Saturday, October 31, 2020

Science in the Beginning Set Review {Timberdoodle 1st Grade Curriculum Kit}

Today we are going to take a closer look at the science components in our 1st Grade Elite Curriculum Kit from Timberdoodle, our Science in the Beginning Set.  Our set includes the textbook itself, the Helps & Hints booklet and the lab kit.

Our textbook and helps booklet

Our Science in the Beginning Lab Kit

This elementary science curriculum is recommended for ages 5-12 and is the first book in the Berean Science Series which teaches science chronologically (we have previously reviewed the 4th book in this series - Science in the Age of Reason).  I have been using this science curriculum with E (3rd grade), F (1st Grade) and G (PreK) and it has been wonderful!

This series is Christian based and this book begins just as it infers - at the beginning with the six days of creation.  If you do not want a curriculum with a Christian worldview, this would not be a good fit for you as students are consistently reminded of our Creator.  I personally love this!  Science in the Beginning contains 6 Units, one for each day of creation and each unit is broken into 15 lessons (90 total lessons).  Students are introduced to an array of scientific topics including light, energy conservation, the properties of water and air, solar system, zoology, etc.  This curriculum is very experiment heavy and the kids absolutely love this.  The kids are so excited to do their science program every week and I cannot tell you how excited that makes me!

Using a candle and CD to show how white light is a mixture of many colors.

Above, the kids are learning how radiant energy can be changed or converted into thermal energy.

Another experiment highlighting the conversion of radiant energy into thermal energy.  We used a magnifying glass and the sun to catch a small scrap of newspaper on fire.  The kids were amazed!

Showing how two batteries supply more electrical energy and give off a brighter light than just one battery (and a wad of aluminum foil).

While the Helps & Hints booklet isn't necessary it is super helpful to have as it contains answers for the review exercises as well as hints for you to make checking, correcting and explaining easier - there are tests and test solutions for those who want to use them.

Because this curriculum is very hands-on, every lesson has some sort of activity, so having our prebuilt lab kit is super helpful!  It contains most of the necessary lab supplies that you may not have on hand at home like a blank CD, small mirror, magnifying glass, fluorescent spiral bulb, magnesium sulfate, 9-volt battery, cork, clay, cupric sulfate, iodine solution, pipette, etc.  It does not have everything (you will need some common household items and food items) but I think it does a great job of having the harder to find supplies.

Because I am using this program with E, F and G I really appreciate that the lessons conclude with questions and activities for younger, older and oldest students.  This works well with varied ages and is perfect for how we are using it. 

I actually used some of my Doodle Dollars (a fabulous Timberdoodle perk 😉) to pick up a Science in the Beginning Student Notebook for Older Students for E to use.  It is too much for F and G but is a great addition for E to use.

E's Science Notebook

Here is a close up version of her Lesson 4 page.

The kids and I are really loving this program.  I'm really looking forward to working through this book in its entirety.  This Science in the Beginning set is part of our Timberdoodle's 1st Grade Curriculum Kit and we highly recommend it!  If you have older students tagging along in the program consider getting them a student notebook to challenge them further.

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.

Easy DIY M&M's and Skittles Costumes

My m&m's and Skittles

I made last minute costumes for the kids!  I wanted to have a candy theme so the boys were m&m's and the girls were Skittles.  These were super easy to make.  I bought solid colored shirts in a variety of colors and then white felt for the letters - that's it!

David free handed the m and S templates that I used for these costumes.  I used his templates to create the letters on white felt.  I cut out the felt and then hot glued the letters directly onto the shirts, easy peasy!

The hardest part was deciding which color everyone wanted to be!  I found a few of the shirts at Walmart and the rest at Michaels (they had a wide selection to choose from).

The girls as Skittles!

And the boys as m&m's!

I love this candy of mine!  Hope you had a great Halloween 🎃.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Happy National Candy Corn Day

Candy Corn 

Just wanted to take a brief moment to say Happy National Candy Corn Day!  While it's not my favorite candy, it definitely stands out.  Hope you have a great day.

B decked out in "candy corn" attire.

Smart Kidz Radio: Members On-Demand Radio Program Library from Smart Kidz Radio 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.}

Like most families we love music!  We recently received 6 months of access to Smart Kidz Radio: Members On-Demand Radio Program Library from Smart Kidz Radio, a music education and inspirational radio station for kids.

Above you can see a small selection of programs available to us.

