Exploring education through books, travel, and adventure

Recent Posts

Friday Favorites- 3 Fantastic Books You Don’t Want to Miss

Friday Favorites- 3 Fantastic Books You Don’t Want to Miss

FRIDAY FAVORITES It is Friday again and that means it is time for another installment of my Friday Favorites! This week we have read some fantastic books! Featured this week are 2 picture books and 1 middle-grade novel that I read aloud to my kids. […]

Enjoying Nature at Robinson Preserve

Enjoying Nature at Robinson Preserve

Nature Preserves are one of our very favorite places to explore with our kiddos…and Florida has a TON of them! We love spending time in nature and seeing where the different trails lead us! Last summer we found an absolute gem. Robinson Preserve in Bradenton, […]

Friday Favorites- Four Picture Books You Don’t Want to Miss!

Friday Favorites- Four Picture Books You Don’t Want to Miss!

friday favorites, must read picture books

Happy Friday! Today is the first of what I hope to be MANY “Friday Favorites”. Every Friday I am hoping to share with you some of our very favorite books from the week. I always have so many books that I want to showcase, so featuring a few at a time will be a much less daunting task!

Let’s jump right in and chat about our four favorite picture books this week. I have a slight obsession with picture books. I like to tie them in with everything I am teaching in our homeschool. They are just such relatable books…and there is just something about gorgeous illustrations that bring a story to life! We read picture books every.single.day. They don’t always tie in with our schoolwork…we often just read them because they are lovely and gorgeous and fabulous! My kiddos are on the older side…12,10, and 8…but they still sit and listen and LOVE having picture books read to them.

So, without further ado…Let’s talk picture books!

FRIDAY FAVORITES

We had such an amazing book week! We had some amazing new releases arrive from Harper Collins and some long-awaited library holds arrived! Yes my friends, these are the things that excite me! So, I am going to share with you our top 4 standouts from the week. SO hard to narrow them down, but here we go!

MARY WEARS WHAT SHE WANTS

Have you ever heard of Mary Edwards Walker? I know I hadn’t until I opened this beautiful picture book by Keith Negley! Mary Wears What She Wants is the story of young Mary Edwards Walker who is known for being one of the first women EVER to wear pants.

This is the story of young Mary, who was tired of being told she had to wear dresses. Mary gets an idea…a very daring idea. What if she didn’t wear dresses…what if she wore pants instead? Who said that boys had to wear pants and girls had to wear dresses. So Mary decided one day that she was going to wear those pants…and let’s just say it caused quite a stir! Thankfully, young Mary stood up for what she believed was right and she continued wearing those pants! The illustrations are absolutely beautiful. They are so bold and vibrant and fit the story so well.

I absolutely love how Keith Negley included a note at the end of the book all about the real Mary Edwards Walker. I am fascinated by her and can’t believe I have never heard of her before! Mary not only wore those pants…but she got arrested for it! Can you imagine? Being the first woman to wear pants isn’t the only thing Mary is known for. Mary attended medical school at a time when women just didn’t do that, she served as a surgeon in the Civil War often behind enemy lines, and she was instrumental in fighting for women’s right to vote!

This is an amazing book for teaching kids that it is ok to stand up for what they believe is right. Mary showed us that sometimes all it takes is one very brave person to spark a huge change. What an awesome message for our kiddos.

PLANTING STORIES- THE LIFE OF LIBRARIAN AND STORYTELLER PURA BELPRE

This book needs to be in every library and every home. It is just the most beautifully written and gorgeously illustrated book. I have read it countless times over the last week and just continue to love it more and more. Much like Mary Wears What She Wants, Planting Stories is based on a real-life person. I think I have a new obsession with biographical picture books!

Planting Stories- The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre is about the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City. Pura arrived in New York in 1921 and began her life at the library. When she noticed that the library was lacking in the beautiful folktales from her youth, Pura began to tell the stories herself. She began to make puppets and people from all over began to come and hear her folktales in English and Spanish. But what about the library shelves that are missing stories from her homeland…well, Pura puts pen to paper and writes the tales. She is soon a published author. Though life takes Pura away from the library for a time, her heart and stories live on because of the seeds that she planted!

I can’t say enough wonderful things about this book. It was so lovingly and beautifully written by Anika Denise. The gorgeous illustrations were created by Paola Escobar. This is a story about dreams, traditions, love, and legacy. This is one that you are going to want in your home library or classroom library…truly a gem!

JULIAN IS A  MERMAID

Julian is a Mermaid is the sweetest book with a very big message. This is the story of a little boy named Julian…and more than anything, he loves mermaids. He wants to be just like the mermaids. Julian wants to be a mermaid SO badly that he uses items around the house to dress up like one. What will his abuela think? The facial expressions tug at your heartstrings as you can see Julian wondering how his abuela will react to his mermaid costume. Without giving away all of the details of the end of the book, let me just say that I wish all children could have someone like abuela in their lives!

Author/Illustrator Jessica Love has created the most gorgeous book in both artwork and words. Each page is so beautifully illustrated…with some pages having no words and only full-page illustrations. This book has a very important message as well. A message of acceptance. To accept yourself for who you are and to not be afraid to be that person. It is a celebration of individuality and of unconditional love. Just a wonderful book!

HAROLD SNIPPERPOT’S BEST DISASTER EVER

Harold Phillip Snipperpot is about to turn 7 years old…and he has never had a birthday party. He has never had a birthday party because he has a pair of very grumpy parents. This year he hopes that things will be different. Sensing that their son is feeling down, Mr. and Mrs. Snipperpot call in the help of the fabulous Mr. Ponzio to make sure Harold has a special party. Well, Mr.Ponzio has something up his sleeve that no one expected! Mr.Ponzio arrives at the party with a menagerie of animals. That is when all sorts of mayhem ensues! The house gets trashed, there is animal poo everywhere, and his parents end up locked in a trunk. What mayhem, what chaos, what a disaster…or is it? Maybe it is kind of…funny? I will let you read the ending to see how Harold Snipperpot turns a complete disaster into the best day ever!

This book is beautifully written and illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna. The pages of the book are complete magic. So much detail and so beautiful. We adored this book…it was full of laughs but also full of heart. Highly recommend adding this one to your shelves as well.

Thank you so much for stopping by and chatting books with me! I have some exciting books to read to the kiddos next week, so stay tuned for next weeks “Friday Favorites”!

 

Add Adventure to Learning with Literary Adventures for Kids

Add Adventure to Learning with Literary Adventures for Kids

Have you seen the movie The House With a Clock in Its Walls? I was so intrigued by this movie from the very first preview! Imagine my book nerd excitement when I found out that it was a book long before it was a movie! […]

Learning All About Non-Fiction with Evan-Moor’s Literature Pockets!

Learning All About Non-Fiction with Evan-Moor’s Literature Pockets!

As a long time user of Evan-Moor’s History Pockets, I was so excited to have the chance to review their Literature Pockets! Let me tell you…they did not disappoint! The book that I have chosen to review is Literature Pockets: Non-Fiction for grades 4-6. If […]

EXPLORE- Our 2019 Family Goal

EXPLORE- Our 2019 Family Goal

 

I am not exactly sure how it happened, but it is officially 2019!! Where did 2018 go? Did it go by in a flash for anyone else?? Anyway, despite my disbelief, 2019 is here and along with it are so many goals and plans for the coming year! Are you a resolution maker? A goal setter? Someone who just takes the year as it comes?

This year we have decided to change things up a bit and set a goal for our family. I LOVE the idea of choosing a word to focus on in the coming year. So we decided to choose a word to focus on as a family. Our 2019 word is: EXPLORE!

WHY EXPLORE?

We chose the word “explore” out of a huge desire to spend more time traveling and seeing new sights! We are a family that absolutely loves to pack up and go on adventures. We love to see new things, visit new places, and discover things we have never seen before. We are a very curious crew…and we love to learn new things. While the main focus of our word “explore” will be travel oriented…I also realized there are so many other things we want to explore. We want to explore new foods, a new language, and new books…so stay tuned for more on those avenues as well. But, for now, the focus will be on our plan to travel as much as possible!

