Tuesday, September 28, 2021

3D Archery Competition

So proud of A!  Her club hosted a 3D Archery event over the weekend.  She did a great job helping out and volunteering and she also ended up placing 1st in the senior barebow category 😉.

I love this photo that David took at the event.

One of her best hits!

Getting her award.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Brainwaves: The Astute Goose Review

Ready to hear about another game?!?  I have a fun game to share with you today from Timberdoodle, Brainwaves: The Astute Goose.  This game originated in Germany and is manufactured by Thames & Kosmos and is geared for children ages 8 and older.  It's also unique in that it is a 1-5 player game so it can be a single or multiplayer game - I love this flexibility.  It can also be played in as little as 15 minutes ⏲.

What's included in our game?  There are 25 suspect cards (featuring 5 colors, 5 clothing features and 5 animals), 6 number cards, 5 feature cards, 1 number die (with numbers 1-6), 1 feature die (indicates clothing color, clothing feature or animal companion), 1 small notepad and the rule booklet.

Here are all the suspect cards.

Feature Cards and Number Cards

The feature cards remind you that the color choices are yellow, red, purple, blue or green.  They also show you that the clothing features are bow tie, necktie, scarf, keys or striped shirt.  And finally, they remind you that the animal companion choices are rat, dog, cat, goose and parrot.

What's the object of the game?  In The Astute Goose, players must identify a burglar that is hiding in a crowd.  They will need to determine the color and style of his clothes along with what animal he is pictured with.  Cards are claimed as players accurately remember the burglar.  Whoever identifies the most burglars wins, that's it!

How do you play?  All players receive a feature card that they place in front of them.  The number cards are then placed on the table according to the difficulty desired.  

Above you can see the 4 Levels of Difficulty: Rookie, Experienced, Advanced and Expert.

Shuffle the suspect cards and place them in a face down deck in front of the players.  Draw the needed amount of suspect cards (according to the difficulty) and place them face up in a row below the number cards.  Players are given ~ 2 minutes to study and memorize the features of the suspects in the lineup as well as they can.  After the 2 minutes, the suspect cards are flipped over so they are no longer visible.  Game play always begins with the youngest player and moves around clockwise.  The first player will roll both dice.  The number on the die refers to the suspect card in that number position while the feature rolled on the feature die specifies which feature must be identified.  The player needs to state their guess aloud and then secretly look at the card to see if they were correct.  If they were right, they show the card to the other players and place it face down in front of them and keep it.  If they are wrong the other players have a chance to give an answer (starting with the player on the left of the one whose turn it is).  If no one gets the correct answer, the card is removed from the game.  A new card is then placed in the lineup face up.  Players must study it for a minute and then it is flipped over.  Play continues on until there are no more suspect cards in the draw deck and someone rolls a die with an empty position.  This might sound complicated but it's really not.  It's an upgraded version of Memory that is constantly changing so it gets progressively harder as play continues.

D and E playing.  D is concentrating on remembering all the information.

They are playing Difficulty Level 2 (Experienced)
Notice that they have 4 suspects at a time, not 6 (this decreases the level of difficulty).  If they roll a 1 or a 5, they will be answering the question for the card underneath.

E ended up winning this game.

A, B and C studying the suspects.  They are playing the highest difficulty, Level 4 (Expert) having to remember six suspects at a time.

B trying to remember...

A and C tied in this game as they both had 7 cards.

I think the science behind this game is super interesting.  Neuroscientists in Germany used The Astute Goose as a scientific study to see which brain functions are used when playing.  They found that fluid intelligence, working memory and long-term memory were exercised in this game.  The Astute Goose definitely requires concentration and attention to detail.  I really like that it takes only a minute to learn and the difficulty can be adjusted.  What a great find to have in our game arsenal!

Brainwaves: The Astute Goose is currently included in Timberdoodle's 4th grade curriculum kit and is such a fun brain-training memory game.  This would definitely make a unique gift as well (and it works for teenagers).

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

Reading Eggs and Mathseeds from Reading Eggs Review

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

Reading Eggs

G really enjoys the fun online learning games and activities in Reading Eggs and Mathseeds from Reading Eggs.  We were blessed to receive a one-year extension for him to continue to use this amazing program!

You can use a browser or App to use Reading Eggs so it works for a variety of devices.  The kids use it mostly on our iPad (occasionally on our computers).  This program is geared for children ages 2-13 and it helps make reading fun, interactive and rewarding.  Reading Eggs is a comprehensive learn to read program that was created by a team of teachers, writers and developers - what a great collaboration!  F and G are currently the ones who use it the most in our family but we do have access for D, E, F and G.

Above you can see our family dashboard with D, E, F and G's avatars.  They have a lot of fun changing these up from time to time.

Notice that there are multiple programs to chose from within Reading Eggs:  Reading Eggs Junior (Ages 2-4), Reading Eggs (Ages 3-7), Fast Phonics (Ages 5-10), Reading Express (Ages 7-13), and Mathseeds (Ages 3-9).  The boys really like earning prizes, like their golden eggs, along the way!

Above you can see G's Dashboard

G currently spends the most time in the Reading Eggs section.  He loves all the activities.
Above you can see screenshots from an activity.
First, G had to select the correct word on the screen, do.  Afterwards, he dragged and dropped the correct words to make the appropriate sentence - Yes, you do hop.  This reinforces word recognition and his sight words and reading skills.

