Product Reviews - The Old Schoolhouse

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BrainQuest Review by Lisa Barthuly & Family

"My First BrainQuest" and "Preschool" levels
Workman Publishing
http://www.brainquest.com

BrainQuest is back! If you've never checked out BrainQuest before, take a look! These are fun, card-deck style, and trivia type question and answer games (with a grommet, holding them together, no lost cards!) for all ages!

Max the Monkey joins our 2-3 year olds (a little non-toxic foam character actually comes in the box!) for "My First BrainQuest" as they learn through words and pictures. These waterproof cards have colorful pictures that show Max engaged in various activities, such as getting up in the morning, going to the doctor, playing at the playground, eating lunch, etc. The pictures help children build their vocabulary & learn words that go along with the pictured activities, such as clock, slippers, pajamas, pouring milk, bowl, and spoon. They also pose questions related to the pictures, "What is Max doing?" "What is this called?" over 400 of them on 3 decks for little hands! These will build our littlest ones word skills, vocabulary and curiosity!

The Preschool level of BrainQuest is geared to 4-5 year olds and boasts over 300 questions and answers on 2 decks of BrainQuest cards! The questions are on one card, with the answers on the following card. Like all BrainQuest card decks they are durable and held together with grommets to ensure long lasting 'edutainment'.

The cards show colorful pictures, with alphabet puzzles, number quizzes, what's wrong with this picture questions, shapes, mixed up stories, patterns, counting, lives of animals questions, riddles, rhyming words...the list goes on. BrainQuest games are fun, portable (great for taking along to appointments, playing on car trips, or just playing at home!) and are entertainment that involves the whole family!

Go to www.brainquest.com to check out all the different levels of BrainQuest available, and tell them The Old Schoolhouse sent you!


--Product Review by: Lisa Barthuly & Family, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

BrainQuest - America

BrainQuest celebrates America! If you've never seen BrainQuest before, take a look! These are fun, card-deck style, "trivia" type question and answer games (with a grommet holding them together, no lost cards!) for all ages! No batteries required!

The "America" version of BrainQuest boasts over 850 Questions and 850 answers that celebrate our history, people and culture! Just a few of the questions posed in this fun, educational version of BrainQuest?which came first...elevator or escalator? peanut butter or jelly? Post-It or Band-Aid?? Which of our states has had a queen? What do we call a court where military officers are the judges? After nursing wounded soldiers in the Civil War, what organization did Clara Barton establish? In August 1859, Edwin Drake dug a deep hole near Titusville, Pennsylvania. What did he find? In 1791 did Benjamin Banneker help design the city of Philadelphia or Washington D.C.?

Some of the subjects covered?How about...famous Americans, laws, geography, American music, inventions, literature, events, historical happenings?the list goes on and on and on! Geared for ages 9 and up to test their knowledge of the USA, but the whole family will enjoy BrainQuest AMERICA!

Go to www.brainquest.com to check out all the different levels/versions of BrainQuest available. BrainQuest makes a great gift anytime and a fun educational game to play by yourself, with a friend, or the whole family... and tell them The Old Schoolhouse sent you!


--Product Review by: Lisa Barthuly & Family, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Brain Quest

New for 2005, the revised Brain Quest cards have 50% new material. The revised edition is also more closely aligned with "curriculum standards." I reviewed Brain Quest for Threes, Kindergarten, and the general curriculum sets for grades one through seven. There are 300 questions in Threes and Kindergarten, 750 in first grade, 1000 in grades two and three, and 1500 in grades four through seven. To reduce bulk, each set of cards is divided into two decks and secured with a grommet at the bottom. Questions are on one card, and answers are on the next. Each set comes in a sturdy plastic box.

Brain Quest for Threes and Brain Quest Kindergarten are both cute and colorful, with three questions per page. Many of the pages require reading, so this is not necessarily an independent activity. My older children were happy to sit on the couch and read with the younger ones because these decks are really cute. My two little ones (aged 4 and 5) absolutely LOVED these cards and seemed to take great delight in looking at the answer cards to see if they got the correct answers. Each deck has a mascot: a mouse for Threes and a lion for Kindergarten.

In Threes, questions include identifying the sound of a given letter, putting story pictures in the correct order, and counting items. In Kindergarten, questions include identifying the first letter of a given word and picture, telling time to the hour, and skip counting by twos. One of our favorite cards was a full-page picture of a busy scene with instructions to find twelve things that begin with the "P" sound. Some questions were very easy, others were challenging, and all were fun! My only disappointment with Threes was the picture choices for the letters G and U: a giraffe and a unicorn. I would have chosen a gorilla and an umbrella. Other than these two letters, only short vowels and the most common consonant sounds were used. (I always check each letter in products for beginning readers; I guess I am a true phonics diehard!)

Decks for first through seventh grade have five to ten questions per card and are coded by question type: English, science, math, geography, history, or grab bag. These decks remind me of Trivial Pursuit without the board. Children can play alone or on teams, and suggestions are provided for keeping score. Brain Quest suggests choosing your child's present grade for review, or the next grade for a preview of what is to come. I would say that the English and math questions are probably the most grade-specific questions because these subjects usually have graded texts, while the history, geography, and science questions are more accessible to a wide range of ages.

As homeschoolers, we do not follow a standard curriculum, so for us these decks are quite versatile. While my sixth-grade daughter could not answer the question about what global conflict started in 1939, her fourth-grade brother could because he reads a good deal about World War II on his own. And even the five-year-old knew the sixth grade question about who won the battle that defeated the Spanish Armada because that is where we are in our history study. Nevertheless, what I do like about the "curriculum standards" in these decks is that my children can be painlessly introduced to certain facts, and hopefully they will not stare blankly at the skeptical neighbor who asks them if they know who our 40th president was. Think of it as a bit like the What Your ___ Grader Needs to Know books. It would also be a fun way to review if you take standardized tests.

Brain Quest also sells single subject math and reading decks for grades one through three, early childhood (preschool, kindergarten, bedtime, bath time) decks, and specific history decks (America, presidents, black history). You can also take a daily two-minute online Brain Quest Challenge at www.brainquest.com.


--Product review by: Heather Jackowitz, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

BrainQuest "For the Car"

These are fun, card-deck style, "trivia" type question and answer games (with a grommet holding them together, no lost cards!) for all ages! NO batteries required!

All versions of BrainQuest make a great 'take along' in the car or anywhere for that matter, but this version of BrainQuest is designed for taking along on vacation, plane rides, campouts, and road trips. It contains over 1100 Questions and 1100 Answers, not to mention ideas for other games to play in the car, such as 'Lookout', and 'License Plate' (I thought my Grandpa invented that game!), 'Animania', 'Detour', and 'Number Crazy'. This version of BrainQuest comes with a scorecard for playing with others or teams and its own pencil! We tend to drive a lot, and this is a fun take along - especially fun on a camp out!

This version of BrainQuest covers the "American-ness" of America - culture, customs, natural wonders, famous Americans, geography, geographical oddities, states/capitals, history, historical milestones, and more?Johnny Appleseed to Squanto, Susan B. Anthony to Dr. Suess, Cyrus McCormick to Cesar Chavez. This version of BrainQuest is geared for ages 7 and up, but even our 4-year old gets involved. It is fun! The children pick up so many bits of information and facts of American History--it is what we call "EDUTAINMENT"!

Go to www.brainquest.com to check out all the different levels/versions of BrainQuest available, BrainQuest makes a great gift anytime and a fun educational game to play by yourself, with a friend ,or the whole family... and tell them The Old Schoolhouse sent you!



-- Product Review by: Lisa Barthuly & Family, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

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