Tag: secular homeschool

Teaching Textbooks 4.0- The Perfect Math Program for our Multi-Age Homeschool!

Teaching Textbooks 4.0- The Perfect Math Program for our Multi-Age Homeschool!

(I would like to thank Teaching Textbooks for sponsoring this post. I was given free access to Teaching Textbooks for my children and compensated for my time. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.) Let’s talk MATH! That little four-letter word can cause 

Get Ready for Outdoor School!

Get Ready for Outdoor School!

You guys, I have such an exciting announcement!! I have been chosen to be a part of the Macmillan Outdoor School Super Influencer Team!! I am ecstatic. We are so thrilled to be able to implement these amazing books and resources in our home/classroom and 

History Quest-Early Times – An Amazing and Fully Secular History Curriculum!

History Quest-Early Times – An Amazing and Fully Secular History Curriculum!

History is hands-down my very favorite subject to teach and learn. But, it hasn’t always been that way. When I was in school, many moons ago, history was my most dreaded subject. Why? It was boring! I had teachers who droned on and then handed out worksheets to fill out. They didn’t share amazing literature, hands-on projects, or exciting videos. It was just dull. Well, all of that has changed, my friends. This year my kids and I have had the opportunity to use History Quest- Early Times and it has been absolutely amazing. I am so excited to share with you all of the things that we have loved. So…let’s travel back in time with History Quest- Early Times!!

What is History Quest-Early Times?

My goal for the 2020/2021 school year was to teach Ancient History to my kiddos. We have never had a full history curriculum and up until this year, I have just bopped around different time periods based on my kids’ interests. I was ready for a change this year and wanting something that was more structured and had all of the groundwork ready for me. In the past I have put together a lot of our units…it is a LOT of work. So, after lots of research, I decided that History Quest- Early Times from Pandia Press was exactly what we were looking for. I reached out to them to see if they would be willing to send me a copy in exchange for a review and they so graciously said yes.

History Quest- Early Times is a full-year history curriculum geared for elementary-aged children…specifically ages 1st through 4th but is easily adaptable for older grades. The Early Times walks you through Pre-History to the Eighth Century CE. The thing that drew me to this program more than others is that it is fully SECULAR and it has a large LITERATURE component. This was huge for me. Finding an amazing secular curriculum is not an easy task…especially one that is based in literature. So to say I was totally thrilled would be an understatement!

The goal of History Quest is to combine your history curriculum with literature, hands-on activities, geography, and writing. It does that and so much more! We used the Study-Guide in conjunction with the History Quest chapter book but you could truly just use the book for a read-aloud and have a very rich history curriculum!

Let’s take a peek inside and see what History Quest is all about…

A Peek Inside History Quest-Early Times

You guys, I did a happy dance when I received these books. If you have ever created your own unit before, you know how much work can go into it. To open a package and have everything already laid out for you is just absolutely brilliant. Included in my package were the History Quest Chapter book…which is enormous and beautiful…as well as the Study Guide.

The History Quest chapter book is a well written and engaging narrative that takes you on a fun and exciting journey through history. We used this as a read-aloud but you could easily give this to your older elementary aged student for independent reading. Since we planned to our history unit together, I chose just to read it to everyone. The book has two main components. It has the regular chapters that walk you through history but it also has sections that are called History Hop! These are where you will be introduced to different people throughout history…The First Author in Sumer, The Chief Embalmer in Egypt, a Babylonian Royal! These people will tell you about their job and their life. It adds such a fun element to each lesson. It feels like you are getting a first-hand account of what life was like!

In addition to the Chapter Book, we also had the Study Guide. The Study Guide is amazing. It is laid out in a 5 day format but you could easily adjust it to fit your school schedule. We had weeks where we had to adjust and it was very easy.

The 5-day layout is divided as follows:

  • Day 1- DISCOVER – read from History Quest and Usborne Encyclopedia of World History
  • Day 2 – EXPLORE – read History Hop! travel component and complete log page
  • Day 3 – CREATE – project day! Hands-on fun! (We ground our own wheat berries, y’all!)
  • Day 4 – DEMONSTRATE – various choices to assess your students understanding
  • Day 5 – ENRICH – optional videos and additional reading on the topic at hand

Everything is included. Maps, printables, supply lists, book lists…it is all here!