EXPLORE THE WORLD…OR MAYBE JUST FLORIDA

Oh, how I would love to be a world traveler! Sadly, that is just not in the cards for 2019! Work schedules and finances just won’t allow for that right now, but that is OK because our Florida Bucket List is LONG…like CVS receipt long!

When we first packed up and moved to Florida 2 years ago, one of our major goals was to see as much of our new home state as possible. We have definitely seen a bit, but somewhere along the way, we stopped making it a priority. Life got in the way…as it tends to do…and we never got back on track with our explorations! That is all going to change this year, because like I mentioned, our list is LONG!

The 5 of us got together and came up with our top 20 things we want to see and do in Florida this year! I also turned to Instagram and asked for some top places to visit…and boy did ya’ll deliver!

 

FLORIDA BUCKET LIST

Florida is ginormous…like, really, really, really BIG…with a TON to see and do. There are so many beaches, museums, state parks, nature preserves..ahh…just so much! So, I want to share with you some of our family travel goals that we came up with for 2019! In no particular order, here they are:

  1. Spend the weekend at Sanibel Island
  2. Spend the weekend in St.Augustine
  3. Legoland!
  4. Take a citrus tour
  5. Spend a week driving through the Florida Keys
  6. Visit Bok Tower Gardens
  7. Visit Dinosaur World
  8. Ringling Museum
  9. Visit the Emerald Coast
  10. Rent a pontoon boat for the day
  11. Visit the Kennedy Space Center
  12. Visit Anna Maria Island
  13. Kayak Weeki Wachi
  14. Dali Museum
  15. Visit Lion Country Safari
  16. Kayak to Caladesi Island
  17. Visit Gainesville and go to Florida Museum of Natural History
  18. Tampa Riverwalk
  19. Rent a camper and stay by the ocean
  20. Visit Butterfly World

There are SO many more that could easily be added to this list…and I totally know this list will change as different opportunities arise this year…so stay tuned!

MAKE IT HAPPEN CAP’N

So, now comes the hard part…making this all happen! The plan is to sit down with a calendar and just block out time. If we don’t schedule things and make exploring a priority, it will get pushed to the back burner again! So, we are going to dedicate a couple weekends every month to seeing something new. Some of the items on our list are just small day trips, like visiting Bok Tower or going to the Tampa Riverwalk. Other items we are going to have to dedicate full weekends to, so that will require a little more in-depth planning!

So now to decide on where our first adventure should be…Any suggestions????

To read about some of our favorite explorations from last year you can check out my posts on the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, Sweetwater Wetlands Park, or the Naples Botanical Gardens!

 

 

 

 

A Review of Building Math Fluency from Evan-Moor

A Review of Building Math Fluency from Evan-Moor

Math is one of those areas where sometimes things just “click” and you get it right away…and sometimes you need a little help along the way! It can be a real struggle to find the right tools to help things “click”! I was so thrilled […]

Give the Gift of Poetry Tea Time

Give the Gift of Poetry Tea Time

My kids love Poetry Teatime! If you have been in the homeschooling game for more than a minute you will likely have heard about the fabulosity that is Poetry Teatime! If you haven’t heard of it, never you fear…check out this wonderful description over at […]

Our Review of Evan-Moor Skill Sharpeners Science Grade 4

Our Review of Evan-Moor Skill Sharpeners Science Grade 4

skill sharpener science grade 4 book

I am so excited to be reviewing Evan-Moor Skill Sharpeners Science Grade 4! As a homeschooling Mama of 3 kiddos, I am always on the lookout for lessons that I can teach as a whole group! There just aren’t enough hours in the day to create individual instruction in EVERY subject! Some subjects lend themselves much better to group instruction than others…and science just happens to be one of those!

Confession time? Science is NOT my strong suit. If I could teach History, Geography, and Reading ALL day, I would do it in a heartbeat! It’s not that I don’t love science, or find it fascinating…it just isn’t my area of expertise! SO, I am so excited to find Evan-Moor Skill Sharpeners for Science! I am a HUGE fan of the Skill Sharpener books…you can find reviews for Skill Sharpeners Geography here and Critical Thinking right here!

