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Learning with Spielgaben Educational Toys

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All of the colors make you want to dive right in, don’t they?

For months pictures of Spielgaben have been floating around on Instagram and the colors were pulling me in. So many amazing manipulatives and pieces to create with – shapes, beads, rings, wooden blocks, pegs, string, sticks (points), and more – all so very inviting to young and old alike.

Spielgaben Educational Toys and learning


I was (wrongfully) under the assumption that the Speilgaben set was really more for little kids – something that we seem to be running short on in our home with our youngest now being seven. But since its arrival,  Spielgaben has been an enormous hit, and we are using it in a variety of ways with our kids, both in creative free play and educationally!

Spielgaben flowers

When we first opened up all of the boxes, there was a LOT of free play and creating using all of the pieces: buildings created from blocks, scenes and critters made with shapes, and yarn balls being thrown (ahem).  We are talking HOURS of uninterrupted play – both when it first arrived and now weeks and weeks later.

In the weeks following, the main focus for us has been tying Spielgaben in to what we are already learning about in our various subject like math, science, and language. And the user’s guides, inspiration cards, and worksheets that are all a part of the kit – amazing! They provide you with so many learning activities that guide you step-by-step through the activity. From there you can extend the learning or move on to another activity. All of ours are on the iPad, but for specific teaching activities I print them off to have handy. I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful they are, and you can get a peek at some pages here.

What I’d really love to show you though is how we are using Spielgaben in our home! I’ve been trying to plan 3-4 specific activities each week for both Kaleb (7) and Zachary (9). McKenna (age 11) has been using the Spielgaben to create story scenes.

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Kaleb has been working on early multiplication. To demonstrate the concept, we grouped items together. Above we were talking about 5 x 3 = 15.

Learning about symmetry with Spielgaben

We’ve also been talking about symmetry, so we taped one of the strings in the kit to the top of the board and made a middle line of symmetry. Then Kaleb and I took turns creating a shape and then the mirror image of it on the other side of the line.  In the last image, Kaleb created three images and then wanted me to do exactly what he had done. (So I did – grins).

multiplication with Spielgaben

A certain 9 year old needed a little multiplication practice, so for the facts he missed during one math lesson, he created the problems using various Spielgaben pieces.

Learning about acute and obtuse angles

Zachary has been working on acute, obtuse, and right angles, so we taped several of the rods together to measure the angles on various triangles and determine if they were obtuse, acute, or right angles. It was a great hands-on way to measure all three sides of each triangle as well and see how a few could be acute while another obtuse.

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Building structures – this is an example that came from one of the teacher’s manuals. Kaleb wanted to make it because he thought it looked like the Lincoln Memorial. (grins)

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Tally marks – need I say more? We can always use a little more practice here!

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Remember I said there were worksheets? Somehow I had them in the wrong folder on my computer, and this week has been the first time we’ve used any. Above Kaleb was practicing grouping by tens.

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During the last several weeks of our science program with Kaleb, we were talking about insects. It was so much fun to create the different insects we were studying: ladybugs, butterflies, ants, and grasshoppers (our grasshopper may have looked more like a goat…).

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There have also been puppet shows (grins).

To tell you the truth, we have only scratched the surface on how we can use all of the pieces in our Spielgaben set. Somehow I missed an entire manual that comes with it! After going through it, there are ideas spinning in my head on how to incorporate more hands-on learning  fun with the older kids. I’ll continue to share pictures and examples of how we’re using it via Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, so don’t miss those!

A Few Thoughts From Me…

Spielgaben is targeted for children ages 3-12 (our 13 year old thinks that excludes her, but she has been caught creating on numerous occasions!). One thing that I do want to note is the cost of the set, because for many that is a huge part of the buying process. While the purchase price may be higher, remember the set includes the following:

  • a 3-tiered wooden organizational system
  • high-quality wooden pieces that will last for generations (we are keeping ours for YEARS to come – definitely future generations will use it!)
  • digital teacher helps: inspiration cards, nature guides, worksheets, and multiple curriculum guides for children of all ages
  • ways to supplement learning through the age 12
  • can be a complete play-based curriculum for younger children

Ultimately, you know your child(ren) best and how they learn, what they enjoy, and need to consider all of that when you make a purchase (I really understand that!). As I mentioned earlier, I assumed that Spielgaben was intended for only younger children, but can honestly say that it has been a fabulous addition to our homeschool time and is something we will actively be using in the upcoming months and years. There are very few toys and things that I keep around our home once we are done – but this is one we will save.

      Want to purchase Spielgaben for your family?

    Spielgaben is offering my readers a special price on the complete set,  including shipping until May 20th!

spielgaben bins

USD $327 | GBP 195 | AUD 360

To take advantage of this special offer, go to the Spielgaben contact form and send Spielgaben an email mentioning Homeschool Creations. They will then contact you with instructions on how to apply the discount coupon code.

Don’t forget to “like” Spielgaben on Facebook – they are sharing additional learning ideas there too!

 

I was sent a set of Spielgaben products to review for this post. All opinions are my own and genuine!

The BEST Homeschool Spelling Curriculum

The best homeschool spelling curriculum - and why we like it so much from homeschoolcreations.net

 

Six years ago our family started using a homeschool spelling curriculum that literally changed the way I looked at curriculum overall.  All About Spelling helped me realize that I COULD teach a subject with confidence, and there were programs available that would reach a variety of learning styles while still keeping life simple for me as a mom and teacher.

Our kids are at different spelling levels now, ranging from Level 1 up to 6, and All About Spelling has been a fabulous addition to our homeschool curriculum. (I have to admit that I am a bit sentimental over the fact that our youngest is just about finished with the first level – and I honestly don’t want to give it up!) Each of our children has used the program a bit differently than other siblings, but that is the true beauty of All About Spelling – you can adapt it to fit your family! We are all hooked on the program and look forward to spelling time together each week.

A Quick Look at the Spelling Curriculum

All About Spelling teaches phonograms, spelling rules and patterns, word segmenting, syllables, and so much more.  It is an easy step-by-step spelling curriculum with multisensory lessons that focuses on spelling mastery. The program is based on Orton-Gillingham methods combined with the latest research.

Ten Reasons to Love All About Spelling

Each of our children has used the program a bit differently than the others, but that is the true beauty of All About Spelling.

  1. The lessons are amazingly easy to follow.  Step-by-step lightly scripted plans are given for each lesson in the level being worked on, letting the teacher know what materials are needed. Each lesson also includes ‘teacher tips’ to explain various concepts and rules.
  2. Lessons can be customized to your child’s specific needs. When we first started, we went through the early lessons rather quickly. Now we pace the lessons based on a rate that is comfortable for each child, making sure concepts have been mastered.
  3. Each lesson includes opportunity for review. Lessons Each include a way to review the steps and rules that have been taught in previous lessons, along with reinforcement for the rules that were learned during that lesson.
  4. The materials are hands-on and geared toward a variety of learning styles. Whether your child is a hands-on, auditory, or visual learner – or anything combined – there is something in the program to help! One of our favorite parts of All About Spelling are the magnetic letter tiles used spell out the words and sounds that are being practiced. Each level also includes flashcards for review. This hands-on aspect has really helped the learning with two of our children. (Not sure about your child’s learning style – check out this post for a little help.)
  5. The focus is on spelling strategies, not on spelling list memorization. Rather than handing your child a list to memorize and practice, All About Spelling focuses on the rules behind spelling. If there are any exceptions to the rule, they are covered as well (the English language can be tricky, and even I’ve learned a thing or two over the years!).
  6. Concepts are taught one at a time and introduced at appropriate levels. Let’s face it – it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the different rules and phonograms. In All About Spelling, a concept is taught, practiced, and then continually reviewed in upcoming lessons to make sure that mastery is achieved.
  7. The lessons are short and effective. Each lesson takes between 15-20 minutes to complete, but the objectives are clearly stated and there isn’t any prep time required. (No excuses for not working on spelling now!)
  8. It is a complete curriculum from preschool to high school. There are seven levels in the program. It’s a one-stop spelling curriculum, and I LOVE that! Our oldest is currently 7th grade and working on level 6, but
  9. The program is non-consumable. For our family of four, this is a huge help! Both the teacher’s manual and student materials can be re-used with younger children because NONE of it is consumable! That adds up to a huge savings when the cost is spread out between children – AND it can be sold when the level is finished.
  10. The company has a fabulous guarantee and support. There have been times that I’ve had questions over the years, and the office support has been a HUGE help to me. In addition, All About Learning Press offers a wonderful guarantee – you have a FULL YEAR to try out the All About Spelling program. If it doesn’t work for you, just return the materials at any time within one year and they will give you a full refund. (That’s how much they believe in their program).

