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Tag: homeschool

Hands-On Fun with STEM Lessons & Challenges from Evan-Moor

Hands-On Fun with STEM Lessons & Challenges from Evan-Moor

I will be the first to admit that STEM is not my favorite area to teach. If you were to ask me which subjects I do not excel at, I would tell you, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math…STEM! Give me all the books, grammar, art, […]

Out of this World Books for your Astronomy Unit!

Out of this World Books for your Astronomy Unit!

We are just at the beginning of our astronomy and space unit! The kids have been looking forward to this unit for months! I have spent so much time collecting resources, books, supplies, and organizing activities and I can’t wait to share it all with […]

Evan-Moor Daily 6-Trait Writing Review

Evan-Moor Daily 6-Trait Writing Review

I am so excited to be sharing another amazing resource from Evan-Moor with you! At this point, you may have guessed that I adore Evan-Moor products. They are so educational, reasonably priced, and my kids LOVE them! These are all amazing things, right? So I am super excited to share with you a book that is new to me! Daily 6-Trait Writing has made an incredible addition to our homeschool writing curriculum!

What IS Daily 6-Trait Writing

Daily 6-Trait Writing is a comprehensive teaching guide that has 25 weeks of mini-lessons divided up into 5 units. The book focuses on the six traits of writing:

  1. Idea (Unit 1)
  2. Organization (Unit 2)
  3. Word Choice (Unit 3)
  4. Sentence Fluency (Unit 4)
  5. Voice (Unit 5)
  6. Conventions (tied into all units)

Each of the first 5 traits listed above will be presented in 5 week increments, with Conventions being included in each week. Each week will then focus in on a specific skill that pertains to one of the writing traits listed above. The weeks follow a consistent format so they are extremely easy to use and the kids and the momma know what to expect! To give you an idea of what you can expect within a unit, take a peek inside below!

Take a Peek Inside

Each of the units begins with a fantastic two-page spread of what the week will look like. It is a wonderful tool for the teacher because not only does it help keep you organized, but it helps explain how to word things and HOW to teach the traits to your child.

I want to share a sample layout with you so you can get a better idea of how the book is organized! Let’s take a peek at Unit 1, Week 1.


You can see in the top left-hand corner of the first page that the focus is on Choosing a Good Topic. Each week will list the focus ideas in the top corner. Unit 1 is broken down as follows:

  • Week 1: Choose a Good Topic (Convention: Capitalizing Names of People and Pets)
  • Week 2: Add Details (Convention: Compound Words)
  • Week 3: Choose Better Details (Convention: Plural Nouns that End in S)
  • Week 4: Stick to the Topic (Convention: Periods)
  • Week 5: Review (Convention: Capitalizing Book and Song Titles)

So, let’s look at week 1 for an example. Each day it will tell you what you are teaching and give you wording on how you can teach it. This first teacher page will also give you a sample of what the answers could look like. Following the teacher page, you will have the student worksheets that you can tear out or print or have the child write straight in the book. There are 4 sheets for the students to do for days 1 thru 4, day 5 is a fun writing prompt to put the ideas into practice!

WHY I Love Daily 6-Trait Writing

The first thing I was drawn to is the design of the book. It is not overwhelming and not intimidating! Like all of the Evan-Moor books that I have used with my kids, this book is packed with information, but it is presented in a way that is easily accessible by kids. This is the Grade 2 book and it is perfectly geared for my son’s age. He is a kid who gets easily overwhelmed when there is a TON of information on a page. These pages are quick but they teach the kids in a way that it sticks.

The next thing that I love is that it includes the weekly layout page. I am a very visual person and I love being able to take a quick glance at something and know what I need to do for the week. I love that the weekly layout includes verbiage for the teacher/parent to use. While it isn’t necessary that you read it verbatim, I love having a cheat sheet so-to-speak to help coach me!

Third, I love…and I mean really, really love that it includes the conventions. This is just another way of integrating these important tools. It flows naturally with the lessons and doesn’t seem forced at all!

Lastly, I absolutely love that we end the week with a writing prompt. It gives the kids a chance to put what they have learned into practice and I think it is fantastic.

For More Info

If you are interested in learning more about Daily 6-Trait Writing you can head right over to Evan-Moor’s amazing website. They have some great peek inside videos as well as a chance to peek inside the books! Click here to check it out! I will also be sharing my own video on Instagram this Friday, 4/26…I will link to that as soon as it is up!

As I mentioned, we are huge Evan-Moor fans…if you would like to check out some of my other favorite books you can check out my reviews of Skill Sharpeners Geography and Reading Comprehension Fundamentals!

