All Things Art!, Books!

Amazing Artists – Introduction to our Unit Study!

art unit, homeschool, secular

I am so excited to share a brand-new Art unit that I have been working on!! Do you have children that love creating art? I know I do! My kids are obsessed with all things art! Whenever they have a free minute they can be found destroying my house creating masterpieces! Because of their love of art, we have a very art rich curriculum. I try to integrate art into so many of our daily subjects. I love seeing them show their grasp of a subject by creating something with their hands!

I wanted to add something more into the mix. I wanted to have a dedicated art curriculum where we would learn about art, art history, and famous artists. How fun would it be to learn about Picasso and then have a chance to create your own Picasso-style masterpiece?? Well, stick around, because we are about to find out!

Enter this amazing book…The Usborne Art Treasury. I adore this book…seriously…I hear angels singing when I open it. This was the starting point for my unit. Throughout this book, they teach us about different artists and each artist will have a hands-on project to go along with it. Exactly what I was looking for.

In addition to my beloved Art Treasury book I discovered a wonderful series of books on famous artists by author/illustrator Mike Venezia. Fan-tastic books! These are written for young minds. They are so easy to understand but full of amazing information about the artists’ life, their art style, and many photos of their artwork. Not only do I love these books, but my kids do too!

Lastly, I turned to YouTube. Now, I am what you would call “crafty” …an artist I am not! I knew that I wanted to incorporate more than one piece of artwork for each artist and for that I would need some serious help! YouTube is an amazing resource…I found a ton of wonderful instructional videos on creating art. I can’t wait to share them all with you!

So, what’s next? Well, I am glad you asked! Every 2 weeks I will be sharing a unit on a different artist. I will share the books I used, the art supplies needed, links to the YouTube Videos, and our finished projects! These are designed for you to go at your own pace. If your kids become enthralled with a particular artist and want to learn more…then go for it!

So, in addition to creating our masterpieces, we have also created an art gallery in our home. We have dedicated a wall that will serve as our gallery. It will feature the art we create based on the particular artist we are learning about. Once we move onto the next artist we will start from scratch!

In addition to the gallery wall, we have also created a timeline of great artists! We thought it would be fun to show the time the artists lived in relation to one another…and Mama loves timelines 🙂

So…without further ado…our very first artist will be Pablo Picasso! Please join us as we create some zany and brightly colored art in the style of one of the greatest artists of all time…Picasso! Stay tuned…

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Books!, Homeschooling

My Top 10 Usborne Books for Homeschooling- Part 1

(The following links go to my personal Usborne Books & More website, as a consultant I do receive commission on purchases)

My obsession with Usborne books came long before our decision to homeschool! I fell in love with these amazing books. My home has always been filled with books…picture books, fiction books, poetry…but never non-fiction! I am not sure why, I was just always drawn to fiction so that is what I filled our shelves with.

When I was first introduced to Usborne Books & More I was blown away at the high quality non-fiction titles! I was also blown away by my complete lack of non-fiction at home! How could a book obsessed Mama completely gloss over and entire genre of books? So, I ordered The Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia…among a ton of other titles! This book? This book is one of the reasons I became a book lady. It is fantastic. When you hear the word “encyclopedia” do your eyes gloss over? Yeah, mine used to as well! This encyclopedia…all of our encyclopedias…are fascinating, engaging, and FUN! Kids, and parents love these books! I loved this book so much….and then I discovered that it was Internet Linked…say what??? The book has safe links for your kids to go to to gain more information on a particular subject. Ah-Mazing! More on internet links another day…did I mention the ah-mazingness?

Long story short…my wishlist of books was ginormous…so I decided to become a consultant. I have never looked back. Love it! Again, story for another day!

SO! Over the course of a year I had accumulated an insane amount of books! When we began homeschooling I was SO excited to be able to put these amazing books to great use…and boy have we! I can honestly say that these are the books we use all day. I use them for lesson and unit planning, my kids use them for research, we use them for the internet links…they are a huge part of our daily life.

I want to share my favorites with you. Yes, this is much like picking a favorite child. I set out to share my top 5 homeschooling favorites with you…which of course turned into 10. This is just the tip of the iceberg…but these are the top 10 that I cannot live without! I have decided to break this down into two parts…because I am what you could call “long winded”…So…without further ado…my first 5!

1.) The Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia– I adore this book. It was the first Usborne book that I have ever purchased! (I later found out that some of my favorite baby books were also from Usborne Books & More…but those were gifts!) This book is internet linked and has QR codes that allow you or your child to simply scan the barcode on each page with a smartphone or tablet and instantly be brought to a child friendly website for more information. My husband and I spent 2 hours one Friday night visiting the various sites in the book…yeah, we are very exciting people! We took a tour on the US Space Station…given by an astronaut! He showed us how astronauts sleep, make food, and even brush their teeth. So fascinating. This book takes education to the next level!

2.) The Usborne Geography Encyclopedia– You guys…this book is gorgeous. If you are a geography nut like me, YOU.NEED.THIS.BOOK.  It is full of fantastic information and has excellent photos and illustrations. This book covers all aspect of geography! A bookshelf essential! Truth be told…I bought this book long before I started homeschooling…and I bought it for myself.

3.) The Usborne Science Encyclopedia– another must have. I use this book all the time. Not only is this one internet linked…but it has QR codes. You can just scan the barcode with your tablet or smartphone and it will take you straight to the Usborne Quicklinks site. TONS of amazing information. This book is wonderful for anyone interested in science or for planning science curriculum!

4.) The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History– much like the other encyclopedias that we offer, this is a must have for your homeschool! Internet linked and full of amazing information! It is the perfect addition to any homeschool bookshelf!

