Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Summer Sale - Athletes of the Bible and more!


Just a note to let you know that today is the last day of the big End of Summer Sale!

Here's the link:


On sale:

Unit Studies 101

Trains Unit Study

Patriotic Holidays Unit Study

Easter Unit Study

Unit Study Journal

Athletes of the Bible.


We have been busy weathering the remnants of Hurricane Katrina, and things have been very wild here on the mountain. The power is back on today, and we're working on packing orders and catching up with business. In the meantime, throusands of our container trees in the nursery have blown over, so we'll be busy standing up trees for the next few days. My husband and son grow and ship trees all over the country for memorial trees, new baby trees, and special occasions - 


Our prayers go out for all of those in the path of Hurricane Katrina. I grew up on the Gulf Coast and know just what hurricanes can do to families, homes, churches and businesses. However, I have never seen anything like this - ever. We'll be praying and doing all that we can to help, and I know that many folks here will be doing the same.


Blessings to you and yours,

Amanda B.

Jer. 29:11

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

August Unit Study Newsletter from Amanda Bennett


Amanda's Corner

Hello from the county fair! I'm including a picture of the carousel in front of the mountains to let you see a bit of my world. I felt like a kid again myself, watching all of the children waiting in lines, and finally being able to ride the rides with the lights of the fair lighting up their faces.

When the county fair is here, fun happens all around us. One of my friends, a fellow homeschool mom, was the VP of the fair this year, and she did a wonderful job. What was most interesting was just how many homeschool families jumped in and helped out with the fair. The kids were everywhere, helping and having fun, and their entries in the fair categories (art, crafts, vegetables, etc) were very successful. Now, please understand, the prizes at the fair are not huge -- they vary from $1 to $3, and the kids win free coupons to the local Sonic when they enter. However, they enjoy showing off their work, and we all enjoy cruising the displays and taking a look at all that they have done. It is great that they have this opportunity, and they are learning about community service and meeting their neighbors.


I realize that not everyone enjoys this same setting, and can certainly appreciate that. After living in all sizes of cities and towns, I know what it is like to be in an area where the county fair isn't like it is here. However, I also learned that you can find other opportunities, through organizations like 4H and Awana. The children love to show off their work and see what other children are doing. Some of the arts & crafts stores like Hobby Lobby are also providing local art shows and classes for homeschooled children - great idea!


Before I forget, this is the time of year when butterflies are in abundance all over the country. They provide a great way to learn about insects, and are fairly easy to locate right now. I had to laugh the other day as I drove along our country lane and saw MANY butterflies, all grouped around horse droppings! Can you imagine these beautiful creatures, all fighting to find a place on top of the horse piles? Really! Anyway, you can find butterflies in your local parks and garden centers, as well as in some of the discovery museums. The Chattanooga aquarium now has a butterfly display where you can walk through and have the butterflies land on you, and the kids love it. Take your camera - their reactions are beautiful.


Check out the Learning Links at the bottom of this newsletter to find out more about butterflies, the Monarch migration that is taking place right now, coloring pages, and more. There are also a few links for the upcoming Labor Day holiday! Enjoy these days, and thanks for reading!

Until next time,

End of Summer Sale - order now and save!*

Unit Studies 101- Learn what they are & how to write your own    $34.95       Only $29.95

Patriotic Holidays - Don't forget Veteran's Day is in November!   $14.95          Only $8.00

Trains Unit Study -- Anyone getting a train set this December?      $14.95          Only $8.00

Athletes of the Bible - Upcoming football & soccer seasons..       $14.95          Only $8.00

Easter Unit Study -Easter is April 16, 2006                                 $14.95          Only $8.00

Unit Study Journal - Record-keeping & planning tool                 $ 9.95           Only $5.00     

*    Sale lasts through August 31, 2005   First 100 orders receive FREE bonus:
Amanda's Unit Studies 101 Workshop on Audio CDROM!
(Please note: Sale prices only good on orders placed from 8/22/05-8/31/05, while quantities last)

New Ideas and Staying Current


As homeschooling parents, we are always looking for new ideas and ways to enrich our children's education. I am often asked for ideas and suggestions for this, and here's my list:


1.    Stay current on homeschooling -- using magazines, the Internet, etc. You need to be aware of what is happening in matters related to homeschooling, whether they involve teaching ideas, proposed laws or current legislation, current events as well as fun events that might help with your children's education. Here are a few of my favorite links to keep an eye on some of these things:

  •     HSLDA - Homeschool Legal Defense Association This site has tons of information for homeschoolers, including fair and conference listings, legislative updates and warnings, as well as national and international updates on homeschooling trends.

