Monday, March 19, 2018

The War to End All Wars -File Folder Game- Review

Today's review is of  The War to End All Wars - File Folder Game that comes from the A La Carte product line at Home School in the Woods.   This is a download product that you print out and assemble for use.   There are two options for printing.  Option one is black and white that allows the student to color the various components; option two is to print in color and avoid the coloring.   Since we only have a black and white printer, we chose option one.  
Once you've printed all the items out and colored everything, then it's time to cut and assemble.   The game board itself simply glues into a regular size manila file folder.  The only other item that is not included is a regular, six sided die to roll.   We snatched a die from one of our other family games without issue.

The game pieces include 5 French Artillery Units, 5 German Artillery Units, 20 French Infantry Units, 20 German Infantry Units, 2 French Tanks, 12 Gas Cloud Tokens, 10 Barbed Wire Tokens, 10 Free Tokens, 8 Gas Mask Tent Marker Replacements, 20 French Action Cards, 20 German Action Cards, 2 Turn Reference Cards and 1 Round Tracking card.   Also included in the download is the rule book and instructions.   

My suggestion is that you use Ziploc style bags to store all the various pieces in, because some of the pieces are really small. If you look at the photo below you can see how small some of the pieces are.
Once you've colored, cut and assembled your game, you are ready to go.  The game is not set to mimic or duplicate one particular battle, rather it's set up so that the players can strategize and come up with creative ways to mount an offense using the newer technology of the day (tanks and gases for example), while staying safe in the trenches and avoiding being overtaken by those newer technologies.   Despite the fact that you're only playing a game, this particular product lets you see just how precarious the battles of World War I were, and how easily they could have swung from one side of the pendulum to the other.

My history lover (she's 14) spent a great deal of time getting all the parts colored just so, then studying strategies and reading about various battles so she could set the playing area up to get a bird's eye view of how they went.  She used the game board more as a study of battles than as a faux battle game.  When we played, we swapped sides so that she got an opportunity to be on each side of the battle.  This was a great way to bring history off the pages of a book and put it in the hands of the student, bringing battles right into your home, so to speak.
The A La Carte items give you the opportunity to add smaller bits of hands on history to your students learning, giving you control over how much work you want to take on.   Regardless of what curriculum you use, you're sure to find a project to enhance what your student is learning, without braking the budget!

To read other Review Crew opinions on this and other Home School in the Woods products, click here.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Weekly Wrap Up - Slowly Moving Ahead

The weekend was a blur of things to do and commitments to be kept despite the loss of my Mom.   Fatigue (mental, physical and emotional) set in pretty heavy by the end of the day Sunday.  Monday morning we were greeted with our first major snow of the year, a little over 6 inches.    I took our first ever "snow day" and let the kids chill while I did some catching up and decompressing.

Tuesday we were back to school and the day seemed to go relatively smoothly.    Olivia had an Algebra 2 test that took way too long and threw the rest of her day behind.   In the evening Lindsey headed off to a birthday skating party, and headed home with a jammed arm.  While she was skating, we took Olivia to her basketball awards program.   She was given the "Christian Testimony Award" for be supportive, encouraging and not complaining for riding the bench most of the year, ahem.
Wednesday and Thursday were just typical school days, nothing really noteworthy.   I did have to go order a flower arrangement for Momma's memorial service that is coming up this weekend.  I wasn't quite prepared for the wave of emotion that hit me while at the florist, the lady was very sweet and offered a hug.   It's hard to believe that Thursday was a week gone by already.

Friday of course is co-op.   Once that's done we'll go grocery shopping and then home to chill.   The girls have a birthday party to go to in the evening and I guess I'll need to go pick up some things for Easter while they are not with me.

Around the web this week I shared on Incorporating Nature Studies over at Homeschooling With Heart.   I also shared a review of NatureGlo's eScience on the blog.

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle (Review)

Today I'm sharing a review of MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle from a new to us vendor, NatureGlo's eScience.  Specifically for this review we worked through the Math Connections With the Real World.    Also included in the 4 class bundle are MathArt in Ancient Cultures; Mathematics in the Arts and Sciences; and Patterns in Nature.  Each class is a 6 week, online class with downloads and videos.   

For these classes, you have the video component, downloads such as a study guide and project packs (either small easy ones or bigger more complex) and an online quizlet. For the projects the instructions are to research and create your project, create a video and then upload it to youtube, a blog or some other social media platform.  We skipped this because my kids aren't allowed on social media.

The video lesson of the class is pre-recorded during live online classes, so you have the interaction (or lack thereof) with students as well as technical glitches to contend with along with the instructors delay time conversations with students.  Sometimes there are several people talking at once and it's hard to figure out whats going on, and there tends to be background noise of NatureGlo's dogs.   We found it very distracting and hard to follow.

My hope with reviewing Math Connections With the Real World was that it would help answer the question "when will I ever use this math in the real world".  My 14 year old student who is currently doing Algebra II said she had no clue what the  first two lessons were really about.  While she did understand the premise behind Fibonacci numbers, she didn't really see why she'd ever be going around counting petals on flowers and pine cones.  She said the whole thing just seemed very "hippie" to her.

One aspect of the videos and lessons she really liked though was the look at history that went along with the lessons.  We all enjoyed the videos links about Ancient Egypt, King Tut, Cleopatra and the art and music of the time. Lesson 4 was our favorite as it was almost totally based on ancient history, and I don't remember anything tying in the Fibonacci numbers.  The videos in this and several other portions of the class were links to outside sites and were really well done and engaging.  However, I'm never happy about blindly clicking on outside links.  The "find your favorite item and circle it" portion of all the lessons was just for grins and giggles as you do nothing other than circle and erase before moving on.  My history lover really enjoyed this particular lesson because of the historical content.

When we hit Lesson 5 we got caught in a "You have to complete Lesson 4 to proceed" loop.   Everything on Lesson 4 was completed and I went back over each one.  Yet I couldn't get the site to let us move on.   I sent a message via the site itself to see what was going on and within a few hours the problem was resolved and they notified me it had been changed.  Great turn around on fixing technical issues.

Overall, this was not a product review that we enjoyed.   We really had a hard time navigating the website at first and had issues with several of the links and videos.

To read other Review Crew opinions of this and other products from NatureGlo's eScience, click here.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Weekly Wrap Up - The Heartbroken One

Monday and Tuesday were good and normal.   Wednesday morning at a little after 8am I got the call that my Momma wasn't doing well.    After making a 90 minute drive in 60 minutes (and not getting a ticket of having an accident) I sat by her bedside until she went to be with Jesus on Thursday, March 8 at 5:45pm.

That's about as much wrapping up as I can manage for now.   Hoping next week goes better.

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Friday, March 2, 2018

Weekly Wrap Up - Hello March

Happy March!!   Spring is close (I hope) and here at our house the trees are starting to bud and the early flowers are starting to pop up.   I'm hoping we don't get a late snow that damages it all, but that's out of my realm of control.

Monday Olivia babysat all day.   After we dropped her off, Lindsey and I transported a family member to doctor appointments and then came home to work on her school work.    Olivia and I also finished up the last of our typhoid pills at bedtime (so very glad this is done).   I also shared a blog post about Lindsey's Reformation and Renaissance study.

Tuesday was a typical school day.   The work is taking much less time now that we're finishing up some of the subjects, so early afternoons are a lot less rushed now.   In the evening it was off to archery.

Wednesday I was up early and off to my 6 month dental appointment.  No cavities or issues, go me!  the girls worked on lessons while I was gone.  Lindsey finished up her science for the year.  Then we had a lovely afternoon tea break when everyone was done with class work.

Thursday was a long day, with a huge gap in lessons during the day for some family things I needed to tend to.  The girls had their first volleyball practice for the upcoming fall season.  It looks like Lindsey will be playing JV and Olivia is moving to varsity.   Practice ran from 3:15-5:15, then we ran home, dropped off the kids, I went out to make a delivery and the girls finished school work while I made dinner.   After dinner I made cookies for our Dr. Seuss party on Friday.  Can yo identify the book by the cookies?   Crazy winds kicked up over night and kept most of us awake for the majority of the night.
Friday (today) is co-op day, and the crazy wind is still with us.   We're having a Dr. Seuss party during language arts today, so I'm hoping to get photos to share late.   

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up.
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