Thursday, March 22, 2018

Zirrly - Mega Pack of Supre Beads - A New TOS Review!!!

Ever just need a break -- some fun to interject in your homeschool day, week, month? Then you will love our newest review of Super Beads and arts and craft medium produced by Zirrly. We had a few to choose from so I let my artsy daughter pick and she immediately chose their Mega Pack. I liked it since it was an artsy craft like product that I knew ALL my kiddos would like but seemed it would have very low mess and clean up AND not as much interaction from me for the set up or clean up -- perfect for me!

So what comes in the Mega Pack? Over 4,500 of these cute little beads, 4 color-coded designs x 4 (so 4 people can make the same design [or a different one] at the same time), 4 clear pegboards, 2 small spray bottles (to be filled with water), instructions sheets, and 1 green plastic design tool.

Super Beads Mega Pack
The premise is to make the design by putting the template under your board and then pull the template out and spray your design with water (not drown, but fully wet) and the let dry for an hour. Then use the design tool to help pop the design off of the pegboard to be displayed or played. If it breaks while coming off the board then place it back down and respray with water and let it dry again. This was one of the good things because all you had to do is respray. No complex steps and you don't have to throw the whole thing away.

We did have some that didn't want to 'pop' right off so we just put them back down resprayed and waited. They all eventually came off. Each of my kids chose a different design. But first I had them do a little set up. One of the BIG notes sent from Zirrly was to make sure your hands were CLEAN and DRY. So I made them each wash their hands, dry them, and then wait to be sure they were fully dry. If your hands were wet it would make the bead unusable because it would be in its fused state. While they were doing that I took a prep photo. Then I had them get some little bowls and containers so they could get the colors they'd need for their particular project.
They chose an apple, a cupcake, and an elephant (ROLL TIDE!) I wanted to do the turtle so they saved it for me ... just haven't done it yet. We noticed right away there is a clear right way and wrong way to put the beads on. We also noticed some of them (very few out of all the ones we sorted through) that were what my son called 'duds'. Once we got them all separated and ready I let them go at their own pace. Once they were done I reminded them to remove the template below the board and we went to the sink to spray (so that my table wouldn't get all wet and to keep the overspray off of the other beads.) Then it was time to let it dry. That was the hard part. They did not want to wait.

But once the waiting was over (which we did leave for longer then an hour ... I think it was more humid in our house then we thought) they were all super excited to get their project up. However with one tool (I think for the mega pack 4 tools would be better) they still had to have patience - so we did it in the order of who was done first with their spraying. We did get them all popped off. Here they are! Aren't they so cute??

I know that they are ready to make some of their own creations. Plus they were eyeing some of the other kits that they saw some of our Review Crew got that was different from their packet (which you can check out too by clicking the link below) ... like the Jungle Animals or Spinning Tops. Maybe they will get them for a surprise fun gift over the summer. ;)  Be sure to check out all the other Super Beads and other items Zirrly has to offer. You can also find them on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

Super Beads {Zirrly Reviews}

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Á La Carte projects from Home School in the Woods -- A New TOS Review!!

We love when we can add hands-on projects and fun so we were so excited to get some of the new Á La Carte items from Home School in the Woods. These are downloadble PDF's that can add to your history learning with some fun creative games, timelines, newspapers, and other fun activities. We chose three of their offerings, but I am sure we will be going back again and again to add some of these to our home. 

Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products

The first one we chose was the a Timeline called The Progress of Faith from Europe to the Colonies. We chose this one because we had just finished the Middle Ages in history and we had been studying the beginning of the colonial time period as well as special studies on Martin Luther and Elizabeth I. 
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
I thought this would be a perfect way to remember what we had learned and see the full 'picture' of how faith had spread to the early colonies in the New World.   This timeline is wonderful because it comes with pages that have the dates already printed on the timeline and all the little people/important dates are printed below the pictures.  All you have to do is download it, print it, color it if you'd like (we chose to add some accent colors), and then you can glue the pieces on or tape them. I had leftover double-side tape so we chose to do that. The only thing I had to really help with (since my kiddos are all old enough to read follow the clear directions in the PDF) was to attach the pages properly so they'd fold like a fan.

