Powered by Blogger.
RSS

Pages

Review of Dig-It! Games' Roman Town

Dig It! Games Review
You know what a cool name for a company is? Dig-It! Games. A coolly named company should not have a product that disappoints, and, fortunately, Roman Town (iOS App) definitely does not disappoint! In Roman Town, there are two children who sneak away from their father in Pompeii while he is studying Vesuvius. They interact with other characters and explore Pompeii. By solving puzzles you unlock new places to explore. The goal of the game is to collect five clues in each location to track down the master thief, Ladrone.

My family is not new to Dig-it! Games. In fact, my older two children have had the pleasure of reviewing their products before. In 2013, we reviewed the Mayan Mysteries iPad app. Way back in 2011, we actually reviewed the computer based version of Roman Town! The iPad app ended up bearing very little resemblance to the computer based version, but it was so neat to see just how far Roman Town has come. Dig-it! Games has lost none of its professionalism and thoroughness over the years, though. The iPad app is just outstanding. It looks great and my kids had a blast playing it!
My twins (10) played Roman Town on the iPad together, just as they play most games on the iPad together. They are great collaborators! They really loved it. It may be an educational game, but they certainly didn't treat it like one. They played it when they had iPad time, choosing it over other games. Their thoughts are below:

Dig It! Games Review
Mary-Catherine (10): "You can play the games multiple times. If you don't succeed the first time, you can try again. You learn a lot with the games. There's a game with tons of pictures where you build puzzles to make the pictures. There's a game with a key box and directions. It's like a logic puzzle (she describes it like Mastermind). The descriptions are linked to the Romans' history and games they used to play."

Michael (10): "Roman Town is really fun and interactive. Mary-Catherine and I had a lot of fun and we learned a lot of stuff, like how Roman soldiers played dots and boxes in the sand. They used stones as the dots and made lines in the sand with sticks. Whoever had the most squares won. They played squares!"

Some views of Roman Town:

Dig It! Games Review

Dig It! Games Review

Dig It! Games Review

Overall my twins loved Roman Town and I can see them playing it again and again. With 35 puzzles/games, all of which are re-playable (as Mary-Catherine observed above), this is one app that you're not "done with" once you finish it once. It has great replay value. The story line is fun, but it is definitely the games that will keep my twins coming back.

Connect with Dig-It! Games on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Crew members also reviewed another of Dig-It! Games' offerings -the Mayan Mysteries online game. To read all of the Crew reviews of both products, be sure to click the banner below.

Dig-It! Games Review
Crew Disclaimer

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

The Definition of a Best Friend - WW


  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Review of Writing with Sharon Watson

Writing with Sharon Watson Review

For me, one of the eternal mysteries of homeschooling is why I find writing and literature so difficult to teach. I certainly don't find them difficult to do! I very much look forward to doing them with my kids. In fact, if you had told me when I started homeschooling that I would ever seek out actual curriculum in order to help me teach my kids these things, I would have scoffed. Something about pride and falls is ringing in my ears. In any case, I want my kids to love literature, and I want them to be able to write and express their ideas regarding it, so it was with great appreciation that I reviewed Writing with Sharon Watson's Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide program with Nicholas (12).

Writing with Sharon Watson Review

Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide is a complete program comprised of several components, including:

Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide (Student Book) - a 285 page softcover consumable book with lessons for eight works of literature. The book contains all the information a student needs to complete the course (apart from the novel), but see additional material discussed below.

Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide: Teacher's Guide - a 182 page softcover consumable book that is absolutely indispensable to the course. Rather than simply regurgitating the Student Book and providing answers to questions in that volume, the Teacher's Guide is a completely separate book. It talks to the instructor giving in-depth discussion about the structure and content of the course. For every lesson it provides guidance on how to teach the material and discussion helps. The Student Book is very clearly written to the student. The Teacher's Guide is very clearly written to the teacher. 

Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide: Quiz and Answer Manual - a 101 page softcover consumable book that is exactly what it says. These quizzes are actually available online, but as some people prefer the pencil and paper approach, this book is available. The quizzes cover the literature read and are composed of "Yes, I Read It" recall quizzes, Literary Terms quizzes, and Opinion Surveys.

Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide: Novel Notebook (Free PDF Download) - a 102 page download that is like notebooking pages for directed note taking for use with the novels you read during this course.

How This Course is Different

Unlike many other literature programs out there, Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide has a theme - that of conflict, or when worlds collide. Therefore, with every work of literature, the theme of conflict is explored within the confines of a Christian worldview. Having this unified theme makes this course quite unique. Students still learn everything they need to know about literature, but they are able to tie it all together in a cohesive way.

How We Used this Course

As this is a high school level course, I knew that Nicky would need extra help doing it. Also, because he loves to read what he chooses to read, but not necessarily what I tell him to read, I planned from the start just to treat the literature assignments as read-alouds. The vendor was gracious enough to actually provide us with the first two novels used in the course - Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain and The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. 

The course starts out nice and easy. It eases into the material, which is great if your student hasn't had much exposure to literature prior to the course. The Teacher's Guide is absolutely fantastic for walking you through exactly how and what to discuss with your student. For someone like me who tends to want to throw a 12 year-old into a college literature course his first time out, a Teacher's Guide is almost essential, as paradoxical as that sounds. This Teacher's Guide is one of the best I have seen. Although it is more geared toward classroom work in some places, it is very easily adaptable to one student. 

Because this is a literature course, as opposed to a writing course, you really can control the amount of writing your child does. I ended up having a lot of discussion time with Nicky. That way we could cover the literature concepts without getting bogged down in the aspects of writing that might trip him up (and drive me crazy). 