      Get Started with All About Spelling
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  • Spelling Materials (Teacher’s Manual and Student Packet): Each level of All About Spelling comes with a materials packet that includes flashcards,  a progress chart, a completion certificate, and other tools to help you teach. The program also uses letter tiles that can be used in all seven levels. The letter tiles are not included in the material pack of each level (so that you wouldn’t have six sets). If you are teaching more than one student at a time, you can order additional materials packets.  
  • Spelling Interactive Kit: The basic or deluxe interactive kit is used through all seven levels of All About Spelling – and you only need to purchase one (even if you are teaching multiple children). Kit components can be purchased separately – I personally recommend buying a few extra review boxes and divider cards to store all of the cards for the seven levels. Don’t miss their FREE phonogram sounds app either!

There is nothing that I haven’t been pleased about with this curriculum – seriously! If you are interested in learning more about how to teach using All About Spelling, know that they a 100% learning satisfaction guarantee. This is definitely a program that we recommend – and also that you check out their homeschool reading programs!

Not sure where to begin? Find out if your child is ready to begin spelling or determine what level to start with by visiting the All About Spelling site.

 

Start your All About Spelling journey now!

 

 

New to Homeschooling?

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Here are a few posts that you might find helpful as you discover what is best for your family. Be sure to check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

Homeschool Teaching Styles and Philosphies.png Identifying Children's Learning Styles copy How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

This All About Spelling Review was written based on our personal use of the program over the past six years.

Creative Play and Fun with the Block Party Game Set

One of my favorite things to do with our kids is play games. Wooden blocks are another things that our children love, so the chance to combine both of those into fun block games is a big win for us!

Last year our family was introduced to Larsen Toy Lab and their mission to provide quality building blocks that will last for generations – and inspire families to be creative together. The ability to be creative and imaginative, without setting limits on what a toy can or cannot do – well, that’s something that I enjoy seeing happen.

About the Block Party Game Set

Block Party from Larsen Toy Lab

Block Party includes three fun games all in one convenient bag. All games are targeted for ages 3 and up and range from 2-6 players. The bag, stuffed full with 41 blocks, game pieces and instructions, has all you need to play three new games:

Strike Out – a building and strategy game where the players build a structure that won’t fall down and the player with the least strikes at the end of the game wins {see video example}

Ten Towers – players earn building cards and practice shape recognition and building {see video example}.

Pair Up – similar to a memory matching game, players try to find matching cards and gather the block to build the tallest tower by the game’s end {see video example}.

Pair Up Block Game from Larsen Toy Lab

Laurianna proving her block tower was taller than mine

Creating games based around building blocks encourages creative play, and these games offer additional education skills such as balance, following directions, shape identification, and memory matching.

Coupon Code!!

Use the code GAMENIGHT15 and take 15% off

the Block Party set during the month of October.