The next  item we chose from their offerings was the Liberty at Last! File Folder Game.  This was also chosen because we have been focusing on the early American colonial time period up through the American Revolution. 
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products

And I love history so a game about history was right up my alley. We've had fun playing with this one and can't wait to add some of the other File Folder Games from the Á La Carte projects when we get to those parts in history ... like Westward Ho! or A Trip to Town ... both will be coming up in the later part of our history this year. 
This was also an easy setup process. First you download the file and print out all the parts. The instructions are clear in the first few pages of the download. All you need is a file folder, the pages printed on cardstock and paper (which they tell you what to print on what type of paper), the game cards, markers, and then you have to provide a dice for rolling. I used my double-sided tape to put the game board inside the file folder and to attach the title on the tab of the folder and the instructions on the front of the folder. Next, my artsy daughter helped color the board and the marker pieces. 
All serious playing the game.

The cards we have left uncolored for right now ... that might change. They have had fun playing this together. You roll the di and move the number of spaces, but if you land on a 6 you pull and read a card. Once the Treaty of Paris card is pulled the game is over. It's a quick game (less than 30 minutes usually), but it's a fun way to go over facts from history that they may have forgotten. Hubby and I will also be enjoying playing with them as we hadn't had time to do that yet.

The last hands-on history project I chose was called The Art of Quilling. I have always admired this type of art, but my eldest daughter had gotten interested in it earlier this year. For Christmas she asked for a Quilling book and I knew she'd just love this project. Here is what it should look like when it's complete. 
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
This one takes a bit more time to complete, especially if you have never done it before. It is also for older elementary (3rd - 8th), but I don't think my 3rd grade son would have the patience it takes to do this.  LOL! I know both my daughters would love this, but only my eldest (14) did the project. She really has a knack for learning all these new hobbies. Here are pictures of her in progress of this quilling project. This is the same hobby nuns and monks had in the Renaissance.

She was showing me how to start a roll.
Here it is all rolled up.

Her finished project of the Forget Me Not flower - she ran out of purple so there is one yellow bud.
There are loads more in the Á La Carte. Some others we will be getting at sometime in the future are The Jamestown Replica, A Young Country Newspaper Collections, and also Martin Luther's 95 Theses File Folder Project. All of these fit into our year of history. Wish I had seen the one on Martin Luther before the 500th celebration this last year. And another great reason to check these out is price. All 3 of these cost less then $10. The quilling was only $1.95! That's an amazing price for a long lasting hobby.
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
As you can see they have LOADS to pick from covering many historic areas. You are going to want out to check out more of their Á La Carte projects. You will want to check them out by clicking the link below of the other Crew reviews. You can also find Home School in the Woods on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube so don't be shy - reach out and check them out!!

À La Carte Projects - Individual projects designed to enhance your studies! {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

Thursday, March 15, 2018

NatureGlo's eScience MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle - A New TOS Review!!

We really like math in our house ... hard not to with a dad, aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother who also are math people (all teachers across the board for high school and college). So when we had a chance to be part of the review team for a new approach to math I wanted to check it out! I knew that my art loving children would love this new approach with NatureGlo's eScience. We have been enjoying our review of the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle where we focused on one class, called Math Connections in the Real World, that has taught us TONS on the Golden Ratio, Golden Rectangle, and the Fibonacci sequence. My kids have been going all around the house and outside searching for items that fall into the Fibonacci numbers.
MathArt Online

We had access to all the classes offered within the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle - Math Connections in  the Real World, MathArt in Ancient Cultures, MathArt: Patterns in Nature, and Mathematics in the Arts & Sciences. All of them were created to show the connections between art, nature, culture, and science with MATH. That is amazing! A lot of times math is taught in a vacuum without it's connection to the world. Really the world is FULL of math! Each one of these online classes have 6 lessons and can be done "live" in a classroom setting or done on your own time.

Each lesson is jam-packed. First you have the slide show presentations. Most of us thought that the way they were presented were a little weird ... more because it was recorded live and we were watching a play-back of the lessons being taught. There were some times where she seemed to have lost her place on the slide or where there were slight tech issues. There were also some times where the students were interacting, but there was some silence so we wouldn't know if it had glitched or if it was just because we were waiting on the students to respond. Once you get used to that, they are fine. There is a way to go through the slideshow on your own (which I did the first time by accident.) At the end of each part of the lesson you hit the MARK COMPLETE and it will bounce you to the next part of the lesson. You can't move to the next lesson without completing the previous one.