WHAT ARE SKILL SHARPENERS?

Skill Sharpeners are educational activity books created for children in PreK – Grade 6. There are 6 different topics covered: Critical Thinking, Math, Science, Reading, Spell & Write, and Geography. Skill Sharpeners are a perfect addition to any homeschool curriculum to provide enrichment in a specific topic area, to plan grade level appropriate lessons, or as a review. Each Skill Sharpener book is aligned to grade-appropriate standards so you can easily gauge your childs grasp in a particular learning area.

A LOOK INSIDE THE BOOK

Skill Sharpeners Science Grade 4 is broken down into the following 4 units:

  • OUR BODIES AND OUR SENSES
    • Muscles and Bones
    • Skin
    • Eyesight
    • Hearing
  • SHAPING THE EARTH
    • Weathering and Erosion
    • Glaciers
    • Earthquakes
    • Volcanoes
  • WAVES
    • What is a Wave?
    • Waves in the Water
    • Sound Waves
    • Digital Waves
  • ENERGY
    • What is Energy?
    • Heat Energy
    • Electrical Energy
    • Light Energy

A LOOK INSIDE THE BOOK

As I mentioned above, Skill Sharpeners Science is broken down into 4 main units. Each of those units is then divided into 4 sections. Within the sections, you will see things like reading passages, open-ended question and answers, crossword puzzles, labeling, hands-on activities, experiments, and so much more! I want to take you on a little tour through one of the sections! As a visual learner myself it always helps me to see what is inside!

So, we are going on a little tour of the first section of the first unit: Muscles and Bones! I am just going to share a few of the pages to give you an idea of what is included…but each unit contains much more!

The first part you will come to will be a reading passage! We LOVE that it has the definitions posted above in a box as well as in bold in the reading passage. The paragraphs are short, interesting, and include a great diagram! I also love the addition of the Concepts on the side…very helpful for my kids to understand what the focus area is!

 

I am so excited to see the inclusion of these hands-on activities! How much fun is this? These are simple activities that do not require a lot of extra supplies but really bring the concept to life for the kids! I can’t wait to do this activity with my kiddos…It is going to be a big hit!

Now, this is absolutely awesome! This is the “application” section. This allows the kids to take what they have learned about and put it into practice! I love that it includes physical activity. My 7 year old loves to be able to get up and move and this is the perfect activity!

I love that there is a chance for the kids to put the vocabulary they have learned into practice! Not only are they learning new words throughout the unit but they are having a chance to test their knowledge.

HOW I PLAN TO USE THE BOOK IN OUR HOMESCHOOL

The thing I love the most about Skill Sharpeners books is how easily I can adapt them for use with all 3 of my kids. I have a second grader, a fourth grader, and a sixth grader. I plan to use the fourth-grade book with all 3 kiddos. For my second grader, I will work with him to complete the work…I know some of it will be over his head but I also know that he will absolutely be able to grasp a lot of the information because it is presented in such a kid-friendly manner. He will also adore the crossword puzzles, experiments, and hands-on activities. For my sixth grader, I will add in some additional vocabulary words and perhaps an extra writing assignment…I honestly think that she will greatly benefit from the information presented in the book even though it is geared for fourth grade. This is what I love about the books!

FOR MORE INFORMATION

I highly recommend Skill Sharpeners Science for any homeschooling family looking to add some science to their lives! I can’t say enough wonderful things about all of the Skill Sharpener books that I have had a chance to use. They are such beautiful and interesting books that are presented in such a great way for kids of all ages.

For a sneak peek inside, here is a wonderful video from Evan-Moor!

These books are an amazing value at only, $9.99! To grab your own, just click the image below!! 
"Skill

 

 

 

 

 

 

A DINO-RIFIC Experience Box for your Little Paleontologists!

A DINO-RIFIC Experience Box for your Little Paleontologists!

Do you have a dinosaur obsessed kiddo? You know the one I mean…the kid who can pronounce Piatnitzkysaurus without missing a beat (totally a real dinosaur…just ask google). Well then, stay put, because this is the post for you. I have created an awesome collection of gifts […]