Sharing thoughts, resources and experiences from our journey through homeschooling

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Crazy Machines - Game Review

Product description from the manufacturer -
  • Create your own unique contraptions
  • Solve more than 200 challenging puzzles
  • Put your machines to work
  • Cool physics engine with air-pressure, electricity, gravity, and particle effects
  • Experiment with gears, robots, explosives, and more in your own virtual lab
We bought Austin this game for Christmas. He has really enjoyed it and I have had the pleasure of watching him explore some scientific concepts that he may have found a little overwhelming in some other formats.

Crazy Machines provides a lot of mental stimulation, problem solving skills and encourages creative thinking. It also teaches some beginning physics, mechanics, and engineering.

I've found that Austin enjoys solving the puzzles and challenges given in the games as well as the opportunity to create his own experiments. And choosing between earth gravity and moon gravity adds to the fun.

I haven't told Austin but I found the solutions for the puzzles given in this game here. He has been doing a great job of sticking with it and figuring out the answers for himself.

Just a Note

Just a note to say that I am going to post a weekly homeschool log instead of a daily log. Hopefully this will help give me time to post about other homeschool topics I would enjoy writing about as well.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Homeschool Log Tuesday January 18, 2010

I think today has been our most productive day for awhile.

Both kids did their Dance Mat Typing lessons. Then Austin did his math lesson at Mr. Anker's Computation. He also watched a video about verbs at Gamequarium.

Amanda completed two worksheets - Adverbs That Compare and Adding Nines. She also read several chapters from the book The Blind Colt by Glen Rounds.

Austin watched Extreme Machines: Military Planes on the Military Channel this afternoon.

Both Austin and Amanda updated their blogs today. Amanda's post is called Stinky Cat and Austin's is called Cool Design.

This afternoon we read 1 Kings 17 and one chapter from Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery. Then we had a discussion about how long ago World War 1 was and realized that the house we are living in now was probably already built at that time. The kids loved that, somehow it helped them feel connected to the history we have been reading.

Both Austin and Amanda spent about half an hour outside playing with friends.

Chores, helping with the younger kids and playing games on the computer rounded out their day.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Homeschool Log Saturday January 16, 2010

I know it's the weekend but the really cool thing about homeschool is that learning is not confined to Monday to Friday from 8:30 - 2:45.

The kids had a pretty laid back day.

Austin watched Discovering Yellowstone with Tom Brokaw on Planet Green. He and Amanda together watched Underdog to Wonderdog on Animal Planet.

Austin went grocery shopping with Doug. They took Michael along with them as well. Since Michael has had a rough few days including  a lot of crying and throwing temper tantrums, they very kindly decided to give me a break. I love my family.

Both kids spent a lot of time playing computer games - Crazy Machines, Mahjong, and Solitaire.

After one of the younger kids expressed an interest in dinosaurs, Austin began looking for online sites about dinosaurs. Then Doug got out his computer and soon nearly everyone was getting in on the fun.

Before the Austin and Amanda went to bed we watched the movie Safe Harbor on Hallmark Channel. It is a great movie about a couple who provide a foster home for four teenage boys. I believe it is based on a true story. I had never seen the movie before but Amanda had and was excited to see it come on again.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Playing Catch Up Again

Once again it's Friday and I find myself trying to play catch up.

This week has been very busy with new children in childcare as well as with interviews with families considering bringing their children here for childcare. It's great but it takes time and energy. It hasn't helped any that both Michael and I seem to gotten a slight tummy bug.

I'm just going to touch on some highlights and give some overviews of our week.

Austin has spent a major amount of time playing Crazy Machines on his computer. And he even got Amanda interested in the game. I feel good about seeing them play this game since it involves a lot of problem solving and science (beginning physics).

A friend of ours brought us a stack of recent issues of National Geographic Magazines. One article in particular caught Austin's interest - Redwood Trees. This has led to some research online about Redwoods as well as about some other trees.

The kids watched a lot of Animal Planet and Hallmark channel. Amanda is always on the lookout for any show about dogs. The Dog Whisperer,It's Me or the Dog, and Dogs 101 are some of her favorites.

Wednesday evening both kids went to our the Kids Worx program at our church and Thursday evening they went to my parents house for the evening.

Both Austin and Amanda updated their blogs once this week. It's far from the daily updates I wanted them to do, but we'll try again next week.

We still have some snow on the ground and the kids enjoyed a lot of time outside with their friends playing in the snow. The last two days temperatures have warmed a lot and the snow is quickly disappearing.

We've enjoyed our daily Bible reading and reading from Rilla of Ingleside by L. M . Montgomery.

These are just a few notes from our busy week.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Homeschool Log - Catching Up Friday and Saturday January 8 & 9, 2010

Thursday night we had a dusting of snow and some bitterly cold temperatures, along with wind. Friday school was canceled. Seven school age kids ended up here so we had a snow day too.

Saturday was pretty much a lazy day for all of us.

Here are some pictures from Friday.



Socialization is certainly not a problem here.

Computer Lab?

All three kids with the laptops they got for Christmas.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Homeschool Log Thursday January 7, 2010

It's snowing again. Sadly, at least for me, the forecast is for 1 to 3 inches. I want a couple of feet of snow. I want to be snowed in.