Daily 6-Trait Writing is $29.99 and is available in grades 1-8. Daily 6-Trait Writing is also available as part of Evan-Moor’s Homeschool Bundles and the Homeschool Writing Bundle!

Please feel free to send me any questions you might have! I would be happy to help!



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Save Money and Sanity with TeacherFileBox

Save Money and Sanity with TeacherFileBox

Have you ever heard of Evan-Moor? If you have been in the homeschooling game for a bit you have likely heard the name or tried some of their amazing books! We have been using Evan-Moor products since we began our homeschooling journey 3 years ago! […]

Favorite Oceanschooling Resources!

Favorite Oceanschooling Resources!

  We have joined forces with some amazing homeschooling families on Instagram to study oceans for the month of March! This was not part of our original plan for March, as we are right in the middle of a dinosaur unit…but this opportunity was too […]

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 you are not familiar with Evan-Moor’s History Pockets or Literature Pockets, you must check them out! They are amazing resources for homeschool families! There are SO many different topics. I am currently also using History Pockets: Colonial America and just finished with History Pockets: Explorers!

So, What ARE Literature Pockets??

Literature Pockets are an amazing combination of activities and hands-on resources that your students will create and compile into a pocket filled book! Each pocket will pertain to a specific subject within the topic…in this case, Non-Fiction. When your kiddos complete their Literature Pockets they are left with an absolutely wonderful portfolio of their work! We have absolutely loved the pockets we have done and highly recommend them! They are such an amazing showcase of your students’ hard work and knowledge of the subject!

A Look Inside Literature Pockets – Non-Fiction

The Non-Fiction Literature Pockets are designed to help you and your students learn about the Dewey Decimal System as well as many categories of non-fiction. Can I be honest? I had completely forgotten how the Dewey Decimal System works! As avid readers and users of our public library, this is wonderful information to learn! My kiddos are also huge non-fiction buffs, so learning how the different categories are organized was so helpful.

Our Non-Fiction Literature Pocket is divided into 12 categories that your kiddo will turn into their pockets. The 12 pockets they will make are:

  1. Finding Information in the Library
  2. People
  3. Religion and Myths
  4. Folklore
  5. Language
  6. Nature and Animals
  7. Mathematics
  8. Science and Technology
  9. Arts, Sports, and Recreation
  10. Poetry and Plays
  11. History and Travel
  12. Biographies

In the interest of full disclosure…we are still in the middle of creating our Literature Pockets! We have been taking our time and exploring lots of books along the way!

But, I want to share with you some of the awesome things we have been making!

Finding Information in the Library

This pocket was SO much fun! We began by making our booklet all about Melvil Dewey and the Dewey Decimal System. After learning about how the numbers worked we began searching for some books on our library’s online search system. We then took our lesson to the library and searched for the books by using the library call numbers! This was so fun! We had discussed how to search for fiction titles by the authors last name but had never discussed how to search for non-fiction books!

My daughter Sophie chose to learn about Amelia Earhart. As part of the project, she was able to create a booklet all about Amelia Earhart and wrote a paragraph about her and whether or not she was a hero. Such an awesome activity! We are planning to do this again in the future because it is a great biography and writing exercise!

Some of the other projects that are included in the Non-Fiction Literature Pockets are: creating an accordion book to retell a myth (my Greek Myth loving daughter is eager to do this project next), creating an alphabet book, making a pop-up book about animal habitats, and so many more!

Using Literature Pockets with Multiple Children

My kids are in 6th grade, 4th grade, and 2nd grade. I LOVE Evan-Moor Literature and History Pockets because I can easily use them with all three grade levels. Even though this particular pocket was geared for 4th-6th grade I was able to very easily adjust the work so that my 2nd-grade son could join in with us. For example, when we created the pocket I posted above, he and I worked on reading the book together and he wrote a shorter paragraph than his sisters. Any unit or lesson that I can use for ALL 3 kids is such an amazing thing in my book! We try to do as many units together as we can together because there are only so many hours in the day!


For More Information

We have enjoyed creating our Literature Pockets and once we have the finished product I will share pics here! I think these are a wonderful fit for homeschool families who love to do projects together and are eager to learn more about non-fiction!

For more information on Evan-Moor’s Literature Pockets: Non-Fiction you can simply click here! There are many more Literature Pockets available, including another one we are working on: Caldecott Winners!!

To read more about my favorite products from Evan-Moor you can click the links below!

