Review: Medieval History Memory Game by Classical Historian Curriculum

Whew! My blog post title is quite a mouthful today, eh? This is my last review for the former Mosaic Reviews team. They’ll be unveiling their new program shortly, and I’m excited to be apart of it!

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John and Zdenka De Gree founded The Classical Historian after realizing there’s a lack of history curriculum that promotes “independent and critical thinking.” The Medieval History Memory Game (RV $14.95) can be used in two ways: matching and categories. Matching doesn’t require reading and is suitable for ages three and up. Since it’s more complex, categories is more appropriate for ages seven and up. Categories teaches both chronology and geography.

 My Take:

There was one little thing about the memory tiles that exasperated me, because it’s a pet peeve of mine! (If my friends read this post, they will chuckle, because they KNOW how I feel about this). In the Viking card, the Viking depicted has horns on his helmet, which is not historically accurate. I suppose horns were included on this card because the majority of the world associates horned helmets with Vikings…BUT this game teaches history. I think it should be as historically accurate as possible.

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I wanted to show a nice photo of the cards lined up evenly for the matching game. But my helper had other plans.

In the matching game, kids (and adults too!) can familiarize themselves with people, places, artifacts, etc. from history. Obviously a good memory is important not just for school but to survive in life. A quick Google search will show you study after study that show we can improve our memorization skills by games. I’ve even read that memory games are good for the elderly to stave off dementia.

The categories game is more difficult to play and appropriate for middle school and up. It’s timed, and you take turns. You set up the four category tiles (Europe, The Americas, The Far East, and Arabia) in a row. The matching tiles are all mixed up, and once your timer starts, you have to place all the tiles, one-by-one under the correct category. If you place a tile under the wrong category, you lose 10 seconds from your time. The person with the fastest time, wins.

The Medieval History Memory Game complements the Classical Historian curriculum. Besides other games, they develop and sell history textbooks. I have to admit that I’m intrigued to know more about their texts. The idea of analyzing the past, not just focusing on rote memory, really appeals to me, and I think that’s something that was missing from my own education.

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Close up of the artwork and photography. I’m confused why it’s spelled “Sistene” here instead of “Sistine.” I’m guessing an original or common alternate spelling. Maybe that’s something the textbook explains?

You can learn more about the Classical Historian, by visiting their website. If I’ve piqued your interest, come back and check out this post on the weekend. Other bloggers from the Mosaic Reviews team reviewed this memory game as well as other Classical Historian products. I’ll link to their reviews when they’re all up.

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Book Review: “How Do We Know God Is Really There?” book for kids

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m part of the Mosaic Reviews team. The team is revamping their structure, and I’m happy to announce I’ve been accepted as a member of the new team! This will be one of my last reviews for the old team. I received a complimentary copy of Melissa Cain Travis’ book How Do We Know God is Really There? in order to facilitate this review.

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About and Our Experiences:

Published by Apologia Press (remember those homeschooling planners I reviewed a while back?), this hardcover book uses Psalm 19:1 as the basis to explain to children how we can know God exists. The story is told through a conversation Thomas, a school-aged boy, has with his father before bed. On this particular night, the pair set up a telescope Thomas’ tree house to view the rings of Saturn.

The book uses colorful illustrations by Christopher Voss to help weave this story.

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I think it’s awesome that Apologia is producing these books for kids. This is the first in a series of picture books that address questions of our faith. These are things our kids are going to be asked, and that they’ll ask us in turn, so this is a wonderful resource.

The only thing I don’t like about this book is the main character’s name: Thomas. The plural of Thomas –Thomas’s– is really, really awkward to look at/read, which is why many writers avoid ending a character’s name with an s. The author is a scientist, so maybe that’s why she didn’t know better? Or she did notice but didn’t care? Anyway, I realize my annoyance with the name is probably an English teacher thing and won’t bother anyone else. 🙂

Baby J loved the colors when I read this book to him. Of course, I know he’s too young to understand what is being read, but I think a sharp 2 or 3 year old (I’m definitely thinking of my friend’s insanely smart daughter right now) could definitely understand the concepts outlined in this book. I’m looking forward to the rest of this series.

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You can purchase your own copy of How Do We Know God is Really There? from the Apologia website. Also, if you’re a homeschooling parent or interested in homeschooling, I recommend you check out the Mosaic Reviews website to see what other team members have been reviewing.

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Review: UGLee ergonomic ink pen

I’ve been fortunate to work with a variety of great companies with unique products. Today’s review on the UGLee pen may stray away from my usual baby-related posts, but it fits right in with my other one of my other interests: education.

Although I’m planning on staying home while Baby J (and hopefully our additional children) are young, I do eventually want to return to the classroom. I love teaching, but the grading is far from fun. Assigning essays is always the biggest nightmare, because it means I have more than 100 essays to read, review, and write suggestions for- rough drafts, second drafts, and finals. Frequently, I would have hand, wrist, and lower arm pain (repetitive stress injury?) from the hours spent holding pens on a daily basis. When I read that the UGLee pen is ergonomically designed to be extremely comfortable, I was curious to see how it would work.

UGLee penAbout:

UGLee is a combination  of the words “ultimate grip” and the pen’s creator. Dr. Lee would often write 20 pages of notes a day while studying at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Frustrated with uncomfortable pens, he set about creating a truly comfortable pen. Lee x-rayed his own hand to come up with a pen design that was aligned to hand bones and ligaments. Weighing only 11 grams, the UGLee Pen is made with ballistics-grade nylon, and the ink is a cross between gel and ball point pen ink, so it’s smooth and long-lasting.

I received a three-pack of pink UGLee pens. The pens also come in red, white, yellow, green, blue, and silver. They all have black ink when first purchased, but ink refills in blue and red are also available.

My Experiences:

It took a little while for me to get used to how this pen feels in my hand. It feels squishy and almost “sticks” to my hand without actually being sticky. It actually reminds me of the fishing lures I used as a kid. I rolled the pen around the carpet just to see, but no fibers stuck to it, so that was good. I conducted a test by writing the first two stanzas of a poem with the UGLee pen. Then I grabbed a plain old standard ink pen and did the same. The UGLee pen was more comfortable to write with. I also had a more secure grip on the pen. With the standard ink pen, I have to pause at the beginning of every line to readjust the pen, since it’s rolled a little bit on my fingers. I didn’t have this problem with the UGLee pen. After writing with the UGLee pen, my fingers felt great, but I still felt strained in my wrist. However, I think it’s important to note that I don’t hold a pen or pencil correctly. (This is probably why my handwriting is atrocious.) I scrunch my hand down toward my fingers, and it’s a very strained, clenched position, but I’ve been doing it for 25+ years, so I’m used to it. Also, the pen really is lighter than other pens! I tried lifting several pens one by one, and the UGLee pen felt the lightest. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan of the ink. After writing a few pages in my journal, it started to look like it was running out. I opened the pen and looked at the tube though, and the ink looked almost full. :/ Overall, I would agree that the UGLee Pen is more comfortable to write with than a standard ink pen.

Learn and Buy:

Currently, a pack of three UGLee pens is on sale on their site for $19.99, or buy them from the Writing Pen Store. You can also purchase an individual pen for $4.52 as an (affiliate link>>) Amazon add-on item.

Want to learn more? Visit the UGLee Pen on the web. Stay up to date with deals and news- follow UGLee Pen on Twitter and Facebook.

Note: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. Affiliate link present. If you purchase through my link, I will receive a tiny, tiny commission that I will use to buy e-books or baby products to feed my shopping addictions.

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