Friday, July 19, 2019

Turing Tumble ~ A Timberdoodle Review

Is your child curious about how things work? Turing Tumble  is a way for your child to creatively take a hands on approach to the innermost parts of how a computer works. This is a bit like an introduction to digital logic, only much less intimidating. Your child will join Alia, a fictional character, and her sidekick, R.E.N. as they journey through space tackling computer challenges. Students will learn about gates, switches, bits, and binary counting. They will have to use logic and critical thinking as they build and generate their patterns in order to come up with desired outcomes for each of the 60 Challenge Puzzles included. Turing Tumble is part of the 

There is very minimal set-up for Turing Tumble. You must assemble the 
board and snap metal balls into ramps. Set-up took less than 15 minutes. 

Going into this ADVENTURE I will admit I was a bit nervous. My 11-year-old 
daughter had watched the video on the Timberdoodle site and said that it looked 
fun and interesting. She was a bit unsure about the story part of it. She is not 
at all into comics or Anime, and the story reminded her of both. With that said 
she was very intrigued by the puzzle part. 

My daughter was actually quite surprised! The story was not in her words, "cheesy," but 
rather quite entertaining. The story was a fun build up to the actual puzzles. 

There are 60 puzzle CHALLENGES in total. The puzzles begin easy and 
continue to become more complex. Each puzzle is entitled with a Challenge name such as; 
Erosion, Orbitals, Hard Reset, Exclusivity, and Quantum Number. Every puzzle has an Objective.
Here are a few examples:
  • Make the pattern blue, blue, blue, red, red, red. 
  • Add A to B and store the result of B. ( Example formulas are given)
  • Create a path for blue balls to reach the output with only 6 ramps.
  • Release one red ball and then all of the blue balls. 
  • Encode the number of the ramp flipped to the right in register A. (Example are given)
All puzzle challenges have a starting set-up. Off to the left hand side of the page
a list is given of the available parts that the student is able to use in order to complete 
the puzzle. 

At the end of the book there is a PUZZLE SOLUTION section. I did not 
allow my daughter to check her own. I will say that there were a couple of times
 that she came up with a solution that did not match the book solution but worked. 

My daughter taking her FIRST crack at a Puzzle Challenge! 

Figuring out exactly how the ramps work and move. 

Strategizing on how to place each ramp in order to make the balls fall just how
they need to go. 

Each green ramp can be placed on the board to the left or to the right. 

My 16-year-old daughter HAD TO GET IN ON THE FUN! My 11-year-old 
had already been working on the Turing Tumble puzzles for over an hour and 
was HOOKED!! Once my 16-year-old started she too loved it. 

There was a lot of laughter and "we got it!" coming from the kitchen. They were having
so much fun. I was impressed by how fast they were able to solve the puzzles. 

Two minds are better than one!

We can solve this!

"Wait, I think we finally got it!"

Balls in ACTION for the win!!

Back hard a work. The endless cycle of lining up the blue and red balls into their
proper places.


"The anticipation is killing me. Is it going to work?"

Okay the Challenge is entitled: Total Internal Reflection
The Objective: Make the pattern blue, red, blue, red, blue, red...

Something did not go right?!?!
According to the solution in the back of the book all of the ramps are placed 
properly and in the right direction. But as you can see the outcome is not correct. 
We are completely puzzled, lol!

My daughter's response, "What, seriously, how, this doesn't make any sense?!"

We have had so much fun with Turing Tumble. I would highly recommend this fun marble powered computer board. My daughter has had so much fun working with this. I suspect that she will be spending many hours to come working her way though the Puzzle Book. Even though it is part of the 6th grade curriculum kit kiddos much older would also definitely find Turing Tumble to be both engaging and fun. Summer is not yet over! Get your kiddos off of their devices and engaged in some hands on fun! Are you looking for some fun ways to add a splash of fun into your upcoming homeschool curriculum for this next year. Turing Tumble would be a great way to get your student(s) excited about introductory digital logic. Check out all of the fun items that Timberdoodle has to offer. If you are looking for a full curriculum for your child, look no further. Timberdoodle has you covered. Maybe like my daughter, your child is going to be entering the sixth grade this year. Turing Tumble is part of the 2019 Sixth-Grade Curriculum Kit.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Simply Music ~ A Review

Simply Music is an online music program which offers a free program called Music & Creativity - Foundation Course. This beginner foundation course is for anyone desiring to learn the basics of playing the piano. Taught by the brainchild of Simply Music, Neil Moore. This is a course for all ages.

I took piano lessons as a child but pretty much have very little technique when it comes to playing. We have a piano in our house and unfortunately no one plays. It really is quite sad. I decided to work through Neil Moore's Foundation Course to really see how easy it is to learn to play piano via a video based program. The program is set up in a way that is very easy to follow. In the first videos the very basics are taught such as musical terms. He explains everything in a way that those with very little musical education can follow along quite nicely. I would have to say that someone going into the program with absolutely zero knowledge of musical knowledge may struggle. This is just my opinion. 

This pdf downloadable book is a supplement to the program. Neil Moore calls it "The Relationship Conversation" because it is his intention to "influence and expand your understanding and perceptions of music education, specifically, what it means to have a 'relationship' with music lessons." 

 There are many pdf downloads within the program. This is just one of them. You are instructed to print out a three page keyboard which you will then tape together to practice with in the beginning videos.