Skill Sharpeners Geography

Reading Comprehension Fundamentals

Building Math Fluency



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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 […]

Our Review of Evan-Moor Skill Sharpeners Science Grade 4

Our Review of Evan-Moor Skill Sharpeners Science Grade 4

  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 […]

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 that would make fabulous additions to a dinosaur experience box! Not sure what an experience box is? Check out this post that I wrote that explains what they are!

So, this year for Christmas, I am planning a few experience boxes for my kids. These will be joint gifts for all 3 kiddos! What I have done is created experience boxes based around themes that we will be covering in our homeschool. Yes, I am totally gifting my kids with school supplies and homeschool curriculum! It feels a little sneaky…but also kind of awesome…a little bit evil genius like 🙂

So the first box is DINOSAURS! My son, Max, has been begging to have a unit on dinosaurs. We already have a few books on our shelves but I have done some research and found some really awesome items that I can’t wait to share with you!

As I mentioned in my previous post, an Experience Box will look different to everyone. It can be anything you want it to be. It can be as simple as a book and tickets to a museum…truly, it can look however you would like. This is just my take on it and I hope that it will be helpful to you when you create yours!!


We are a book obsessed family. There are some absolutely AMAZING books available on dinosaurs. I will have books listed from two sources…Amazon and Usborne Books & More! First up are some of my very favorite books from Usborne Books & More! Usborne is the master of non-fiction books. They make learning about a topic so fun and engaging…and many of the books are internet linked!

This is a gorgeous book with big beautiful fold-out pages. Full of awesome information and excellent illustrations!
This awesome book is part of our Shine-A-Light series…shine a flashlight behind the page to reveal a hidden image. Full of non-fiction facts, this is a kid favorite.
Build Your Own Dinosaur sticker book…TONS of fun! My kids are going to love this one!
Jigsaw Puzzle and Book! I am so excited to add these to our Experience Box!
This awesome hardcover book is only $4.99! Full of facts and completely internet linked. The Beginner’s Non-Fiction books are one of our faves. Can’t wait to add Dinosaurs to our collection!

The Usborne Big Picture Book Dinosaurs is a new favorite! Tons of information packed into a beautiful picture book! This one was an instant hit!

Lifesize Dinosaurs will knock your socks off! You can see what the size of a Raptor claw would look like or a Diplodocus head! This is an incredible book…much like its sister book, Lifesize Animals! Huge fold outs and large images…so fun!


Below I am going to share some awesome books that will be under OUR Christmas tree this year!! I love engaging books that get kids excited about learning…and I think these ALL fit the bill! Here are just a few of the ones that I have chosen!! I am SO excited to add D is for Dinosaur to our collection of Sleeping Bear Press books…they are one of our favorite book publishers.


Something that I am trying to get better at is gameschooling. My kids LOVE playing games…so do my husband and I! I am loving the idea of linking up games to our curriculum. What an awesome way for kids to learn! We are also huge flash card lovers…I think the majority of us in my family are visual learners…so flash cards are such a great tool to have on hand!

I ADORE the Fandex Field guides. They are such an amazing resource. We have Birds and Native Americans already and can’t wait to add dinosaurs to our list! We are also HUGE fans of Safari Toob products…I try to add those into every unit I create. The dinosaurs look awesome! Professor Noggin Card Games are also another family favorite that you can find to link to almost ALL units you may be teaching…from dinosaurs to space to Native Americans to explorers…they have you covered! All of these also make AMAZING stocking stuffers!!!!!

I am so excited to be gifting my kids with these experience boxes this year for Christmas…and I think they are really going to love it too. My plan is to purchase a storage box or basket for all of the items…and I am going to individually wrap everything and just let kids take turns opening things. I love to draw out Christmas morning as long as I can! I am going to be using this basket from OrganizerLogic! They have THE best storage baskets…I already have two huge ones for toy storage! They are sturdy and so cute!! Click the link below to check them out! LOVE the chalkboard sign on the front!!!


There is no one right or wrong way to create an experience box! You can make them as simple or as complex as you would like. These are just some suggestions of things that I will be adding to ours! Here are a few more fun ideas that I will be adding:

  • Stickers
  • Bath Bombs
  • Dinosaur shaped crayons
  • Tickets to visit Dinosaur World
  • Jurassic Park Movie

For a complete list of books, games, toys, and other educational materials that I have put together, head on over to my Amazon storefront here!

Thank you so much for stopping by! I would love to hear any other ideas you might have!!!

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Give the Gift of Experience Boxes this Holiday Season

Give the Gift of Experience Boxes this Holiday Season

Do you hear what I hear? Yes, those are indeed jingle bells. It’s too late now…there is nothing we can do to stop it…the peppermint train has arrived and whisked away all traces of pumpkin spice. Now, if you are anything like my husband and […]