IQ Circuit – A Game Review

games in homeschool

If you have been around Hopkins Homeschool for a bit, you know that we love to supplement our learning with games. Education doesn’t have to be boring, so we love to add games that make our brains work a little differently. We had the chance to review IQ Circuit from Timberdoodle. Check out what we liked most about this game!

learning with games

We received this game for free from Timerbdoodle in exchange for our honest review. We were not required to write a positive review. Find out more here.

What Is It

IQ Circuit is a single-player game that includes a case, ten double-sided game pieces, and an instruction book. 120 different challenges range from starter (easy) to wizard (expert). The age range for this game is 8 to adult. The goal of IQ Circuit is to create paths that will connect the dots.

IQ Circuit is a game that will help with concentration, problem-solving, and spatial insight. The instruction book starts by showing you some of the pieces and where they go, but by the time you get to the wizard (expert) level, you will only see the dots, and you need to figure out the pieces and placement. Each game progressively gets a little more complicated.

games in homeschool

How We Used It

Game usage in our homeschool doesn’t have a set schedule. If you get bored, you grab a game. You grab a game if you want something to do while listening to mom read. These single-player games come in handy for things like this. 

Ray Ray was the main player of IQ Circuit. He has been my crazy, outside-the-box thinker since he started walking, and I needed something for him to challenge his mind. He would sit down with the game while I read our daily lesson and worked through the different challenges.

I liked how Ray Ray would play IQ Circuit because he didn’t just go in order of the challenges. He would start with an easy challenge to warm up, but each challenge would be a more challenging level after that. 

games to learn

What We Thought 

We love IQ Circuit! We have a small collection of games from Smart Games, and we were thrilled to add IQ Circuit to our collection. These games hold up to multiple uses and multiple children. While they are simple to understand, they also challenge our minds.

I can also personally say that while this game was intended for the kids, I have found myself taking a break from my daily routine and playing this game also.

IQ Circuit is available from Timberdoodle and is included in their Ninth-Grade Curriculum package.

What are some fun games you have included in your homeschool?


Intro to Filmmaking – A Review

online film school

Everywhere you look, you can see films around you. You can stream them on many different platforms. It is no wonder why kids are falling in love with making their films. Intro to Filmmaking from Film School for Teens is a great way to support your kid’s interest in filmmaking.

online film school

We were able to try and review Intro to Filmmaking from Timberdoodle. We were not required to write a positive review. You can find out more right here.

What Is It

Intro to Filmmaking is an online course for middle to high school students. This is a self-paced course, but it does come with an idea of what to do each week to complete the sections.

high school filmmaking course

There are 18 sections to this course, each section has four different items to complete. The items are usually the lesson, the assignment, a film report, and a fun film fact. By the end of the course, your child will have not only learned the basics of filmmaking but will have completed a film of their own to enter into a film festival.

There are two different Intro to Filmmaking courses available, the Classic and the Charter. While these are both very similar, the Classic course does mention some faith-based items where the Charter does not.

On top of the online course, there is a workbook that goes with the course. For this review, I did not receive the physical copy of the workbook, but the PDF copy. This workbook goes along with the online lessons, asking questions and enforcing what is talked about during the video lessons.

How We Used It

After looking over everything and seeing how it all works, I let Ray Ray loose with the course. I told him what would need to be done each week, and let him decide when to do what. With the simple guide at the front of his workbook, he didn’t have a hard time at all setting a schedule for himself.

intro to filmmaking

Ray Ray would work through the lessons and corresponding worksheets throughout the week and finish up with the film study over the weekend. All the films were easy to find, whether on a streaming network, at our local library, even in our collection.

The collection of movies that are viewed for the film studies are rated PG to PG13. They are a great collection of films, and I was thrilled to have Ray Ray watching them and thinking of them in a different way other than just watching them. 