This morning both Austin and Amanda did their typing lessons at Dance Mat Typing. Austin did a math lesson at Mr. Ankers Computation and a language arts lesson at Gamequarium. Amanda did her math and language arts lessons from her workbooks.

Austin and I spent about 15 minutes reading together from  The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Great Illustrated Classics). Amanda finished reading The Call of the Wild (Great Illustrated Classics).

Because I had a meeting to go to this afternoon we didn't get to do any reading together this afternoon.

Both kids watched an episode of The Dog Whisperer on NatGeo and Touched by an Angel on the Hallmark Channel.

Austin played Deer Drive and Treasure Masters, Inc on his computer. 

This evening Austin and Amanda spent part of the evening at their grandparents house. They came home a little earlier than usual because it started snowing and we weren't sure how bad the roads would be.

Chores, helping with the younger kids and taking care of their pets rounded out there day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Homeschool Log Wednesday January 6, 2010

Cold, cold, cold. It is just plain old cold here.

We finished reading Ecclesiastes today and also read 1 Kings 11. The Bible we're using right now is arranged in chronological order and we've enjoyed this version. It is easier to follow. We also read a chapter from  Rilla of Ingleside.

Both Austin and Amanda enjoyed having friends here this afternoon. And while I stay inside and complain about how cold it is, they bundle up and go out to enjoy some fresh air. I'm so glad to see them do that. And I'm so glad I get to stay inside!

This evening the child/youth program at our church resumed after a two week Christmas break. All three kids went as well as Amanda's two friends who were here this afternoon. Austin came back full of excitement about all the fun things that are being planned for the youth group in the next few months. It sounds like he's going to be busy.

Chores, helping with the kids, computer games and watching some TV rounded out their day.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Homeschool Log Tuesday January 5, 2010

I think we found our rhythm again today. Things just seemed to go a lot more smoothly than yesterday.

Both Austin and Amanda worked on their Dance Mat Typing lessons. Austin also went to  Mr. Anker's Computation and did lesson number 5 on addition and then to Gamequarium and watched Adjectives for Armando (Part 4).

Amanda read chapter 1 from the Call of the Wild (Great Illustrated Classics) by Jack London. Austin spent about 10 minutes reading with me from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Great Illustrated Classics) by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Amanda did the Signs and Symbols worksheet from the Hayes Math Skills and Drills Addition workbook and the Direct Objects worksheet from her Language Arts workbook.

This afternoon we read Ecclesiastes chapters 8 - 10. Some of the imagery there gave them both the chuckles. We also read a chapter from Rilla of Ingleside.

Amanda said she wants to take a break this week from cooking but Austin is still enjoying time in the kitchen. This afternoon he made Spicy Chicken Wings and we had them for dinner. They were scrumptious. No leftovers.



Amanda published another post on her blog this afternoon. This one is about her pet rats. Austin worked on a post but did not quite get if finished, so he plans to finish it tomorrow.

TV today was mostly Disney although they did watch the last half of one episode of It's Me or the Dog on Animal Planet.

Amanda played a lot of Solitaire and Austin played a lot of Treasure Masters, Inc. and Deer Drive.

Austin played outside with two of his friends when they came over after school this afternoon.

Chores and helping with the daycare kids rounded out their day.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Homeschool Log Monday January 4, 2010

Today didn't go quite as smoothly as I had hoped. I felt like we kind of bumped along. It took both Austin and Amanda much longer to get through with both chores and schoolwork than I thought it should. I think maybe I had some unreasonable expectations about how smoothly and quickly the kids would be able to transition back into things.

We did enjoy our reading time this afternoon. We read Ecclesiastes 4-7, then we read a chapter of  Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery. I like the history that is covered in this book. It is set in the early 1900's during the time of World War 1.
This afternoon both kids worked on their blogs. Amanda's blog post was all about her our cat.. Austin's blog post was mostly random pictures from his camera.

Chores and helping out with the kids rounded out the rest of their structured time today.

During their free time they spend a lot of time on their computers again.

Amanda loves to play Solitaire and Spider Solitaire. She also enjoys dividing her LPS collection into families or categories and than typing up lists of her categorizations.

Austin plays Deer Drive, Crazy Machines, and Treasure Masters, Inc. The science and logical thinking in the Crazy Machines games is great, and all three games have definite value in problem solving, analytical skills, etc.

Austin and his friend Zac bundled up and went outside for some fresh air and exercise this afternoon. They had a good game of Hide and Seek Tag before they came back in.

We added some music appreciation to our day by enjoying two CDs - Amazing Grace: Classic Hymns and a CD from the Ultimate Worship Collection.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back on Schedule

We have enjoyed our Christmas vacation but it is definitely time for us to get back on schedule. I think we're ready for a new start.

I've made a few minor changes to our school schedule. The main one is that I want Austin and Amanda to work  on their blogs each day. We had started doing this the beginning of the year but somehow it slipped through the cracks. The other changes were doing Bible and literature time each day instead of twice a week. All of these changes are easily incorporated into our day and the kids seemed to be fine with them.

Here are a few pictures from our day today.

Michael practiced his cutting skills.

Austin helped me restock the collage box for the daycare kids.

Amanda helped make grilled cheese sandwiches to go with our tomato soup for dinner.