Tag: secular

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 

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 

Our Secular Morning Basket

Our Secular Morning Basket

I have a confession. I thought that morning baskets were totally off the table because we are secular homeschoolers. For real! I don’t know why! I think it stemmed from the fact that the only morning baskets I had seen were centered around bible study…so I just put the idea out of my head! Fast forward to this summer, I was re-introduced to the idea of morning baskets by my friend Jessica over at The Waldock Way. It quickly hit me that a morning basket could be anything that I wanted it to be. We could include anything we wanted to and take out anything that we didn’t want to cover. No two morning baskets have to look the same! This was a light-bulb moment for me! I LOVED the idea of having time in the morning to come together with the kids and set the stage for our day!

Which leads me to my next confession… I am not a morning person. Like…at all! You would think that after having 3 kiddos I would have embraced mornings, but, nope, no such luck. I like to ease into my mornings. Coffee and silence…the dynamic duo. Anyway, my point behind that confession is that I love the idea of having an organized morning basket that will help ease my transition into the world of wakefulness!

SO! Without further ado…here is what will be included in our basket! I plan to have subjects in here that we will cover daily…our read aloud, our American History, and Spanish for example…and subjects that will rotate depending on the day…our National Park unit, Music, and Art. So, let’s take a little peek at each subject we will include!


Caldecott Books

This year I am so excited to be studying Caldecott Medal winning books. I have a picture book obsession! I found this amazing unit through Evan-Moor’s TeacherFileBox online…You can check out my review of TeacherFileBox right here! Evan-Moor offers two different Literature Pockets all about Caldecott books…one for grades 1-3 and one for grades 4-6. I plan to do both! TeacherFileBox is a yearly subscription to ALL of the amazing books that Evan-Moor has to offer…we are using it for Literature Pockets, History Pockets, Spelling, Science, and a lot more! You can check it out by clicking here: TeacherFileBox



Spanish is a subject that I really want to incorporate every day. These are the two primary books we will be using for our Morning Basket. These are both from Usborne Books & More and they are amazing! Listen and Learn First Spanish Words has several cards with different words. When you touch the picture it will correctly pronounce the word in Spanish! First Thousand Words in Spanish is one of my favorites. It has wonderful illustrations and is really eye catching for young kids as well as older kids. One of the best things about this particular book is that it is internet-linked…it has a special website you can go to and it will have a correct pronunciation of each word. So awesome. I have a couple of workbooks that we will also be using but those aren’t part of our Morning Basket so I didn’t add them in this post!


art books

Art is a favorite in our house! We love learning about different artists and different art techniques. I plan to continue the artist studies that I began last year…you can check out my post about our Picasso study right here: https://homeschoolbythebeach.com/2017/05/29/amazing-artists-week-1-becoming-picasso/ We will use the Usborne Art Treasury as our main book. This book is a must-have for homeschoolers! It features many artists and for each artist, it will give you a little bio on that artist, introduce some of their work, and then have a project for you to complete in the style of that artist. SO FUN! My kids really enjoyed it! I also adore the Usborne Famous Paintings Cards…they are really heavy duty “flashcards” with a piece of artwork on one side and then information about the piece and the artist on the back. Great resource!




American History is going to be covered every day…mostly because it is one of my favorites! We are doing a full year or two of American History. We will be covering it in greater depth than just what is included in this morning basket, but these are the items that we will cover in the morning. I love The American Story  book. It features lots of tales that occurred throughout history…so we will add that to our read aloud when we get to the different points in history. I just found the Explorer Cards from Professor Noggin…so excited. They have so many different ones so I will change those out as we progress throughout history. The same will go for the Safari Toob! They have several different varieties that I will change as we go.

Something I am really excited about for our American History Curriculum is all of the living books we will be using. I have some for each time period. This will be one of the first that we read as we are beginning with some early Native Americans. This one covers the Seminole Indians which is super exciting because we live in Florida! 🙂


usborne classical music book

Time for another confession…we don’t do a lot of music. We LISTEN to a lot of music…but as far as music history or instruction…yeah not so much! I LOVE this book…The Usborne Classical Music Reference Book…teaches all about music history and again…is internet-linked! You can scan the codes and you will get to listen to different pieces of music from different time periods. Genius!



We are also planning to learn about National Parks of the US. I came up with this unit based on the National Parks of the U.S.A. book. You need this book…seriously. It is gorgeous. Now imagine my surprise when I discovered that one of my favorite book series has a book on National Parks…M is for Majestic is stunning. It is a gorgeous picture book with tons of amazing information on National Parks. So excited to see where this unit takes us! Even if we just end up reading and enjoying these gorgeous books I will be happy.



Lastly, we will be incorporating this beautiful book! A Year Full of Stories is a gorgeous book! It includes 52 Folktales and Legends from around the world. I am planning to do this once a week. It provides such a great opportunity to not only learn about folktales and legends but also learn a little bit about different cultures and different parts of the world. I am really excited to dig into this book!

So, that is our current plan! I am so excited to put our morning basket into motion. I will try to post some updates about how things are going and if we are changing anything up or sticking to our schedule!

Do you use a Morning Basket in your homeschool? What are some of the things you like to incorporate??



Amazing Artists – Introduction to our Unit Study!

Amazing Artists – Introduction to our Unit Study!

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 

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 

Amazing Artists Week 1- Becoming Picasso!

Amazing Artists Week 1- Becoming Picasso!

art, homeschool, secular

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

Welcome to the first installment of our Amazing Artists unit!! I am so excited to get started! Like many of the other projects we do in our homeschool, I let the kids vote on the first artist  we would study. It was unanimous…which almost NEVER happens in my house! All 3 kiddos voted for Pablo Picasso. There is just something about his brightly colored artwork with its distorted faces that intrigues them! We had the best time studying his artwork and discussing what we saw in his paintings…lots of room for interpretation! So let’s jump right in!


We began our Picasso unit by reading Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists- Pablo Picasso. We stopped at each section and talked about the paintings and let each kiddo point out different things. After finishing our reading we jumped straight into our first YouTube Video! We made Picasso dogs!! I will note that the artist in the video used paints. My paints were on order so we used crayons! Still turned out so adorable!!


We then moved on to a really fun “Game” that I found on Pinterest! It was called “Roll-A-Picasso”…it will link you to Pinterest, from there it will link to the Facebook page of ArtekSF. Here you can go through their images and find and print the paper. This was SO much fun!



Our last project came directly from The Usborne Art Treasury. We read about Picasso from the book and then made our own versions of his Punchinello with a Guitar. This was so much fun…I love how different all of the pieces came out! We enjoyed the mixed media aspect to this piece…adding cut paper to our painting gave a very cool collage effect!

Our final project was to assemble our very own Art Gallery at home! We mounted some of our masterpieces on card stock to add a little extra pizzazz! The kids were so proud of their artwork and couldn’t wait for Daddy to get home!

I hope you enjoyed our Picasso lessons! Please join us again when we discover the genius of Jackson Pollock!



My Top 10 Usborne Books for Homeschooling- Part 2

My Top 10 Usborne Books for Homeschooling- Part 2

  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