 G's Mathseeds Dashboard, you can see he has 216 acorns earned.
I would say his second favorite area is Mathseeds.  What is Mathseeds?  Mathseeds is a math program designed for ages 3-9.  This program helps teach early math skills in fun and interactive lessons.  Similar to earning egg rewards in Reading Eggs, students earn acorns as rewards in Mathseeds.
In this lesson, G is learning about the numbers 18, 19 and 20.
G is a sponge when it comes to school and learning so continuing his subscription with Reading Eggs as part of his school this year is a true blessing.  I love that Reading Eggs is self-paced so G can progress along at his own speed and it is super easy to integrate into his weekly school.  It is fun and super encouraging for him.  I also want to mention that you have the ability to print worksheets for your child to practice the lesson concepts.  On the parent dashboard, you will always know how your child is progressing and what concepts they have learned or are working on.  If you have children ages 2-13 and you are looking for a fun, interactive program to help them read, build reading skills or practice math - Reading Eggs and Mathseeds is worth checking out!

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

Learn to Read with Reading Eggs

You can engage with Reading Eggs on social media @:

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Volleyball Tournament Champs

Miss B and her volleyball team won 1st place in the gold bracket in their tournament last weekend 🏆. I’m so proud of how hard they worked and how loud the parents were at the championship match 📣 🏐 .  Some games have been so exciting to watch this year, while others are harder.  It was great to see all the girls improve their communication and their skills and have it all come together in the final match.  What a great group of ladies.  Go #15 and Go Royals!

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Smart Games Cat & Mouse Review

If you read my blog then you know that we absolutely love Smart Games.  I have another one to share with you today from Timberdoodle, Cat & Mouse!  It is a single player game geared for children in 1st grade and beyond.

What's included?  This game includes a game board, 9 plastic maze tiles, and a challenge and solutions booklet.  There are 48 challenges that increase in difficulty from Starter, Junior, Expert and Master.

I love that everything stores inside the game board!

Here is a closer view of the maze tiles.

How to play?  First a player chooses a challenge from the booklet.  The challenge will show them which connections they need to make (or not make) to complete or solve the puzzle.  Next, they need to arrange the tiles on the game board that makes the proper connections without creating dead ends.  There are many different solutions for each of these challenges which is unique for Smart Games (they usually have a unique solution per challenge).  A few of the solutions are given in the challenge booklet on the reverse side of each challenge but there are a variety of ways to solve these puzzles.

Challenge 1, Starter Level
 The white cat must be able to get to the gray mouse, that's it!  And remember, no dead ends.

Some of the solutions for Challenge 1

F working on Challenge 1

Here is one of our solutions!
E with one of her solutions!

E's solution for Challenge 10!
Gray mouse needs to get to the cheese and the white mouse needs to get to the trash can.

Challenge 31, Expert Level
In this challenge the gray mouse needs to get to the trash can, the dark brown dog needs to get to the bone/white cat/cheese but can't get to the trash can and the light brown dog needs to get to the dog house and the tree.  You can see that this challenge is a lot more complicated.

Here are two solution ideas.

Cat & Mouse encourages strategic planning, concentration, problem solving, visual and spatial insight and logical thinking.  This game is currently included in Timberdoodle's 1st grade curriculum kit and we highly recommend it!

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

Thursday, September 16, 2021

First Week Back at CoOp

This week was our first week back at CoOp!  We didn't meet last year so this year feels extra special.  We are on a new day and at a new location so there is a lot of transition but the kids were ecstatic to see friends and get started on their classes.
This year I am teaching a Handwriting Without Tears class  😉.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Farmland Math: Town & Farm Edition Review

I have a fun preschool math program to share with you today from Timberdoodle, Farmland Math (Town & Farm Edition).

What's included in this Bundle?  Our bundle includes a reversible table-top friendly mat, 72 soft rubber vehicle counters, 72 soft rubber barnyard buddy counters and a handbook with a plethora of math activities for your preschooler.  The counters have six different shapes, six different colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple) and two sizes.

The barnyard buddy animal counters include horses, ducks, pigs, cows, sheep and bunnies.

Above you can see the different colors and sizes of pigs.
The vehicle counters include tugboats, trains, cars, airplanes, buses, and fire engines.

I really like that the mat is durable, foldable and wipes clean easily.  On one side of the mat is a farm scene on which you can use the barnyard counters, while the reversible side is a town scene on which you can use the vehicle counters.

Farmland Math includes 36 weeks of math activities for preschoolers.  It covers various topics including counting from 1-5, colors, patterns, more/fewer, numerals, shapes, logic, comparing, halves, and more!  The math concepts build on each other to help children not forget as they go along.  I have been using this program with G.  I feel like he is really past this in his math ability when looking at the topics above; however, he really enjoys it.  It doesn't take long and it is great at reinforcing early math concepts and solidifying the material.  It really is fun extra practice for him and he absolutely loves the counters.  He enjoys holding them and they are excellent free play items.  Gotta love hands-on resources.  I love watching the younger boys use them in imaginative play and see what they come up with, so fun!

Directions for Week 12

Each week has a focused topic and includes both a farm activity and town activity.  You can see above that week 12 is focusing on counting and comparing.  You will also discuss left, right, top and bottom.

Above you can see G following my instructions for the Week 12 Farm Activity.

 You can see from above that in week 35, the farm activity involves understanding halves.

And here is G's finished activity after he divided all of the animals between Liam and Annie.

Farmland Math is currently included in Timberdoodle's Preschool curriculum kit.  If you are looking for a fun hands-on math program for your preschooler, this is definitely worth checking out!

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