Our Top 10 Favorite UBAM Books for Back to School

What better time to share our favorite Usborne Books & More books than the beginning of a school year?! It’s no secret that we are big fans of UBAM and I love sharing our books with all of you!

So, buckle your seat belts! We’re going to share our top 10 favorite UBAM books for back to school!

  1. Key Skills Wipe-Clean Pack: Introduction : There are actually three packs of these, and they go up in difficulty levels. Each pack includes 4 books, a wipe-clean marker (we love UBAM markers!) and the high quality zippered plastic pouch to store them in. As a homeschool family, we use these often for extra practice, review and busy work in the van when we are on the go! Your public school kids would benefit from these as well, these are fantastic for extra practice for them and perfect for summer, winter and holiday breaks!
  2. Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers About Weather : This is just one out of many Lift-the-Flap books I would recommend for back to school! We have so many great ones to read and explore, they’re packed full of information and my kids LOVE these! This particular one is about weather, and as we are starting a weather science unit I thought it was a good one to share!
  3. Look Inside Space : Similar to the Lift-the-Flap books, these Look Inside books also have flaps and such to explore and read. These are also packed full of information and we have so much fun looking through these. This one about space is our favorite, though we have several! What I really love about these is that they are great for all ages! My youngest, who is 2, enjoys them (with supervision) and this mama (I’m 31!) enjoys looking at them as well! So fun!
  4. Human Body Reference Book : Reference books! This is one of our regular reference books about the human body, so many amazing illustrations and details, but we also have beginner reference books as well! You’ll be SO impressed with the details in the illustrations, my 8 year old has always been fascinated by how her body works, and this was perfect for her!
  5. My First Reference Book About Nature : This is more of a beginner reference book, my littles LOVE pouring over the pictures and illustrations in this book! The pictures and illustrations are not as detailed as the regular reference books, but still beautifully done.
  6. Secrets of the Rain Forest – Shine-a-Light : Shine-a-Light books are SO fun! Your child learns so much in these books while thinking they’re just reading a story, and using a flashlight to peek through to see the pictures on the next page is super cool! We have several of these, but this is one of our favorites! These are also exclusive to Usborne Books & More!
  7. Seasons : This is one of our Young Beginner Reader books, I love incorporating these into our homeschool lessons. Seasons in particular as we just started talking about the weather and the seasons for Science! This one fit in perfectly with what we have been discussing. There are lots more to choose from including Seashore, Bug, Dinosaurs, etc.
  8. 50 Science Things to Make and Do : Science experiments are fun to do whether you’re utilizing them for a homeschool class or for extra fun at home. This is just one book we have that has fun experiments to try, but I love this one because it’s small and more compact. It also has a great binding that allows the book to lie flat!
  9. Learning Wrap-Ups Addition : I know… this isn’t technically a book, HOWEVER, these are fantastic if your child needs some extra help with their math! We have addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and even ones with states and capitals! It’s a hands-on approach and we love utilizing these when we can.
  10. Lifesize : This is one of my personal favorites, this book came out earlier this year and it’s AMAZING! Compare your hand size to that of a polar bear, go eye to eye with a squid! You get to see what lifesize animals are like up CLOSE up! So fun, educational and the illustrations are gorgeous.

So there you have it… our top 10 favorite UBAM books for back to school! Do you have some personal favorites you love for this time of year! This is only a small glimpse of all the amazing books Usborne Books & More has to offer. Feel free to contact me for more information, or check out my shopping page HERE! Book a party with me by contacting me on my Facebook page HERE and tell me this secret phrase (BACKTOSCHOOL) to get an extra $20 in FREE books with a qualifying party!


Two Weeks Into Our School Year!

I both look forward to and dread those first few weeks of school. Getting back into routine, introducing a new school year, finding out groove… it’s all hard and exciting! This year we have a 3rd grader, 1st grader, Pre-Kinder and I’m not sure whether to call Bear a tot-schooler or a distraction! Ha!

