age he is now.  I'm actually super proud of my entire team - they are amazing!  Go Honey Badgers!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

HIGASFY Art History Video Series Review

Art History can be a hard subject to introduce to children, especially younger ones.  Have I got an Art History program to share with you today, the HiGASFY Art History Video Series by Mrs. Beth.

This is Mrs. Beth

If you are wondering about the name, so was I!  Mrs. Beth took the acronym for the phrase Have I got a story for you to create H.I.G.A.S.F.Y.  Mrs Beth and her animated drop of green paint and trusty sidekick, Gasfy, help show students various artistic time periods and artists - and in every episode you will hear Mrs. Beth say, "Hi Gasfy".  And that's how HiGASFY got it's name.
This program is perfect for students 1st-8th grade (for me that's B, C, D and E but A (10th) is enjoying it as well).  Originally this program was written as a 1 hour 16 week art curriculum that aligns with the state TEKS standards.  However, it can be used in public schools, homeschools or even after school programs - there's lots of flexibility for how you can use it.  I could even see if working in a CoOp situation.  We were provided with an online subscription to HiGASFY Art History Video Series but it is also available for purchase on DVDs.

There are four different video series available representing different art periods that highlight 3 main artist:  Renaissance Series (da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo), Baroque Series (Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Vermeer), Impressionist Series (Monet, Pissarro and Degas), and Post-Impressionist Series (van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso).  Each series consists of 12 video lessons (~ 22 minutes long), 16 corresponding downloadable lesson plans, downloadable flashcards and an assessment game to be played at the end of the series to evaluate the student's retention of the material.  

We chose to dive right into the Impressionist Series which focuses on Monet, Pissarro and Degas.  The general format for each of the lessons has an objective (sometimes objectives), suggested activities (you can pick and choose), critical thinking questions, vocabulary list with definitions, and a writing assignment.  Sometimes there is a history, science or geography question or two depending on the lesson.  And while most lesson have corresponding videos not every lesson has a video attached to it.  Some lessons are games and/or free draw opportunities for students to create an original work.  At the end of the time period study there are review games to help reinforce what was learned.

 Here the kids are watching Lesson 2

Another view from Lesson 2

Wow!  We really love the videos.  Mrs. Beth has such a great way of explaining art history.  I love how conversational and relatable she is to the kids.  She is great at explaining concepts.  I also really like how the videos show works of art and how she walks the students through different artistic elements of the pieces.  These videos are engaging and fun and we are really enjoying and learning from them.

The kids really enjoy the lesson activities as well.  In the Impressionist Series during lesson 2 the kids were asked to play an "I Spy" game by locating items (gourd, hat, cow, bare feet, eggs, etc.) within Adoration of the Shepherds by Francois Boucher.  It was a piece touched on in the video.

Finding the items

D having a closer look.

There is even a nice teacher key available that shows you the location of all the items.

Still life drawing by A

The Impressionist Flashcards

The Impressionist Flashcards are an amazing resource,  There are cards for 15 of Monet's works, 16 of Pissaro's works, and 16 of Degas' works.

Here is the flashcard for Water Lillies by Claude Monet.

Here is the back of the flashcard.

Here is the flashcard for The Ballet Dancers 1 by Edgar Degas.

Again, this is the back of the card.

HiGASFY's Pinterest Board

You will find images pinned on the HiGASFY's Pinterest board for you to color.  Above you can see the options of coloring pages for Monet.

I really like that there is a biblical application available for each lesson.  As I mentioned earlier these videos are really fun, engaging, and entertaining but they also get kids really thinking.  The lesson plans are chock-full of resources including suggested art activities, vocabulary words, writing assignments, and activities that incorporate other subjects like Geography, History and Science.  I'm a huge fan when programs use multiple subjects to help teach children!  I love the flexibility with this program.  You can choose to keep it simple and just have your students watch the videos (and they will get a lot out of just those) or use all the resources provided and make it more intensive or somewhere in between!  You pick.

Watch the fun trailer for HiGASFY below to get a real feel for this program and see Mrs. Beth and Gasfy for yourself.

You can also click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of HiGASFY to see what others in this awesome community have to say!

Have I Got A Story For You Art History Video Series {HiGASFY Art History Video Series Reviews}
You can engage with HiGASFY on social media @:

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Online Times Alive Subscription and Times Alive App from City Creek Press, Inc. Review

Some students have trouble memorizing multiplication facts and often times find it boring.  With the Online Times Alive subscription and Times Alive App from City Creek Press, Inc., students can learn math facts by watching videos and having fun.  We received a six month subscription and the App to try out!

So what is Online Times Alive?  It's an online program for students that teaches all the times tables from 0-9 using cartoons, stories, visual tricks and mnemonics based on the best selling book, Times Tables The Fun Way Book for Kids.  Students watch movies, learn songs, play interactive games and participate in progress checks.