Each lesson has 3 - 9 sections and within those sections there are extra videos, activities, and projects that can be delved into. There are also worksheets you can print and a studyguide to help write down the information the student is learning. Depending on how many activities/extras you do, each of these lessons will take longer than specified ... so a 6 week course (on your own time) could take much longer. And if you have younger children (this is recommended for 10 and up) then you might want to leave out some of the harder projects. We opted to try and do as many of them as we could do. Some we couldn't ... like making Fibonacci cookies (I was really just being lazy and might do this later this month) would have been an all day project since we are trying to do gluten free for my son and I have no ingredients to make cookies to fit GF and DF and dye free! (It's been an eye-opening experience). But they LOVED going out in nature and finding flowers and pinecones (even buildings) to see if they fit into the Golden Ratio/Golden Rectangle pattern.

We are just in the 4th lesson of Math Connections in the Real World, but my eldest daughter is really into history and specifically Cleopatra. She is loving doing this one, which I was sure she would.  My son also loves history so he may have more interest in the slides for this one ... we will see. The first 3 and a part lessons have taken us about 2 weeks to complete each. They have been using all the information they have learned to complete fun designs, pictures, builds, etc. I think they have really enjoyed exploring the math concepts they are learning. And the last lesson explores music and the Fibonacci sequence so I expect they will be fiddling with the keys on the piano and trying to make songs that fit the sequence. We have a toss up between MathArt in Ancient Cultures and Mathematics in the Arts & Sciences for which class we should take next. If we do the second of those first I can not WAIT to delve into Celtic Art and my husband will love the sections on Fractals!
Here are some of what my girls thought about the course:

Arianna - The way that the slideshows were put together were cool and hearing her read it helped it go by faster. We learned a lot of interesting information. The Fibonacci sequence is certainly found in a lot of places in the world and in nature. A lot of grass plants around our house seem to also grow with the Fibonacci sequence as their base. We also checked out dandelions and the blowy part of their flower which also seemed to have that same pattern. Even our wild growing the way the Carolina Jasmine grows the buds would turn as they came off of the stem in the angle similar to the Fibonacci sequence. I found a wild strawberry(or raspberry) plant and if you look closely at it the leaves are in 3's on each stem. The flower itself has 5 petals in the shape of a pentagon if you draw a line from the point of the top of each petal. Mom took a picture so you could see.

Audrie - I loved all the activities that went along with each lesson where we were able to explore each section in depth. We watched LOTS of You Tube videos. I think I know the Fibonacci sequence really well now - well up to 55. ;) 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 ... yep that's as far as I can get. We also made some spirals and other cool designs. I made this flower - a rose, mine were close to the Fibonacci numbers, but not them exactly. I also drew a  pineapple and some doodles with spirals and flowers. I had a lot of fun doing all of the activities.

My husband sat in on a few of the lessons. He did not feel it was as organized as well as it should have been. He thought the information was good, but the original "live" slideshow he was put off by. My younger son (only 9) didn't like those either, but he is younger then the age range and he was usually engaging when we were doing the activities and extras. My husband did say that the activities and all the extras she gathered were well developed and helped really cement the subject matter.
natureGlo's eScience
All in all, Gloria Brooks has created a fun way to show the connections of math to real life. This is definitely a must in today's world which is largely full of people who comment that they hate math or want a job that has nothing to do with math. I believe this program would be helpful for the math 'hater' as well as the math 'lover' ... both coming to grips that we can't live without math. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube!

Other members of the Crew explored other of the courses available through NatureGlo's eScience MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle, so be sure to check out those by clicking on the link below! Leave a comment and let me know which course you would most like to try.

MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle {NatureGlo's eScience Reviews}

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Taming the Lecture Bug - A New TOS Review!!

