Thursday, June 27, 2013

Product Review: Ancient History Go Fish Game by The Classical Historian

Product at a glance:

  • Product received for this review: The Classical Historian's Ancient History Go Fish Game
  • Publisher: The Classical Historian
  • Price: $11.95
  • Web-site:
  • Facebook Page: Classical Historian
  • Ages/grades suggested for: Ages 6 and older (some reading required)
  • Who can use it? This is a great product for homeschoolers. It is also useful in the classroom setting for teachers covering Ancient History and want a fun way to reinforce the concepts that have been covered. 
  • Other Products made by Classical Historian: Complete curriculum from a Socratic perspective, several other games, California History studies, flashcards, and history textbooks. Some very interesting stuff, take a look!

What problem does this product solve: 

I know as a homeschool mom, I'm always looking for new ways to engage my kids with the materials and subjects that we are covering for school. I am constantly asking myself, "How can I clarify this topic?" or "How can I stuff more understanding into their heads?" Games are always their favorite way of reviewing a subject.

So far, in our 2+ years of schooling at home, we have covered mostly American History. We received for review the Ancient History Go Fish Game. We all thought that was pretty cool since we had not formally covered any of the topics in our deck. The topics included:

1. Prehistory
2. Ancient Asia
3. Mesopotamia
4. Ancient Hebrews
5. Ancient Egypt
6. Ancient Greece
7. Roman Republic
8. Roman Empire
9. Native American Homes
10. Political Leaders
11. Seven Continents
12. Rivers of Early Civilizations
Out of those, we had only covered Native American Homes and the Seven Continents.

Emma and Dad take the early lead.

The box had 4 cards for each of those topics as well as rules for 4 different games. The games are:

  1. Go Fish
  2. Chronology
  3. Geography
  4. Collect the Cards
We have played the Go Fish game and worked on Collect the Cards. Since we don't know the material very well (at least the kids do not), it really amounted to taking turns reading the hints and then giving each other the answer. However, after the first time, each of the kids were claiming cards every couple turns. They were retaining the information just from playing the game! We haven't studied or read books or even filled out worksheets and timelines. They were learning from JUST playing the game. 

When it came time to type out this review, I couldn't find the game. I searched in a panic looking high and low all over the tables and shelves in the room where we had played just the night before. Here's where it was: 

Yes, that is a backpack shaped like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shell. It is indeed stuffed to the brim with Bionicles, Battle Beasts, a pair of epipens, and twelve pounds of action figures and there, on top of it all, Matthew pulls out the Ancient History Go Fish Game. "Oh yeah, I took it to work with us today, Mom. I thought we might get a chance to play it if we finished our regular school stuff."

{{A little background, A.) The kids go to work with us 2-3 days a week and B.) They haven't finished all of their class work from this school year, so they are still working at least 3 days a week until it is complete.}}
Matthew starts to catch some matches.


What did Mom think?

I liked the content of the games. I liked the ease of game play and the quick rule cards. Each game only has a single card front of rules. The game is fantastic for reviewing the topics you have already covered and touching on the topics you have not hit yet. It also makes a great year in review game.

What would I change? 

I might narrow the time period to specifics. For instance, we are studying American Colonization. I would love a set just for that. Other narrower topics that come to mind: Explorers, The Civil War, Reconstruction, The Industrial Revolution, World War I & II, etc. The games they currently make are great for a year in review type game time, but I think it would be a great help to have a smaller chunk of time covered in a game. 

What did Matthew think?

I won! I loved it! It was a very neat game but I think I will like it even better after we have studied more Ancient History.
Emma is working on her grace when
things do not go her way.

What did Emma think?

I want to play it more times so that I can beat Matthew! He just got lucky at the end of the game and caught all those matches!  {{Like I said, we're working on grace.}}

For other perspectives and reviews of other great history games by Classical Historian, go to Mosaic Reviews and read to your hearts content. Also, we're having a Facebook party on Friday, June 28th, 2013 at Mosaic Reviews Facebook page! I'm sure there will be some great giveaways and some great advice! Go check it out!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Product Review: How Do We Know God is Really There? by Melissa Cain Travis and illustrated by Christopher Voss

Product at a glance:
What problem does this product solve: 
  • As parents, we fight a constant battle against the world for our children's hearts and souls. They have friends who spread falsehood, they hear beliefs at school that conflict with what they have been taught at home, maybe they even hear it at family members houses. This book can give parents a way to open a dialog with their children about their belief in God and their concerns or doubts. 

I know as an adult, I've questioned my faith and my belief in God on occasion. I don't remember doing so as a child, but if I had, I had a strong Christian grandma that would have had the exact answer to my disbelief. She knew the bible and was unwavering in her faith. I completely believe in God but I don't have that encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible that my Grandma did. I also have trouble starting that conversation with the kids. This little book gave me that opening with the kids. It's funny, my twelve-year-old has a very solid belief in God and rarely questions that belief. My nine-year-old is a little like her mother and does have questions and hears the negative things people say when they are non-believers. She really needed to have those conversations and this book helped us get them started. 

Thomas and his dad

What do I like about this book?

How Do We Know God Is Really There? by Melissa Cain Travis and illustrated by Christopher Voss is a sweet little picture book for kids and parents to share. The illustrations are simple and colorful and make the book very approachable. The story is about a dad and his son sharing a conversation about God in the context of studying the universe through a telescope. It's a sweet story and as I said before, it can really start a very important conversation between you and your kids. 

Some of the beautiful art from later in the book.

What would I change? 

I don't think I would change a thing. The book is well-written, beautifully illustrated, and well paced to keep the kids interested without getting them too excited (like at bed time). 

What did Mom and the kids think?

We loved sharing this book. It was sweet and thought provoking. I think that many of us feel like our kids share our belief in God because that is what we have always taught them. We live in denial about the impact that people from outside our family can have on those convictions that we feel are so completely ingrained. How Do We Know God is Really There? helped us to open the dialog about other things our kids have heard about God and his existence so that we can reinforce our values and our faith. It is a great tool to combat the Godlessness of the world that we are all confronted with every day.