WHY we Love History Quest-Early Times

I wanted to wait until we had a couple of months of use under our belts before I wrote this review. I really like to know a product well before I share it. Well, it has been a couple of months and I am so thrilled with History Quest. It truly has given us everything we have been looking for. I wanted to share with you the main reasons why I adore it.

  • SECULAR: this is huge. As a secular homeschool family, finding a quality secular product has NOT been the easiest task. I will say it IS getting easier but it does feel like finding a golden ticket when you find one. History Quest touches on the different religions of the time periods but it is not written from a religious standpoint at all.
  • Literature Based: Also huge. As a book-loving family, having something that is presented with engaging literature is so perfect. Not only does it have the included narrative text but it offers booklists in each chapter…and y’all know how I feel about a book list.
  • Engaging: not boring at all. My kids have all loved the activities, the map work, the projects, and the stories! Any time you can add cooking or art we are ALL-IN!
  • Good for Multiple Ages: As a mama who homeschools 3 kiddos of varying ages, having something that I can use to teach most or all of the kids together is HUGE. Being able to gather together as a family to do our history lessons has been amazing. I have been adding some elements from History Odyssey: Ancients for my 14-year-old as History Quest is geared younger…but she has been enjoying the lessons with us. (History Odyssey review coming soon!)
  • Organized: I am not the most organized human, so having something that is laid out in a very detail-oriented way is so important for me. History Quest is expertly organized, easy to follow, and even has a 5-day unit schedule at the beginning of each lesson. Swoon.
  • Affordable: History Quest is a very affordable curricula, especially if you plan to use it with more than one child. You are able to choose ebook, Epub, printed, or audiobook for the Chapter book and ebook or print for the study guide. The printed material is what I received and it is absolutely amazing quality.

BONUS…HYGGE HISTORY

Something that Pandia Press has included in this curriculum that pretty much blew me away was the addition of the Hygge History weeks. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of Hygge, it is a Danish term that loosely translates to “a feeling of cozy well-being”. Snuggly blankets, candles, cocoa…BOOKS! I have read about Hygge in the past and just adored that Pandia included this.

There are 4 Hygge History weeks dispersed throughout the year. The goal of them is to to pause and enjoy great literature with your kids without the added worksheets, math, or projects. Just reading, talking, sipping warm drinks…I mean…pretty great, right? The book selections are amazing and we truly look forward to these weeks!

For me this is just icing on an already delightful cake.

For More Information

I asked over on IG if there would be interest in a flip-through IGTV video and the response was an overwhelming YES…so I will drop that link below!

But, in the meantime, for a video peek inside History Quest- Early Times you can head to Pandia Press website to watch author Lindsey Sodano share all kinds of great information. Click here.

Also, be sure to pop over to Pandia’s website. They have an amazing Try Before You Buy sample area. You can pull up portions of History Quest to take a peek inside and see what it is all about! Click here to check it out.

Pandia Press

Thank You!

I want to say a huge thank you to Pandia Press for sending this to my family for review. All opinions are my own. We have absolutely LOVED History Quest- Early Times and are so excited to continue using it throughout the year. I am ecstatic to report that History Quest- Middle Times is now available as well and it looks equally amazing!!

Drop in to The Booknerd Cafe!

Drop in to The Booknerd Cafe!

Calling all Booknerds!! Have we got a place for you! My dear friend, Arlene, and I have co-created a fabulous Facebook Group called The Booknerd Cafe. It is just for booknerds! If you are a booknerd, bookworm, book hoarder, booksniffer…whatever you want to call it…this 

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 great to pass up! One of the many benefits of homeschooling is the freedom to change plans and go with the flow…and we do it quite frequently!!

Oceanschooling…what?

