Tuesday, August 31, 2021

IQ Circuit Smart Games Review

If you know us then you know we love games!  I have another fun game to share with you today from Timberdoodle, IQ Circuit!  It is a single player game manufactured by Smart Games geared for children ages 8 and older.

What's included?  This game includes a game board with lid, 10 double-sided puzzle pieces and a booklet with 120 challenges and solutions.

Above you can see the puzzle pieces out of the game board.

And here you can see the other side of the pieces as well.

While all the pieces are double-sided, the rectangular pieces in particular can also be used blank-side up (on their side), so they are really triple-sided.

How to play?  Choose a challenge and set up the board as indicated on that challenge.  Then, this is basically a game of connect the dots!  Your goal is to place all the pieces on the game board to create a path that connects the dots.  Each path must start and end at a dot and all of the puzzle pieces must be used on the game bard.  Unconnected paths would result in a short circuit, fictitiously of course 😉.

We found the video below from Smart Games to be super helpful so I'm including it!

The challenge and solutions book contains 120 challenges with 5 levels of difficulty - Starter, Junior, Expert, Master, and Wizard.  The difficulty increases with each level and every challenge has one unique solution.  The answers for each challenge can be found at the back of our booklet.

Above you can see some of the starter puzzles.

And here you can see the unique solutions to those puzzles.

As always, Smart Games encourage planning, concentration, problem solving, spatial insight and flexible thinking and we 💕 them so much.  I appreciate having a great selection of creative and quality single player games in our home including IQ Circuit.

IQ Circuit is currently included in Timberdoodle's 9th grade curriculum kit and we surely recommend it!  C has just begun his 9th grade year so he is working through all of these puzzles as part of his curriculum.  I really appreciate having challenging and fun items like this added to our homeschool.  I also appreciate that IQ Circuit is so compact and has a great lid so it makes for a wonderful travel or on the go game as well.

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  I received IQ Circuit in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Timberdoodle Show Me Science: Slime, Crystals & More Review

Our Science Kit

Today I want to share with you a fun product from Timberdoodle, Show Me Science: Slime, Crystals & More!  These experiments are geared to be a bit messy.  As someone who does a lot of science at home (including dissections), we didn't find these activities to be super messy (or maybe I'm used to it 😉).  Our kit includes 30 child-friendly experiments with practically everything we need to complete them (minus an occasional household item like water or a plastic cup).  This kit is specifically geared for students age 5 and older or Kindergarten and beyond.  I have been using our kit with E, F and G (9, 7 and 5 years old).

 Kit contents

What's included?  Our kit includes a test tube holder (holds 4 tubes), 4 small test tubes, 1 large test tube (I think it's more of a bottle), 1 funnel, 1 pipette, 3 Petri dishes, 1 yellow measuring spoon, 1 beaker, 2 stirring sticks, 1 test tube keychain, 20 Litmus paper rounds, 1 purple string, 1 test tube connector, 1 notebook, 1 pack of colored polymer beads, 1 pack of white polymer crystals, 2 food coloring (blue and red), 1 foaming agent pack, 1 purple sweet potato powder, 2 packs of urea, 1 pack of Borax, 1 PVA glue, 1 bottle of glow powder, 1 pack of cornstarch, 1 pack of citric acid, 1 pack of baking soda, several storage bags and 1 instructional manual.

As previously mentioned, our full-color instructional manual includes 30+ STEM experiments with step-by-step instructions to perform with your child or children.

What topics are covered in the experiments?  Students will learn about polymers, the fact that water and oil don't mix, density, PH, acids and bases, slime, crystals, etc.

The first experiment is for students to create expanding beads.  We love water beads so my kids were familiar with this concept but I love that they learned about polymers in the process.  Afterwards, you can shrink the beads back, which is also fun.

The kids watching our beads.
About polymers...

In our next experiment, the kids made crystals and even got to layer them.  They thought their tube looked like cotton candy.

Above you can see the kids with our crystals and layered tube.  We ended up making a lot.

And here you can see the step-by-step directions for this experiment.
The kids really enjoyed making the glow-in-the-dark keychain. 
Next, we put oil and water together to see if they would mix.

