Monday, October 31, 2005

Thanksgiving/Christmas sale is almost over - many thanks!


The big sale on the Thanksgiving & Christmas Unit Study Set is almost over - only a few more hours left! The response has been great, and I wanted to thank you all for your orders as well as your kind words -- what an encouraging set of friends I have here on!


We are now emailing the first week of the Thanksgiving lessons to those who order this week, so that they can begin the study while waiting for the complete study on CDROM to arrive in the mail. So many of you have written to say thanks - you are very welcome.


If you want to join my Yahoo group of unit study folks, you can journey through the holidays with us - you never know what kinds of interesting ideas will surface with this crowd! Here's the link if you'd like to join in our fun:

Amanda Bennett's Unit Study Yahoo Group


Just a few more hours of the sale, and then we'll call it a night and turn off the Thanksgiving music until tomorrow morning, when a new adventure begins!



Amanda B.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Family Traditions – For Today and Tomorrow


Family Traditions – For Today and Tomorrow

By Amanda Bennett


            “Hey Mom, don’t forget that we’re going out for pizza after this last game of the season – it’s a tradition, remember?” “Dad, when are you going to get the bales of hay and pumpkins for your autumn masterpiece? Can I go, too – it’s a tradition, you know!”  Tradition – just the word sometimes sounds old and from past generations, doesn’t it? Yet, it has been family traditions that helped many a family stay together and strong over the past years, and probably for generations to come.


          Traditions are so important in families – the sense of security and love that is felt when observing traditions as a family will stay with our children for the rest of their lives. As homeschooling families, we have a unique opportunity in today’s society to enjoy a wide variety of traditions for all kinds of events and observances, and integrate them into our learning lifestyle. These traditions are woven into the fabric of our family, making it stronger and memorable for everyone.


            As a child, I grew up in a family filled with love, children and plenty of traditions. My parents worked to build the strength of our family with some traditions that were simple and yet special. We lived far away from any relatives, so our traditions had to be based on our immediate family and friends, and what a blessing those traditions were. My parents didn’t realize that these traditions would get us through some very tough times, and keep our family close through thick and thin, over many years and generations yet to come.


            Early on Sunday mornings, my dad would drive to Krispy Kreme to get hot doughnuts for our family while Mom got all of us ready for church. To this day, when I bite into a warm Krispy Kreme doughnut, I remember Sunday mornings and my dad’s smile as he came through the door with those warm doughnuts. It was a very simple tradition that meant so much then and even more now. When we are visiting my childhood hometown, we still visit the same shop, and share smiles and memories that cross generations.


            When I was a young teenager, our family lost my father to cancer when we were all from 8 to 15 years old. Yes, it was tragic and it was heart-rending, and we drifted in and out of being convinced that our happy family life had ended. However, my mother worked hard to keep us safe and housed and educated, but she strived even harder through it all to maintain our family traditions, and these added much-needed cement to our family through some very trying times. We still belonged to the family, the family was still strong, and these traditions gave us a sense of security and predictability in a world that had changed very quickly. Traditions became the ties that we needed as we grew and changed – while some things never changed.


            There are many kinds of traditions -- seasonal traditions, holiday traditions, weekly traditions, and special occasion traditions. They provide a wonderful time for coming together as a family. Daily prayers, family reading time in the evening, Sunday soup and popcorn prepared by Dad, the welcoming of summer with a water balloon fight, preparing our hearts and home for special holidays, and so much more.


            The variety of traditions is infinite, and I’ve heard of some very unique family traditions in all of my travels around this great country. But that is one of the things that makes them special – they are YOUR family’s traditions, unique to you all.


            As we approach this holiday season, I know that there are plenty of traditions that are observed in American homes. At our house, autumn brings an exciting collection of family traditions. With the start of autumn, I make sure that we have chrysanthemums on the front steps.  They start off on the front steps, then we plant them in the ground when they finish blooming. Dad collects several bales of hay, some corn stalks, and a few pumpkins and gourds to make a fall decoration by the driveway – Dad’s autumn masterpiece, as the kids call it.


            After taking care of the decorating traditions, we move on to those that can be appreciated around the kitchen table. With the harvest of the apple crop here in Tennessee, we have warm apple pie and ice cream in the evenings, while gathered around the table rehashing the latest football upsets, debating the World Series, and planning the upcoming holiday season.


