Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wonky & Tapple from USApoloy: A TOS Crew Review

 USAopoly Review

We LOVE games at the Bentz Test Laboratory!   So we were super excited to get to review 2 games Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game and 
Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone  from USAopoly .

This is a company that is serious about games and bringing families together! Their goal is "to show our passion through each and every game we make."  They have been a leading developer and manufacturer of many well-loved games since 1994. Let me tell you a little about them.

Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game:

USAopoly Review

For ages 8+.  This fast paced building game is great for 2 or more players.  

The "Wonky" blocks are wooden blocks that come in three different sizes and three different colors.  Simply play a card from the 54 card deck that shows the detail of the block which you can add to your tower, or a special action to complete.  The first player to have no cards remaining to play, or successfully adds the ninth block to their tower wins.

A super easy to learn and fun to play game for the entire family! 

We loved the "wonky" shaped box!  One thing that drives me crazy is games with flimsy boxes... I'm happy to say, Wonky has a great, sturdy box!  But, it's not just the box we liked :-)   This is a very easy to learn stacking game,  you don't even need to be a reader to follow the instructions.  It also comes with a handy carrying pouch, so it makes the perfect grab-and-go game as well.

The stacking is a great fine motor control skill in this game, as well as the strategy skills to keep your tower from falling.

This one is a keeper!

Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone:

 USAopoly Review

Touch Activated Press & Play Letter Eliminator (TAPPLE) is a fun-filled word game for 2 -8 players,  ages 8+.

Simply choose a category from one of the 36 category cards, tap the timer and press the first letter of a word that matches your category.  You only have 10 seconds to complete your turn.  Once you have tapped your answer, pass to the next player.  Letters that have been tapped can't be used again - the pressure is on! 

Be the last player left to win the round, three rounds will win the game.  No spelling skills required! 

This has become a new favorite.  It's easy to play, anywhere!  It rarely gets put away (ok...the box isn't that great on this one - but, it totally doesn't matter because the cards are all stored in the back of the game!)  This is one of our favorites to take with us for waiting room entertainment - ballet, doctor's office, soccer...

This game is fun all by itself,  but you can easily adapt this for some "covert learning missions" too by making up your own category cards.  I'm thinking science terms might be our next TAPPLE challenge.

We highly recommend both ofthese games.  They were super easy to learn and fun to play - for even my youngest testers!

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 USAopoly Review

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

India Reflections...

Missing India -

The "dream team" meets Indian hospitalty!

Time with my "Indian" son!

Why Wouldn't He? Sharing it with my best friends!

A Front row seat to watching God move!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Christian Heroes: Then & Now from YWAM Publishing- C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller: A TOS Crew Review

YWAM Publishing Review

Christian Heroes: Then & Now  from YWAM Publishing - C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller  &  Unit Study Curriculum Guide. 

The Christian Heroes: Then & Now  from YWAM Publishing is HANDS DOWN - my ALL TIME FAVORITE homeschooling resource! not let your children read these books if you want them to lead a "normal" life.  These best-selling biographies will open up a world of excitement, challenges, and will inspire your children to lead lives filled with extraordinary adventures for God and his Glory.  I could hardly contain my excitement that I got to actually write a review for C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller  &  Unit Study Curriculum Guide

At our first homeschool conference...way, way back,  someone gave us a free copy of Gladys Aylward: Life of Adventure.  We took it home and we were hooked!  The very next year, I went straight to YWAM Publishing and purchased their entire set of both Christian Heroes: Then & Now and Heroes of History.  My dear husband is still recovering from the shock that I bought "one of everything on the table."

But now, both of us agree - these books have had LIFE CHANGING effect on our family!  Our children have grown up reading (and listening to) stories of real life men and women that have been used by God to do amazing things!  It has profoundly impacted them.  All 8 of my children have expressed the desire to be missionaries.  My oldest has even been on 2 mission trips to India during high school to confirm this dream.  These books are great for ages 10+ to read independently - However, our entire family has enjoyed them as family read alouds! 