G was surprised because he thought that they would.

Show Me Science: Slime, Crystals & More is currently a part of Timberdoodle's Kindergarten Curriculum Kit and we definitely recommend it.  I super love how easy it makes performing experiments and having everything included and located in one convenient spot makes me so happy 😀.  This kit is a great way to ignite the wonder and love of science in your younger child.

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  I received Show Me Science in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Happy 20th Anniversary to Us

Happy 20th Anniversary to me and this guy! It’s been such a fun journey filled with kids, craziness and fun. Love you babe 😘

Monday, August 23, 2021

Code Rocket Review {Coding for Kids}

I have something to share with you today from Timberdoodle, Code Rocket!  Code Rocket is geared for kids 8-12 and helps them learn C++ computer coding skills with fun hands-on activities to complete.  Students will use coding to control the rocket's LED lights, speaker, buttons, etc.

What's included?  Our set comes with the code rocket itself (and stand), USB cable, and coding help cards.
Code Rocket's free software requires Windows, Mac or a Chromebook computer to work.  Our kids have been using Windows on a Nextbook for our Code Rocket.  The set-up was simple and it's working great.

D with our Code Rocket

Code Rocket gives your child the opportunity to experience hands-on coding without having to build a circuit.  There are 20 student-friendly projects that help teach your child C++ coding.  Kids will see how computer programming controls the rocket and they will get immediate feedback with the rocket's lights, buttons, speaker, etc.  Your student will have access to online videos that will help them see how the code and concepts work.  I love this!

Get started by visiting Let's Start Coding .com

How does it work?  Well, each project starts with your student uploading a functioning program to their rocket.  Then, they tinker with the code to see what each line controls.  After watching the video explanation, your student will be ready to complete a challenge (that improves or changes their starting code).  Students will also complete a mini quiz and then be ready to tackle the project's final test - a bug hunt!  There, they will find and correct the bug planted within the code.  It's so fun!

D tinkering with her code.

 Code Rocket with lights.

Code Rocket with all the lights.

Code Rocket is currently included in Timberdoodle's 5th grade curriculum kit.  I love that students can jump into Code Rocket without any experience.  This is such a great resource and it just might release the inner coder in your child.  I'm looking forward to D (and E) completing all the projects this school year.

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  I received Code Rocket in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Volleyball Season

B is playing for the Austin Royals Volleyball team again this year.  This is such a great organization and a really fun group of girls.  They took 2nd place in their tournament over the weekend and I couldn't be prouder.  Go #15 😉.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Archer and Zowie by Hans Bluedorn Review

Disclosure:  I received this complimentary product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW.

Hans Bluedorn Brings us Fallacy Detective and Archer & Zowie

We have been huge fans of The Fallacy Detective for years so when we were given the opportunity to review Archer and Zowie by Hans Bluedorn we jumped on it!

Our new paperback is 233 pages and has 18 chapters.

This book is great for children to read independently or as a read aloud for younger children.  It is geared for middle schoolers.  E was the first one in our family to read through this book by herself and she found it to be easy to read and really exciting (she is a very strong reader).  She found it relatable that Zowie is often hungry and gets grumpy if she doesn't eat.  Below you can read her own words.

E (age 9) - This book is great!  It's about a boy and a girl who use their imagination and a microwave to blast off into space.  And they find penguin aliens, go through the forest of yellow snow and they meet the Hans, a big and black monster with yellow eyes.  The microwave comes to life and is evil.  He tries to destroy them and the penguin aliens obey him.  I won't give it away but this book is fun.
Our book has tons of black and white illustrations sprinkled throughout the story that are fun and have a whimsical feel to them.

I am currently reading this book aloud to the younger boys and D is reading it independently and we are all really enjoying it.  This book is silly and I love that it helps ignite that love of reading in younger kids.  I appreciate that Archer and Zowie are best friends, yet very different.  If you are looking for a fun, family-friendly, science fiction adventure, we highly recommend Archer and Zowie!

Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of Archer and Zowie and reviews of The Fallacy Detective as well.

