Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Apologia Biology Fun

Taking notes at the creek where we collected samples.

B is taking Biology this year, we are using Apologia's Biology (2nd Edition).  She was going to be taking this class in our weekly homeschool CoOp but it's not meeting this year so we are working through the program together at home.  A week or so ago she had to collect creek water in various jars.  She then had to give them different food sources (egg yolk, rice, hay and soil) and let them sit for ~ 5 days.  Afterwards, she made slides to look at what organisms were in each of her jars.

B using a ladle to gather creek water.

B's samples after sitting along with our prepared slides.

B making slides.

B looking at slides and drawing them in her science journal.

After looking at all of her homemade creek water slides, B looked at various prepared slides as well.

Here you can see our Paramecium slide on lowest power.

Here you see the same slide on the next power.

And the next power - I love all the detail and various stain colors on this slide.

I think B is enjoying this program so far and I am really enjoying experiencing it with her.

My Teaching Library's Download Club Review

{Disclaimer:  I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  This post contains affiliate links.}

If you are currently homeschooling, you may know first hand how valuable educational resources can be.  We were blessed to receive one year of access to My Teaching Library's Download Club, which gives us unlimited downloads and access to all of their resources.
My Teaching Library has resources available for PreK through 12th grade in a variety of subjects (Art, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Electives, Character Education, etc.).  Since I have seven kids aged 4-16 across 7 grades this is a huge benefit to our homeschool!
I like that you can search for resources by grade, subject or miscellaneous.
Motor Skills Activities
In the 0-PreK Motor Skills section there are numerous resources for tracing, coloring, handwriting, and cutting skills.  I printed out several cutting skills activity sheets for F and G to complete.  These were great practice for them.
Shape Cutting Skills Activity

F cut shapes while G cut out lines.

Using a Microscope Lab

B is taking Biology this year and we will be doing a lot of labs together throughout the year, many involving our microscope.  My Teaching Library has a fun lab on using a compound microscope that I printed out for her to complete.  This was a great way for her to familiarize herself with our microscope and how to use it.
B labeling the parts of a microscope.

The younger kids had fun completing a worksheet about their senses after taking a walk.  They recorded what they heard, smelled, saw and touched.

E's completed walk with your senses worksheet.

This is just a small sampling of the resources and activities you will find on My Teaching Library.  I am having a lot of fun with my membership and I look forward to utilizing it even more throughout this school year.  If you are looking for homeschool resources and worksheets this would be a great option.

With My Teaching Library, you can purchase products individually or get unlimited downloads/resources with their Download Club (this is what we have).  There is also an annual membership and a lifetime one as well.  Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read even more reviews of My Teaching Library and see more of what they have to offer.

My Teaching Library Download Club {My Teaching Library}

You can engage with My Teaching Library on social media @:

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Imagidice from Timberdoodle Review {1st Grade Curriculum Kit}

Today we are going to take a closer look at one of the language arts components in our 1st Grade Elite Curriculum Kit from Timberdoodle, Imagidice.  I absolutely love the concept of these dice.  They are designed to inspire imaginative storytelling without the burden writing, spelling, etc. so they are great for younger children.  They are a huge hit here in our home!

Our Imagidice
What's included with Imagidice?  Our set contains 12 unique dice, a sturdy storage tin and a guidelines booklet for how-to-play.  Each dice has six unique images that are etched onto each face and then painted black to add to their durability.  So this gives you 72 different images.  I like the black and white contrast as it makes the pictures easy to recognize.

Each of the 12 dice corresponds to a theme:  sky (star, moon, sun, etc.), places (forest, home, mountain, etc.), food (fruits, mushroom, cake, etc.), emotions (love, surprise, sadness, etc.), actions (to walk, to think, to sleep, etc.), fantastic (dragon, ghost, fairy, etc.), human body (mouth, eye, nose, etc.), animals (spider, horse, snake, etc.), hobbies (cooking, music, art, etc.), travel (plane, train, globe, etc.), everyday life (money, ball, bed, etc.) and history (castle, volcano, magnifying glass, etc.).  There are some pictures that are open-ended in that they can trigger multiple associations.  If the kids "see" the dice differently than I do we go along with their interpretation.  I love how creative they can be!

F and G rolling the dice.

How to play?  This game is simple really.  Throw the dice and then along with the other players, come up with a story using the pictures on the dice.  This is not a game with winners or losers and there really aren't any hard and fast rules.  You can use as many or as few dice as you wish.  You can start with just a few dice with younger players until they get the hang of it and then add in more as you go.  This is a fun way to help kids engage their imagination and encourage vocabulary growth and verbal expression while playing.  The game ends when all the dice have been used.  Another fun variant is to use these dice to play memory.  Decide how many dice you want to use and roll them.  Everyone looks at the pictures for a desired amount of time, let's say 30 seconds.  The dice are then hidden and players see how many pictures they remember.

E rolling the dice and getting in on the fun!

Imagidice are geared for ages 4 and up and can be used with 2-12 players.  The average time per game is 20 minutes but I think this can vary greatly.  Imagidice are great for helping kids with problem-solving skills, building vocabulary, and encouraging language and storytelling skills.

This was one of their rolls and they put them in order of the story they created.  Check out the video of the three of them below telling you their story 💓.

Imagidice is part of our Timberdoodle's 1st Grade Curriculum Kit and we highly recommend it!  I'm thankful to have this as one of our homeschool resources and we will definitely continue to use them throughout this school year.  This would also make a unique and educational gift as well.

Extra ideas for playing Imagidice

In the First Grade Handbook (included in our kit), there are lots of ideas for additional uses for Imagidice.  I really appreciate these extra suggestions for using our Imagidice in various ways.

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  I will be refunded the purchase price of our curriculum kit in exchange for my honest reviews.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Little Wonders Preschool from Wisdom Wonder Project Review

{Disclaimer:  I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.}

This is G's last year of "official" preschool.  He has been using the Little Wonders Preschool from Wisdom Wonder Project this month and loving it!  The Little Wonders online subscription bundle has curriculum for three levels - Preschool, Junior K, and Kindergarten.  The program is designed around childrens' developmental stages and books.  We have access to all 3 of these levels for a year, which is awesome, so we can pick and choose the best path for G!  I absolutely love this feature.  Our bundle includes Literature, Block Play and Little Masters (Art).

Regarding Literature, this curriculum includes material for 4 picture books each month so you will use one book each week.  These books are not included within the curricula so you will need to own them or have access to a library.  
We were able to find 3 of the 4 books used for September's Literature at our local library!  We couldn't locate Planting a Rainbow so we were flexible that week and used other books that we already owned.

Reading Peter's Chair
Rosie's Walk was one of G's favorites.  He loved answering the questions about the book and enjoyed pretending to be Rosie and what she might be thinking.

Above you can see G enjoying the past the mill sensory activity.
Swirl by Swirl was a lot of fun too.  G still looks for spirals everywhere we go!
G making dough spirals inspired by Swirl by Swirl.

The Little Masters (Art) focuses on one book and one famous artist each month. Student will be exposed to various elements of art and they will have a space to create and practice it.  September's book is The Line by Paula Bossio (another shout out to our local library for having this) and the artist for the month is Andy Warhol.

The Line by Paula Bossio

G had a lesson on the color wheel.

G mixing color while painting - he loved making green!

Above, G is making dots on his paper with Q-tips.

Now, his dots are going for walks.

Similar to The Little Masters, The Block Play aspect of this curriculum has one book per month as well and focus on experiential learning.  We weren't able to find September's book of the month at our local library but I was able to locate a cute online adaptation video of it so G was able to watch it.
The Block Play book for the month of September is Changes, Changes by Pat Hutchins.

The Block Play section has so many fun activities to discuss and do together this month.  It has a vocabulary section to discuss with your student - words like under, over, below, etc. to help improve their directional skills.  It also has mapping activities where students can build a city and then make a map of their city.  They will use their blocks to stamp shapes into dough.  
 G absolutely loved this activity.

They will build a house from blocks as well as other creations inspired by them.  They will also see just how high they can build a tower until it tumbles.

G building a tower until it falls!

While I haven't shown you everything, I hope that you have a good feel for this program.  G is really loving it!  It's engaging, enriching and just plain fun.  I appreciate that he is enjoying learning.  I'm also impressed that these books were all new to us.  We read a lot and I was pleasantly surprised by this fact.  We are both looking forward to October's curriculum and books.  If you are looking for a hands-on, engaging curriculum for your young students, I'd highly recommend Wisdom Wonder Project!

Wisdom Wonder Project also has a Young Scholars program (First/Second Grade) and a Kindergarten Singapore Math program as well.  Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read even more reviews of Wisdom Wonder Project including some of their other programs.

Little Wonders Preschool, Young Scholars  & Kindergarten Singapore Math {Wisdom Wonder Project Reviews}

You can engage with Wisdom Wonder Project on social media @:

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Zig Zag Puzzler from Timberdoodle Review

I have a fun brain puzzle to share with you today from Timberdoodle, the Zig Zag Puzzler.  I love the multi-colored, multi-geometric pieces.  Right from the get-go, the Zig Zag Puzzler looks intriguing.  This one player game is geared for students 12 and older.

Our Zig Zag Puzzler

What's included?  This Smart Game includes a divot-like container that doubles as two playing boards, nine colorful pieces, and two manuals that contain 40 challenges each (40 2-D challenges in one and 40 3-D challenges in the other).
Above you can see the puzzle pieces.  Their are 8 unique pieces and an extra red piece for a total of nine.
A working on a challenge

How do you play?  A player begins by placing one or more of the nine, colorful pieces onto the playing board in specific positions.  The manuals give you instructions for setting up the beginning of each challenge with a picture.  The player then uses the remaining pieces to fill in their board.  There are 5 levels of difficulty - Starting, Junior, Expert, Master and Wizard.  As expected, the difficulty increases with each level.  Every challenge has only one solution and the manuals contain a solution key in the back of the book with answers to every challenge.  A has been working through the challenges and has really been enjoying it.

I mentioned previously that the container doubles as 2 playing boards.  The blue gameboard is used to build pyramids and 3-D challenges, while the white gameboard is used to build zigzags and 2-D challenges.  You can see above that the lid fits either side nicely.  A's favorite are the pyramid challenges, she is at the Master level for them.

Let's walk through one of each type of challenge to give you a better feel for this game.  First we will look at a 2D zigzag challenge using the white gameboard.

We will look at Challenge 8, a Starter level challenge.

And above you can see A's progression as she solves this challenge.
{Sometimes setting up the board is a huge part of the challenge itself figuring out where the initial pieces go.}

And when you look at the solutions key, you can see that she has the correct solution.

Now let's look at a 3D pyramid challenge using the blue gameboard.  Since these are A's favorite we will look at a more challenging puzzle.

We will look at Challenge 18, an Expert level challenge.

Again, the images show A's progression as she works her way through this puzzle.  Just as before, setting up the board is very much a part of each challenge!

There are a few more steps, as this puzzle was more complicated.

Again, when you look at the solutions key, you can see that she has the correct answer.

Zig Zag Puzzler is sure to give your brain a fantastic cognitive workout with 80 puzzles!  It uses logical building steps that will help develop visual-spatial skills, analytical skills, fine motor skills as well as memory.  I like that it is self-contained within the jewel-like case.  I also appreciate that this game is compact and would travel well.  A is definitely a fan.  B plans on starting the challenges next followed by C.  We highly recommend Zig Zag Puzzler!

You can see how the Zig Zag Puzzler is self-contained and stores everything nicely!

The Zig Zag Puzzler is a new addition to Timberdoodle's 9th Grade Curriculum Kit and we are now thrilled to have it as part of our homeschool resources!  This would make a fun and unique gift idea for birthdays or holidays.

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  Timberdoodle sent my family the Zig Zag Puzzler in exchange for our honest review.  All opinions are my own.