The course content is displayed and content is saved. You must click the green 
MARK COMPLETE button at the bottom of each lesson before you are
able to proceed to the next lesson. 

The Foundation Reference Book is a downloadable pdf. This is pretty much 
your piano book for the course. 

There is a video for each lesson. I did find that for me the lessons went a bit fast
and I had to sometimes replay or stop the videos in order to catch up a bit. For each piece of 
music you are taught it stair like steps.

A bit more challenging and faster.

Playing the actual song. This is where I had to really slow down at times.
Practice makes perfect, right. I felt pretty accomplished and proud of 
myself as I played the pieces of music in the program. 

Overall, I think that Neil Moore has a great passion for what he does. I love that he offers a FREE Foundation Course so that everyone who has always wished to try learning to play the piano has the opportunity to do so! As well as the free course there are many other courses on the Simply Music site that you are able to upgrade to. What other site offers you the ability to take a full course for free to see if it is a good fit and if you really like it before proceeding on in further study. For me, I know that I really need a physical person teaching me one on one in order to truly learn. With that said, this way of learning may be the perfect fit for you or your child. Definitely check out the website. You may just be playing your way to some of quite familiar classical, blues, and contemporary pieces of music before you know it. 

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Learning Dynamics ~ A Review

The Learning Dynamics Reading Program by Learning Dynamics is a wonderful tool to get your young child started on their road to reading. This is a complete system that comes with everything that you will need to teach your child how to read. Each lesson, which is less than 15 minutes in length is geared for a young child short attention span. There is even a 30-day money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied with the program.

What is included in the program:
  1. Lesson Manual
  2. 50+ Full Color Books
  3. 30+ Songs on a CD
  4. Student Activity Workbook
  5. Letter Rewards
  6. Flashcards
How we used it?

I have had the privilege of working with a dear friend's son who just turned 4 years-old. Little man was so excited to start learning the letters of the alphabet. We were definitely starting at the beginning as he was not familiar with any of the letters, the sounds that they made, or how to write any of them. We are still focusing on staying in the lines when coloring and holding crayons 🖍 properly. It will be awhile before he is ready for the readers 📚. Slow and steady wins the race. That is the true beauty of homeschooling.

Having taught my own six children how to read I was excited about checking out Learning Dynamics. Over the years I have used many phonics programs and curriculums to teach my own children how to read. I learned what worked with one child did not necessarily work with my next child. It was definitely an individualized journey with each of them. Some of my children picked up on reading quickly while others needed much more time to tears to learn how to read.

So how exactly is Learning Dynamics taught?

  1. Introduce the letter being taught. Show the uppercase and lowercase letter. Introduce the sound that the letter makes. More is added in the teacher manual. 
  2. Read the story in the teacher manual.
  3. Letter song on the CD. 
  4. Complete worksheet in Student Workbook
  5. Listen to the letter song again.
  6. As a final check use the flashcards to have your child name the letters and sound that the letter makes. Reward child with popout piece. 
  7. Optional Activies
  8. Blending is introduced after 5 letters are learned. At that point blending instructions are given. 
  9. When books are introduced it will specify which book to read, re-read, etc. 
Our experience...

M says mmm.

M is for mouse, mop, and money. 

I am coloring the mouse.

In order to reinforce each letter I decided to make fun letter crafts
that can be hung on the wall to make an alphabet wall. Here is
an M is for mouse. These crafts ARE NOT a part of the curriculum. 
I just added them in to reinforce the letters and to add in a element of
fun for each letter being learned. 

A is for apple, alligator, and ant. 

Reviewing the letters A and M. 

Working on his A craft. 

Say "cheese!" A is for ants on an apple. Little man is so proud of 
his letter A. 

P is for pumpkin, pencil, and pig. 

Little man working on his P is for pig wall project. 

Little man is still getting his letters and sounds mixed up at bit. I work with him several times a week.  I have told him mommy the importance of CONSTANT reinforcement everyday, throughout the day in order to learn and retain these fundamental basics.  

Each letter of the alphabet has a friendly character to go with its letter. 

"bbbb" as in Baby Bear
"cccc" as in Cameron Caterpillar 
"dddd" as in Dancing Dinosaur

 Flashcards are provided for uppercase letters,

and on the opposite side are the lowercase letters. 

There is a set of flashcards with blends. On one side are the blends,

and on the opposite side are a list of words that go with the blend. 

Students can earn letter rewards!

The sequence of readers for Learning Dynamics is: 

The Blue Readers are the first set of readers that your students will be reading.
There are 23 books in the Blue Series. 

Book 1 starts out very simple. 

After completing the Blue Series your student will move
onto the Red Series. The Red Series has 10 books.

This is Book 1 in the Red Series. 

By the time your student gets to the Green Series they will be reading multiple
sentences per page. Both the Yellow and Green Series have 10 books each.  

After learning the first five letters ( m, a, p, s, and t ) your child will begin to blend. They will also be ready to learn their first words. By lesson 9 they will be introduced to the first reader. The music CD really helps the child to reinforce the letters and the sounds with catchy songs. 

Learning Dynamics is a solid program for helping young children learn to read. Definitely check out their website for more information about the program. Also, click on the link below to read about what other reviewers had to say about the program. 

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