I like that this program tracks your students progress so you can see their improvement.  It has a pre-test to see where your student is starting from and a post-test after they have completed the program.  The average post-test score after using Times Alive is 98%!  I also like that parents can see the time, date, scores and lesson completion information.  You can use this online program for an unlimited number of students.  In order to track their progress, the students need to use the same computer every time (because the data is stored on the computer itself), which can be a Mac or PC.

Times Alive is full of lively animation that make the number characters come alive.  Each story is immediately followed by a catchy song and music video that helps tie the story to music.  It includes little quizzes and interactive games as the students progress through the program to help test recall.  There is not a lot of parent involvement needed as long as your student can use a computer or navigate through an App.

This is the song for the story about 8 x 8.

And here is an example of a game question.

This is a question asking students to remember the stories and which facts they correspond with.

An example of a short progress check and quiz.

As I mentioned above, there is also an optional Times Alive App available for iOS 9.0 or above so you can download it to your iPhone or iPad.  You can purchase this in addition to the online subscription.  My kids actually preferred using the App.  I think they liked the portability of our iPad.

The stories, songs and games in Times Alive help make learning the times tables fun and easy.  E, F and G are really having fun with the stories and songs.  They especially like the songs!

Check out the video below to see a fun sample of the videos your students will watch using this program.

What's the cost?  With this subscription a one-time registration fee of $6.95 is charged at sign-up and the membership for Online Times Alive is $9.95/month.  You can cancel at any time.  I have a coupon code for you if you'd like to check out Online Times Alive, use code lovetolearn and get your $6.95 sign-up fee waived!  The App is available for $14.99 and there is a free, Lite option that you can try out as well.  The Lite version includes lessons 1-3.

While you certainly could use this program with any student who needs help with their basic multiplication facts, I think it is best suited for children 3rd/4th grade and younger so in my family E, F and G.  They have used it the most and continue to enjoy it!

Click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of Online Times Alive and the Times Alive App and see what others in this awesome community have to say!

Online Times Alive {City Creek Press, Inc. Reviews}

You can engage with City Creek Press on social media @:

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Homeschool Organization: Our Homeschool Room

I'm super excited about the current Timberdoodle Blog Hop on Home Organization.  And more specifically, I want to focus on our current "homeschool" home organization.  People often ask me how I homeschool or how I organize our space.  I haven't really shared about this since we moved into our new home a little over a year ago.  I am very blessed in that my new house has a dedicated homeschool space.  It was a 20 x 20 room that we completely redid after moving in.  We put new paint on the walls, installed new flooring, changed the lighting.  It was a project but I am so in love with the result.  Do you have to have a specific homeschool space in order to homeschool?  Absolutely not.  I also want to mention that we do not even complete all of our homeschool material in this room because honestly homeschool is done everywhere!  But I do love having a dedicated space for our homeschool supplies to live and we do a lot of "school" in this space because it's awesome!  I'm probably the most excited by our homeschool library that has accumulated a plethora of rich books over the years.  Enjoy and let me know if you have questions!

This is what you see when you first enter our homeschool room.

This is our teaching/school whiteboard and our homeschool library.

A side view of our library.  I love having this because my kids can read and reread some of their favorite books as they have access to them all year round.

We have some reading cushions and pillows set up for the kids (it's a tiny reading nook).

Next to the whiteboard is our television.

Our couch faces the television so we can watch movies here or use it for educational purposes.

I love that this room has large windows on both sides!

Here are the windows on the opposite side.

The back left corner of the room is a LEGO storage and play area.  The kids play here often building LEGO projects or zooming cars and trains around the room.

A slightly closer view.

Along the back wall we have desks.  We have a 3D printer, a laptop and a computer (these are recent).  The kids have a few things that they work online for school and we are tweaking this part of our set-up.  Of course they can also use the desk space to complete assignments.

Behind our couch and across from the desks we have a table area.  This is great for working on lessons, teaching, and playing games.  This photo was taken standing in the back right corner of the room.

 Here you can see the back right corner of the room.  We have our homeschool bins and a supply bookcase.

Our supply bookcase.  It currently houses books that we are working on and lots of school and art supplies.

Our Homeschool Bins

Above are our current homeschool bins.  I wanted to mention them because we are discussing organization.  I have one for each of the kids as well as one for me.  We just added these this year and I really like them.  The kids keep their current consumable books and things that are specific to them in their own bin while I keep the current teacher guides, answer keys and such in mine to help me find them right away.  These bins have trays at the tops that can hold pencils, pens, crayons, etc. as well so they are super hands as the kids just grab them each morning and go!  I might have to talk more about these in another post.

Be sure to check out the other homeschool organization ideas at the Timberdoodle Blog Hop below!  I'm headed there myself.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!