So far things have gone pretty well, the kids enjoy their curriculum (which I’ll post about each kid individually in the next few weeks) and we’ve only had a few temper tantrums (from the 1st grader) about getting our work done!

We’ve had several outings to our local library, we even did a day of school there! We’ve been blueberry picking, made some new videos for our YouTube channel, created playdough Stonehenge replicas, painted masterpieces and more!

I think my absolute favorite aspect of homeschooling is the freedom and flexibility to complete our work when and wherever we want. I’m looking forward to the temperatures getting cooler so we can take advantage of doing our work outside!

Something new we are trying this year is Reading Eggs. I was a little hesitant, I tend to steer away from using the computer or phone/tablet for school work. I do use Starfall for the littles when we need some quiet time for the big kids, and we utilize YouTube for videos, etc. I’m sold on the Reading Eggs program though! We’ve been trying the trial for about a week now and Bird is growing leaps and bounds with her letter and letter sound recognition. It’s such a fun way for them to learn their letters, she’s enjoying it and the older two have also enjoyed checking out some of the other work it offers as well!

I am looking forward to seeing what this year brings, I’m already impressed with how well the kids are doing. I also have a few fun and exciting things up my sleeve for this year!

Thank you for stopping by, don’t forget to check out my Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as our YouTube channel – you can find the links under my photo in the right column of this blog! God Bless!

Hands On Homeschooling with a Sensory Kid

Since we are talking about homeschooling sensory kids, this topic is also a great one to hit on! Most kids do really well with hands on learning, but sensory kids most definitely benefit from it.

I’ve realized over the past year, Bubby’s first “official” school year, that finding hands on activities, where your child can work with their hands or do physical activities are the best fit for him. Not only is he a sensory seeker, but he is a kinesthetic learner. This means that he needs a tactile learning style, one where he has to carry out physical activities instead of just sitting and listening or doing worksheets.

I struggled with how to incorporate activities like these into all of our subjects, but have learned some pretty fun ways to utilize tactile activities for Bubby. Sonlight offers some pretty cool lap books and history project kits that fit these guidelines.

History was one I thought would be pretty difficult, but taking the time to create some of the things we are learning about can be so beneficial and FUN!

Bubby loves using LEGOs to recreate some of the monuments and places we talk about. For instance, during a world history lesson we were talking about Egyptian pyramids. He set out to create one with LEGOs! I wish I had snapped a picture of it that day, but we were having so much fun learning that I didn’t even touch my phone to grab a shot!

The Sonlight Hands-On History boxes are full of activities to incorporate into your lessons. Since we just finished up studying about Egyptians, I thought the Senet game board was perfect to put together.

It’s amazing how calm he becomes when he has something to keep his hands busy, he and Boogie put together the game pieces with the clay. We baked those and painted the sticks so they could play this game that Ancient Egyptians played.

Anytime you can incorporate hands-on activities with your children, you should! My sensory kid is not the only one that benefits from it, and it’s so fun to do something different from book work and reading. Hands-on activities can be calming, physically moving around, putting things together… all of that helps Bubby learn and absorb the information we are discussing.

You can learn more about Sonlight and their hands-on history boxes HERE or by clicking the image below.

You have an opportunity to win a Sonlight Hands-On History box for your kids! I can’t recommend these kits enough, they have everything you need for each project!

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Homeschooling a Sensory Kid – Part 1

Let me start this by saying that I am not an expert, in fact I am the furthest thing from that. Everyday I learn something new, everyday I have to find new ways to parent and teach my sensory kiddo. This is only part 1 of this series, as I learn and as Bubby grows I’ll post new strategies and information we learn. So, let’s start with the basics.

What does it mean when I say I have a sensory kid? Bubby, our 6 year old, was diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder in Spring of 2016. He was 3 1/2 years old and we had known for a while that something was up. There’s nothing wrong with him, he just does things a little differently than most kids. Bubby is sensory seeker, so he needs everything to be louder, more intense, rough… he has to jump and move constantly, he stems with his hands when he is craving sensory input. It’s intense and crazy and loud most days, so we are learning how to not only raise him and help him with day to day life, but I’m also having to learn the best way to teach him.

