Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Our Homeschool Weekly Report, March 28-April 3, week 27: Using Games to Review

 March 28-April 3, week 27: Review Week
Review Week: The Week of Games

This was our built-in review week. I can't tell you enough how valuable it has been to me to build in the last week of each semester as a review week. I initially put it in so that we could complete any unfinished projects from the semester, so that we could start each semester fresh. I discovered along the way, however, that sometimes my kids didn't really learn a lesson or two from the semester and that these gaps created problems later down the road as I tried to build on a piece I had thought was firmly in place. So, I have found the added benefit of a review week is that it makes sure that we are all on the same page as we launch into a new semester. This week, I found early on that a review week was not necessary, so what did we do? I decided to pull out the myriads of educational games we have and use them for a general review. We had such a good time, and it was a great reward for a semester of hard work.


Battle For Troy
We played the game that Quentin designed himself, Battle for Troy. I have to admit that I am really impressed. It is a fun game to play!
Making Your Own Games
Quentin has become quite accomplished at making his own games and spends quite a bit of time at it. He is very particular as to how the task is accomplished and is very serious about it being a playable game. His first step is to sketch out his plans and make a prototype, which is played so that he can see any problems or pitfalls with the game. He then modifies the game, based on his observations and the observations of the other people who have played the prototype game. He then makes the final game. I help him with typing up and printing out the cards and the like, but he has total control over all of the creative parts of the project. 
World War II Monopoly
Although technically not a review topic from this semester, it is also important to review topics from previous semesters, or even previous years, and a game is the best way to do it.
There are a lot of history-based board and card games out there. We have played many history based games such as Iliad and Made for Trade. We also enjoy learning about the history of games.


10 Days in Africa
We played 10 Days in Africa because we are studying Africa this year, but any of the 10 Days in... games are what I consider the best way to learn world geography.
United States Map Puzzle
James also decided to put together a US map puzzle. I insist that my map puzzles have pieces the shape of the state (or country for the world map). I also like the extras like the state flags and the little cut-out figures of national monuments and the like.


Skeletons in the Closet
My bone-loving nine year old likes this game, but we found that least half of the questions were too simple, so we modified the game. We read over the chapter on bones in Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology and pull information to use as our new question cards. It added new life to the game. We even considered the idea of adding just general anatomy questions to the set, creating new cards with each chapter we complete. 
We have also enjoyed Shark Attack (pictured above), Some Body, 
Shanleya's Quest: Patterns in Plants Card Game, Into the Forest (Food Chain game), 
and the Zoo Animal Trading Game we made up about how zoo obtain their animals.


Totally Tut
This is a great game because it is so versatile. You can review many mathematical concepts: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and even order of operations. In this way, players of all levels can play at the same time.
I have written before about all the benefits of playing Blokus, and I have seen my children's skills grow as they play it again and again. We also played Mancala.
Other possibilities could be Sumoku, Connect Four, Sum Swamp or Equate.


Grammar Review

There are a lot of great games out there that review English concepts, such as Scrabble, Bananagrams, Apples to Apples and Madlibs, to name a few. We, however, needed to review and test the specific grammar topics we have been working on, so I gave them this little test.
  1. Form the Possessives of the following nouns (nouns from their texts).
  2. Use the following words as Appositives in good English sentences (words from their texts).
  3. What is the fundamental difference between a predicate noun and an Appositive?
  4. Can a predicate noun be followed by an Appositive?

Greek Roots

In our study of Greek roots, the boys learned techne which means art or skill, bios which means life, mikros which means small and megas which means great, large or big.


April Fool's Day Surprise
For April Fool's Day, I bought some color-changing straws and spoons and serve root beer floats. I didn't get a chance to snap a picture of their surprised faces, but I did take a few after the fact.

How do the Thermochromatic straws and spoons work?
After absorbing a certain amount of  cold or heat, the molecular structure of the pigment reversibly changes in such a way that it absorbs and emits light at a different wavelength than at the previous temperature.

In the Kitchen: I Love Kale!