I really like this course! The book selection is great. This is real classic literature with enduring themes and great vocabulary. It covers the same literary concepts I learned in high school, but I learned many of mine through a textbook. *This* is the way such things were meant to be learned!
Clearly, I'm a fan of this great program. To see how other Crew members felt, be sure to click the banner below.



Writing with Sharon Watson Review
Crew Disclaimer

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Where I'll Be For A Little While...


We're heading to Carlsbad Caverns, Colorado Springs, and Estes Park for a week and half. We rent an amazing house in Estes Park within view of the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. I'll confess that while I love to hike, my favorite thing of all to do is sit in the living room with the balcony door open and the mountains right there and read. Reading during the day is a luxury I don't usually indulge in, and reading for hours is something I don't often get to do because I fall asleep at night. In the past, my sister and her family have gone with us, and we are sorely going to miss them this time. I loved having other grown-ups (or people who pretended to be grown-ups during the day) to play cards and games with. I loved being able to see her kids for extended periods of times. For any who don't know, she and I have the exact same family. My kids are 14, 12, 10, and 10. Hers are 13, 11, 11, and 9. We both and 2 boys and 2 girls, including b/g twins. Crazy, right? Oh, and my sister is only 15 months older than I. Tailor made for family vacations, right? We would have much more fun if they were going to be with us, but at least we get to go at all. We haven't been on vacation in four years, unless you count debate tournaments. And I most emphatically DON'T.

It's no secret that I have been having a bit of trouble accustoming myself to the idea that Therese is getting older. To me, she still looks like this, despite a ton of evidence to the contrary.


On the plus side, because of her hamstring ills, I have had the opportunity to spend a ton of time with her this summer, so I'm taking it and loving it. Something no one ever tells you about having kids is that it gets harder every year. When people saw me with 4 under 4, they always said it would get easier. They lied. The more they grow away from you, the harder it gets for a whole host of reasons. How did I get from beautiful Bear Lake to this sad subject? To end on a positive note, seeing the wonderful people your kids become is truly a blessing all its own (yay, me! I didn't think I'd be able to pull that one off!).


  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

The Mean Reds


In Breakfast at Tiffanys, Audrey Hepburn (okay, okay, Holly Golightly) describes the Mean Reds as suddenly being afraid and not knowing what you're afraid of. I hate that feeling. That dread in the pit of your stomach. There's the blues - that horrible sadness even when you don't have anything to be sad about - which some people seem to be afflicted with more than others (raises hand and looks around furtively), but the Mean Reds are so much worse. You just don't know how to fix it because there is nothing rational causing it. Well-meaning people will tell you to take a step back and evaluate what is causing the feeling and force yourself to acknowledge that nothing bad has happened (irony moment - "Nothing bad has happened" is one of the things I say most often to my own kids), but well-meaning people don't experience the Mean Reds. They're not rational and there's no way to beat them back. Of course, if anyone has any ideas, I'm certainly open to them. 

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Life is Stoning Me to Death with Popcorn

Fulton Sheen once said that hearing nuns' confessions was like being stoned to death with popcorn. I feel like that is what life is doing to me this summer. There is nothing majorly wrong in my life, but it seems like every time I turn around, something else is going just wrong enough. It started with the epic closet fall, which is still not completely cleaned up because of my *&$#@ frozen shoulder. We usually get our best schooling done in the summer, but between Therese's PT for her hamstring and my PT for my shoulder (plus doctor appointments, tests, summer dance all July, etc.), school just hasn't happened. Then, I was supposed to go to Ft. Worth for a week (this week, actually) to see Analisa, but because of my shoulder, I can't safely drive that far (when I drive, I have to "T-Rex" it with my left arm - it's basically stuck to my body). I was really looking forward to spending time with her, so that was a huge disappointment. I am guessing because of my shoulder and the horrendous heat, I have a headache almost every single day. That has put me behind in my work. Then today I woke up sick just two weeks before we are to leave for Estes Park. I am exhausted thinking about everything that has to be done before we can go - fix things for Jack (the dog), prepare our meals in advance, write up instructions for my mom, figure out what we need to take. It all just seems like too much right now.

Am I the only person who has a voice in her head constantly counting the ways in she fails every day? I can't seem to shut that voice up. Then I loathe myself for having and listening to that voice in the first place. Then I add that to my litany of failures. It's a vicious circle. I seriously can't wait for fall, even though it means a return to dance classes, debate, and drudgery.

ETA: Oh, yeah, and the dishwasher and the A/C are both malfunctioning. The two-year old A/C unit can't seem to keep up with the heat and the dishwasher just started short-cycling last night. Joy unconfined.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Fr. Troy

Some of you know how much I love Fr. Troy. He's one of the two major reasons I don't ever want to move (Mrs. Carol, the girls' dance teacher, is the other). I went to Confession on Saturday, and as usual the line was very long. Am I the only person who is very happy to see a long Confession line? If the crowds at Confession and Mass at St. John Vianney are any indication, the Catholic Church is thriving. In any case, I am, as ever, thanking God for Fr. Troy. My children will grow up loving Confession because of him. He has the ability to hone in on the underlying issue of whatever you tell him. He knows that whatever your sin, it's a symptom of something else. When he talked to me on Saturday, I knew that I was hearing Jesus. Believe me (and if you know me, you know this is true), I *know* how stupid that sounds. It's true, though. His voice was so kind and compassionate. He told me exactly what I needed to hear at that time (basically to let go of my control and give God's grace room to work (on/in this situation)). It's embarrassing, but I basically had to run out of the confessional crying (after absolution, of course). 


It's so fitting that he is the pastor at St. John Vianney - the great confessor priest. I wish that everyone could experience the joy of the Sacrament of Confession. There is nothing like it. We need to pray for more priests, especially priests with the gift of hearing confessions well. 

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS