Typing Instructor for KIDS Platinum 5.0 Windows

This (Typing Instructor for KIDS Platinum 5.0 Windows) is a nice, varied program that keeps my ADHD daughter's interest. She has done well learning where the keys are and how to position her hands. The two major drawbacks to Read more

Morphology Junior Game

Great family game! This is a great game for families--it's fun and challenging for all ages. The rule adaptations from the "original" Morphology are well-designed to make play easier for the younger kids, but it keeps the quirky/crazy feel. PROS Creative Hands-on Quirky Unique   BEST USES Creative Read more

Purpllinker

Much better than I expected! We got this for our 4-year-old daughter, and it has been used so much! She loves to make letters with it, although it bothers her a little that she can't really do curves. However, she Read more

Anaconda deserves a 10 star rating!

As a former home school parent, I've been familiar with Timberdoodle for years. As a classroom teacher in public and private schools, when I needed quality, "thinking" games and activities for my classroom students, I continued to turn to Read more

The Usborne Sticker Dressing Knights

What child wouldn't love this! A sticker book about knights! My daughter loves this book. She is all about. Princesses, princes, knights and castles so this book was right up her alley! When we are through with it, it Read more

For The Homeschool Dad

Thinking Putty – Great for learning, but be careful!

Electric Colors Thinking Putty

My 6 year old daughter loves her Thinking Putty. I have her use it when I am reading History lessons to her. It helps her to have something to do while she listens, which in turn leads to less boredom and better attention span. I love it overall, but would caution anyone interested in purchasing it to only allow children to use it while supervised. My daughter tried putting it on the carpet to test the imprint it would leave, not realizing that it sticks to carpet. I had such a hard time cleaning it out! It is a great product overall, though.

By Stephanie
from Colorado Springs, CO

 

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A Kid’s Guide to Drawing America

A Kid's Guide to Drawing - Oregon

I purchased the Oregon book of “A Kid’s Guide to Drawing America” to enrich our history and geography study we did over the summer. I prefer when my kids can draw something rather than just color in a printable from the internet. This is a hardback book with attractive pages. There are probably 10 drawings to copy, and each drawing has a one-page description explaining its importance in the state. Some of the drawings completed for our state were the state animal, state bird, flag, capitol building, map, and covered wagon. My children, ages 9 and 11, were able to complete the drawing instruction on their own, narrated what they read about each item, and were quite proud of their completed works displayed in their lapbooks.

Christie
Bend, OR
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How to Draw the Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln

How to Draw the Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln

Fun way to learn history

I purchased How to Draw the Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln because it was a combination of history and art. When I got it, I was concerned that my boys would freak out a little because some of the drawings are rather challenging (and art is not our strong point), but they are learning a lot about the presidents and they are having fun with the drawings. Some of our drawings of people look a little unsophisticated, but it’s been fun to challenge ourselves.

Jessica
Sheboygan, WI
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Little Annie’s Art Book of Etiquette & Good Manners

Little Annie's Art Book of Etiquette & Good Manners

Perfect for Young Children

I purchased Little Annie’s Art Book of Etiquette and Good Manners for our two little girls’ homeschooling curriculum this year… they absolutely fell in love with it from the very first day! “Little Annie” is so sweet and whimsical as she demonstrates manners, kindness, and proper etiquette, all while presenting Bible truths and teaching fun art lessons. The book seems mostly geared for girls, but our preschool age son enjoys the art projects as well. I love how these fun art lessons are laced with Scripture! This little lesson book covers everything from how to set a proper table to how to be a gracious friend. Highly recommended.

Kristy
TX
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The Usborne Sticker Dressing Soldiers

The Usborne Sticker Dressing Soldiers

The Usborne Sticker Dressing Soldiers

I’m impressed! This book (The Usborne Sticker Dressing Soldiers) is a generous size, the stickers are bright and I love the little history “bites” for each war/soldier. My daughter’s eyes lit up as it came out of the box and it is her favorite school activity. The stickers are heavy weight and are able to be repositioned (which is nice when a jacket goes on upside down!). I have to assist her with some of the more trickier pieces, like swords or shoes, her fingers aren’t able to manipulate the sticker edges yet. However, as the pages are being finished it makes a nice book. The younger girls can’t wait for their turn to have a soldier book! I would (and will) certainly purchase this again.

Andrea
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Faber-Castell Fish Sharpener

Faber-Castell Fish Sharpener

Actually Works!

I have bought so many pencil sharpeners and been disappointed by them all. But this one honestly is completely different. It actually sharpens the pencils. Previously I was having issues with the pencil lead breaking off completely, or the pencil sharpening but then breaking once the children started writing. I’ve been using this sharpener for a couple weeks now and it’s consistently doing a great job of sharpening the pencils, both regular and colored! I like it so much that I hide it from the children…guess I should just buy them their own! :o )

Carissa
Andover, MN
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The Best of Sewing Machine Fun for Kids

The Best of Sewing Machine Fun for Kids

I LOVE the Sewing Fun for Kids book! It is a great resource for teaching beginning sewing skills. For those new to sewing, the spiral bound book is very informative and the thick, colorful pages are inviting. Sewing Fun for Kids gives many sewing terms and definitions, as well as thorough descriptions for sewing skills, and detailed instructions for the sewing projects. There are numerous activity pages throughout the book related to sewing that reinforce the terminology and concepts taught in the book. The book also includes nice plastic quilting tools and templates (located in the back of the book) which enabled me to give the book five stars even though the book is lacking a table of contents and/or index for finding sewing projects and activity pages. Sewing Fun for Kids is priced very well and highly recommended!

Cari
Simpsonville, SC
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Klutz Tricky Video

Tricky Video

My children have had a blast with this!

Tricky Video has unleashed my children’s imagination and video skills.  They always enjoyed playing around with the video camera, but this book has really put some skill into their camera tricks.  I enjoy watching them work together to make their latest production.  This book is really good about showing you exactly how to do each video trick and there are examples of each trick on-line.  It has been a very helpful and fun resource!

Homeschooler
Buckeye, AZ

Timberdoodle offers many great items that will inspire your homeschool film maker.

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Smencils Gourmet Scented Pencils 10 Pack

Smencils Gourmet Scented Pencils 10 Pack

Smencils Gourmet Scented Pencils 10 Pack

I bought these because I hate teaching handwriting and I thought they would make the tedious subject a little more fun. The kids have loved smelling them. They often disappear and I find the kids gathered around the case with all the Smencils on the floor smelling them. The erasers work well. A claw pencil grip fits. The lead quality is good. They are strongly scented, so if you have scent allergies they might make you sneeze or give you a slight headache. They are also high maintenance pencils in that you have to keep them in the little cases. Do not put one in a peppermint Smencil case or it will absorb the pepperment smell. They’ve been a fun addition to our homeschool year. (Update:I have had some trouble with the metal part with the eraser slipping off, it does go back on though)

Amy
Midwest
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A Drawing Program I Can Cheer About…

The following is a review of Simply Draw from the Blossoming Joy blog

Simply Draw

My husband’s family and I have an ongoing debate about artistic talent that goes something like this:

Them: Artists are born, not made. It’s a gift. It is a natural talent that I don’t have, you do, and I’m pretty sure I can’t be taught. Have you seen my stick figures?

Me: Art is like any creative discipline. It starts with the practice of small, manageable skills practiced over and over again. Natural talent certainly helps but is not required. It’s like music. Almost anyone can learn to play an instrument. Most musicians and artists are not geniuses, just really dedicated students.

This is an unresolved argument primarily because they are uninterested in being taught (but don’t tell them I said that or you’re going to get me in trouble!).

They look at a fully developed picture and say “I can’t do that” because they don’t see the smaller elements, they only see the full picture, all at once. A bit overwhelming to be sure. Most kids see artwork from a similar perspective. They see a great drawing and say: I can’t make something that cool.

That’s true. To a point. They can’t make it all at once. But they can make it…one line at a time.

Enter Simply Draw with Bob Parsons; a drawing program that starts with the basic line, which anyone can manage, and transforms it slowly into a work of art. When the good folks at Timberdoodle offered to send me this program in exchange for an honest review, I was very excited…and I have not been disappointed.

First Impressions…

Simply Draw scored major points with me right out of the package…

#1–It’s fully reproducible, which for an art program is incredibly nice.

#2–It’s 3-hole punched and binder ready. Have I told you about my fascination with binders? I’m not going to tell you how many I have but I will tell you that I have dismantled perfectly healthy books in order to make them binder-friendly. This makes for easy access to reproducible pages (no squishing bound books in the copier), adds pockets for my notes, and hard cover protection for well-loved programs.

#3–The pages are all CARD STOCK…almost 200 pages of it. I could hardly believe my fingers! *sigh*  If only all programs could be printed on lovely, sturdy card stock!

#4–The program includes a DVD with a list of corresponding lesson pages and DVD lesson duration times. My kids love video instruction and so do I. While the course is not entirely taught via video, the provided demonstrations and lessons (about 3 hours worth) and PDF file of all practice pages are sufficient to assist any beginning art teacher. The DVD is designed to only play on a computer but this is not a problem for my family…and not strictly necessary for using the program.

First Lessons…

There was no age recommendation for the program so I went ahead and began teaching with all interested children. (Who wants to learn how to draw? Meeeeee!!) I love drawing and all things related but have never pushed the children. I want art to be a joy and not a chore. Not surprisingly, all the children (ages 5, 8, 10 and 12) were interested. (It may have had something to do with the fact that chores were postponed but I’d rather think that they just have the passion, you know?)

The first lesson was wonderful from my perspective, focusing on the simple (but mighty) short parallel line. Not incredibly exciting but quick and simple. The 6-year old had no trouble. The 8-year old just about pulled his hair out with boredom (he wanted to learn how to draw a castle with a full company of knights and a moat and a dragon and a….), although he refused to quit. The 10-year old was in a state of bliss. And the 12-year old pretended like he wasn’t quite as interested as he was.

Student objections: “Is that all?” “But I want to draw something!”

Like all disciplines, art has its share of tedium…it is helpful for the beginning student to know they are headed somewhere. Parsons quickly covers the basics, encourages practice and has the student using their new basic tools in pictures by the third lesson. Objections disappear and new skills take their place in their little masterpieces.

Here are sample worksheets from our first lesson. The page on the left is the 5-year old’s practice page of short parallel lines. The one on the right is the 12-year old’s. In spite of the great age difference, they don’t look too dissimilar. While I don’t doubt that there will be significantly greater difference between later comparisons, I think this one makes a good point; this little building block is manageable by even the very young or the self-proclaimed “untalented.”

Conclusions…

Simply Draw is to drawing what phonics is to reading. The sight reading method does work but leaves the reader with gaps where solid building blocks should be. Phonics teaches an understanding of common elements that go into all words. The word may be yet unknown, but the student knows he will be able to read it someday soon.

With a proper drawing program, the artistic masterpiece can still be admired; but the student recognizes the smallest components and sees it not so much as a mystery but as a masterful display of creative discipline. “I could never do that” is replaced by “That looks very difficult but I’d like to try.”

While we are still only in the beginning lessons of the program, I can already call it a success. The children are enjoying the learning process and I am finding it very manageable and successful from a teaching perspective.

I definitely recommend Simply Draw for students of all ages (including interested adults). You can find it for sale at Timberdoodle along with a large selection of very cool art supplies .

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