Friday, February 4, 2011

Fit Mommy Friday 2011 Week 5

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This seemed like a very un-fitnessy week. Ok, I know that isn't a word, but it has been that kind of week. I don't think I ate a single raw vegetable - except sandwich fixins' one day at Subway (I really had them load it up with spinach, tomatoes, peppers, and onion). I felt like I didn't lift even my little finger, but after looking at my calendar - I discovered that I actually exercised some! So, here is my week:


Friday, Jan. 28 - 1 hr session with trainer, water good and we've already discussed the veggies, so…

Saturday, Jan. 29 - Couple of hours at the zoo - good walking, good water

Sunday, Jan. 30 - nothing at all, but good water

Monday, Jan 31 - nothing, good water

Tuesday, Feb 1 - 1 hr Wii Fit - drank mostly coffee, but some water

Wednesday, Feb 2 - nothing, some water

Thursday, Feb 3 - 1 hr with trainer, 2 mile fast walk, good water



I really thought about not even posting, but I'm glad I decided to write this up, because I did better than I thought! I really need to keep working on the raw vegetables but the water intake wasn't bad.

Check out everyone else's progress by clicking here to go to the Got Chai blog.



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TOS Review - Dig It Games Roman Town

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We have been talking a lot about dinosaurs and paleontologists lately. We've discussed fossils and how carefully you must excavate a site. So, I was excited to be chosen to review a computer game, Roman Town from Dig It Games. Roman Town is obviously not about dinosaurs, but it was a perfect way to expand their understanding of archaeology. Their familiarity with digging up fossils prepared them for a move into human archaeology.


Roman Town is not a difficult game to master and any child can successfully complete the game, although non-readers will definitely need help. Maggie, FRitW, and I played it all the way through. I, of course, did it purely for um, research- yes, that's it, research. ~grin~ Ok, so I had a little fun too and only had to ask Maggie for help once or twice. We all learned something. I learned what an impluvium was, that families often had garbage mosaics or frescoes (I can't remember which right now!) and that a 'Beware of Dog' mosaic in the Fauces (entryway) was to help discourage thieves.

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The game is fun and was played extensively in our house. I liked that it was not an overwhelming, fast computer game, but more of a puzzle, think about it type of game. There are six levels to explore and each reveals a room of a typical Roman home. The player assigns diggers to work at various spots of a dig site and waits for a green speech bubble to appear (this means your digger found something). A click on the bubble takes you to a screen of dirt. Your mouse pointer becomes a trowel with which you must uncover the artifact hidden in the dirt. Once uncovered the object is identified - usually by one of the two Roman children that once lived in the home. The player can choose to L.E.A.R.N. (Locate Engrossing And Remarkable kNowledge) more about the object or return to digging. We really enjoyed reading on to L.E.A.R.N. more.


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The descriptions were not just mere descriptions, for example, when you find an amphora you are told that it is a specially shaped jar with two handles and a foot on the bottom, but you also discover exactly what fluids would have been stored inside and what materials the amphora would have been made of. The word amphora is explained too - amphi means 'on both sides' in Greek.

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This is an interesting and fun part of the game, but I, ahem, the kids really liked the other part of the game. Once all of the artifacts in the dig site are uncovered, it is time to go to the lab. In the lab players must sort all of the artifacts into crates - pottery in one, glass in another, metal in a third, fresco pieces in crate number 4 - etc. Once sorted, you can play a number of games each level. We enjoyed piecing together the pottery, mosaics, and frescos most of all. Thank goodness no pieces were missing - it must be so much harder for a real archaeologist! Other games included finding objects that didn't belong - I'm thankful for Maggie's sharp eyes on this one - many modern things were included in a picture of a Roman home and I struggled to find all of them. She also excelled at the memory game - the player looks at a picture then objects are removed and have to be replaced in the correct spot.

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The lab also included a tour of the room you excavated and a final lab report with words missing. The missing words are at the bottom and needed to be put in the right blank. Once the report was complete a new room was unlocked for play.

