Exploring education through books, travel, and adventure

Tag: homeschool

A Review of Evan-Moor’s Reading Comprehension Fundamentals Grade 6

A Review of Evan-Moor’s Reading Comprehension Fundamentals Grade 6

  I was recently given the chance to review Evan-Moor’s Reading Comprehension Fundamentals for Grade 6. I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review. As a huge fan of Evan-Moor products, I again jumped at the chance to try this product […]

A Review of Evan-Moor’s Skill Sharpeners Geography for 4th Grade

A Review of Evan-Moor’s Skill Sharpeners Geography for 4th Grade

I was recently given the opportunity to receive a copy of Evan-Moor’s Skill Sharpeners Geography in exchange for my honest review. Being a long time fan of Evan-Moor products, I jumped at the chance! I had never used the Skills Sharpener books so I was […]

Amazing Artists – Introduction to our Unit Study!

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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My Top 10 Usborne Books for Homeschooling- Part 1

My Top 10 Usborne Books for Homeschooling- Part 1

  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 […]

Visiting 6 Countries in 1 Day!!

Visiting 6 Countries in 1 Day!!

  Have you ever wished you could visit 6 countries in 1 day? Yesterday we visited Mexico, Norway, Germany, Italy, China, and the USA…all in one day!!! Impossible you say? Not if you live in the great state of Florida…and have an Annual Pass to […]

State Park Family Pass for the Win!

State Park Family Pass for the Win!

florida, homeschool, annual pass, passport

My fellow Floridians…are you aware of the sheer number of State Parks in this state?? My mind is seriously blown! They  are everywhere!! Not only are they everywhere…but they are amazing! Whether you are looking for a place to go biking, birding, snorkeling, camping, shelling, hiking, tubing, or just relaxing…Florida State Parks have you covered! The amount of educational opportunities at each park is mind-blowing…Florida is so full of nature and history it is a homeschoolers wonderland!

My family moved to the Sunshine State in January. We relocated from New Hampshire…cold and snowy New Hampshire. When we arrived, it was sunny and beautiful. One of our very first stops was to Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin. It is one of the most beautiful spots I have ever visited in my entire life. If I didn’t know I was in Florida I would have thought that I was on a tropical island. White sandy beaches, turquoise blue water, and dolphins…there were actual dolphins swimming off the shore. Postcard quality gorgeousness! We decided that day that we would be needing an annual pass to the state parks…even if just to go to Honeymoon Island. While at Honeymoon Island you can also enjoy a nature center, walking trails, and an osprey trail!

honeymoon island, state park, annual pass, passport

We purchased a family pass for $120…for the whole year! The family pass allows us to enter the parks with up to 8 people, with the exception of Homosassa Springs and Weeki Wachee Springs which allows 2 people.  This is an amazing value…even if we only went to Honeymoon Island 15 times the pass would pay for itself.

It wasn’t until I began exploring the State Park website that I realized just how many places there are to visit. My homeschooling mind got extremely excited. There are so many historic sites to visit, nature preserves, archaeological sites, beaches to study sea life…and so much more! SO, we set up a little challenge for ourselves. We want to visit ALL of the Florida state parks…yes, all! I love a challenge, and this is most definitely a doozy. To make things even more exciting…the Florida State parks offer a passport program where you purchase a book and travel to each of the parks collecting stamps. If you collect all of the stamps you earn a free family membership for a year in addition to a $120 Florida State Park gift card good toward camping or cabin stays! What?!?! This is music to my ears! For more info on the passport book click here.

Challenge accepted!!! Our Passport just arrived in the mail and it is FABULOUS!

I hope you will join us on our adventures and learn a little more about the Sunshine State! If you aren’t from Florida, consider checking out the State Park website for your state!! I am sure they will be full of great resources. I guarantee the parks will be full of awesome adventures and learning opportunities for you and your kiddos!

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My Why…

My Why…

This picture? THIS, is my why. Those 3 little beach bums right there. Getting to watch them learn and explore has made for a pretty amazing year. Is it always easy? Heck NO! Are there days where I want to hide? You betcha! Those hard […]

Amazing Artists Week 2- Becoming Jackson Pollock

Amazing Artists Week 2- Becoming Jackson Pollock

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 […]

My Top 10 Homeschool Must-Haves!!