It hasn’t been easy, he’s a tough kid to figure out. We’ve been out of occupational therapy for over a year now and waiting to be re-evaluated by a new facility here in NC. As sensory kiddos age, you find that their sensory needs change and that you need new ways to help them. That’s our biggest struggle right now, most days I have no idea what to do to help him.

My main goal right now is to help Bubby with focusing and learning to read, he wants SO badly to read like his big sister. However, he struggles with focusing and doesn’t like to work on something for very long periods of time. I have to keep things short and sweet, so my strategies that I used with Boogie do not work for Bubby.

We are trying some new curriculum in the next few months, I’m going to try some active games and tasks to help him with sight words and phonics. We are moving away from The Good & the Beautiful curriculum, and I may post more about that another time. I’m looking into going more towards Masterbooks and possibly trying All About Reading with him as well, but the price of that one isn’t my favorite!

What strategies and tips do you have to share? I’d love to hear what worked for your sensory kids! Leave a comment below!

Our Kindergarten Curriculum – Bubby 2018

My sweet boy has been asking since about January when he would get to be a kindergartener. It doesn’t matter that grades aren’t really official or necessary for homeschooling, all he knew was that his best buddies at church were starting kindergarten this year and he wanted to be one too! Well big guy, you are in kindergarten!

Bubby is 5 years old, 6 in November and he is beyond excited. Is he excited about doing school work every day? Nope, definitely not. But when he is, he is on it and he has seriously amazed me. There are things we’ve worked on that I thought for sure would be hard and we’d have to review. That wasn’t the case, he’s actually flying through some of his work and I’m so proud of him.

So first up is our language arts curriculum. I’m also using The Good & the Beautiful for Bubby and we are starting with the PreK book first. My reasoning for this is that we needed to review some of our ABC’s before moving on to learning to read… he’s flying through it, but I’m glad to be doing so as there have been a few letters here and there he wasn’t sure about. This curriculum is a little advanced anyways, so once he finishes his PreK book we will move on to K Primer. I’m assuming we will spend the remainder of the year on it and move on to the K book in 1st grade. As I stated in Boogie’s post, she’s on Level 1 in second grade, which is what comes after Level K.

I am really loving this curriculum, there are lots of fun manipulatives and the flip book is so much fun to review letters. Bubby doesn’t always enjoy it because it can be repetitive, but I switch it up sometimes and have him utilize it in different ways and that helps a lot!

For Math we are using Math Lessons for a Living Education for Bubby as well. He’s in Level 1 and is really enjoying it so far. Right now we are reviewing shapes, recognizing and writing numbers 0-9 and counting. So we are moving fairly quickly through it right now, but I know that we will start hitting new concepts soon, so we will see how he does with that. I had debated trying the new Good and the Beautiful math, but for now I wanted to try this since Boogie had enjoyed it so much.

For handwriting we are continuing with Handwriting Without Tears, this curriculum is what Bubby’s occupational therapist used with him last year to help with his handwriting and penmanship. We really liked it so I purchased the next book as well as some of the manipulatives which I will link below. I really like the way you teach each letter with this curriculum, it’s especially great for kids like Bubby who need straightforward, no frills directions.

You can click on the image above to find the book we are using, we also are using the following manipulatives (these are not affiliate links as the prices are OUTRAGEOUS on Amazon):

That’s it for Bubby! He participates in History when he likes and we are using some science and bible curriculum together as well, but I will share those with you in a post about our family style curriculum. I’m very happy with the choices I made for Bubby this year, he seems to be enjoying everything and it’s short and sweet and to the point! All of this fits in Bubby’s tote – I can keep the Pre-K manipulatives in my own bucket as we use those with Bird as well.

Some of the above links are affiliate links at Amazon.com, I earn a small profit on qualifying purchases and this helps fund my blog website. So thank you for your contribution to Mustard Seed Mommy if you order from one of these links.