So, what exactly IS Oceanschooling? Well, it can be anything at all to do with studying the ocean. You could learn about anything relating to ocean science, marine biology, ocean animals…anything! We have already done a unit on oceans before, but since it is one of our favorite topics we are always interested in learning more! So, I decided to let the kiddos decide what area of ocean science they wanted to learn. They unanimously chose Ocean Animals! So I set out to do what every other book hoarder would do…I amassed┬ábooks…lots of books! So, I want to share with you some of our very favorite resources!!

Favorite Ocean Books

Our home library is ginormous! I adore books. So, whenever we find a topic that I know the kids will be interested in for a long time we invest in books! Thankfully since we have studied the ocean before we had quite a few of these books on hand. I did purchase a couple extra to add to our collection and then we grabbed a few from our library!

As an Usborne Books & More consultant, we have TONS of non-fiction from Usborne! They are absolutely amazing books! A few of our favorites are:

 

In addition to our collection of Usborne Books, I have purchased some amazing books from Amazon! Here are some of our favorites! I am including just our general ocean study books, but we have several more on dolphins, sea turtles, coral reefs, and manatees! You can never have too many books ­čśë

Sleeping Bear Press Alphabet Books are ALWAYS the first books I look for when creating a unit. They couple both fiction and non-fiction and are amazing resources! I highly recommend this book! We adore it!

The Big Book of the Blue is GORGEOUS! This is another very favorite of ours. The illustrations are fantastic and it is a huge book. There are several books in this series and ALL are amazing!

National Geographic Kids are amazing books! This Ultimate Ocean-Pedia is packed with amazing info!

We adore these Photicular books…we have Dinosaurs as well and it is gorgeous!

I could go on and on with book recommendations but I want to share some games and resources we are using as well!

Favorite Ocean Resources

 

I try to find a Safari Ltd Toob to go with every lesson I can! This is a bundle pack that has regular size and minis! The kids LOVE these!

 

I am embarrassed to say this is our first experience with water beads! I thought the kids would be too old to enjoy them…I was WRONG! Water beads plus Safari Toobs equals a fun time!

 

Professor Noggin cards are another huge hit at our house! My kids love trivia and these are wonderful!

 

Gorgeous gorgeous game! We have Birds as well and they are so fun and absolutely beautiful and such high quality!

 

We are also puzzle junkies! We try to add those into every unit we do!

Organizing a Unit

For this particular unit, I let the kids decide what we were going to learn about and when. I chose to plan things out without a curriculum, which I tend to do a lot! We use a combination of books (lots of books), Youtube or Amazon videos, art projects, and lap books! This works well for us because the kids love to do hands-on projects. If your kiddos aren’t crazy about art projects you could easily create worksheets or presentations or any other way for them to show their knowledge!

Here is a link to some of our favorite videos for oceanschooling! We also did a search on Amazon and found tons of additional videos…we even watched a dolphin being born! So amazing!

We are also very fortunate to live SUPER close to the ocean! This allows for a lot of field trips and hands-on learning…aka…beach trips! We try to visit the beach at different times of the day to see what kinds of creatures we can find! We have found coral, sea sponges, a sea cucumber, shells, crabs, horseshoe crabs, sea horses, and many other interesting creatures. If you don’t live near the coast, a trip to your local aquarium would be a fabulous way to add some fun to your unit!

Stay tuned for a follow-up post with some of our finished projects!

 

For more book and activity ideas head over to my Amazon storefront!!

 

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. 

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 

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┬áPiatnitzkysaurus without missing a beat (totally a real dinosaur…just ask google). Well then, stay put, because┬áthis 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 ­čÖé

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!!

DINOSAUR BOOKS FROM USBORNE BOOKS & MORE

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!

BOOKS FROM AMAZON

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.

GAMES, TOYS, and FLASH CARDS OH MY!

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!!!

HAVE FUN WITH IT!

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!!!


A Review of Evan-Moor Skill Sharpeners Critical Thinking- Grade 2

A Review of Evan-Moor Skill Sharpeners Critical Thinking- Grade 2

  I was recently given the opportunity to review Evan-Moor’s Skill Sharpeners Critical Thinking for second grade! I was given the book in exchange for my honest review! Evan-Moor is my go-to for quality books to enrich our homeschool. I was so excited to have