A few more options
There is a wide variety of radio programs available in our demand library!  Some of these programs include topics like early learning, behavior skills, living skills, storytime, personal & social skills, musical heritage, sing/learn & play, kids Bible & inspirational, science, and so much more!

Kids Bible and Inspirational Songs

One of my favorite ways to use Smart Kidz Radio is to listen to their inspirational worship music with the younger boys while we clean their room.  I love hearing them learn the songs and I love it when G tells me that he knows a song from church.  We have almost listened through all five volumes of Favorite Bible Sing Along Songs.

The younger boys with their clean room!

I'm loving the variety of options offered in the Exploring Your World Through Science category.

A program on sharks!
We enjoyed listening to this ~ 20 minute program all about sharks!
While you can find so much in the various program groupings, I really appreciate the search bar so that I can look for specific topics and subjects as well.  The homepage also highlights featured programs for the week.
Above you can see the options for Spanish programs and lessons.

Featured Program of the Week

The America's Heritage in Song Smart Kidz Boyz Choir is a great way to hear some of our country's patriotic songs.  I especially love the Marches of John Philip Sousa!

I also want to mention that when you subscribe to Smart Kidz Radio, 20% of your membership fees goes toward the Smart Kidz Foundation, a non-profit foundation that encourages young people to make a difference in their own lives, the lives of others and the global community.  The Smart Kidz Foundation provides resources and educational opportunities to young people to help them build self-confidence, compassion and respect for the environment.  How awesome is that?

Our new digital library has over 3,000 children and family songs!  I appreciate that it includes songs for our whole family in a variety of music educational categories.  We can stream anytime, anywhere on all platforms and devices 😉.  If you are looking for a way to introduce your children to the joy of music and see the impact it can have in their daily lives, we highly recommend Smart Kidz Radio!

Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read even more reviews of Smart Kidz Radio.

Smart Kidz Radio: Member's On-Demand Radio Program Library {Smart Kidz Radio Reviews}

You can engage with Smart Kidz Radio on social media @:

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Math Sprint - The Mental Math Game by Byron's Games 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.}

As you know, we are a huge game family so we were so excited to try Math Sprint - The Mental Math Game from Byron's Games.  You may remember our review of their Continent Race game earlier this year!  Math Sprint - the Mental Math Game is a fun 2-8 player game geared for children ages 7+ to help improve math skills and specifically mental math.

Our new game!  

Our game contents

What's included in our game?  Our game includes instructions, a gameboard (it looks like a running track), 8 different colored playing pieces (they look like runners), 10 dry erase cards, 1 dry erase marker, and 258 playing cards (30 wild cards, 30 challenge cards, 106 multiplications and division cards, and 92 subtraction and addition cards).

A closer look at the gameboard.

As you can see above, the gameboard has various game distances - 100m, 200m or 400m.  If you are playing with various age groups, younger children can start closer to the finish line at 100m, while older or more advanced players start further back at 200m or 400m.  Or you can choose to play a shorter game with everyone starting at 100m or a longer game with everyone staring at 400m.  You get the idea!  The gameboard also contains a few exercise drills mixed in for players to complete as they land on them - do 10 arm circles, do 10 jumping jacks, balance on 1 leg for 5 seconds, etc.

The runner pieces really look as though they are sprinting around the board.

There are 8 lanes so 8 players can play at a time (or you can choose to play in teams for even more player participation).  The pieces are brown, blue, purple, green, white, orange, yellow and pink.  Each playing piece is associated with a specific runner with a specific hobby.

Meet the Runners

Above you can see that the blue running piece is Crystal Reaction who enjoys chemistry, the purple running piece is Bootstrap Byron who enjoys solving Rubik's Cube and so on.  I love the hobbies chosen!  My kids do too 😉.

All the game cards

As I previously mentioned, there are 258 playing cards broken into different types.  Just like you can customize the game distance to suit your group, you can do this with the cards as well.  If you are playing with younger kids, you may choose to only play with wild cards and the addition/subtraction cards.  If you are playing with more advanced players or want a more challenging game, you may wish to add in the multiplication/division cards as well as the challenge cards.  There are also blank dry erase cards and a marker that can be used to create your own math problems.  I hope you can see that there is tons of flexibility in adapting this game to fit your needs and your specific players!  I also want to note that the addition/subtraction and multiplication/division cards have two problems on each card.  You choose one to read in the game but for even more advanced play, you could read both.

How do you play?  Select your runner and starting distance and place your pieces on the gameboard.  The first player draws a card and reads it aloud to the other players.  This player is the "coach" for this round.  They can choose to select 2 players to race and only they can answer the question, or they can open the question up for all players to participate.  The player who solves the mental math problem first, advances their player 2 spaces.  In the event of a tie, both players advance.  Incorrect answers are not punished, they just stay put.  If the coach draws a wild card, they move their own piece as directed.  The next player draws a card and they are now the coach for this round.  Play moves clockwise with players taking turns being the coach.  The first player to race around to the finish line wins!  That's the premise in a nutshell.  The wild cards add a bit of chance into the game.

The wild cards have you move forward or backward depending on the card.

The boys played this game together first in our family.

F completing his arm circles during the game.

C, F and G were the first in our family to play this game.  G ended up starting the closest to the finish line and C started the furthest back.  They only used the subtraction/addition cards and wild cards because F and G are so young.  Instead of each of them drawing a card, I drew the cards for them and was the coach.  If a wild card was drawn, whoever I was drawing for would either advance or move backward depending on the card.  I was so impressed with how excited F and G were to play and honestly with how well they did.

What do we think?  This is such a great educational resource to have!  I love that it encourages kids to sharpen their mental math abilities as well as press through struggles they may have encountered in math operations.  The kids enjoy it and think it's fun to play.  We all love that we can adapt it and have lots of flexibility.  We are thankful to add this to our homeschool resources and we will definitely continue to play this game throughout our school year and beyond.

Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read even more reviews of Byron's Games.

Math Sprint  - The Mental Math Game {Byron's Games Reviews}

You can engage with Byron's Games on social media @:

Monday, October 26, 2020

A's 1st Archery Competition

A at her 1st Archery Competition!
A joined our local 4H Shooting Sports this year and this past weekend was her 1st ever archery competition.  🏹  She was a bit nervous and her arms were tired, especially towards the end.  David and I are so proud of her!  We should get her ranking in the next few days 😀.  I'm so thankful for this great organization and all that she is learning.

A looking at her target and getting her score.

A with her final target!

So what activities are your kids up to?

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Happy Birthday To Me {Baby Yoda Party}

My Baby Yoda Cake (or The Child)

Well, I'm officially another year older.  Like many of my birthdays, I don't really feel much different than before.  I'm very thankful for my life 🥰.  I love my kids and I feel super blessed to be their Mom and their teacher 🍎 for another season 🍂.  My Mom is in town and it's really great to have her here.  David, my Mom and the kids threw me a small Baby Yoda party yesterday and it was nice.  My family is super pumped about The Mandalorian Season 2, which comes out at the end of this month!  David made the cake and A decorated it (she did a great job again!).  We had BBQ for lunch and homemade chicken pot pie for dinner.  Wednesdays are pretty busy with various activities but it was nice to be able to celebrate together with everyone, even if just for a few hours.  I appreciate all the fun gifts, birthday wishes and messages from everyone!

What 43 looks like 😉

My cake with all the candles lit.  Yep, there are 43 of them if you count 🎂

What about you, are you excited for another season of Baby Yoda? 👶

Monday, October 19, 2020

Simple STEM Acitivity For Kids At Home

I have a fun activity to share with you today inspired by the book Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale.  This is one of G's October books from his Little Wonders Preschool that we found at our local library!  It is a delightful collection of simple poetry, illustrations and even photographs that show how constructions created by young children are reflected in architecture all over the world.  We picked one example and made our own creations!

This is the page we used for inspiration.

We used toothpicks, Dots candy, and our imaginations for this simple STEM activity.  I basically put all the supplies on the table and the kids had fun building and creating.  You do want to be careful with younger kids and the toothpicks so they don't injure themselves or others.

Above you can see the foundation that E built.

E's final construction, she did a fantastic job.

G built a pyramid.

Building another one...

He built a square too!

F made several creations.

His absolute favorite was his watermelon.

Up close view of his construction

A had a fun build as well.

G was very interested in watching her.

A's masterpiece

I love how the bottom construction looks.

This is an easy activity with endless possibilities that you can complete at home.  You can use gumdrops or even marshmallows instead of Dots.  I thought the Dots were fairly easy for the kids to work with and their creations looked great with them.  Let me know if you give this a try, I'd love to see your own creations!