Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sunya Math Game (A REVIEW)

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

Reviewing games is so much fun. I love it when I can say "we just have to play this game today before we get started with school," and of course the kids do too. We had the opportunity to review a brand new game called Sunya - The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding and Subtracting from Sunya Publishing. I was excited for a great opportunity to practice adding and subtracting with this game. This game will soon be available to purchase.

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

This game came with an instruction book, a stack of number cards, and a stack of riddle cards. I have to admit that instruction book is pretty intimidating at first glance, and the instructions do seem a bit confusing at first. But, once I figured out that the basic premise of the game is just making an addition or subtraction number sentence, and building on that throughout the game is all it is, it's really just a simple game. The instruction book is just so long because it explains the specific rules in great detail. It also has a few variations of playing, and some other fun math activity ideas both with the cards and without.


Playing the basic game of Sunya~

We played the first basic version of the game. My boys (7 and 5) had fun playing this, and even wanted to play more.  Playing the basic Sunya game actually proved to be quite simple. Starting with a basic addition (or subtraction) number sentence a player looks at the cards in his/her hand to see if they can change the number sentence by putting a card on top of the previous one. There are basic rules like no repeating numbers, etc. Those rules are gone over in great detail in the book. We sat in a circle as suggested in the instructions. I had to look at the number sentence upside down, but they do also suggest sitting in a semi-circle so that all can see the numbers right side up. In this game it also doesn't matter if you see each others cards. In fact it is suggested, and I found this to be a great feature so that I could help my 5 year-old participate. A fun feature for winning the game is a player saying "Sunya" when they play their last cards. That is where the riddle cards come in--the winning player gets to draw a riddle card and reads it to everyone as if they were the teacher. That's basically the game in a nutshell. Make number sentences, and have fun. It was really a lot of fun, and I don't think it seemed like "doing math" while we were playing. It felt like we were playing a game, but yet the boys were "doing math" without realizing it.

Overall, I think this game is fun and educational. I like it for a warm-up at the beginning of the day, or for maybe a math break. There is also a multiplication and division game some of the crew members received. I am interested in adding that to our box of math games as well.

Go and see what the other crew members had to say about this game, and the multiply/divide game. Click on the banner below.

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Happy 10th Birthday Aaron!

Today was Aaron's birthday. We celebrated his special day as a family today, and last Saturday he had his "friend party". Today was also spent taking books to the charter school office and finalizing April's grades, and Costco (not the funnest way to spend a birthday day, but it's life!). But, before and after that I let him have lots of free computer time since it was his birthday.

Usually we take the birthday child out to a special family dinner for their birthday. This has become sort of a tradition. I didn't get any pictures of our dinner out, but it was a good time. He was actually rather grumpy today, and kept saying he didn't want to go out to eat. What?!! Not sure what was up with that. In the end though he had a good time I think.

Aaron's friend party...

I had planned to have his party somewhere fun this year, but silly me didn't schedule it first, and waited too long. It was all booked! So, I had to change it over to our house just a few days before. I quickly made it into a Wii theme because that goes with his "gaming" theme he really wanted. He was excited to be able to play Wii with his friends.

I came up with this cake very last minute. Like within an hour of the party starting. Yep, it's no prize winner, but it worked!



We had pizza for lunch, and then the boys decided they wanted to start with playing Star Wars Risk. I am not used to these older kid parties! I only scheduled a 2 hour party, and that was clearly not enough time. These boys barely got through half the game before we had to have cake and open presents.


Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!



Opening presents is always the best.  He was so grateful during this present opening. I was impressed at his attitude, and proud of him.


Star Wars LEGO sets, exactly what he wanted...


His brother Aric gave him one of his old Skylanders.


This present is the best. We wrapped up a Disney Princess Wii game. But, it was just a disguise for the little piece of paper inside that has a picture of a bike that was really his present from us. He was sure surprised at first, then started laughing. He had no idea until he opened it up.


We had to give him some instructions to open it up. He was ready to toss it aside.


That's one happy boy! He was sure relieved when he saw that it wasn't really just a princess game.


Finally, onto the Wii playing. They only got like 15 minutes to play Wii. They were kinda bummed, but good sports about it. I am still amazed at how fast this party went. It was a lot of fun, and very simple. I like simple.


They had fun playing MarioKart together.



After everyone went home Aaron got to try out his new bike. He was over the moon about it.



Of course the biggest reason he got such a big gift was because we need to pass his current bike down to the next boy. He wasn't so thrilled about that. Of course, Aric was thrilled so he had to try his out too.

Happy Birthday Aaron!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

52 Lists: This summer's goals...(week 20)

Since summer is practically here this is a perfect time to think about how our summer will look, and some of my goals for myself, and the family, and our schooling.

We don't have any great plans for the summer, just hanging at home mostly. We have a few camping trips planned, and that's about it. Along with the kids' various church and cub scout camps. I am hoping for some quiet this summer. Some time to catch up, and breathe. But, I also want to have fun with the kids, and just enjoy the long summer days. I am also hoping to get some home improvement projects done too, but we'll see.