You know the day you wake up and have one of those feelings? Or when you wake up and have a splitting headache or migraine? Or when you are just so tired? And then you start the day and before you know it, you are giving those all out lectures to each and every child in earshot. That's why I was so ready to learn some new strategies from reviewing the book Taming the Lecture Bug. Joey and Carla Link, of Parenting Made Practical, have put some really great practical steps to help you stop lecturing and help empower your children to think on their own and change their behavior while taking up their responsibilities.
The main goal or motto of Parenting Made Practical is to encourage and equip parents to raise obedient, respectful and responsible children in today's world. Isn't that what we really all want? I know I do. I was also thankful that for this review I received the 53 minute DVD called Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think so that my husband could hear the gist of the book since I knew he would not have time to read the book (he does want to read it, but this review is in his busy season at work.)

Both the book and video are a part of a series called Parent's Night Out.  The book has 12 chapters, 2 Appendices and then some additional resources recommended by the authors. As I mentioned the video is 53 minutes long and also comes with a worksheet that you can print out and follow along as they go through the talking points. The video was more like being in a comfortable room with the Links and asking questions as they talked in a very familiar tone with us and then even showed examples of WHAT we should be doing and HOW.
Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think DVD

One of the things I pulled out of the video what was just in my face was to be ASKING the RIGHT questions. Sometimes we just want to tell our children when they have been reminding for the upteenth time the what for ... but we really need to be asking our children WHY they did such and such and whether they knew that was the right or wrong thing to do. Carla, in the video, also pointed out that sometimes we think a child has been taught the way to do something (like putting their clothes away after laundry or how to clean a certain area or do a specific chore) when in reality we didn't teach THEM ... we taught an older sibling. I knew when I heard this that I was certainly a bit guilty of this.
Some other things that struck me were that I need to have thought of the questions before I'm in the heat of the moment.  We also need to refrain from "laying in to our children where we lose our cool by 'sucking into our feelings' and then we lose the argument/situation." We need to dialogue with our children to get comprehensive answers for our questions. We need to help our children to go through the repentance, forgiveness, and restoration process to have a real change of heart.

Hubby thought the examples where you were able to see them interact in little vignettes were very helpful. And then they came back and did it a second time with the 'correct' way of interacting by asking questions. It seemed unrehearsed and was great to see it worked out instead of being left with trying to figure out what it looks like. My big takeaway from the video -- Ask questions to really understand what your children are thinking and the motivations behind what they are doing.

The book goes into much greater detail and descriptions then the video, as you would expect. At the end of each chapter there is a scenario of a real life situations of families that the Link's had either helped one on one or just through the books practical tips or from a seminar. Those were very helpful to me and allowed me just how I need to approach different areas. They gave specific and direct tools  to help change the behavior of our children by changing their heart at the root. They laid out guidelines for a foundation of what we needed to do first and then filled in the structure throughout the remainder of the book ... even taking time to specifically deal with 'teenage' issues or starting this process when you have 'older' kids.

The scenario expressed in chapter 3 with Jake and his mom and the teaching of responsibility through one simple (yet very hard for a parent) task was eye opening. How many times had I done a similar response to a problem? Many times. And the lecturing in our house is out of control. I know that ... and have for a while. One of the other things I learned in this chapter was that it will take time and that both spouses have to be on the same page. There are steps to training your child to be responsible and then we have to be observant and learn our children so we know where they need to be trained.
I call these the "Little Gems" that the Links pull out for us to really catch.

So true! Stay calm!!
There was another chapter that also stuck out to me where it told me to take a few days to watch how many times me or my husband had to repeat instructions to a child. Every one of those things takes time to break those areas and then it will take time to train the child the right way for each of those areas. This is not an overnight answer. It will take time on both the part of the parents and then also the child. The Links tell you to work on only one at a time and once it gets to about 3/4 of the way complete you can add the next item on your priority list. We can't get discouraged and we need to be consistent!
parenting made practical

We will be working on the areas that I feel are "sore thumbs" for each of my children. But, there were a few other offerings from Parenting Made Practical that I will be sure to check out including Why Can't I Get my Kids to Behave and then the videos Dating, Courting, & Choosing a Mate ... What Works? as well as Navigating the Rapids of Parenting sound very interesting. You can view these and other reviews the Crew did by clicking the link below. You can also find them on Facebook.
Parenting Made Practical {Reviews}

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