5.) The Usborne Art Treasury– my new obsession. This book is fun-tastic! Throughout its pages you will learn about different artists, their styles, and it will include a project based on that particular style. This is the book that I am planning my entire art curriculum on this year. It is awesome! Check out some of my blog posts on our art lessons…it is a lot of fun!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Top 10 favorite Usborne Books to homeschool with!!


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All Things Art!, Books!

Amazing Artists Week 2- Becoming Jackson Pollock

Art Unit, Pollock, homeschool

Much like Pablo Picasso, my kids were so intrigued by the works of Jackson Pollock! They absolutely love seeing his artwork…it is so full of splatters, splashes, and drips of paint! We couldn’t wait to jump right in and get started!! This week I was so excited to have found an amazing YouTube video! This video serves as an awesome look into the life of Pollock…complete with a tour through his NY home. My kids were so excited that we could see the floor of the barn that he once worked on…it is still covered in splashes and blobs of paint. It is like a work of art itself! So, lets begin Week 2!

Here’s what you’ll need:

The Usborne Art Treasury

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists– Jackson Pollock by Mike Venezia

-Paper, brushes of various sizes, paint (we used watercolors and tempera), yarn, marbles, and a box or tin pan to roll marbles in!

Like all of our artist units, we begin by reading the book by Mike Venezia. I just adore these books. The kids love seeing the pictures and learning about the artists in a way they can understand.

We then jumped right in to this amazing video…watch straight through the end for an amazing art project  the kids on the video complete…and also a smaller scale project you can do right at home!! This video was seriously impressive…the creator even gives a lesson on paint viscosity! We LOVED it! We had a blast playing with different thicknesses of paint!!


For our next project we watched another YouTube video!! We were SO excited to try this next project…because it involved paint and MARBLES! This was a blast and we absolutely LOVE how our pieces turned out! Thought Pollock didn’t work with marbles himself, we were able to create very Jackson-esque paintings this way!

Here is the marble painting YouTube video:











Our next project was also done after watching a YouTube video, SURPRISE! 😉 We watched the following video and created our own masterpieces by using YARN dipped in  paint! Again, not a medium that Pollock used, but was such a fun way to create some interesting lines and dribbles that were very “Pollock-esque”

Our final project came directly from The Usborne Art Treasury! This was a super fun lesson on splattering…we made a MESS! I highly recommend newspapers and smocks for this part! Thank goodness for washable tempera paint! Usborne Art Treasury, Pollock, Paint

Some of our finished pieces…:)

Homeschool art, pollock, gallery


Stay tuned for our next amazing artist…Paul Klee! Have fun and happy painting!!!



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Books!, Homeschooling

My Top 10 Usborne Books for Homeschooling- Part 2

usborne, books, homeschool, secular

(The following links go to my personal Usborne Books & More website, as a consultant I do receive commission on purchases)

It is time for the continuation of my Top 10 Favorite Usborne Book for Homeschooling! These 5 are equally as fabulous as the first 5…and I could have added so many more into this mix! So, here they are:

6.) 365 Science Activities– This book is so much fun! This is a great way to add hands on science experiments into your homeschool. This books is recommended for ages 6 and up so it works perfectly for all 3 of my kids. We are having a blast! We are going to be featuring many of our science projects in upcoming blog posts! So much fun!

7.) Illustrated Grammar and Punctuation– So, I bought this book for me. I absolutely LOVE writing…but my grasp of grammar and punctuation is seriously lacking!! I didn’t know the difference between a noun or a verb until I was in 10th grade…and I remember this because I was placed in an advanced English class and was LOST when it came to grammar and punctuation. Sure I was a great reader and creative writer, but what in the heck is an adverb? I was determined to teach my kids all about grammar and punctuation as early as possible…this book has been amazing!

8.) Beginners Non-Fiction – Ok, this is a total cheat on my part. We have over 40 books in this amazing series! I adore these books. They are the most economical powerhouse books! They are only $4.99, but they are packed with information. They have wonderful photos and illustrations, the picture to text ratio is perfect for children, and these books are internet linked! Best of all, we have almost any subject you can think of! If you have a child that loves elephants, castles, bugs, dinosaurs, weather, horses, cats…we have you covered! We have a wonderful box set now, our Beginners Animals Box Set is a a great way to start your collection!

9.) Usborne World of Animals– If you plan to learn about animals at any point during your homeschool years then I highly recommend this book. It is GORGEOUS! Amazing photographs of animals and tons of information. We adore this book. Like most of our other non-fiction books, this one is internet linked.

10.) See Inside series- again, I’m cheating…forgive me 😉 I just LOVE all of these books. If you know anything about Usborne Books & More you will know that we are known for our Lift the Flap books! Kids.Love.Flaps! We have lift the flap titles for all ages, but for the sake of this list, I will narrow it down to our See Inside series. These books are phenomenal. They are recommended for ages 7 and up, but my 6 year old loves them too. I use this as a supplement to many of our units. See Under the Sea was an amazing addition to our ocean unit, See Inside Weather in Climate was perfect for our weather unit, See Inside How Things Work was a gift to my 40 year old engineer husband…he loved it! These books are loaded with flaps…and kids retain information so much better when they are actively engaged in lifting a flap. SO much wonderful information. Love these books.

So there you have it…my Top 10 Favorite Usborne Books for Homeschooling! Trust me when I tell you that this list could have been SO much longer! Usborne Books & More are some of the most fun AND educational books I have ever had the pleasure of owning!! If you are ever looking for a recommendation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I could talk about books all day…in case that wasn’t obvious 😉


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