School-ish summer stuff...

1. Have a fun art day with the kids, and maybe invite others to join us.
2. Read/listen through the Little house series with the boys. Do some fun activities to go along with them.
3. Math and Science will continue through the summer. We have some catch-up to do!
4. Writing in a summer journal
5.  Summer reading programs
6. Lotsa science experiments


Fun Summer Stuff...

I found a fun idea at Almost Unschoolers to get a box (or basket in our case), and fill it up with fun stuff to do throughout the summer. Just so you have something on hand to pull out when you need a little something to do. So, we'll probably be filling it up throughout the summer as things are done, I will add new things. Some of our other summer goals are...
  1. Learn some survival skills
  2. Find the wishing tree in Portland (April wants to do this)
  3. Go frisbee golfing
  4. Go berry picking
  5. Go to a drive-in movie
  6. make yummy popsicles
  7. Camp in a tent
  8. Pinterest fun--things that look fun on pinterest that we want to give a try.
  9. Possibly have a garage sale (the kids have been asking to do this for forever)
  10. Backyard fires with s'mores
  11. Family fondue night
  12. And more... (I will add to this list as I think of more)

52 lists with Chasing Slow

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Cookies, Ikea, butterflies, and fun

Just some randomness from life lately. Wish I had something great and thoughtful to say tonight, but I don't so I'll just share some pictures.

What can I say, we love cookies around here! We came across these bear cookies in a kids cookbook, and Alex really wanted to make them. It turns out we were studying bears one day, and this went right along with it.


They look a little puffy, but turned out pretty cute and yummy! They are made with peanut butter, that's good enough for me!


This is the recipe we came across. A little peak...


April made these lemon heart sugar cookies one day. They were delicious, and she didn't even get a chance to frost them before we ate them all.


We went to Ikea one day with a friend, and had lunch while we waited for them to arrive. I didn't know it, but it was buy one adult entree get a kids free, so we ended up with 2 free kids meals. It was a pretty fun score.


It was a fun little outing.


April loves how Ikea oraganizes everything. She thought this shelf was appealing.


We love to get the chocolate cake at Ikea and split it up. Today we splurged and bought 2 to split between the 5 of us.


May the 4th was a fun day. We were at co-op so it was fun to see all the fun costumes. We didn't do much else that day.


We went to OMSI, and discovered they have one of these map sand tables. It is really cool to see the relief change as the sand gets moved around. It's a projection from above, and somehow it senses the changes, and makes the colors show whether there are mountains or water.



We recently let our little butterflies go. We had 5 little butterflies change and hatch from caterpillars. It was fun to hold them, and watch them fly away.


This is always a fun experience to watch the butterfly cycle. It never gets old, even for me!


I just love this shot. It is so perfectly positioned over his mouth. Butterfly kisses!


Thursday, May 19, 2016

A list poem by Aaron


learning new things
new people
articles of faith
cub scouts 

by Aaron Winz

Aaron had to write a poem for his Faith in God goals so that he could earn his duty to God adventure for cub scouts. He is almost done with his Bear badge. He has been working hard to get things done, and he did it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Poetry Memorization from IEW (A REVIEW)

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
When this review for a Poetry Memorization curriculum came up, I was pretty skeptical that my kids would actually like it. I almost didn't want to take on the review, but as I looked closer at this program, I realized how much fun my boys could have with this.  It was true! My boys and I have been having a blast memorizing funny, silly poems. We received the Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization Teacher's Manual, Student ebook, CD's, a bonus DVD and MP3's from Institute for Excellence in Writing.
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
The CD's really came in that nice brown case!
When my 7 year-old saw this come in the mail, he asked excitedly "is this for me?" I immediately replied "yes!" He is perhaps my only poetry enthusiast around here, but it didn't take long for the fun to spread to the other 2 boys. My 5 year-old is enjoying memorizing them as well, but only by choice. I didn't plan for him to join in with us, he just wants to. The poems are so fun that he just enjoys doing it right along with his brothers. My 9 year-old however doesn't see the point in memorizing such silliness. He says he doesn't like it, but since he is around when we listen and repeat the poems, he is catching some of it. He has memorized one of the 4 stanza poems really well. That's pretty good for him not putting much effort forth on his part! I would have had my 14 year-old join in on the fun too, but she was already busy memorizing her lines for an upcoming Shakespeare play during this review period.
How did we use this program?
To get started I read the introduction in the Teacher's Manual. It explains a lot, like the importance of why memorization helps our brain, how this program is set up, what to do, and encouragement for the doubtful parent. It's all great, easy reading, and helped me to realize that this will really be great for the children.

Of course I had one eager boy who wanted to get started. He kept asking when we would start. I was hoping to get some of the mp3's listened to before we started, but then I realized that I don't have to do that first because there is a page in the front of the student manual that has some simple steps to get started memorizing, so I started with that. I decided I could listen to the mp3's later. 