            Sometimes traditions can span the miles between family and friends. Years ago, family members and friends began choosing which NFL teams would win the Sunday games. We named this process “Football Picks,” the object being to see who could pick the most winning teams, This tradition now is carried on by email for a collection of friends and family across the country, and it is a simple and fun celebration of the season, crossing miles and keeping everyone in touch.


            With the advancing cooler weather, we have other traditions here at the Bennett home. We make quite a production of the first fire in the fireplace, enjoying the beauty of the fire and using the occasion to thank everyone for their firewood labors of cutting and splitting the wood for the coming winter. With the cooler weather, we also begin our autumn weekend sky-watching parties around large campfires – so that we can watch for stars and planets and satellites, and enjoy the Milky Way as it spreads out in the dark country sky. Family and friends come from all over to join us in this endeavor, and while we don’t work out ALL of the problems of the world, parents, grandparents and children all benefit from the time spent together.


Here are some ideas for traditions that your family might enjoy:

  • With the end of a sports season or a church performance or other special occasion, have an ice cream sundae party at the local ice cream shop. Sometimes a tradition like this can be a “floating” tradition – one of recognition for feats accomplished.

  • With the birth of each child – plant a special tree, have a flag flown over the US Capital building (contact your congressman to do this), hold a special family celebration to welcome the new family member, and don’t forget to take plenty of pictures.

  • With the marriage of each child or sibling – have a flag flown over the US Capital building, or plant an evergreen tree to mark the occasion. 

  • When having a holiday get-together or family reunion, try to find a ceramic plate that can be autographed with a permanent marker, then have everyone sign the plate and bring out the plate at future get-togethers for sharing memories and smiles.

    One holiday tradition that we have observed for many years is enjoyed around the kitchen table. In the evenings, we gather and paint those small plaster village houses to create an interesting holiday village. As the children have gotten older, we have created villages for their new homes and homes-away-from homes. The tradition of gathering around the kitchen table to paint and be creative has brought about some fascinating conversations and treasured insights into each family member, not to mention the “unique” pieces of art that have been created! 


Early in November, we pull out the favorite family holiday recipes, and my husband begins the preparations to make his German family’s recipes, handed down from generation to generation. Many of these take time to prepare, and some of them have to “age” at various parts of the process. Yes, the house smells fantastic this time of year, and the kids have come to appreciate the smells and time with Dad in the kitchen.


What are some fun traditions for preparing for Thanksgiving? 

  • Planning the holiday weekend with the whole family in early November (who shall we invite, which relatives will be here, what games shall we all play after dinner?)

  • Planning the menu so that everyone gets to choose one of their favorite foods to be included

  • Putting up a blessings tree when the children were younger, making the tree trunk from brown paper and each family member adding colorful construction paper leaves to the tree. Each leaf has a written item that the family member is thankful for – a blessing on each leaf.

  • Finding ways to bless others – sharing the blessings by packing Samaritan’s Purse Christmas boxes for children, taking homemade gift baskets of goodies to neighbors and those in need.

  • Bringing out the special Thanksgiving creations collected over the years – a model of the Mayflower, a special Thanksgiving unit study tablecloth, handmade pilgrims and native Americans, pinecone turkeys, and a basket of some of our favorite holiday books.

            Christmas traditions are also special at our house – from the close of the Thanksgiving holiday, we begin our Christmas traditions. We all plan this special month, inviting friends and family for this very special celebration, bringing out the favorite Christmas books, setting up the family crèche collection, making wreaths for the house and barn by hand, enjoying the observance of Advent with a special wreath, candles and devotions, and so much more.


            Whether for birthdays, seasons, holidays, or other special times, traditions make up an important part of family life. Traditions will be passed from generation to generation, perhaps changing a bit as time goes by, but the core values and family love will carry along with the tradition.


Why are traditions important?

  • They help families come together

  • They remind us of times together in the past

  • They give children a sense of security and predictability

  • They help our values and character span generations

  • They remind families that love and continuity go hand in hand

  • Traditions can be old and many are new

  • Traditions give children something to anticipate, a perspective on time passing by

What are your favorite traditions?

