Your trusted source for honest reviews on educational products, and updates on our homeschooling journey!
- Safari Park Jr. Reviewby crunchymamadfw
Welcome back to the Dope Homeschool Blog! We are thrilled to review Safari Park Jr., a delightful game that takes your little ones on an adventurous safari while enhancing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Designed for children aged 3 and up, Safari Park Jr. has become one of our favorite games. In this blog post, we will dive into the details of Safari Park Jr., highlighting its features, benefits, and why it has earned a special place in our game collection.
How to Play
The goal of Safari Park Jr. is to gather all the safari animals into their correct positions for a final snapshot. With each challenge, your child will be presented with a photo showing specific animals in certain locations on the board. Their task is to place the corresponding animals onto the park board, ensuring that the base of each animal matches the shape of the opening.
Here’s Why I Love It
One of the standout features of Safari Park Jr. is its ability to seamlessly integrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills into a fun and engaging gameplay experience. As your child glides the animals into their correct locations, they will encounter various obstacles and rules to consider. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting back and observing my kids as they experimented and played the game. For example, my kids learned that the lion dislikes water, the elephant cannot climb over rocks, and the giraffes are too tall to fit under the trees. By navigating these challenges, children are encouraged to think strategically and plan their moves, enhancing their cognitive skills of planning and visual perception.
Safari Park Jr. is specifically designed with preschoolers in mind, making it an ideal learning game for children aged 3 and up. Its intuitive gameplay and vibrant visuals instantly capture the attention of young learners, keeping them engaged and entertained throughout their safari adventure. It strikes the perfect balance between educational value and straight up fun, making it an excellent addition to any preschool curriculum.
Safari Park Jr. has proven to be a captivating and enriching addition to our game collection. My children were instantly drawn to the safari theme and thoroughly enjoyed the challenges presented in each gameplay. By combining critical thinking, problem-solving, and cognitive skill development, Safari Park Jr. is an extraordinary tool for fostering early childhood learning in a fun and interactive way. If you’re searching for an educational game that sparks imagination and enhances essential skills, Safari Park Jr. is an excellent choice for your little explorers.
- 5 Engaging YouTube Channels for Elementary-Aged Kids Exploring Science, History, and Mathby crunchymamadfw
In today’s digital age, YouTube has become a treasure trove of educational content that can supplement your child’s learning journey. With countless channels catering to different subjects, it’s essential to find reliable and engaging content suitable for elementary-aged kids. In this blog post, we will introduce you to five fantastic YouTube channels that focus on science, history, and math, providing fun and educational content for your little ones. Let’s explore!
- SciShow Kids:
SciShow Kids, a branch of the popular SciShow, is a channel dedicated to making science accessible and exciting for young minds. Through colorful animations, host Jessi introduces various scientific concepts, such as gravity, space, animals, and the human body. The videos combine education with entertainment, ensuring your child stays engaged while learning about the wonders of our world.
- Crash Course Kids:
Crash Course Kids offers a wide range of educational videos covering science, history, and math. Hosted by Sabrina Cruz and her robot friend, this channel presents complex concepts in a simplified and entertaining manner. From exploring ecosystems and weather patterns to delving into historical events, Crash Course Kids provides detailed explanations, engaging visuals, and interactive quizzes to reinforce learning.
For young math enthusiasts, Numberphile is the ideal YouTube channel. This channel fosters a love for numbers, patterns, and mathematical concepts through captivating videos. The hosts discuss intriguing topics like prime numbers, mathematical puzzles, and geometry, making math feel engaging and accessible. Numberphile’s videos are not only educational but also spark curiosity and critical thinking.
- Simple History:
Simple History takes a unique approach to teaching history by presenting it in a visually appealing animated format. This channel covers significant historical events, figures, and civilizations, bringing the past to life for elementary-aged children. The videos are concise, easy to understand, and include interesting anecdotes, making history captivating and memorable.
- National Geographic Kids:
National Geographic is renowned for its breathtaking documentaries and captivating storytelling. Their YouTube channel, National Geographic Kids, offers a child-friendly version of their content. With videos about animals, nature, and the world, this channel combines stunning visuals, fascinating facts, and interactive elements to create an immersive learning experience. Your child will explore the wonders of our planet while developing a love for nature and conservation.
With the abundance of educational content on YouTube, finding reliable and engaging channels for elementary-aged kids can be a game-changer in their learning journey. SciShow Kids, Crash Course Kids, Numberphile, Simple History, and National Geographic Kids are just a few examples of the excellent educational content available. By incorporating these channels into your child’s screen time, you can foster their curiosity, expand their knowledge, and make their learning experience both enjoyable and educational.
- SciShow Kids:
- Which Homeschooling Method is Right for You?by crunchymamadfw
Homeschooling has gained immense popularity in recent years, as families seek alternative educational options that cater to their unique needs and values. One of the great advantages of homeschooling is the ability to tailor your child’s education to their individual learning style.
There are various homeschooling methods available to families, each with its own distinct approach and philosophy. In this blog post, we will delve into some of the most popular homeschooling methods, helping you gain a better understanding of the options and find the one that aligns best with your family’s goals and values.
- Traditional/Structured Homeschooling:
This method closely resembles traditional schooling, with a structured curriculum, textbooks, and a set schedule. Parents act as the primary teachers, following a predetermined course of study. This method provides a sense of familiarity and structure, making it ideal for families transitioning from a traditional school setting.
- Classical Education:
The classical education method emphasizes the three stages of learning: the grammar stage (foundation of knowledge), the logic stage (development of critical thinking skills), and the rhetoric stage (articulation and expression of ideas). This method focuses on teaching students to think critically, analyze information, and engage in meaningful discussions.
- Montessori Method:
Based on the philosophy of Maria Montessori, this method emphasizes hands-on learning and self-paced exploration. It encourages children to take an active role in their education, promoting independence, creativity, and a love for learning. Montessori materials and activities are designed to develop various skills and foster a child’s natural curiosity.
Unschooling is a child-led approach where the child’s interests and passions drive their education. This method focuses on allowing children to learn naturally through everyday experiences and pursuits. Unschooling encourages self-directed learning, where parents act as facilitators, supporting their child’s interests and providing resources when needed.
- Charlotte Mason Method:
The Charlotte Mason method emphasizes a holistic approach to education, focusing on living books, hands-on experiences, and the integration of nature and the arts. This method encourages the development of good habits, cultivating a love for literature, and nurturing the child’s relationship with the natural world.
- Online/Distance Learning:
With the advancements in technology, online learning has become a popular choice for homeschooling families. Online programs offer a wide range of subjects and courses, providing flexibility and access to expert instruction. This method allows parents to tailor their child’s curriculum while utilizing interactive online resources and virtual classrooms.
When choosing a homeschooling method, it’s crucial to consider your child’s learning style, your family’s values, and your educational goals. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and you can even combine elements from different methods to create a personalized curriculum.
Take the time to research, explore, and experiment with different methods to find the one that resonates with your family, creating a rich and fulfilling homeschooling experience for your children.
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- Traditional/Structured Homeschooling:
- Tips for Homeschooling Multiple Children at Onceby crunchymamadfw
Homeschooling multiple children at once can be a challenging task, especially if you have children of different ages and abilities. However, with the right planning and organization, it can be a rewarding experience for both you and your children. Here are some tips on how to homeschool multiple children at once:
- Set up a schedule and routine: Having a structured schedule and routine can help you and your children stay on track and make the most of your homeschooling day. Plan a daily schedule that includes time for each child’s individual lessons, group activities, breaks, and lunch.
- Use a curriculum that works for all your children: Choose a curriculum that is flexible and adaptable to your children’s different learning styles and abilities. Look for resources that can be used across different grade levels, such as online learning platforms, textbooks, and workbooks.
- Create a designated homeschooling space: Set up a designated area in your home where your children can focus on their lessons and activities. Having a dedicated homeschooling space can help your children stay focused and minimize distractions.
- Utilize peer teaching: Encourage your older children to help teach their younger siblings. Peer teaching can help reinforce learning and build relationships between siblings.
- Incorporate group activities: Include group activities in your homeschooling day, such as science experiments, art projects, and reading aloud. Group activities can help your children learn together and build social skills.
- Take advantage of online resources: There are many online resources available for homeschooling, such as virtual field trips, educational videos, and interactive activities. These resources can help supplement your lessons and keep your children engaged.
Homeschooling multiple children at once can be a challenging task, but with the right planning and organization, it can be a rewarding experience for both you and your children. Remember to stay flexible, be patient, and enjoy the journey of learning together as a family.
- How I make Our Homeschool Funby crunchymamadfw
The beautiful thing about homeschooling is that we have the power to tailor the experience to our children’s specific learning styles and interests. So, why not focus on making learning fun? It doesn’t seem hard. But, sometimes it’s easier said than done. Let’s be honest, it’s easy for us to get wrapped up in the “school” of homeschool.
We want to spend this time with our kids, but we also want them to excel academically. In that pursuit, fun is often considered secondary. At least, that’s how it went for us. That’s until I realized that making learning actually enjoyable had to be the primary goal. In this post I share a few things we have done to make homeschool fun.
My kids are gamers. From video games to board games, they love them all. I have found that when I incorporate games into our homeschool they are not only engaged, but they have so much fun. It is a delight to see because I am literally witnessing the joy of learning.
Just last week I grabbed a ball from the playroom to roll back and forth with my 6 year old. Each time I rolled the ball to him, I asked him to answer a mental math equation. When he rolled the ball back, he would ask me to answer a math equation. It was such a simple game, but he absolutely loved it and we ended up playing for 20 minutes.
We play board games, video games, card games, and made-up-on-the-spot games. It has been something that has developed naturally. But, it is nice to know that game schooling is backed by research.
Incorporating games into your homeschool curriculum can help your child to develop important skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork, while also providing a break from traditional methods of learning. Games can be used to reinforce concepts that your child is struggling with, or to introduce new concepts in a fun and interactive way. Incorporating Game-schooling into our homeschool has helped to keep my children motivated and interested in various learning concepts.
I know this may be slightly controversial depending on how you feel about screen time, but technology is one of our favorite homeschooling tools. We keep our homeschool fun by working with screen time, instead of fighting against it.
I am a working homeschool mom. Utilizing technology helps me accomplish work-related tasks while also ensuring that my kids are learning. Sure, screen time can get out of control if not structured. But, when used with parameters it has made learning that much more enjoyable for my kids. Here are a few of our favorite online learning resources:
If you know me in real life, then you know I’m a Mama on the Go. If there’s one thing I’m going to do regardless, it’s take my kids on a field trip. Last year we had a zoo membership and we went every other week. Incorporating field trips into our homeschool makes it fun because it gives us something to look forward to during the week. It’s also just really fun to learn about history, science, animals, etc. in a more hands-on environment. Plus, it just feels good to break up the monotony and get outside.
Field trips can be as formal or as informal as you’d like. Taking advantage of memberships is great because it saves money in the long run and ensures that we’ll have a consistent field trip destination. We love our local zoo and museums, but a trip to IKEA can honestly be just as fascinating for my kids. Especially on Wednesdays when kids eat free!
Focusing on fun in your homeschool doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, I’ve found that the activities that require the lowest amount of prep were often the most fun. My advice: keep it simple. In most cases your child will have fun learning if you’re having fun learning too. After all, isn’t learning with our children part of the joy of homeschooling?
Was this post helpful? How do you incorporate fun into your homeschool? Sound off in the comments!
- 3 Homeschool Happenings Around DFW I’m Excited for this Winter/Spring 2023by crunchymamadfw
If there’s one thing I’m going to do without a doubt—it’s finding fun homeschool events around DFW. There’s so much for homeschooling families to do here in the metroplex. However, finding events can be a bit of a challenge if you don’t know where to look. Below I have compiled a list of local homeschool happenings that we’re excited for, I know you will be too!
Homeschool Week at SEA LIFE Grapevine and LEGOLAND Discovery Center 2/6-2/10
Grapevine is probably one of my favorite cities in the metroplex simply because of what it offers for entertainment. SEA LIFE Grapevine and LEGOLAND Discovery Center are both great for littles and the bigger kids. I love that both venues are mere steps from each other. You could absolutely make a day of visiting them both. I’d recommend making the trip during their Homeschool Week which is February 6th-10th. SEA LIFE Grapevine and LEGOLAND Discovery Center will also host workshops throughout the day that are sure to excite the kids!
Homeschool STEAM Lab at Sci-Tech Discovery Center
The Sci-Tech Discovery Center is a true gem. We have a fantastic time each time we visit and are so excited about their STEAM program for homeschoolers. The STEAM Lab will be held every other week on Tuesdays starting January 24 through April 18th. The program is designed for grades K-5. A single lab plus museum admission is $15 for nonmembers. The full semester (or 7 labs) is $85 for nonmembers. Registration has already begun so hurry up before it’s too late!
Homeschool Club and Nature Adventurers at River Legacy Nature Center
River Legacy is our nearest nature center and it’s one that we have loved for years. We attended a few of the Nature Adventurers classes last year and my kids thoroughly enjoyed them. The Nature Adventurers program meets every other week and is geared toward ages 2.5 to 5 years old. Each week a different animal is covered in a way that is hands on and engaging for kids. The cost is $20 per child plus one parent, it’s an additional $5 if you’re bringing another child. The next two classes are already full, so hurry up and register!
River Legacy also hosts a homeschool club for kids ages 5-11. The cost is $165 for the semester. Registration is currently open for the 2023-2024 school year. We have not tried out the club yet, but I hear nothing but great things about the program!
DFW homeschooling parents: which event are you most excited for?
- My Story K Review (Faith-Based Social Studies Curriculum)by crunchymamadfw
My Story K is a faith-based social studies curriculum. The curriculum book is a twice-a-week course. It focuses on introducing kids to cultures around the globe, citizenship, geography and economics. It also teaches about God’s love. My Story K is designed for Kindergartners. It is normally priced at $44.99, but it is currently on sale for $42.75.
We used My Story K for my 1st Grader and Preschooler. Even though it is designed for Kindergartners, I felt that it was still great for my kids. We really enjoyed how My Story K incorporates language and geography into each lesson. My kids were fascinated with the featured cultures, and found it fun to find the countries on the map included. We often found ourselves doing further research and watching videos on the various countries on YouTube.
We are Christian, however we only use secular homeschool resources. This is purposely done, because I honestly have a hard time trusting many faith-based resources. My Story K does a great job of including faith into the curriculum in a non-offensive way. However, the Bible verses were not well thought out in the lessons. Many of the verses seemed random, and were taken out of context so that it would fit the lesson. After a few lessons, we skipped the Bible verses all together because it was hard to explain the connection to my kids.
Other than the Bible verses, we truly did enjoy using the curriculum. The activities were fun and engaging. I appreciated the attention that was given to smaller countries and cultures, which we otherwise would not have learnt. I also like the two day a week course load, it went really well with our schedule.
Overall, My Story K is a good social studies curriculum. It worked well for my family. It’s a curriculum that we will continue to use for the remainder of our school year.
- Generation Genius Science Subscription Box Reviewby crunchymamadfw
We have used various science subscription boxes in our homeschool and have had positive experiences. Science is just one of those subjects that is inherently fun. My son and I randomly came across Generation Genius on YouTube, and instantly fell in love with the brand. The videos are great! I recently learned that they also have science subscription boxes, and knew we had to try them out. I had no idea just how incredible the experience would be for us. Keep reading to find out how we were hooked, and why you need Generation Genius in your home.
The Generation Genius Science Kit is a subscription box that includes everything needed to do three science experiments. It is intended for ages 9-99. The experiments vary each month and can cover chemistry, biology, engineering, and more. There’s also enough supplies to do each experiment multiple times. The Generation Genius Science Kit also features step-by-step videos with the host (Dr. Jeff), instead of a written manual. The subscription is offered as a monthly, 3 month, or 6 month subscription. Prices range from $29.95/month to $39.95/month. For a limited time, Generation Genius is offering the first month’s box for FREE!
When I tell you that I cannot say enough good things about Generation Genius— I mean it! The experience was awesome. I took advantage of the deal mentioned above, and got our subscription box practically for free. I had to pay shipping, which was just $7.95. The box came quickly and I was immediately impressed by the presentation. The supplies included were great quality, and the chemicals were labeled and safely stored. We logged on to the website, as instructed from the box, and entered the included password to access the step-by-step videos.
Dr. Jeff, the host, was funny and kept my 4 and 6 year old’s attention. We really loved how the videos went into detail about why the experiments worked the way they did. I do recognize that my kids are not necessarily the intended audience. However, with my assistance, they were still able to perform and understand the experiments. Once they are older, I know they’ll be able to do them independently. The step-by-step video is paced well, so we didn’t have any issues with not keeping up. Plus, the video can easily be paused if needed.
The three experiments that we did were Turn Liquid into Worms, Draw Patterns that Glow, and Liquid that Changes Color. We did each experiment multiple times, which added to the fun. We really loved experimenting with different variations of the same experiment. It allowed us to test our own hypotheses about how variables may change the experiment.
In case you can’t tell already, I would 100% recommend the Generation Genius Science Kit. It is so well put together, and priced more than appropriately given the amazing experience to be had. If you are looking to try out a science kit, now is the best time to get the Generation Genius Science Kit. I promise you and your kids will love it!
- Pumpkin Elephant Toothpaste Experimentby crunchymamadfw
It’s October which means that pumpkin season is in full effect. We enjoy STEM activities year round, but in October we like to do activities with pumpkins. Without a doubt, our favorite is pumpkin elephant toothpaste. It’s the same experiment as regular elephant toothpaste. The only catch is that instead of doing it in a bottle or glass jar, we do it inside of a pumpkin! It’s fun and exciting, plus the experiment uses readily available ingredients. In this post I will show you how we make it through our experience. Plus, I’ve included a free printable with detailed instructions below!
Here’s What You Need
- Hollowed out pumpkin
- 1 cup (4 oz) 6% hydrogen peroxide. We used a 20 volume clear developer (liquid).
- Food coloring
- 6 tablespoons of warm (not hot) water
- 2 packets of active yeast
- 2 tablespoons of dish soap
- Recycled plastic water bottle, jar, beaker, etc.
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Safety goggles
You can certainly use a generic hydrogen peroxide, but we wanted something a bit more concentrated. We were able to find a 20 Volume Developer (liquid version) at our local Sally Beauty Supply. We also doubled this recipe for an even bigger reaction.
We have done this experiment almost half a dozen times, and it never gets old. My soon-to-be two year old even got in on the act this time around, and he was truly amazed. What I love about this experiment is that while there are quite a few steps, it still doesn’t feel complicated. In order to make things a bit smoother, I went ahead and set out all of the ingredients ahead of time and did most of the prep work. So, when it was time all we really had to do was pour ingredients into the glass hiding inside our smiling pumpkin.
While tempting, we avoided touching the “toothpaste” because it is a possible skin irritant. Before I knew that, I let my kids play with it (once it cooled) and they were fine. However, if your child has sensitive skin you may want to avoid touching it altogether.
Will you try this fun experiment with your kids?
Let me know in the comments if you try this fun pumpkin elephant toothpaste experiment with your kids!
- Sensory Tissue Box Reviewby crunchymamadfw
I love exposing my children to toys that spark their curiosity and encourage brain development. We recently had the opportunity to try out a toy for my youngest child, who is almost 2. In this post I will share our experience with the Sensory Tissue Box.
The Sensory Tissue Box is a sensory toy designed for children from ages 5 months and up. It offers a soft sensory experience that also helps little ones develop and work on important tools. The Sensory Tissue Box lets them work on their pincer grasp, fine motor skills, and the understanding of object permanence. It is priced at $23.75.
It’s rare that we get the opportunity to review a product with my youngest son, Arrow, in mind. The Sensory Tissue Box is brightly colored and I really love the varying textures of the scarves or “tissues” that are included. I had high hopes for this experience, but if I’m being honest, Arrow just wasn’t that into it. He is just shy of 2 years old, and I honestly feel like we just missed the window of him being able to enjoy The Sensory Tissue Box. It took a lot of encouragement on my end to get Arrow to want to engage with the toy. When he did want to play with it, he didn’t play for very long.
I feel that if he was a bit younger, Arrow would have loved The Sensory Tissue Box. My son could very well be the outlier, but I think that the perfect age range is likely 4 to 12 months. Arrow is at an age where he is very curious and wants to walk around and explore his surroundings. Getting him to actually sit down and play is quite difficult these days.
I really wanted Arrow to love The Sensory Tissue Box. I love its design and that it is brightly colored, and the various textures. I also think that it is reasonably priced. But, it just didn’t work for Arrow. If you have an infant or young toddler, The Sensory Tissue Box will likely be a hit for them. If you have a very active and curious child like mine, you may to skip this one.