So you gave in to the hype or the pressure of your kids, and went out and bought Microsoft Kinect for your XBOX360. I’m sure the idea of gaming without a controller sounded like a great new concept and you were quick to get onboard with it. But now that you have it, what do you do with it? It seems like the promised land of games hasn’t yet come to fruition and you’re left with an expensive gadget collecting dust. Would you be surprised to learn that there are some gems already out there that you can enjoy with your kids right now? Some are full retail games, while others fun little games available through the XBOX Marketplace that you can download immediately. Let’s take a look at just a few.
Kinect Fun Labs
Kinect Fun Labs is a free download from the Xbox Live Marketplace and houses small little add-on modules that showcase new and upcoming technology that you may soon see utilized in future Kinect titles. In particular, the gadget called “Build-a-Buddy” is quite humorous and would be great fun with young children. This ‘game’ allows you to show any object to the Kinect camera (I used my daughter’s favourite ‘Build-a-Bear’ Bunny) and it creates a 3-D replica of it in the game and brings it to life. Once your buddy has been created, performing certain actions will trigger your on-screen friend to speak and bounce around. The kids are sure to be entertained and amazed seeing their favourite toys truly come to life onscreen! Be sure to check out the other Fun Lab Gadgets available, like Kinect Me, where the Kinect scans you and creates an Avatar that looks just like you and is wearing your clothes too! Or how would you like to have your very own Bobble-head, that looks like you? Well, now you can, virtually of course, with BobbleHead. Be sure to check out Kinect Fun Labs and check back on occasion for more gadgets to be added. (more…)
Like many people, I’ve been keeping a low online profile for the last week, spending time with family and enjoying the holidays. I’ve also been thinking about my personal goals for the upcoming year, and look forward comparing with you and supporting each other in 2011. I can’t wait to set new goals and start some new projects! I’ll be back to ‘normal’ blogging next week (whatever the heck that is);until then you can keep up with me sporadically on Twitter and Facebook.
All the best this NYE to you and yours, and have a great night however you ring it in. Personally, I’ll be welcoming 2011 on horseback in Red Dead Redemption with Jeff, my Dad, StepMom and Uncle on Xbox Live. Virtual party FTW!
Maranda and Penelope
Christmas morning with Super Scribblenauts and new comics
My life by Pummelvision — I used Facebook photos, so this spans about the last four years. See me go from pregnant to thin to pregnant to thin again, sporting every colour of hair you can imagine (and then some). Welcome baby Oliver and baby Penelope and their cousins. See evidence of my favourite hobbies; gaming, scrapbooking, photography and making hair accessories. Pummelvision is a fun and amazing app, I love this!
Three weeks ago, I entered the world of homeschooling with my eleven year old son. This decision was not made lightly, but unfortunately school is not a safe place for him to be and for various reasons transferring schools or boards wasn’t the best decision for him right now. So he’s learning at home for the remainder of grade six, and just like that I find myself a teaching parent. It’s not a perfect solution, but he’s a good independent learner and I think it’s going to be a very positive experience for him. He’s also “twice exceptional” in that he has ADHD (primarily inattentive) and is exceptionally intelligent, and I think having an education program tailored to his specific needs is going to be hugely beneficial.
In the last three weeks, I feel like he’s really learning, not just going through the motions of schooling. I love having the flexibility to spend time where he needs it – long division, which his classroom has moved on from – and less time where he doesn’t need it – reading, which is above grade level in both languages. But the best part is giving him the opportunity to learn things that normally aren’t taught in a traditional classroom. He has learned how to set up and maintain a WordPress blog which is how he is submitting much of his work, he has created and edited a video in iMovie, taught a phonics lesson to the daycare kids, cooked dinner and prepared a weekly meal plan to my guidelines. He is also in the process of learning cursive writing, which he missed out on when he switched schools in the third grade. And he’s doing all of this and more in less time than a traditional school day, leaving him more time for practicing his guitar, playing with his younger siblings and helping Mom around the house. And, no homework! Our stress levels have plummeted, my son is happier than I have seen him in years and our house is much more peaceful now that we’re not dealing with bullying and academic challenges on a daily basis.
Thankfully there are many resources available online for teaching parents, and I haven’t had to invest huge amounts of time in preparing curriculum materials or lesson plans. There are many styles of homeschooling, and I have cobbled together my own program with a combination of store bought workbooks, online learning sites and resources from our public library. I am hugely thankful for our library, which has an amazing selection of books, dvds, ebooks and computer software on a variety of topics. I have everything from a cursive writing program to an aboriginal kids tv show with study guides to a french documentary on Michael Jackson checked out from the library right now, it’s amazing. I’m also very grateful for the information and support from my homeschooling Twitter friends and the community at the Association for Bright Children. I imagine that years ago homeschooling was an isolating experience, but thanks to great internet resources and social media I already feel more connected than I did at our local public school.
If you homeschool (especially in Ontario) I’d love to hear about your experiences, and if you have any great resources to share please leave them in the comments. I’m teaching but I’m learning too!