It gets even better...  these series are not only inspiring,  they are awesome  homeschool curriculum too.  Featuring over 40 titles in the Christian Heroes series and 25 titles in the Heroes of History series.   The Unit Study Curriculum Guides are filled with everything you need to incorporate character & Bible lessons, geography, history, vocabulary, comprehension questions, writing, art and hands on projects into a full unit study based on the books.

The Unit Study can be used at home, or in a group setting. Printable maps and charts, suggested field trips, further explorations and a culminating event are included.  We would have loved a field trip to Great Britian, but settled for a British tea time instead.  The Books & Resources section offers plenty of suggestions to continue learning, and be sure to check out the Bonus Materials page for lots of other great goodies to go along with your study. It's a perfect resource for a Coop!
When I asked my testers which one they wanted from the list... it was hard for them to pick one they had not read yet.  They decided to read C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller for this review.  They are huge fans of  all things Narnia, and will be reading more from this author during our literature class this year.  
CS Lewis is a fascinating person, an atheist turned apologetics author.  He is a hero you will want to introduce your students to.  His life spanned two world wars.  He wrote more than thirty books and his stories still inspire us today!  What we love most is learning how he overcame so many obstacles to his faith, and used what he learned to inspire others. 
 My testers loved discovering how Lewis and Tolkien (two favorites) were friends, and part of an author's club..."The Inklings".  My older son had started his own author's club awhile back, naming it the "Inklings Redux" after Lewis' example.  I think he would be honored...
These are the types of stories of heroes and history makers that will inspire your children to grow up to be world changers.  DO NOT MISS THEM, buy the whole set!     
Check out all the formats available:
Audiobook CD edition, Click Here
Audiobook MP3 download, Click Here
YWAM direct e-book download, Click Here

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YWAM Publishing ReviewYWAM Publishing Review
Christian Heroes: Then & Now    
and  Heroes of History

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fascinating Chemistry from Fascinating Education: A TOS Crew Review

Fascinating Education Review

Fascinating Chemistry from Fascinating Education

Fascinating Education Review
Fascinating Chemistry from Fascinating Education is an online science curriculum to help you tackle the sometimes daunting world of Chemistry, Biology and Physics for middle to high school students.  One year subscriptions are available in any or all of the 3 subjects.  

In Fascinating Chemistry - there are 18 lessons introducing chemistry concepts and a 19th lesson covering the math/formulas of chemistry. Topics covered include: 

  • The Structure of the Atom
  • The Ionic Bond
  • The Covalent Bond
  • The Polar Covalent Bond
  • The Metallic Bond Part 1
  • The Metallic Bond Part 2
  • Heat
  • Air Pressure
  • Properties of Water
  • The Mile
  • Gases
  • Solutions
  • Chemical Reactions
  • Orbitals
  • Molecular Geometry
  • Electrochemistry
  • Polymers
  • The Nucleus
 Each lesson is about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Colorful slides and narration from the author, Dr. Margulies,  present the information in a way that may "right brained", visual learners will find memorable with pictures, charts and illustrations.

Each lesson also includes a printable written script that can be used to follow along with the lesson, as well as, multiple choice tests that can be printed or completed online. Throughout the lessons there are  “What You Know So Far” slides that review the material that they have covered.  The program does not track test scores, so your student needs to record their scores and keep track of where they left off.  We liked that we could also skip around in the program easily to pinpoint areas that we wanted to view.

Although it could be used as a full curriculum, my tester is using this as a supplement to his regular chemistry course.  Fascinating Chemistry does include labs (which we didn't do since this was being used alongside our other program).  However, the labs contain supplies that are easy to find in the home setting with clear instructions.

My tester enjoys having the ability to use Fascinating Chemistry as a supplemental resource to help him review concepts and problems. He finds it very easy-to-use and comprehensive.  The detailed vocabulary and glossary are a very valuable component of this course.   His only complaint is that the narration could be a bit livelier.  (I think it's because he normally has a VERY lively teacher...anyone who knows me?) 