Ask your children about their favorite traditions

Ask your children about their favorite parts of autumn, Thanksgiving, and Christmas


Now that I’ve given you some ideas, perhaps you can begin to reflect on some of your family’s traditions and possibly create some new ones. Recognize them and get ready to enjoy this season of fun and fellowship, laughter and celebration, thanksgiving and blessings.


Until next time,


Thanksgiving Unit Study

Not too late to start Thanksgiving Unit Study on Monday!


For those of you who haven't ordered the Thanksgiving Unit Study yet, take heart! The first week of the study is sent out via email when you order the Thanksgiving study now, so that you can get started on it while waiting for your complete unit study on CDROM to arrive in the mail.


My Thanksgiving Unit Study is a four-week study, and if you would like to have it complete in time for Thanskgiving, this Monday, October 31st, is a good time to begin. Join in the learning adventure, and make memories for a lifetime.


If you would like to join a whole BUNCH of people that are working on the Thanksgiving study, join our Yahoo Unit Study group at:

Amanda Bennett's Unit Study Group


Remember, the Christmas & Thanksgiving Unit Study set is only on sale through tomorrow ($19.95 for both studies) AND SHIPPING IS FREE through the end of Novemeber!



Amanda B.


If you get a chance, visit the website, and let me know if you like the new look!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Mom, What is a Veteran?


Mom, What is a Veteran?
Amanda Bennett

And so begins our search to answer the question of the day for November 11th - "Mom, what is a veteran?" This generation of children has been unusually protected from much, if any, exposure to war and soldiers and military importance. So, when they see or hear reference to the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, they don't understand the significance or relevance to their lives. We can use this holiday as the perfect springboard to learning more about our history, our blessings, and the brave men and women who have served to protect us, and all that we hold dear.

Veterans Day - what does it mean to you? The history of this holiday may be unknown to many of us, and yet it exists because of the strength and convictions of generations past that we should remember our veterans and their sacrifices for our peace and protection. There was a price paid for the freedom that we enjoy, and this freedom still needs our protection. While we enjoy peace, it is with an understanding that this peace has been bought with the efforts of our veterans, and this holiday can help us express our gratitude for their efforts and beliefs and sacrifices. On this holiday, we honor all of our veterans. Those in the military serve in all kinds of jobs - soldiers, doctors, nurses, pilots, engineers, astronauts, and so much more. They all work hard to protect and defend America, and we should be grateful to them all.

I heard recently that there is a shortage of military buglers to play "Taps" at military funerals - because so many of our military veterans are passing away, particularly those from the World Wars. While our children haven't really been exposed to a "war" as we think of it, they do need an appreciation for those who have bravely served. Use this holiday to become familiar with veterans - their sacrifice and their courage. Learn more about the American military system - how it protects us today and what is happening with our defense. Use this opportunity to learn more about the various organizations that help support out veterans - the Veterans Administration (VA), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and others.

This holiday has special significance to many members of our family as well as our friends. Though often quiet about their service, these people have a wealth of information and experience that they might be willing to share with our students about their service, training, and ideas - if asked. By learning more about the people and their participation, we can carry on the tradition and remembrance with pride.

With this holiday, let's bring out the flag and applaud our veterans. Let us teach these things to our children, so that we never take our freedom and liberty for granted. All of our veterans deserve our appreciation and remembrance. It is now the next generation's responsibility to protect and defend our country, our God-given rights, and our freedoms.

"The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men... It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers in the event."  Samuel Adams, 1771

"The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army... We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die..."
George Washington, speech delivered to his army, 1776

"To fight out a war, you must believe something and want something with all your might. So must you do to carry anything else to an end worth reaching. More than that, you must be willing to commit yourself to a course, perhaps a long and hard one, without being able to foresee exactly where you will come out. All that is required of you is that you should go somewhither as hard as ever you can. The rest belongs to fate...:"     Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1884

"There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation." James Madison, 1788


Copyright 2005 -- All Rights Reserved


ANNOUNCING - Sale on Patriotic Holidays Unit Study - includes four unit studies! For only $9.95, you will receive the Patriotic Holidays Unit Study which has four one-week studies on Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day. Follow this link to learn more:


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Frosty nights and the smell of wood burning in the fireplace...