  •     The Old Schoolhouse Magazine- national coverage as well as good coverage within the homeschool market. This magazine encompasses many areas and ideas on homeschooling, and keeps their readers apprised of the latest trends and products.

  •     Homeschool Blogger . com   Great resource and fun, too! Use the Search box to find out about happenings in your area, search for your town or state. You can also use the Search box to search for various curriculum, authors, teaching methods, etc. My blog is there - look for it!

  •     What's Happening in your area -- check your local homeschool support group newsletter or website (Use if you need help finding a local group)

  •     National Home Education Research Center

2.    Make an effort to attend a homeschool workshop/conference if there is one in your area. Not only will you hear new ideas and meet new people, but you will be able to see how others are homeschooling and learn about events and other groups in your area that might be of interest (chess club, mock trial team, drama club, etc.)

Learning Links:

Monarch Watch

Monarch Photos

Tracking the Monarch Butterflies

National Geographic Butterfly Coloring Page (Wow! Monarchs in Various Stages)

Butterfly Life Cycle Coloring Pages

Butterfly Coloring Page

Butterfly Coloring Page

Butterfly Coloring Page

The Butterfly

Labor Day Coloring Page

The History of Labor Day

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 
Jeremiah 29:11

Copyright 2005 Amanda Bennett
Contact Us

Phone: 423-554-3381
AABennett Books, Inc.
 RR. 1 Box 457A
Dunlap, TN 37327

Monday, August 22, 2005

We've been busy getting ready for our wild and crazy...


End of Summer Sale!

From now through August 31, 2005, we are having a great sale - follow this link to learn more..

End of Summer Sale

(scroll through the page to see all of the specials!)

ALSO, the first 100 orders will receive a bonus - Amanda's Unit Studies 101 workshop on audio CD! Recorded live before an audience in Florida, this workshop recording has been a big hit, and will be a special bonus for those first 100 customers.

Please note: Sale prices only good on orders placed from 8/22/05-8/31/05, while quantities last)


Check it out and tell your friends, and thanks for stopping by!



Tuesday, August 16, 2005



Just a quick blog entry to share some resources. Several people have written/called/and asked at Cracker Barrel about ideas for a Dinosaur unit. Here are a few of the books that we used when our children were younger:

Dinosaurs by Design

The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible

Dry Bones and Other Fossils

What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs?

And here's a book that we will be using this year (Jr/Sr High level):
It Couldn't Just Happen: Fascinating Facts About God's World

Hope this helps!

Amanda B.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

After twelve years of homeschooling, I can honestly tell you...

Fear Not!

By Amanda Bennett


What a wild and interesting ride this has been! In addition to all that has happened in America, these past twelve years have been spent by our family as a homeschooling family – a novel and not-always-positive label twelve years ago. We were “bizarre” in our educational ideas – believing that children learn best with more attention, less peer pressure, and a healthy dose of freedom to explore the world around them, without the confines of a classroom and more than 20 other children to share it all.


 Yes, we were and are different. However, we’ve had an exciting time of exploration and adventure since we began homeschooling more than twelve years ago, and we wouldn’t change a bit of it if we had it to do all over again. Well, perhaps we’d change just a few things… Let’s see, what we would do differently?


1.                  Have less textbook stress, more individualized


2.                  Focus on the child, not the information lists

3.                  Expand the family’s horizons – as individuals and

                    as a family

4.                  Listen more, talk less – avoiding the “transmit only”


5.                  Encourage more often, instead of being judgmental

                    or comparative

6.             Remember "Fear Not!"


Over the past twelve years, we’ve experienced a circus of life-changing events – actually, just life itself. We moved twice, started our homeschooling adventure, survived two major automobile accidents (ardent supporters of  Mothers Against Drunk Drivers), endured more than twenty-two resulting surgeries, wrote 33 books, traveled across the country encouraging homeschooling families, saw two  children off to college, and now we are experiencing farm life firsthand – and loving every minute of it. Through it all, we have homeschooled, and are blessed to have been able to pursue this course.


People ask me how I can stay so calm and upbeat through it all, and I respond that I have learned three very important lessons. First and foremost, my faith has never failed me – never. Second, always stay flexible and expect the unexpected. Third, this day is a gift – and I will never, ever, have this time to spend again – I must use it wisely.