What We Love About Block Party

Block Party Larsen Toy Lab (1)

Our favorite games? Hmmm…it’s a toss up between Strike Out and Pair Up. Hoping you would have the tallest {and most stable} tower to make it to the end of Pair Up was so much fun, but the strategy of Strike Out was also interesting to watch the kids figure out {because you don’t want to be the one to knock a tower over}.

Ten Towers is a game that we need to play a little more, because there can be much more strategy involved in it. It may have been one of my choices to play, but only because I had figured out a way to get more points {I’m not competitive at all, no}.

There really are so many things that I love about the Block Party set from Larsen Toy Labs. Here are just a few…

Canvas Carry Tote – The game set includes a canvas tote to store all of the blocks and also a smaller canvas bag to store all of the game pieces and instructions {can’t say how much I love this}. And, it’s a little something that will help you carry the blocks around.

Sturdy Construction -All of the blocks are handmade from maple or cherry wood and will last for generations. The game pieces and instructions to go along are all printed full-color and on thick cardstock, then laminated for added protection.

Additional Play Ideas – Just in case your kids get in a mindset that they can only play a game using the blocks, there are creative building ideas included in the set. That way, you children can extend the fun beyond the game!

The Size – All of the blocks from Larsen Toy Lab are the perfect size for kids’ hands. The largest of their blocks in the 6” x 6” x 1” building platform, and there are currently 16 different block shapes made from maple and cherry wood.

A Guarantee – As with all of their products, Larsen Toy Lab offers a 100% money back guarantee {that alone speaks volumes to me personally}.

Building with Blocks from Larsen Toy Lab

Beyond the games included in the set, the Block Party set has been a part of building projects around the house. That handy tote bag has been great to grab everything quickly and carry it to another room.

Coupon Code!!

Use the code GAMENIGHT15 and take 15% off

the Block Party set during the month of October.

Our family was sent the Block Party set to use and review in exchange for our honest opinion. All thoughts in this post are my own.

First Grade Homeschool Art Lessons from Home Art Studio

Be sure to read through – there is a special coupon code for you to grab! We received the First Grade DVD from Home Art Studio to review and are excited to share our experience with you!

First Grade Art Projects with Home Art Studio

Before the year is finished, our school room walls are going to be covered with fun artwork thanks to Home Art Studio. Our first grader has been captivated by the lessons and projects. He is frequently found carrying around the DVD for First Grade Art. Since the very first lesson, he has asked every single day if he can work on another lesson.

About First Grade Art from Home Art Studio

First Grade Art Home Art Studio

If teaching art is something that makes you nervous, you are going to love Home ARt Studio. With the First Grade Art DVD, your child will have a personal art teacher, Ms. Lindsay Volin. Each lesson is guided by Ms. Volin, and first graders learn about art through different world cultures. In addition to the art projects that use a variety of art mediums, art vocabulary is discussed.

Included in the First Grade DVD:

  • 18 art projects instructed by video
  • PDF lesson plans with picture instructions

Having the lessons on DVD is very helpful, because children can pace themselves on the projects. When needed, the lesson can be paused until a part is completed, and then the DVD can be turned back on to continue the lesson.

The lesson structure and simple instructions are perfect for kids to follow along independently {with mom nearby, just in case}. Each of the lessons we’ve worked on so far has been broken up into two segments, so we can take our time working on a project and spend two days a week on our art lesson.

Home Art Studio First Grade Lesson Plans

The PDF lesson plans are so handy! The plans can be printed out and stored in a binder to see what supplies are required for upcoming lessons. The pdf plans also give parents a quick overview of each art lesson, including vocabulary words and tips for parents to extend the art activity in other learning areas of science, language, social studies and math.

Supplies are not included with the DVD, but a full supply list is available via Jerry’s Artarama or you can purchase supplies at your local art store. So far we have needed only a few basic supplies that we didn’t already have on hand, but they were very easy to find and we were able to quickly start our lessons.

How We’re Using Home Art Studio

First Grade Home Art Studio DVD

When I say that Kaleb is loving the lessons from Home Art Studio, I am not joking. He literally carries the DVD case around with him, talking about the different projects and asking when we will be able to finish them all. For now, he has been working on one project a week, and the lesson is broken up over the period of two days.

Rainbow Weaving from Home Art Studio

our Rainbow Weaving project

Although this DVD is geared for first grade, a few of the other kids are sneaking in and working on the lessons as well. The Home Art Studio program is perfect for using with multiple children. The projects are fun, colorful and really – art is great no matter what age you are!

Paper Roller Coaster Home Art Studio

our Paper Roller Coaster project

This year a small co-op that we are participating in is studying world geography and cultures, so the first grade DVD theme of art from around the world tied in perfectly with our school year. I’m hoping that we can even use a few of the projects with the younger children during our studies!

Mission to Mars Home Art Studio

our Mission to Mars project

Supplies can seem overwhelming, but we can use many of the items we purchased on future projects: items such as oil pastels, construction paper, tempera paint, etc…, and they may be supplies that you already have on hand.

Overall, we are excited to use Home Art Studio this year (and in years to come) and believe it is a great resource for families! Be sure to visit the Home Art Studio site and view one of their sample lessons so you can get an idea on how the program is set up.

Discount Code for Home Art Studio

We all love to save money right? Use the coupon code HSC2013A for your Home Art Studio purchase from Jerry’s Artarama and you can save up to 30%!

  • Buy 1-2 DVDs, and receive 20% off your order
  • Buy 3 or more DVDs and receive 30% off your order
    Hope the codes help you out. Enjoy!

 

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Georgia O’Keefe Art Study – Poppy Collage Art Project

This post is our honest review of a product that we received for free. All opinions expressed are solely mine.

The Poppy Collage art project from See the Light has been one of my FAVORITE art projects with our kids so far. We are using the year 1 art curriculum from See the Light this year, but Poppy Collage is part of the Art Project series from artist Pat Knepley.

Our kids have really enjoyed the art lessons on dvd and I love that the teaching and history behind the lessons are all included in the four step-by-step lessons. Poppy Collage does have a little bit of prep involved {cutting tissue paper and gathering the few supplies}, but otherwise the lessons are full of art history taught from a Biblical perspective.

Poppy Collage focuses on the artwork of Georgia O’Keefe and her gorgeous close-up paintings. Throughout the lessons, teacher Pat Knepley shares the about the life of O’Keefe, different paintings and styles that O’Keefe worked on throughout her career, and then teaches children art elements and principles using different mediums.

The Poppy Collage Art Project

The video includes 4 step-by-step lessons and although the segments range from 17 to 22 minutes, you need to allow about 1 hour per lesson to work on the project. Our kids would pause the video every now and then to work on what the session assignment and would then resume watching. Here’s a look at the breakdown of the four lessons:

THE ABSTRACTED FLOWER DRAWING (22 minutes)

TISSUE PAPER COLLAGE TECHNIQUE (20 minutes)

LAYERING TRANSLUCENT HUES (21 minutes)

FINAL DETAILS TO CREATE INTEREST (17 minutes)

Creating Our Collages

Our kids set up camp in the living room around a table so they could see the video better and we put all of the supplies in the center of the table. We did have a live plant at first, but used some real pictures of poppies for the project as well.

Poppy Art Project from See the Light-9737

Poppy Art Project from See the Light-9726 Poppy Art Project from See the Light-9723

Long after the older kids were finished with their project, Kaleb was hanging out in the living room and finishing up the background of his poppy collage. He was so particular about this one!

Poppy Art Project from See the Light-9747

As a mom without a lot of art history knowledge {or memory – ahem}, I love how the video covers not only the history of the artist and famous pieces, but also the techniques and processes used in artwork. If I tried to explain art terms and model how to do something it can be really difficult, but the videos easily show the kids how to do certain techniques {and I can even participate along too!}.