My Top 10 Homeschool Must-Haves!!

homeschool, supplies, must haves

1.) Coffee…yes, I am totally serious! My kiddos know that before we can start anything, Mama needs to have her coffee…with a side of quiet. I am not a morning person…at all. Coffee is the only thing that makes me feel like a human in the A.M.  My children take after their Dad…early birds…3 very perky early birds. Coffee is the start to our homeschool day…every day! No coffee…no teachee…

2.) Computer –  What did we do before computers? I cant even remember. I use our computer for everything! I search for lesson plans and unit plans (any Pinterest addicts out there?), I use it for getting our weekly spelling lists, I find supplemental math worksheets for my kiddos, the kids have several learning sites that they love, we use it for research, learning to type, and of course, YouTube…more on that later! With a computer and a good printer you are golden 😉 Which leads me to number 3…

3.) Printer – You guys…I LOVE my printer. LOVE! This is seriously the best printer. It prints, scans, faxes, copies…Its fab! It is just your standard all-in-one wireless printer from Brother…but I love it. The best part…I can get the ink for crazy cheap on Amazon. The ink for our last printer cost about eleventy-billion dollars…it was cheaper to buy an entirely new printer. We just bought a brand new pack of ink on Amazon…a 14 pack (5 black, 3 magenta, 3 cyan, and 3 yellow) for $13.49! Here’s what we use…it has worked amazingly so far! https://amzn.to/2t0H2ia

4.) BOOKS! – For anyone who knows me, you will know that books are my favorite thing on the planet. I love everything about them. The sound they make the first time you open them, the way they feel in your hands, the smell…ahhhh! I LOVE books! We use books all day every day. I am lucky enough to be a consultant with Usborne Books & More, so over the last 2 years our home library has grown to insane proportions. We also read aloud every single day…it is one of my favorites parts of homeschooling. I also plan a great deal of our curriculum from books! I would be lost without them!

5.) Art supplies – We are art junkies. My kids are always doodling, drawing, cutting, pasting, painting…you name it, they make it. Art is integrated into nearly every subject we do. We like experimenting with new mediums, trying new brands, and finding out what works best for us. I will have a post coming up about our favorite art supplies and where we get them! Stay tuned!

6.) Laminator – Holy pickles do I love my laminator. Do you have a laminator? I love laminating anything and everything. Laminating is a great way to save things from year to year…for example, if you laminate a particular worksheet for one child, you can use it again the following year with someone else. Again, this is not a top of the line laminator. I ordered a Scotch laminator on Amazon for $20…works great! Whenever I see the laminating sheets go on sale I will be sure to order some…we wouldn’t want a lack of laminating sheet related emergency.

7.) YouTube – Now, I know I could have put YouTube in with the computer…but I feel like it deserves its own category. We LOVE YouTube! You can find a video, tutorial, lesson on just about anything…actually I am fairy certain you can find anything on there. We have watched videos on the blob fish from the midnight zone in the ocean. art lessons on how to paint like Picasso, learn how to finger knit lessons, sight word songs, geography lesson, videos on Osprey catching fish from the water…I would be lost without access to YouTube. It opens up an entire world of learning for my kids. My knowledge base only goes so far…with YouTube I am able to expand our lessons so much further! What are your favorite YouTube channels? I am always looking for new material!

8.) Whiteboard – This might sound like a basic item…but I use the whiteboard all the time! I seriously loathe chalk and chalkboards…I hate the way it feels on my hands…and the sound? Oh my gravy the sound sends a chill up my spine! Whiteboards are a thing of beauty! They are easy to write on, you can get a bazillion different marker colors, and they are easy to clean. I love having mini whiteboards for my kids too…they are perfect for working on math equations!

9.) Sticker Books – Confession? I am a briber. I bribe. My kids LOVE sticker books…especially the Sticker Dolly Dressing books from Usborne. These books keep them busy for hours…even my 6 year old. So, we devised a plan. They do their chores, they earn sticker books. Everyone wins! They will work on the while I read aloud, they will work on them in the car, they work on them at 9 pm when they are supposed to be sleeping (ahem…Max!)…they are so awesome.  Oh, and did I mention that many of them are educational? Shh…don’t tell my kids! #momwin

10.) Patience – Ah yes, patience. This is key. There are days (oh boy are there days) when patience seems to elude me. You know those days…everyone is cranky, no one wants to work, she stole my pencil, I had the rocking-chair first, but Moooooom, I don’t wanna do sight words…those days. Sometimes the only way for me to regain my patience is to call it quits on school for that day. That is one of the beauties of homeschool…if I sense that everyone has had enough, we just stop…give everyone a brain break and start again fresh the next day!

So there it is…my Top 10 Homeschool Must-Haves! What is on your list? Is there anything you just can’t homeschool without? I would love to hear your ideas!

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Year-round Homeschooling…say whaaat?

Year-round Homeschooling…say whaaat?

  With summer right around the corner (or perhaps already here for those of us who live on the sun…er…Florida) I have noticed a lot more discussions on whether or not to homeschool year round. Just like every other homeschool related topic, there are some […]