What We Thought

I loved this course for Ray Ray. He is my film guy and can tell you the release dates of many movies. To allow him to dig deeper into films and filmmaking was a treat. The questions during the lessons are very thought-provoking, as well as the questions that go along with the film reports.

Since we picked the Classic version, I loved seeing the questions about God and faith during the film reports. I never thought to think of faith during the movie Signs, but I can say it opened my eyes to look at all movies in a new way.

film school

Ray Ray loved that the movies were not boring movies and actual ones that he enjoyed watching. He loved the video lessons and walked away learning a lot. While he wasn’t super excited about actually making a film, he did enjoy learning what does go into making one.

If you have a child who is in love with filmmaking, we highly recommend this course. 


Apple Twist – A Game Review

Baby Girl loves to play games, but sometimes she needs something to keep her busy while I work with the older two. Apple Twist from Smart Games is just the right game for times like this.

*I received a complimentary copy of this game from Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest review. You can find out more right here*


Apple Twist is a four-piece puzzle game made for 1 player at a time. You have the twisting apple game board, and three different colored caterpillars of different lengths. There is also a gamebook with 60 different puzzles to solve ranging from starter up to master.

Apple Twist is recommended for ages 5 and up. Timberdoodle includes this game in their Kindergarten Curriculum Kit. This game is not only fun, but helps with spatial insight, logic, problem-solving, planning, and visual perception. How does it do all that? I am glad you asked!

So, you got Apple Twist, you open the box, now what? Check out your pieces, get familiar with the way they do, and do not move. You want to make sure not to force any of them to move in the ways they are not supposed to. Take a look at the apple. You can see that one side has the numbers 1-5 and the other letters A-E. Once you have done that you are ready to play the game.

Take a look at the first game in the book, you will want to adjust the apple so it says 1, 2, C, 4, and E. This changes the dents on the playing board. You also see where to put the green caterpillar and the starts of the blue and yellow. Now you need to think, plan, and figure out how the blue and yellow caterpillars will fit on the board.

Seems simple right? Not always! As I said, these challenges get harder. By the time you get to the end of the “starter” puzzles, you only see where the caterpillars start, no more helping of where one fully goes. Moving forward, you start to lose the colors, just starting points, until you work up to only one starting point, or none at all!

Baby Girl loves to do puzzles. She has been putting together picture puzzles since she was two. This game was a perfect challenge for her. She mastered the first page of puzzles and loved how they gradually got harder. She was able to build her knowledge and skills little by little after the first initial confidence booster. 

I never really put this in our school schedule, rather I like to leave it open and accessible for her to use whenever she gets “bored” during the day. We actually have a small supply of games from Smart Games that we leave available for the kids to play with.

Knowing that I have this fun game for her to play when she wants makes her happy. Knowing that as she plays this game she is learning new ways to think, plan, and look at problems makes me happy. And this game is simple enough to take with us on the go.

I highly recommend that you grab this game for your kids. It was a hit in our house and I am sure it will be in yours also!


All About Reading – A Timberdoodle Review

I am on my last child who needs to learn how to read. I have already learned that there are many ways to teach this, but this time I am trying All About Reading Level 1 with Baby Girl.

~ I received a copy of this from Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and I was not compensated in any other way. ~

What Is It

All About Reading Level 1 is part of the Kindergarten Curriculum Kit from Timberdoodle. I received a Teacher’s Manual, Student Pack with Activity Book, three readers, Reader Divider Cards and Reading Review Box, Letter Tiles, Magnets, and Tote Bag.

With a little bit of prep work at the beginning, there is little need to prep at the beginning of each lesson. Each lesson in the teacher’s manual starts with a section just for you. This will tell you the objective of the lesson, what you need, and what you need to know before you begin.

At the start of each lesson, you will start with a review of the previous lessons. This review allows your child to keep on track and allows you to see where they need to keep practicing.