Supplies for the projects are simple – glue, pencils, tissue paper, poster board, etc… no hunting around for some crazy things that I’ve never heard of before. Although targeted for ages 10+, all of our kids {ages 6 to 11} participated in the Poppy Collage art project.

Our Poppy Collage Projects

Each one of the kids created a project that was definitely ‘showcase’ worthy, leaving us with the question of how to display all of the artwork around the house! For now a few are displayed in the schoolroom and one child claimed the artwork as her own and has it hanging over her bed. Here’s a little peek at the girls’ work…
Poppy Art Collage-11yearoldLaurianna, age 11 Poppy Art Collage-10yearoldMcKenna, age 10

While all of the kids created beautiful pieces, I was really amazed at the time and detail that Kaleb took with his project. Occasionally I would see McKenna lean over to help him with a few things, but he faithfully sat and finished his project and was SO excited when it was finished {me too!}.

Poppy Art Collage-6yearold

Note: Zachary did one as well, but he didn’t want me to take a picture of it because his did not have a ‘filler’ background, so he thought it wasn’t as nice as the other kids {it was!}. His is hanging above his school desk where we can all see it still. Smile

Find Out More

Poppy Collage is one video that is a part of the Art Projects from See the Light. You can purchase the DVDs individually {$14.95/ea} or purchase the entire year of nine art projects based on famous artists and receive a bonus cartooning video. We personally own the Art Class year 1 series and are working through that, but love these special projects. The kids are excited to work on another project soon!

These lessons have been so fun for us to work on and we can’t wait to share more with you soon!

 

Our family was given a copy of Poppy Collage to use and review. All opinions expressed in this post are solely mine.

Challenge on the Hill of Fire – an Imagination Station Book

This post is our honest review of a product that we received for free. All opinions expressed are solely mine.

Finding fun ways to learn about history can make such a difference in helping children remember different stories from the past. We recently studied the life of Saint Patrick in our history studies, so Challenge on the Hill of Fire was a great addition to our reading time with the kids.

From the PublishersChallenge on the Hill of FireKidnapped by Celtic Druids in 433, Patrick and Beth are headed to certain death when followers of a former Irish Slave (Saint Patrick, called Patritius in this book) save them. The cousins find themselves in the midst of a power struggle between Ireland’s King Logaire, Patritius, and the leader of the Druids, Lochru. A spiritual showdown begins on the Hill of Slane when Patritius builds a fire, challenging the King’s authority. Will Patritius prove to the king that the God of the Bible is the true God? Or will the king take sides with the Druids? The Emerald Isle holds many tales and legends, but this story of truth and standing strong for God is not one to be missed.

About the Series

The Imagination Station series, published by Tyndale House, is a historical fiction book set for children ages 7 and up. The chapter book series follows cousins Beth and Patrick as they travel through time and visit different points in history. Each book also shows the historical period from a Biblical perspective ~ and in a fun and exciting way for children.

Parents and children can also visit TheImaginationStation.com to find out secret words, family devotionals, parent guides and more that tie in with each of the books in the series. The website also lists what is true or exaggerated for each of the books along with additional links to characters in the stories.

The Imagination Station books are available for purchase through Amazon and are reasonably priced at $4.99/each {they are also frequently part of the 4-for-3 promotion}. We have the entire series and they are great readers for Zachary. They are books that we will continue to add to our library as they are released – and enjoy as a read aloud {unless someone sneaks a book off!}.

AOI book 1 AOI book 2 AOI book 3 AOI book 4 AOI book 5
AOI book 6 AOI book 7 AOI book 8 AOI book 9 Challenge on the Hill of Fire

Visit these pages to learn more about the series:

Official Imagination Station website

Adventures in Odyssey Facebook page

Adventures in Odyssey on Twitter

We enjoyed Challenge on the Hill of Fire as much as the other nine books in the series and are always excited to see when a new book is released! Our family highly recommends this series!