12/15/10

TOS Review: Wits & Wagers Family Game

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Does your family like board games?  Does your family like trivia?  Does your family like not needing the correct answer and still scoring points? My family does!  We love board games and we love tidbits of facts. We’ve been playing Wits and Wagers Family from North Star Games and my side hurts from laughing so much.

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How to Play:  The youngest player gets to be the first to read the question  Each player or team is given a dry erase marker ( 5 are included in the game), a color coordinated dry erase board for making their “wager”, and two “meeples” that match the color of their board. 

Every answer is a number. After the question is read, each person ( or team) writes his answer on his dry erase board and turns it upside down.  After everyone has recorded an answer the boards are flipped and arranged in a line from smallest to largest.  Now you place your meeples.   There is a large meeple, worth two points, and a small meeple worth 1 point..  

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If you are confident in your answer you can place both of your meeples on your board.   Not so sure you got the right answer?  Place your meeples on someone else’s board. Pretty sure you got the right answer but maybe your spouse is right?  Put one meeple on your board and one on his.  

After all the meeples have been placed the reader reads the answer.  Along with the answer is a bit of trivia or a fact relating to the question.  To score points look for the board closest to the correct answer without going over.  The board is worth 1 point.  So if you place both your meeples on your board and your board is closest to the correct answer without going over you get 4 points.

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Wits and Wagers Family states ages 8 and up and for 3 to 10 ten players.  I would say that it is good for 3 to 5 individuals or teams or combination of individuals and teams.

My family loves board games.  This game has become a family favorite.  Why do we love this game so much? With so many board games it can be difficult with young children.  Each person takes a turn and you sit and wait and do nothing while you wait for your turn.  This equals boredom for a couple of my children, but with Wits and Wagers Family there is no real down time.  Everyone participates in every question.

Sometimes those trivia style games go on forever and ever and this also leads to boredom for the children, but with this game from North Star Games there isn’t time for the doldrums.  The games are fast paced and only take about 30 minutes to complete.

My favorite aspect of the game is that you do not need to know the answer!  The points are scored based on which answer is closest to the correct answer without going over.  Don’t know how tall the Sears Tower is in Chicago?  That’s OK, give your best estimate!

Not needing the exact answer takes the pressure off and lets us relax and enjoy the game.  In many many rounds, NO ONE has the correct answer so we actually learn something.  Maybe not something I need to know but still it is something new I didn’t know before :)

Wits and Wagers Family states ages 8 and up and for 3 to 10 ten players.  I would say that it is good for 3 to 5 individuals or teams or combination of individuals and teams.   This game can be adapted to younger children.  Supergirl functions around 6 years of age.  Most of the time that we play she is “partners” with a sibling but we did play a few games where she could play “alone”.   She loved it!  She liked trying to write her number down and then choosing where to place her meeples.

My “big” girls enjoyed trying to remember if they actually knew the correct answer.  They even liked estimating and getting it wrong.  Turtlegirl has even asked for the Say Anything game from North Star Games.  I see from the website that there is a family version of Say Anything coming in the spring.  I think that is going on our wishlist!

Wits and Wagers Family retails for $19.99.   As of this morning it appears to be sold out through the shopping cart link.  To check for availability click here and then click on the shopping cart on the right hand side next to the game.  You may want to check your local retailers such as Barnes and Noble.  This would make an excellent Christmas gift.

You can also click here to see what games North Star Games has produced as well as  what is coming soon.

Click on the banner below to read what my fellow crew mates have to say about Wits and Wagers Family.Photobucket

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this product free of charge to review. This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

North Star Games provided the game Wits and Wagers Family for review

12/10/10

The End of the End

For everything in life there is a season.   I am sad today because a season ended.  

If I’m honest, today was just the end of the end.   The beginning of the end occurred months ago when we had to switch from mornings to afternoons.

Are you lost?  I’m sorry.  Monday we were supposed to go to a local nursing home with some other homeschooling families and the students were to play and sing Christmas songs for and with the residents.  I have very fond memories of doing this last year and my girls were really looking forward to doing it again this year.

Once again a scheduling conflict bars the path of performance.  The nursing home activities director scheduled an orchestra to play for the residents during the time we were scheduled to play.  This is the fourth month in a row that we are unable to minister at the nursing home because of scheduling conflicts.

I’m angry because I feel that we are not wanted.  I wish that they would have said “thanks but no thanks” when we began working with the activities director months and months ago.

Remember my post about the homeschooling myths? (You can refresh your memory by reading about it here)I’m feeling like myth number three: we homeschool so our schedule is completely blank and we can drop whatever we were doing to change our plans because you screwed up the schedule.  That may not be the reality of the situation but that is my current perception based on the “oh can you come at 11 instead?”

My heart aches because I will miss those residents, but I wouldn’t be honest with myself or with my blog readers if I didn’t say that I also am relieved to not have the stress of wondering “will we actually go to the nursing home this month?”  I won’t have the stress of reminding my girls to do extra piano practice to prepare enough pieces to fill our slot on the activity schedule.

Maybe it was time to move because my heart filled with pride?  I was proud of my girls and even blogged about it here. One cannot have a servant’s heart if one’s heart is too swollen with pride.

Maybe it was time to move on because there are other service opportunities that my daughters and I need.   Going to the nursing home and seeing those residents and trying to coordinate those sessions stretched me.  I don’t like making phone calls and I certainly don’t like being reminded of my own mortality.   But there was a blessing that can not be expressed in words   A sense of communion that can’t be explained.  And stretching means growing and the more I grow the more I (Lord have mercy!) become like Christ.

I do believe that we are called to love as Christ has loved us.  I can only trust that as this season of serving ends that a new season allowing us to love as Christ loves will begin.

12/1/10

TOS Review: Master Ruler

Master Innovations

No one told me when I joined the crew that I would have hidden benefits such as the opportunity to discover educational products I would never have found otherwise such as the Master Ruler from Master Innovations.

Master InnovationsAs part of the TOS Review Crew I received two rulers (one standard, one metric), an educational poster and a reproducible workbook to use with the rulers.  These are not ordinary rulers nor are they limited to simply measuring the length, width or height of an object.

The  Rulers: It is difficult to describe these rulers using words.  If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, what is a video worth?  In this case I think the video produced by Master Innovations explains and shows the product far better than my inadequate prose.

You can find the Master Ruler Video HERE along with videos of their other products Master Clock, Master Angle and Master Fractions.

The Workbook:  A standard size of 8 1/2” by 11” inches this workbook contains both English (standard) and Metric measuring activities.   Pages 1 is a measuring chart and pages 2 and 3 display an outline of teaching concepts and activities.     The workbook includes an answer key found on pages 23 & 24.   Workbook pages progress from simple such as measuring a line to the nearest inch to more complicated such as adding, subtracting and/or converting to find the answers to a puzzle.

Master InnovationsThe Poster:  A bright, colorful, large display shows at a glance such information as how many ounces are in a 1/4 pound or how many yards are in mile.  It is pictorial rather than just numerical so you can see that there are 8 pints in a gallon.   It can’t display a mile but instead has a picture of a road with the number of feet (or yards) in a mile.  It is not to scale but it shows clearly that one inch is a whole and two halves equal one whole.

Tailorbear’s (age 11) Thoughts:The Master Ruler would have been a great thing to have a couple of years ago when I was learning about fractions.  It was really fun to use to review fractions.”

Turtlegirl’s (age 13) Thoughts: “The Marvels of Measurement Poster is really good for reference.  The Master Ruler does really make it much easier to measure things.   It was fun to help teach Supergirl.  It would have been nice to have this around when I was little to teach me measurements and fractions.”

BooBear’s (age 15) Thoughts:   “I can see potential in the Master Rulers.  I can’t really use it now because I am way past the learning to measure stage.   I played teacher and used the Master Ruler with my special needs sister.  She really likes it.  You  can use just the 1 inch part and it made counting much easier”

My thoughts and impressions:  The concepts presented in the workbook, which retails for $15.95, were below the skills and abilities of three of my daughters and most of the pages were beyond Supergirl’s current skills.  The workbook would make a nice supplement beginning in first grade and continuing through 4th or 5th grade.   Because of the range of concepts and skills presented, I would not plan on using it all in one school year but spread it out over several years using it to supplement whatever math program I was using.

I love the rulers ($9.95 each) and find them easier to read than traditional rulers.  I like that I can use each layer separately.   Around here the Master Rulers are the first rulers we reach for when we need to measure something.

We are enjoying the $10  poster and it has reduced the number of times I hear “Mom, how many cups are in a gallon, again?”.   It is a large (about 2’ by 3’) so it takes some wall space to display, but it is colorful which brings cheer to my dining room.

You can read about the scientific research studies here.

Some of my fellow crew mates reviewed Master Ruler while others reviewed other Master Innovation products so be sure and click on the banner to read more reviewsPhotobucket

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this product free of charge to review. This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

Master Innovations provided the “Master Ruler” (both metric and standard) the Mastering the World of Measuring workbook and the “Marvels of Measures!” poster for review.