Now, here are a few ideas for your homeschool efforts this coming year. These come from our experiences as a homeschool family – and I hope they help.


1.                  I wish I had known to relax and enjoy the time together as a family more. In the beginning, we were so nervous about covering everything, using all of the workbook pages, filling up the plan book ahead of time and sticking with it rigidly. So much stress, so little long-time learning, and so little enjoyment of the educational process.

2.                  Buy plenty of world globes at garage sales – put the world in their hands. For about 25 cents apiece, I have purchased several globes this way, and everyone has their own globe to study and spin when learning about a new country or perhaps listening to the evening news. The world is “getting smaller” with advanced communications these days, and it is a leap ahead to be able to hold the world in your hands as you learn where a missionary in Cambodia is, how far they are from home, and where the special friend is currently stationed in the military. Hands-on learning at its best – expand their horizons and concept of the world.

3.                  Put the ideas, scripture, or passages that you would like for them to learn right where they can see it. For years, I’ve been printing off these items and posting them on the doors of the kitchen cupboard, over the kitchen telephone, and in other conspicuous places that the children face several times a day. Exposure is key  --  curiosity takes care of the rest!

4.                  The more we homeschool, the broader our interests become. No longer pursuing narrow, society-defined topics alone, we enjoy the freedom to investigate topics like horticulture, sports fitness, glass painting, business and economic concepts for kids, personalized pursuits of art, music, and so much more.

5.                  Read classic literature with a new eye – finally having the time and curiosity to “see” what the author was saying, and how it fits in with the big picture. Recently, we read The Swiss Family Robinson aloud, and what an eye-opener it was to read it again after living out here in the middle of nowhere. While studying Lighthouses, we learned that Rudyard Kipling wrote Captains Courageous while living in a lighthouse off the New England coast. This classic took on a whole new meaning with this knowledge.

6.                  You will never be able to completely fill their minds with absolutely every bit of available information – but you CAN teach them or learn WITH them about how to FIND all kinds of information that they might need to know – research skills are vital for this next generation. The overabundance of information on the internet is so overwhelming, and at the same time – provides priceless access to things that we could never have found through a local library. Give them the gift of thinking skills and research ability.


     Remember, homeschooling is not just about learning academic materials. It is about opening the envelop of each child’s imagination with wonder and awe – feeding their desire to learn more, to investigate, to discover and pursue their unique God-given gifts and talents. I think that Leonardo Da Vinci had a good point when he said:


"Just as eating against one's will is injurious to health, so studying without a liking for it spoils the memory, and it retains nothing it takes in."


And what about you, the homeschooling parent? So often I hear parents lamenting over eventual empty nest syndrome -- what to do when the kids graduate and move on – and I am amazed. Through the homeschool years, we have not only developed a wonderful understanding of our children and developed priceless relationships, we’ve also been given the perfect opportunity to explore our own gifts and talents, discovering new areas of interest to pursue in the coming years. Blessed to be a blessing – that describes our homeschool adventure in a nutshell.


Homeschooling has provided the opportunity for each of us to become who we were meant to be. For example, I obtained a degree in engineering because I was good at math and science, not because I had a burning passion to pursue that course of study or profession. Given some encouragement to follow my dreams, I would probably have chosen art or perhaps journalism or writing. Homeschooling has given me a second chance in that area of my life.  As a result, we build the future together, with the freedom to pursue all of our interests and help others along the way. According to Albert Einstein,


"The only rational way of educating is to be an example."

What do I know now that I wish we had known when we first started homeschooling?

  1. The things that count can’t be counted.
  2. Time goes by too quickly to worry about or obsess over small things, like whether or not my child can read by the time they are five years old, etc.
  3. Keep the big picture in the forefront – getting from point A (beginning homeschooling) to point B (finish homeschooling) – remember that perspective is key to success. While we might miss algebra for this week due to family illness, we will still focus on the desired outcome – a well-rounded and enthusiastic learner by the time high school is complete.


So relax, take a deep breath – you are not alone. Where are you going – where are you starting from, and where would you like to go with this opportunity? What would you like the finished product, your educated child, to be like? What should they know, what should they value, what should they think of themselves and of others? I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember much of anything that I learned from textbooks used in my many years of education.


 I remember the people who took time to help me grow and wonder and question, stretching my imagination and challenging my abilities. Our children are going to remember the time we spend with them -- the time we listen, the time we encourage, and the moral support we offer as they test their wings and ideas, and begin moving on their dreams. Now that’s an education!


Until next time,