After that, you move on to the new teaching. The teacher’s manual takes you step-by-step on how to do the new teaching. You are not alone on this. Not only that, but you will use multiple ways to teach, as this is a multi-sensory curriculum.

How We Used It

I spent my first day reading the beginning of the teacher’s manual and applying the letter tiles to the magnets. I also took the letter cards and word cards and separated them by lesson. This had me ready to open and go for each lesson.

I would sit down with Baby Girl and we would start going through the lesson. While the lessons are short, we would take our time with them, sometimes taking 2 or 3 days to complete the lesson. Even with spreading the lesson out, we would still do the review for that lesson each time.

Baby Girl has a short attention span, so even though the lessons are already short, sometimes it just needed to be shortened even more. Since we didn’t have a magnetic board to use our tiles on, we took those tiles to the fridge. I think this was the best part for Baby Girl!

This was our “reading class” for at least 3 days out of the week. That was the least amount of time we would spend on it, with 4 or 5 being the normal. But, as I mentioned, sometimes we would spread the lesson out. It was fun to have a lot of ways to practice the reading, from word cards, worksheets with different activities and books that the children will be reading within the first three lessons! When teaching to read, reading a book is a huge incentive!

What We Thought Of It

We love this program. I wish I would have tried this with Ray Ray and Little Miss! One thing I did learn was that each child will learn to read at their own pace. So, while going into this with the intention of teaching Baby Girl to read, I also knew that I had to go at her pace.

With this in mind, this is why we split our lessons. When Baby Girl was not feeling it, we would take a break. This is also why would re-do the reviews at the beginning of the lessons. While I wanted to follow her lead, I didn’t want her to forget what we were learning.

Baby Girl was excited to get started. This was just what I wanted. She loved the letter tiles on the fridge and would do the sounding out of those letters for hours. In fact, I found this to be a great way to do our reviews. The other thing she really liked was the splat pencil. Sometimes instead of having her read the words, I would say them and have her “splat” them.

Overall, we are impressed with this curriculum. While we are taking longer to use it, we are still getting the full benefit of it. We are not skipping a step and redoing some as we go. Baby Girl loves doing this and knows that when it is too much, we stop. I feel this is why she still loves it.

If you have a child who is ready to start learning to read this is the curriculum you will want to have.


Fischertechnik Profi Mechanic & Static 2 with Engineer – A Timberdoodle Review

My son is a builder, he will create and build things from nothing. When I was given the opportunity to review Fischertechnik Profi Mechanic & Static 2 with Engineer from Timberdoodle, I jumped at the chance. Oh, and I didn’t tell him it was coming until he opened the package!

Disclaimer:  I received a FREE copy of this product through Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

What Is It

This set includes 500 pieces and a guide to allow you to build up to 30 different models. Once you have mastered these, you can free build with your mind as your limit. The builds start with simple easy to make to really intense. They are meant to build upon each other and allow your child to build their knowledge one build at a time.

Within the 500 pieces, you will have a variety of pieces that help build many things. This also includes a working motor to allow you to make a build that actually operates. This was my son’s favorite part…building something that could perform a function.

How We Used It

The Fischertechnik Profi Mechanic & Static 2 with Engineer is part of Timberdoodle’s 7th Grade Curriculum Kit. Ray Ray is only in 6th grade this year, but with his building skills, I knew that this kit would be beneficial to him. Like I said in the beginning, I did not tell him this was coming to the house. The day it arrived, I opened the box and had it ready for him. I woke him up and when he saw the box he was in utter shock. This was not something he ever thought he would have in the house.

That first day, I allowed him to do as he wished with the set. I wanted it to be fun for him. Before I knew it, he had spent an entire day building, taking apart, and building again. When something didn’t work, I could see his brain working to figure out what was out of place and how to make it right. This took his normal block building to new heights and I could see him thinking in new ways.

After the “new” wore off, I decided we needed to just start from the beginning with the builds and see what we could learn. Well, we learned a lot. In fact, after learning some basics, Ray Ray went back and mastered some of the builds he was having difficulty with before. To me, there is no right or wrong way to use this as a learning opportunity. You can start with the biggest build and learn from your mistakes, or work your way up, learning as you go. Either way will work, you just have to know your child.

What We Thought of It

My son was so impressed by this set. After the surprise wore off, his appreciation of this product was shown through the numerous thanks that were given. This set was easy to use. The instructions on how to build the different models were easy to understand. When we had difficulties, it was an error of the user, and we were able to use those as teachable moments. Ray Ray was thrilled to add to his building collection, and both of us learned a lot about how engineering works with this set. While things seem simple, a simple mistake can cause major headaches. But a simple fix can reduce those headaches.

If your child loves building, this is a great set to help advance those builds. They will learn so much with the simple builds and you will see their mind working in new ways by adding new material to their supply. There are so many learning opportunities in this one fun building kit, I highly recommend it.

Dot-To-Dot Philadelphia – A Timberdoodle Review

This is a review post. I received this item in exchange for my honest review. Below you will find just that, my honest review.

Some days we just don’t want to do school. On those days, all we want is a break, but mom still wants learning to happen as much as possible. This is doable when we pull out some fun Dot-to-Dot books to work on. These last two weeks, Ray Ray and I have been working on We Are Connected Dot-to-Dot Philadelphia. This book is also available as part of Timberdoodle’s 11th Grade Curriculum Kit.

There are 23 puzzles covering 30 pages in this book that guide us around the Parkway Museums District in Philadelphia. Yes, I said 23 puzzles and 30 pages. There are some puzzles that span 2 pages! We love a good challenge, and this book sure provided that for us in a fun way!

This is not a book to hand to a beginner, with the smallest puzzle going all the way up to 152 and the largest going to 1690! But this is a great book for those who love to spend some time away from the screens and create something fun by drawing a few lines. This is recommended for ages 8 and up and while Ray Ray does enjoy dot-to-dots, this was one he had more fun looking at the pictures after I had done them.

Not only do we get to relax while doing these fun puzzles, but at the back of the book, we have a beautiful description of what each puzzle is when they are done. This allowed us the chance to check out the pictures in further detail and add some history to our fun.

Also, at the beginning of the book, we find a friendly welcome that introduces us to Philadelphia and the Parkway Museums District. Again, this was an excellent way to work in some other learning besides just doing a dot-to-dot.

I have really enjoyed sitting down and doing these dot-to-dots. I have found that using a ruler, as suggested, should be done if you want to make these look nicer. I also like using a super fine tip rolling ball pen vs. a pencil. The pages are thick enough that my pen did not bleed through like on regular paper. The results were enough to make me slow down and take my time with the pen. I was very impressed with the results!

If you are looking for a fun way for you or your child to relax and learn some fun history facts along the way, this dot-to-dot book from Timberdoodle is a great way to do just that!


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Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones – A Review

Learning Bones with Dr Bonyfide

This is a review post. I received this item in exchange for my honest review. Below you will find just that, my honest review.

Learning about the skeletal system should be fun. There should be games and activities that keep a child interested. Keeping them interested is the hardest part. The Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones – Set of 4 was just what we needed in our home!

Learning Bones with Dr Bonyfide

What Is It?

This is a four-book set, each one focusing on different bones within the body. Each of these books can be used for a whole year, making this set start in 3rd grade and finish in the 6th grade.

The four books are:

  1. Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Hand, Arm, and Shoulder
  2. Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Foot, Let and Pelvis
  3. Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Rib Cage and Spine
  4. Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Head, Face, and Neck

Learning Bones with Dr Bonyfide

Each book consists of short, fun, and rhyming lessons. The books are full of activities for the kids to get hands on fun practice with what they have been learning. These activities can range from checking out “x-rays” with 3D glasses to drawing the bones as you trace your hands and feet or even just coloring the ribs while you practice their names.

On top of all the fun that filled the pages, these pages were full color. They are made of a thicker weight paper, so they can stand up to lots of flipping of pages.

How We Used It

Ray Ray was the intended reader of these books. However, he decided to take his learning of his bones a step farther. Two days after we opened the books, Ray Ray fell off his bed and broke his elbow! *Just a heads up, this did not earn him any extra credit, and it is not required when you decide to purchase the books!

Learning Bones with Dr Bonyfide

I did not have any lesson plans to follow when we got these books. Instead, we took the books and had fun with them on our own. I would simply write Dr. Bonyfinde on Ray Ray’s daily lessons and he would read as much or as little as he wanted. Typically, he would read the lesson and stop. The next day he would go and do the activities that went with the lesson.

We used this in addition to our current Science curriculum. The way this played out on our lesson plans was 2-3 times a week using it, depending on the week. This was a perfect spacing option for us.

What We Thought Of It

We love using these books. Ray Ray enjoys that the lessons were short and to the point, yet fun at the same time. He doesn’t get bored and jumps at the chance to do Dr. Bonyfide instead of his current curriculum.

I did notice that when Ray Ray uses a pen or pencil, the color on the back of the pages he writes on transfers to the following pages. While this frustrated us a little, we did find that using a permanent marker helped prevent the transfer and the pages were thick enough to prevent it from bleeding through.

Learning our Bones with Dr Bonyfide

I love that he loves to learn about his body. This is such a fun curriculum that I don’t have to argue with him to work on it. I think we will end up going through more than one book each year, as Ray Ray loves to read them that much.

If you are looking for a fun way to get your child interested in learning about their skeletal system, Dr. Bonyfide is the guy for you!

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Draw and Learn Faces – A Review

Draw and Learn Faces

This is a review post. I received this item in exchange for my honest review. Below you will find just that, my honest review.

Kids need to learn how to draw. They need the fine motor skills that come with holding a pencil and making a certain shape. This is the first step towards making them writers. How can you do this in a fun yet structured way? You can find a fun resource like Draw and Learn Faces!

Draw and Learn Faces

What Is It?

Draw and Learn Faces is a My First Activity Book. It can be found in the Timberdoodle Preschool Curriculum Kit. The pages of this book are full of colored pictures that are half way drawn, leaving pieces for kids to complete the rest.

There are no lesson plans, but like most books, you should use it from front to back. Your child will work on building upon the skills that have learned as they go through the book. The skills start with learning different eyes, nose and mouth shapes to draw, and from there they draw faces on many different objects.

Draw and Learn

While there are lots of guided pages of what to do, there are also some blank, free drawing pages to let the creative juices flow.

How Did We Use It?

I had Little Miss using this book. She loves to draw, but really fights me when it comes to handwriting. I figure I could build the skills for handwriting while still letting her enjoy the art of drawing. She loved drawing in the book and didn’t think it was too little for her at all.

I had no plans going into this. I wanted to get my hands on it and see what she thought of it before planning anything. Once I fell in love with it, I handed it over and she wanted to just draw non-stop. To make us both happy, we worked on a few pages each day.

There were no complicated instructions, so I was able to tell her what to do on each page and let her go. This also freed me up to help the big boys with their work for a few minutes.

Draw and Learn

What Did We Think Of It?

Little Miss didn’t want to stop drawing! She was thrilled to be able to have another drawing book, and this one was her favorite. She thought it was funny to draw faces on different pieces of fruit and objects such as plates or balloons. This helped to open her imagination when it comes to drawing.

The pages of the book are made of thicker paper, which prevents tearing. I love the amount of color on each page and the simple instructions. I also love that when working in the book, you can fold it flat on the table, this binding was awesome! It made for easier drawing.

Little Miss really enjoys this book, even though she is on the upper age range. Baby Girl is at the lower age of this book, was not quite ready for it. I see this being perfect for ages 4-6, unless your child is ready to draw at ages 2-3, then this would be a perfect starting point.

The Draw and Learn books also come in People, Animals and Places. We look forward to trying more of these fun books!

Have you ever tried the Draw and Learn series before? Which was your favorite?

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Tegu Oceans Deluxe Wooden Blocks – A Review

The kids in this house love to play with anything that includes building. Baby Girl got some great building blocks for Christmas, but she is upset when they topple over and I don’t like not knowing much about the product itself when she wants to put it in her mouth. Lucky for me, we had the chance to try Tegu Oceans Deluxe Magnetic Wooden Blocks from Timberdoodle, and we had a great time with them!

The Tegu Oceans Deluxe Magnetic Wooden Blocks are a part of Timberdoodle’s Preschool Curriculum kit, but these have been a hit for everyone in the house! And after I did my research, I am fine with anyone using these, even if they put them in their mouth!

The magnets in these wooden blocks are like magic. You can’t see them. There is no piecing together of the wood, no way to see where they took it apart to put in the magnet. This is a huge plus in my books when I give something to my child, who will put it in her mouth.

Each of these wooden blocks is handcrafted. They contain no lead, no plastic, they are non-toxic and are painted with a water based lacquer finish. These are some safe and fun toys that I am glad we have our hands on!

Baby Girl was the intended reviewer for this product, but when the big kids saw it, they were in heaven! They wanted to build the biggest and best things possible because these wooden blocks would not topple as easy. This showed me that these blocks would get a lot of love for a lot of years! Just because Timberdoodle has them in their preschool kit, don’t worry, they will grow with your child, heck even Daddy tried to get in on the fun!

There are multiple shapes and sizes to the blocks, and the colors were “ocean” colors per the name! We also had the chance to check out the Tegu Wheels and see what kinds of cars we could make. There was a lot of trial and error on this part, and most of it involved mom helping and forgetting to take pictures!

We have loved building with these blocks. There is an e-book with ideas, but we didn’t use it. The kids loved finding their own way to play with them. I loved this! This allowed the kids to use their own minds, figure out the best way to use the magnets and have fun!

With the amount of play these blocks got in our house, they held up to it very well! We were very impressed with the quality, as well as the safety of them. We loved the imagination that came from the kids and the lessons of magnetism that they learned the hands-on way! These blocks were a hit the first day we opened them, and continue to be the favorite go to toy in the house!

Have you gotten your hands on these fabulous blocks? What is your favorite thing about them?

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(A Review) My First Scissors

When it comes to scissors in this house, we allow everyone to use them, but the little ones need extra help. Finding just the right pair of scissors to teach with is hard to find. However, we found just what we needed with the My First Scissors. These are included in Timberdoodle's Preschool Curriculum Kit as well as the PreK Curriculum Kit.

My First Scissors Review

The My First Scissors are unlike any you have seen before. These scissors are spring loaded, and can be used with right or left handed children. They have rounded blades to make them just a little bit safer. As always, they are scissors and need to be used with supervision or else you end up with a child who has decided their hair needed to be cut.

Little Miss has tried several "safety scissors" all of which have led to frustration. When she seen the package of these scissors, she was ready to jump right in. They are "her" scissors and no one is allowed to touch them.

My First Scissors

When it comes to teaching how to use the scissors, it is nice to have a book that is made for cutting. Kumon has some great books, and we loved the More Let's Cut Paper! This book allowed us to put our new scissors to use. Little Miss would have used this whole book up in one day if I had allowed it.

My First Scissors

The My First Scissors were easy for Little Miss to hold. They fit perfect in her hands and allowed her to enjoy learning how to cut. Because they were easy to use, she actually enjoyed using them. There was no fight on how to hold them correctly, they just fit. Her hands did not get tired from holding them and she truly loved using scissors with the My First Scissors!

Have you checked out beginner scissors for your little hands? One hold of these and you will be hooked!

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