Unit Study News
October 2005

Copyright 2005 Amanda Bennett

Amanda's Corner


Frosty nights and the smell of wood burning in the fireplace - the seasons are marching on and this one is beautiful. I hope that this note finds you doing well and getting ready for a new season of life and learning. I sometimes wonder if we will ever lose our love of learning, once the children are all grown and gone. Can you picture me still sitting up here in the mountains, writing and investigating and having the time of my life without children around? :-) Yes, I can see my husband and I still busy with life and writing and growing trees and having fun. Homeschooling can do that to you -- I think it reawakens the sense of wonder and curiosity that we had as children, which was suffocated when we arrived at kindergarten and were told that we must color within the lines! What do you think?


Thanksgiving is exactly one month from yesterday, and I'm busy getting ready (mentally) for about 30 guests for the week. No, I'm not panicking - not yet anyway! The guests are family and friends from all over the country, coast to coast, and it promises to be quite a learning event for young and old alike. We'll be having traditional as well as non-traditional food and fun, as well as enjoying our own family traditions that have developed here in the Bennett household over 26 years of married life.


For those of you making a Blessings Tree as described in the Thanksgiving Unit Study, please remember to save some of the "precious" leaves that are created. They are so much fun to pull out and spread around the table after the children are older and can't believe that they ever wrote these! Like the one that thanked God for the blessing of his baby brother finally not crying as much as he used to (bad case of colic). Save those leaves and smile!


Don't forget that Veterans' Day is coming up soon - November 7th! It is such a wonderful way to remember the price that has been paid for our freedoms, and to thank our veterans for their service to our country. To help learn more about Veterans' Day, we are having a special sale on the Patriotic Holidays Unit Study from now through November 5th - check out the offer listed later in the newsletter.


Last but not least, I hope that you enjoy the article that follows in the newsletter - it was written to help share some of the lessons I've learned along the way -- lessons to help YOU enjoy the harvest!

Amanda B.

Special Sales:

Don't forget - the Christmas and Thanksgiving Unit Study Set is only on sale for $19.95 through the end of October - just 6 more days!

Patriotic Holidays Unit Study - on sale from now through November 5th - for only $9.95!

Free Shipping from now through Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoying the Harvest
Amanda Bennett


Harvest....the end of the growing season....clearly signaled by bright orange pumpkins piled high at roadside stands, the spicy tart smell of apple butter cooking at local orchards, and the excitement of local fall harvest festivals. At the festivals, you can see the county's largest sunflowers, the prettiest canned tomatoes you've ever seen, and the artwork so painstakingly created by children of all ages. It is a season of reflection, gathering in, enjoying the fruits of your labor. I'm writing this today to share some of the lessons I've learned over the past few years of homeschooling -- the importance of enjoying each moment of harvest in our lives, whether it is the accomplishment of a child finally learning to tie their own shoes, the excitement of reading their first book all by themselves, the time "they" point out how pretty the trees look, and many other times where the end product slowly but surely peeks out in the midst of daily life.


As many of you know, I've had a couple of tough years following two car accidents. Through it all, we've homeschooled and I'm not sure who has learned more...the parents or the children! Before these accidents, we were driven by a goal of homeschooling them through high school, keeping our eye on the "finished product" goal, instead of the daily accomplishments or "moments of harvest." It is these moments of harvest that I wanted to make you aware of -- that they should be recognized, savored, and remembered. Our "harvest" is not seasonal like a farmer's crop -- our harvest is lifelong, as we love, nurture and encourage our family each and every day. And yes, there are days when this is a TALL order, and it is those days that we can recall the good "harvest moments", days when goals were reached, or thanks was given, or smiles and laughter rippled around the dinner table.


But before we go on, let me take a moment to share the definition of "harvest" with you, taken from Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: harvest -- to gather in (a crop). A farmer plans for his crop all through the winter, then prepares (cultivates) the soil in spring, and finally plants the seeds of a new crop as the spring ends. Throughout the summer, he works on maintaining and protecting his crop, from drought, insects, and weeds. And then at the end of the summer, he finally begins his harvest, gathering in this precious crop that the has worked so hard to grow. Can you see the similarities to our efforts as parents? We plan, plant, grow, nurture, and somewhere along the way, the "harvest" concept kind of gets lost in the search for both shoes, the car keys, the "right" curriculum, and on and on.


Just like raising a stand of fruit trees (or maple trees, pecan trees, etc.), so goes the way of raising a child, in a way:

  • A season to prune and maintain the plants themselves (the physical needs as well as the emotional needs).
  • A season to fertilize to invigorate the plant's production of fruit (talking, reading, sharing, putting information and caring into their lives).
  • A season to tend the fruits as they develop (keeping an eye on their interests, activities, etc.).
  • A season of harvest, when the fruit is enjoyed and preserved, keeping an eye towards the future for the next season of growth (protecting them from harm during tough times and planning the next season of growth).
  • And then, of course, the cycle begins anew, as the cycle of life thankfully continues.
Given some time for reflection, you can "see" back through this past year and remember some prime "harvest moments", both educational as well as emotional and spiritual. There are also some moments or events that strengthened and united your family, as well. I've made myself keep a small journal of these kinds of harvest insights, both for encouragement and so that I really realize the progress being made for our efforts. I know it is hard to find time to write down these kinds of things, and I am one of the worst when it comes to finding time for extra efforts like this. BUT, I have MADE myself do this with a journal -- for all of us. Here are some ideas in each harvest moment category that I mentioned above, to help you "see" what I record:


        Breakthroughs in their education:

  • First word read all by themselves
  • First book read independently
  • First time they read a book with interest "without" having it assigned
  • Mastery of multiplication tables...FINALLY!
  • Breakthrough on long division
  • Moments of realization when they really "understand" a gravity!
  • They begin to connect the things that they are learning with the world around us.

    Breakthroughs in their emotional development:

  • They slow down to help younger siblings voluntarily
  • Refusal to "follow the crowd" based on principle or belief
  • Doing the "right" thing even when you are not around!
  • Helping others without being asked
  • Appreciating grandparents and other family members
  • Welcoming guests wholeheartedly and caring for their needs
  • Asking if you can "all" go do something together...amazing!

    And last, but not least -- moments that strengthen and unite your family:

  • When one parent is ill or injured, and they all work together to share the burden
  • A death in the family or extended family, where they learn the real value of love and family, as well as the role of faith in assurance
  • When times are financially strained, everyone comes together to conserve, plan, and help ease the struggle.
  • Projects for the family tend to provide long memories as well -- working together to add a room to the house, helping a neighbor, etc.

These kinds of things are all what I call those "harvest moments". Golden, reflective and rewarding of our efforts. They may be brief, like a shooting star, but they are just as joyous when we take time from our hectic schedules and plans to see them and realize that progress is being made and our efforts are bringing on a "good" harvest.


This season of harvest is bright and fruitful, both in our lives as parents and as we approach the season of Thanksgiving. Not only have I learned to see the harvest moments in our lives, but I've also learned to really count our blessings, naming them one by one in my journal. The list is growing, right along with my faith. And do you know what else? I'm watching the importance of this blessing counting grow in our children. What an amazing offshoot of my own lessons...that they, too, are really "seeing" the important things in life. As I sit and reflect on this now, perhaps that IS the most important lesson from all of this -- that they see what really is important, instead of material things and day to day trials.


This "enjoying the harvest" does not just apply to our children's growth and education, by the way. Try to take time to take a walk -- really walking, not just speeding through another task. Notice the color of the sky, and the birds that you see -- can you identify them? And when you are making that apple butter in a slow-cooker this year, don't forget to add some savory spices and then enjoy the taste on hot buttered biscuits! Put on some classical music and really listen to how lifting Mozart can be with your morning coffee...a much better way to start the day than the morning news, too. In other words, YOU have got to slow down and "smell the roses" too. As they say around my house, "when mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy!" :-) And I'm trying to remedy that, working on it on a daily basis.


It is my prayer that this article has helped you see that the fruits of our labors are ongoing and lifelong. The harvest is never-ending, and we need to enjoy the harvest moments, right in the midst of the chores and labors of love in teaching and learning and sharing in our family lives. Live, really live, each day that God gives you. I have a saying that I keep on my dresser that reads "Today is a precious gift from God. Say thank you -- and tear into it!", and I try to do just that.


May you have a bountiful and joyous harvest season, and may you find peace in the quiet moments that you can catch in the mayhem and noise of family life! Happy Thanksgiving, and don't forget to count those blessings!


With much love,

Unit Study Chatter and Q&A group!
Come join our unit study online support group! There is a now a Yahoo group that is just for people that use Amanda Bennett's unit studies, called Unit Study Works. Follow this link to sign up, and then join in the adventure -- sharing ideas, asking questions, checking out sample studies, and encouraging each other along the way!

Thanksgiving Project Idea:


During the month, identify special people that could use a blessing - perhaps a batch of cookies, a loaf of banana bread, having their lawn raked, or an invitation to join your family for an evening meal. Once you’ve all contributed to this special list of people, work together to agree on how you would like to bless them. Then, using a calendar, assign one or two names to each Friday of November, and work through the week on their blessings!


Don't forget to take advantage of the special offer for free gifts when you subscribe to The Old Schoolhouse magazine! I enjoy this magazine so much, and they also offer a free topical unit study newsletter - watch for a new one by this author very soon! Hint - are the Winter Olympics beginning soon?

Looking for a conference speaker?

It is already beginning – the invitations to speak in the coming season of conferences! If you are interested in having me speak at your state conference or church group, please let your state organization or church know of your interest. The conference coordinators typically welcome suggestions, and they can find more information at's_speaking_schedule.htm

Learning Links:


Pilgrim Coloring Pages


Thanksgiving Crafts - Kids Domain


My all-time favorite - Hands and Feet Turkey


Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids


Create a Holiday Shower Curtain!


Thanksgiving Coloring Pages

Happy Thanksgiving
from our house to yours!

“A little faith will bring your soul to heaven,
but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul.”  

Dwight L. Moody


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Fun Project - Going Shopping Today?


Going shopping today? Check out the fabric department while you are out today - some of the stores are already having sales on their autumn/Thanksgiving cotton fabric, which is perfect for this project:


Holiday Pillowcases:


Look for cotton fabric that is soft and perfect for young tender faces, and then get ready for some fun! These pillowcases are so easy - even for those of us that don't know how to sew. We have made all kinds of pillowcases over the years for many unit study topics, and the hall closet is full of fun pillowcases that bring back so many memories.


Don't forget - begin the Thanksgiving Unit Study on October 31st and get ready for four weeks of unforgettable learning. Buy the Thanksgiving and Christmas Unit Study set through October, for only $19.95, and save!

Internet Specials:


Have fun while you sew, and don't forget to take pictures. After you and your clan create the pillowcases, wash them and put them on their pillows and then gather the kids around in the evening and enjoy a good book together. The memories that you will make are fantastic, and the time that you all spend together brings conversation and interaction that helps build sound relationships for a lifetime.



Amanda B.



Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Thanksgiving & Christmas Unit Study Sale!


For the next few weeks, you can by BOTH the Thanksgiving and the Christmas Unit Studies for only $19.95 for the set! You will save $9.95, and be ready to begin this holiday season at the end of October. Here's the link to order, and remember that this offer is only good while supplies last:



Amanda B.




Thanksgiving Fun Project


With the weather turning cooler and the leaves starting to turn beautiful colors, our thoughts are turning to the fall season and planning for the holidays.


While walking through the local dollar store recently, I came across the multi-colored packages of modeling clay, and oh, what fun memories ran through my mind! While we were studying the Thanksgiving unit study when the children were younger, we would take packages of the modeling clay and everyone would sit around the kitchen table, night after night, slowly but surely creating our own version of Plymouth Plantation. The children created tiny figures, houses, stockade walls, and even a lake and fishing poles!


We assembled the village on a large piece of freezer paper centered on the table, and eventually this became our Thanskgiving centerpiece. You can do the same thing with a cookie sheet covered with foil or freezer paper and be a bit more mobile with their creation.


So, pick up a few packages of nontoxic inexpensive modeling clay at your local dollar store, and have fun! Some of our best homeschooling memories have been made with projects just like this, gathered round the kitchen table, laughing and talking and sharing.



Amanda B.