If you are wondering if this is from a Christian worldview (evolution free) - be sure to check out the FAQ  page:
"Religious views and scientific views differ, and Dr. Margulies does not see his role with these curricula to argue in favor of one or the other. His role is to describe the forces in the universe and how they play out in our everyday lives without addressing how those forces came into being or whether forces are being manipulated by God in some way.
Science views the world one way and religion another way. The origin of man is probably the best example of how the two approaches differ. Dr. Margulies believes it’s important to understand each viewpoint without feeling that understanding a viewpoint means you adopt it."

I like that it requires very  little teacher involvement from me,  Chemistry isn't one of my favorites.  This is a great way to tackle upper level sciences, pain-free!

Fascinating Education Review

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Fascinating Education Review

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Aren't they Adorable??

Check out what my darling children made for me to take to India for the kiddos there -

They have been hand sewing these stuffed animals for a couple of months.  Each one of them a hand-made, hand designed masterpiece.

It was a JOY to give them to the Indian children at our VBS program and watch how they recognized the animal.

I do love my sweet children's generous hearts!  It's amazing what creativity and some felt squares can do...

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Super Teacher Worksheets: A TOS Crew Review

Super Teacher Worksheets Review

Super Teacher Worksheets - Individual Membership 

Are you ready??   I can't wait to share this treasure trove of printable gems with you!  I was fortunate to get the chance to explore Super Teacher Worksheets - Individual Membership.  This website if PACKED with printable worksheets in every imaginable category,  here are a few:

    Super Teacher Worksheets Review
  • Math
  • Reading & Writing
  • Phonics & Early Literacy
  • Handwriting
  • Grammar
  • Spellings Lists & Worksheets (Gr. 1-5)
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Holiday
  • Puzzles & Brain Teasers
  • Teacher Helpers
  • Pre-K and Kindergarten
  • Make Your Own Worksheets
As a mom of many, with different grades, ages and abilities...  I often find myself wishing I had just a "little extra something" to add to a particular lesson.  I have spent HOURS searching the internet, or my good (but time-wasting) friend Pinterest to find that "little extra". 
 What if I told you there is an amazing site that has EVERYTHING in one place?  Not only that, but - it's user friendly!  
Super Teacher Worksheets Review
Super Teacher Worksheets has literally - thousands of printable worksheets all in one place.  Organized by topic with handy descriptions, and the ability to pull up a preview, this is a must have resource for homeschooling parents.   With my first log-on, I knew I had found the perfect place for my "little extras".  I can't even begin to tell you the variety of options available!  So,  I'll introduce you to a few of my favorites.

 Games & Puzzles:

I love using games to review concepts.  Oh,  but you thought I said "worksheets" - well this site may call itself Super Teacher Worksheets but - there are much more than just the average old fill-in-the-blank worksheets to discover.

This is our "To the Moon" gameboard and questions.  All this came in an easy to download and print PDF file.  

Yep,  not just worksheets.  Another favorite, telling time with this printable model clock.  One thing I loved about it was the extra tabs with "Quarter hour", "Half Past", "O' Clock" and "Quarter to" that could be attached to it.  

"Today's Weather" - perfect for my early elementary students to color and hang up.  Or, if you have a laminator - you could easily never leave your home making charts until your heart's content!  I do have a love affair with a laminator...this site offers me plenty of reasons to go get the BIG box of laminating sheets!

Tons of Chapter Books of Children's literature listed with all types of activities.  Book reports, graphic organizers and even hands-on project activities.
Answer Keys:

Every worksheet comes with an answer key too!

Design your Own:

This is probably my favorite section!  You can design your own worksheets with the online tool.  Super easy to do...  Here's my Paddle-to-the-Sea word find for our vocabulary words.  

There are worksheets for every imaginable topic, from phonics to foreign languages!  Teacher Helps, Certificates, Calendars and Crafts too.   Best of all, you don't need to spend hours searching the internet - they have a search bar you can use to help locate what you want easily on the site. 

 I have been very impressed with the quality of the printables as well. Many are available in either color, or black and white.   You will want to go get that new printer you've had your eye on ;-)
Ready for the BEST part...  This membership is just $19.95 a year!
Super Teacher Worksheets Review

Super Teacher Worksheets ReviewSuper Teacher Worksheets Review
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