Hans Bluedorn Brings us Fallacy Detective and Archer & Zowie

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Show Me The Father Trailer

If you know me, you know that I love the Kendrick Brothers films.  I have a new one to share with you today, Show Me The Father.  This is their first documentary and it's full of true stories and I'm super excited about seeing it.  Check out the trailer below and let me know what you think.

Oh, and stay tuned for my upcoming review and a little giveaway as well!

Friday, August 13, 2021

Mind Benders 7 Review

I have something to share with you today from Timberdoodle, Mind Benders 7!  Mind Benders is published by The Critical Thinking Co. and this book, level 7, is geared for students in grades 7-12th and beyond.  Our book is 62 pages and has 23 activities to complete.  While this is a consumable book, you do have the ability to reproduce it within your own home or classroom so I can make copies for A-D without having to buy them each a book 😃.

Our book gives a sample puzzle and walks you through how to solve it.  This is particularly helpful if you have never solved a puzzle like this.

I absolutely love these types of deductive, logic puzzles.  They were my favorite when I was a kid.  Mind Benders help students develop vital logic, reading comprehension and mental organization skills that will help them with future test taking and problem solving life skills.

1st puzzle in our book - Pets at Home

With Mind Benders, students learn how to analyze each story and its clues.  The biggest key is to start with the most obvious associations, then deduce the less obvious associations until you can fit everything together and solve the puzzle.  I usually have to read through the clues multiple times, filling in the chart as I pick up on more and more as I go.

Our completed puzzle

I really appreciate that our book includes step-by-step instructions and detailed answers for each of the 23 puzzles.  You can see above how to solve this puzzle and what information can be deduced from each of the clues given.

I plan on having the older 4 kids work their way through this book throughout this upcoming school year.  I will most likely give them a puzzle a week with the challenge of seeing who can correctly solve it the fastest.  I plan on competing with them as well!
Mind Benders 7 is such a fun way to incorporate logic skills into your homeschool and I highly recommend it!

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  I received Mind Benders 7 at a discount in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

College Launch Solution from The HomeScholar LLC Review

Disclosure:  I received this complimentary product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW.

The HomeScholar

We were recently given 6 months access to the College Launch Solution from The HomeScholar LLC.  The HomeScholar LLC was created by Matt and Lee Binz, homeschool consultants with over 15 years experience of helping families homeschool through high school and enter into college.
What is the College Launch Solution?  It's a course that helps train and coach homeschool parents in guiding their high school students through the college process and launching them into college.  It has over 60+ hours of training to help prepare and work through the college application process.  This is an affordable option instead of hiring a college admissions counselor and can be used for all the children in your household.  I really wish that I had started this earlier with A but here we are in the very beginning of her senior year (better late than never!).  This course is specifically geared for high schoolers 10th - 12th graders so it's a great fit for both A and B.

As you can see from the course menu above, this course includes 6 training sections: Core Training, Finding a College, Paying for College, Applying to College, Preparing for Launch, and Succeeding in College as well as a few bonuses.

In the Core Training section, your teen will attend an online college admission seminar.  This will help them understand the college admission process and scholarship opportunities.  Parents will also get an overview of the whole process.  This is a section that can be referred back to again and again as needed.

Above you can see A with her Seminar Workbook for teens.

I feel like the other five sections are pretty self explanatory with their name.  In the Finding a College section, it guides you in finding a college and planning specifically starting in your students Junior year.  In Paying for College, you learn about scholarships, financial aid and even how to shorten college.  And so on with the other sections.  I really appreciate that this course includes the section on succeeding in college.  The goal of this course is not only to successfully launch into a college but to succeed once you get there.
I love Lee's heart and her encouraging tone as she guides both you and your teen through this college launch course.  I love that she mixes equal parts reality with equal parts encouragement.  She also sends accountability emails to help you stay on track and in control of this process.  If you are homeschooling through high school, I would definitely recommend this program.

Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of The HomeScholar LLC.

Homeschool High School to College with The HomeScholar

You can engage with The HomeScholar LLC on social media @: