Archive for December, 2010


Let’s play Wits & Wagers!

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How many words are in this post?

If  you’ve been to our house in the past few weeks, you’ve probably been asked if you want to play Wits & Wagers.  We actually have Wits & Wagers Family, the family friendly version of the original game.  It was given to me, and several of my mates, by North Star Games, to review as part of The Old Schoolhouse (R) Homeschool crew.

Participation is suggested for ages 8+, with 3-10 players, singles or up to 5 teams.  Our current daily household is 9 and our youngest regular player is 6 years old.  We play teams and the 6 year old, with an older team mate, has just as much fun as the rest of us!  To win a game, which takes roughly 20-30 minutes, you have to be the first to get 15 points.  In case of a tie, the team with the youngest player wins.  One of the reasons our 6 y.o. thinks this is “the best game ever!”

This is a question and answer game, but…you don’t have to know the answer.  Another reason my 6 y.o. and I think this is “the best game ever!”  The game comes with 300 questions, 5 dry erase (answer) boards and 5 dry erase pens, 1 dry erase score board; 5 large and 5 small Meeples (wooden markers).

We are actually considering customizing our Meeples.

Basically, play goes like this:

  • A question is asked
  • Answers are known or guessed and written on an answer board
  • All answer boards are put in the center of the table
  • Meeples are used to mark which answer you think is correct or closest to the correct answer
  • Points are scored – 1 pt. for writing the winning guess – 1 pt. for placing a small Meeple on the winning answer board – 2 pts. for placing a large Meeple on the winning answer board
  • First person or team to accumulate 15 pts. wins the game!

Questions vary, but every answer is a number.  You might get, “How many different colors of Froot Loops are there?” or “In feet, how tall is the world’s largest IMAX movie screen?”  I happen to know there are 6 Froot Loop colors, but the IMAX  answer would be a total guess. I might not know the answers, but I can still win, if I choose the right answer or the one closest to it, without going over it.

Wits & Wagers Family game is $19.95, available from North Star Games, at, and other retail locations where board games are sold.

I have yet another reason why this is “the best game ever!”  It’s adaptability to our homeschool.  I can make up questions, with number answers, to correlate and reinforce any subject we are studying.

Learning is fun! and this game proves it.  Even if, I only use the 300 questions that come with Wits & Wagers Family it is impossible to not learn something every time we play.


This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

511 words in this post.

Categories : Games, math, Reading, reviews, TOS
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Our newest addition… Aleks

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Alas, there is no new child in our home, but there is a new discovery.

Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces “is a web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system that uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn’t know in a course.”

In November, I was asked to use and review the ALEKS online math program for one month.  This was my first opportunity to use such a full service web-based program.  Use it, we did…thoroughly, often and on-going, for each of my children, elementary through college.

THE question in our house for the past month has been, “Did you do your Aleks, today?”  Not once did I have to coax, prod, plead, bribe, threaten or even demand that any of my children do their math for the day.  ALEKS assessed each of their strengths and weaknesses and placed the results in pie form.

They enjoyed the freedom and independence of choosing which subject they would work toward mastering.  If they got it, ALEKS would add to their pie, if they didn’t seem to understand it, ALEKS picked up on it and gave them review.  ALEKS graded each problem and confirmed answers or errors, assigned tests and reassessments as needed AND sent me a progress report.

Watch this video and see Aleks in Action in less than 2 1/2 minutes.

Curious about what ALEKS might do for you?  Here’s a sample:

  • Addition/Subtraction, Multiplication/Division Practice = Quick Tables
  • Elementary, Middle School and High School
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Pre Calculus
  • Trigonometry
  • Math for College success
  • Prep for GED mathematics
  • Review for AP Calculus
  • Review for AP Physics
  • Business math
  • Prep for College Physics
  • Higher education Chemistry

You can browse the full Course Library, including recommendations by grade level and course descriptions.

ALEKS is correlated with common core state standards for all 50 states, grades 3-12.  Their customer service is outstanding!

I want you to check out ALEKS, for yourself.  I think it is an exceptional program and because you’ve read this review you have an opportunity to try ALEKS, free, for 1 month.

This is a $19.95 value, per student, per month.  When you discover how much you really like them, check out their family discounted rates.  It seems expensive, but I broke down the cost and came up with surprising results.  My 6 students, for 6 months of access 24/7 is only 50 cents a day per student (figured on an actual 25 days of use, each).  There is not a math tutor anywhere that I can hire for that amount.

My crew mates have also posted reviews of this program and you can find those at


This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

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Categories : homeschool, math, reviews, TOS
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