Each morning we make it a part of our morning meeting (if we get to it, otherwise we just do it sometime during the day), and we recite the poems (or parts of poems) we already know all the way through to the current one we are learning. Each person that wants to, takes a turn going through all the poems. That's how we currently do it, but I think this might take too long eventually as we get through more poems. I think we will move into a pattern of reciting them together eventually. Then we listen to them on the CD, and the kids will usually repeat it with the CD. We do this everyday or as many days as we have time for. The repetition is key here!

What's really fun is when we are going about our day, and the kids see something that reminds them of one of the poems we have memorized, and they start reciting it! We were at the zoo, and we saw a vulture. Guess what happened? Aric started reciting The Vulture poem that we had just learned.
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
I also just want to mention that the TOS crew had received a special bonus of a printed Student book with our review (this doesn't come with the above package you have to purchase it separately). It was a happy surprise that meant I didn't have to print anything. Except that I had 2 other boys that wanted to look at the poems as we memorized as well. Instead of printing out more pages though, I came up with the idea of writing out the poems on a big poster pad. I hung it in the dining room, and will flip it as we get to each poem. The boys have been reading now while we sit and eat. It has helped a good deal. This has worked well for them to look at the poems throughout the day. I do think that it is important for each child to have a copy of this book (just the pages) in front of them as they are memorizing though. Now that my printer is working better I will probably print at least another one of these books from my ebook file.


Overall I think this is a wonderful poetry curriculum. Everything that is included will help you teach your children to memorize and love poetry. As the book progresses it moves into some longer and more difficult poems like Shakespeare. I am excited at the prospect that my boys could memorize Shakespeare! So far, I am impressed and hopeful that it just might happen as we continue. A lot of the crew had great things to say about this, so go check them out! (click on the banner below)
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
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Friday, May 13, 2016

ARTistic pursuits (A REVIEW)

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review

My kids and I were very excited to try a new art program from ARTistic Pursuits, Inc. For this review we received the Sculpture Technique Construct book. We have used other levels before, and they've always been a very great resource. This book was just as great and really a complete art curriculum for sculpture.


We had fun trying a few new mediums for art. Since this book is all about constructing, it is all about creating 2D and 3D sculptures. The book we received is broken up into 4 units. The units are:

  1. Unit 1: Creating Form in Papermaking
  2. Unit 2: Creating Planes in Cardboard
  3. Unit 3: Creating Motion with Papier-mache
  4. Unit 4: Creating Volume with Wire
We had to buy some different and new art supplies, so that is something to keep in mind with this book. It requires quite a bit of things you might not normally have on hand. We chose to try out the papermaking unit and the wire unit. Both were equally fun and interesting for us.

Each unit is broken up into step-by-step projects, including little lessons on technique, science, and history (basically the why, and what of the project). So, for the first project in Unit 1, we started with making the paper that we'd use to create a paper sculpture. For this we had to purchase a paper making mold, but it was well worth it. I look forward to making more paper in the future with scrap pieces of construction paper, or whatever paper we have lying around.

The first step in papermaking was to blend up the scraps of paper. We used an ordinary blender, and scraps of construction paper for this.
The book is very easy to follow, and even though this book is geared toward the 11-18 age range, my 9 year-old son was able to understand a good portion of it with my help. It could be used for a complete high school art course, or just for some fun projects for younger kids with help from an adult. My boy was very excited about making paper because he has wanted to do it for a long time.

We created the pulp that is needed to start dipping.

I loved this book because it took some very intimidating projects, like papermaking, and made it something we could easily do for a morning art session. I always pictured papermaking as a very long, and messy process. And, while it was a little messy, it didn't take long at all. The only thing that took long was waiting for the paper to dry. The same for the wire projects, we were able to complete those in just a few short art sessions. As I look through the projects in this book, they are all broken up into manageable sections. That makes for more actual art being accomplished because it's easy to push art aside when it seems to messy or complicated.

Dipping the paper is really quite fun, and not as hard as it seems. It takes a few tries and you've got it.

At the end of each unit there is an evaluation to reflect on what you accomplished. It includes questions, review of the concepts, and things to think about from the experience. We didn't get to any of these reviews, but looking over them I think they have some great things to think about to really help bring it all together.

And, that's it! Now all that is need is sponging some of the excess water, and making it flat.

I love making art with my children. The memories and creativity are so long lasting. I think these projects from this book were no different. Even though there are step-by-step instructions, they are still able and even encouraged to create things in their own way. They put themselves into each project, and that's the best part about art. We made some great memories, and had just as much fun with the process as we did with the result

We only had to sponge a few times, and it was ready to sit and dry.
There was a great sense of accomplishment with each project we did from this book.

This is the wet paper!
This is the dry paper! It looks and feels so neat!

A few pictures from our wire projects. I was finding little wire creations all over the place. The boys just loved playing with the wire.


Overall, I think this is a great art curriculum. Even my 9 year-old says "give this one a 5 star review!" He loved it, and I can see him really using this book over the next few years.

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review

Many other levels were reviewed, so you can see what others had to say about their experience with ARTistic Pursuits by clicking on the banner below. If you want to learn more go check them out!

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review
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