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We really enjoyed playing this game and found it appealed to all ages. Although several descriptions will be repeated in each game, that just further cements the knowledge for the player. The artifacts change from room to room and game to game. The same item, like an mortar and pestle might be found in several rooms, as long as it is a room it would be used in.

To keep the game interesting and encourage the player to complete all six levels, there is a bit of a mystery presented. The purpose of the archaeology trip is to determine what happened in the Roman town that caused it to be deserted and not rebuilt. I won't solve the mystery for you though - you'll have to finish the game yourself.

The only thing about the game that was an issue for me, was that there was no sound. Someone had to read every comment to the little boys and while that is not too big a deal since there was someone sitting with them anyway, I'm pretty sure our southern accents did not do justice to the pronunciation of Impluvium or Amphorae! I would love to see this game have sound added.

Roman Town is offered by Dig-It Games and priced at $39.95, BUT use coupon code TOS2011 to receive the game for just $19.96! Snap this up quickly because the coupon is only good until February 21, 2011.

See what other TOS Crew members thought about Roman Town by clicking here.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

TOS Blog Walk - February 1-5

Can you believe it is already February? We have cold weather headed our way so I am making plans to stay warm and inside (unless it snows - then we will HAVE to go out to enjoy it!). So if you are looking at cold, icy days as well - I have a little suggestion for you: Take a blog walk with me!

I have a list of 10 TOS Homeschool Crew blogs to visit this week. Stop by a few of these, or all of them, and say hello! Many of these families will also be stuck inside because of cold and ice and will love reading a cheerful note from you!

1. Homeschooling In Nova Scotia, Canada


2. Clever Title TBA

3. Until the Day Dawn Weblog

4. RubySlippersSchool.com

5. Smooth Stones Christian

6. Clothesline Musings

7. Four Little Penguins

8. Laurie's School Days

9. Sunshine to Flowers

10. One Big, Healthy Family


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Monday, January 31, 2011

TOS Review - City Creek Press Times Alive

Times Alive Software from City Creek Press is a multiplication learning program that teaches the zeros through nines tables. It is based on a book entitled, Times Tables the Fun Way. The software is a designed to introduce or reinforce multiplication tables.

  
Times Alive uses rhymes, stories, and songs to reinforce multiplication tables. City Creek Press has an article entitled Why It Works which mentions that this more interactive, story-based method is more effective than rote memorization or flash cards. It is colorful and the songs are catchy, but our family found it to be confusing.

 
My husband, myself, Kirk, and Maggie all tried the program and felt that it was more difficult to remember the story and why it related to the facts than it was to just understand why 3 sets of 4 would make 12. FRitW and MT enjoyed some of the songs and stories, but of course are too young for the understanding of multiplication.

I definitely feel that this would be a more positive approach than flash cards or rote memory for mastery of multiplication tables. I did not like the method used to teach the 2's table or 5's table - which was using your fingers to count by 2's or 5's. The 5's table was also taught by referring to a clock. As this would reinforce telling time, I felt this would be a more effective way to teach.

I had a very hard time with many of the individual facts. Some of the stories were very hard to follow, so the story overwhelmed the fact. I have heard that sometimes the most ridiculous story or picture will help trigger your memory, so that may be very effective for some children.
 
Be sure to watch some of the videos featured here to get an idea of how the program works. The little boys particulary liked this story:

 

 
Some things I appreciated about Times Alive are:

 
  • There is a lot of repetition - for each table or fact there is a story, a song, a game or coloring activity.
  • Facts are seen multiple times as quizzes and games repeat the facts learned already.
  • As a parent it is easy to see exactly what your child has mastered and what they need to work on.
  • The activities intersperse learning fun (in the songs, stories, and coloring pages) with quizzes and tests.

 
Times Alive is available from City Creek Press in download or CD versions. Download for Windows or Mac are $44.95 and the CD version retails for $48.95.

 
Click here to see what other Crew members thought about Times Alive by City Creek Press.

 

 
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**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.