This week I have discovered kale. Yes, I know, kale is old news, but I just discovered it. I have always hated kale because all I ever knew was the kind my mother cooked. She would fry up some bacon and put that and the Kale in a pot full of water and then she cooked it to death. The result was a gushy textured, bitter tasting disaster. This week I read a cookbook that suggested to saute a little minced shallots in some olive oil and then maybe a bit of minced garlic to add the kale, which had been soaking in cold water, and cook it only for three or four minutes. You can add a little red pepper flakes, or lemon juice or even a bit of maple syrup to bring out the flavor of the kale, but not too much. The result is heavenly. I am also eating it raw in salads.The best part is that since I have been eating it almost every day, I have really had more energy and felt better. This reminded me so much of the posts at Hodgepodge and how the change in her diet made a new woman out of Tricia. I have ordered the Trim Healthy Mama from the library. This might be the next step for me.
I am also working on a two-month rotation menu plan, which I will tell you about in another post.

Update on James

James at roller skating.

We gave James his first dose of his seizure medicine last Saturday morning. We held off until Saturday because I wanted to be able to monitor him closely, and it was a good thing we did. Fifteen minutes after giving him the medicine, he had a Grand Mal seizure, and it was a bad one. He became very white and had very raspy breathing. Even after he came out of the seizure (it really only lasted for about 3 minutes, but it was the longest 3 minutes of my life!), his whole body trembled like someone who is severely cold (for about a half-hour).  We immediately called DuPont and got the doctor on call, who told us that sometimes if the diagnosis is wrong and they are prescribed the wrong type of seizure medication, it can cause seizures. We called DuPont back again on Monday and then again on Tuesday before they gave him a new prescription of the same medicine that has been fine for both his sister and brother. He began than medicine on Thursday morning and did not have an problems. Hopefully, we are now on the right track.

What's been new with you this week?


  1. So cool that your son has made his own game! Congratulations and I enjoyed your post.

    Betsy at BJ's Homeschool

  2. I realize it is a given with the ones your son and family made, but I have never played any of the games you did this week. We're going to have to branch out when my children get more to the game playing age. Love the straws (and the floats!). I'm glad you had another option for the seizure meds, 3 minutes is a long time :(.

  3. Awesome post. I'm praying for your son. God bless! ~Amber D.

  4. I had a friend with Grand Mal growing up. I know how scary it is to feel like there is nothing you can do in the moment. I hope you are on the right med path now. I love your game review and added the geography games to my wish list.Thank you for all your prayers for our family.
    Blessings, Dawn

  5. I'm looking up these 10 Days in games right now! Thank you -- I always learn a new resource when I visit your blog!

    I'm so sorry to hear about James' seizure. I can only imagine what a difficult three minutes that was for you. Hugs to you, Phyllis. I hope this new medication works well!

  6. I am so impressed with Quentin and his game making -it certainly takes quite a bit of ingenuity and perseverance to create a board game! And glad to hear new prescription is working out - that seizure must have been terrifying.

  7. Yes, I imagine the three minutes must have felt much longer. I pleased to hear his new meds are working.

  8. I am extremely impressed with Quentin's game making skills. He probably uses all academic subjects creating games! I am very sorry to hear about the medication mix up. How awful for everyone. Praying that the new med does the trick! Kale! We love it broiled crispy in the oven- kale chips!

  9. I had to refresh because the comment box wasn't showing up.

    I've got your animal trading card game open in another window, and am really trying not to add about 5 new games to our ever-growing game hoard. I don't think my attempt will work.

    I can imagine that 3 minutes was incredibly scary. I'll be praying the new meds work better.

  10. I love all your game ideas and it's awesome to see your son creating his own games. What a great project that encompasses so many skills.

    I'm glad you found medicine that seems to be working. What a scary three minutes.

  11. Great ideas for games...i need to do more of that in my home

  12. I am way behind catching up with everyone's lives. I just wanted to comment on the kale. I have a love for kale chopped up mixed into jonnycakes with fresh corn. Yum!

    1. Do you have a recipe? It sounds great.

  13. I know how scary it is to feel like there is nothing you can do in the moment. I hope you are on the right med path now. I love your game review and added the geography games to my wish list.Thank you for all your prayers for our family.


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