Friday, May 5, 2006

Amanda's Unit Study Newsletter

Unit Study News

May 2006

By Amanda Bennett

Newsletter Sections:

Amanda's Corner
Going Digital
Our Legacy - Making It Count
Fun Family Book Picks for May
From My Summer Book Pile
Learning Links

Amanda’s Corner

Happy May to you! It's that time of year again, when homeschool lessons begin to take a different rhythm - the rhythm of summer and fun and investigating as they explore the great outdoors. Use this time to get away from home and visit some new places, even if it's just a park on the other side of town. We all need time to enjoy the beautiful spring show of flowers and nice weather.

May also brings a very important holiday to Americans - Memorial Day. It's a holiday that should mean so much to us, as we honor and remember all of the people who made the ultimate sacrifice for my family, and your family, and your grandmother's family, and on and on. For generations yet unborn, as George Washington said to his troops before the Battle of Long Island in 1776:

"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 to die...”

Take some family time this month to learn about Memorial Day. The Patriotic Holidays Unit Study has a one week unit study on Memorial Day, as well as one-week unit studies on Flag Day (June), Independence Day (July), and Veteran's Day (November). These days we all need to know and understand the cost of freedom that has been paid, and the next generations will benefit if we can share this knowledge and its importance with them.

What we share with our children is part of our legacy, and they can share it with their children and the chain of love and family will be even stronger. Don't miss the article on Our Legacy, below!

Until next time,

Amanda B.

PS - No shipping charges on orders placed from now through the end of May! 

Going Digital with Homeschool Curriculum!

We are happy to announce that we’ve teamed up with and now offer the LOTS of unit studies as secure eBooks on a new website that specializes in digital homeschool curriculum.

Click on the titles that are downloadable to see previews:

Horses Unit Study
Oceans Unit Study
Baseball Unit Study
Gardens Unit Study
It's My Birthday Unit Study
Unit Studies 101
Unit Study Journal
First Steps in Faith

NEWS FLASH - they now have a special HELP section that walks you through the download process AND tells you how to save your study on CD! Great for folks who need techno-geek help!  :-)

Don't miss their F*R*E*E books - a new title each week!
This week has a fun book, perfect for a May adventure:

Super Science Concoctions was $12.95   only for this weekend: $0.00
Kids explore a world of amazing science—from capillary action to density to emulsions to plastics—all while making fun mixtures they concoct themselves! More than 50 science mixtures, using household ingredients! This is a real find - 160 pages of science fun and wonder - and the cost to you is $0.00!

Our Legacy - Making It Count

Recently, I was reading a wonderful book about family legacies, and it brought back so many memories. As a child, I remember my father and his brothers sitting around and swapping tales of their childhood and their ancestors - oh what stories they could tell! I loved to sit and listen, and the memories of their tales still resonate in my mind today. I have shared them with our children, and this has given them some insight into their heritage. I try to tell them the way that my dad and uncles did, and enjoy watching their faces as I share. They need to know where they come from, and what a treasure these stories have become.

After seeing the importance of our own family traditions (Family Traditions for Today and Tomorrow), I started making an effort to remember and share the things that I had heard and seen over the years of my own childhood. We used to have big vacations with relatives on both sides of my family, everyone piling into the station wagon (the dinosaurs of SUVs), and heading for some relative's country home. If you've never had the chance to read the children's book The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant, try to find it and share it with your clan this summer. It is a perfect description of our adventures, and similar to those that we've taken with our children.  The childhood visits with our extended family have given us all a deeper bond and what a legacy!

Along with stories of the past few generations, I have also researched and found some family history that has made history come ALIVE for our children. We learned about our Scottish clan and it's history, used the Internet to see the clan castle as well as researching the clan history. The boys loved it when they discovered how the clan leader won the favor of the king -- it involves swords and battles and other gory things that I won't go into right now. We followed a great-great grandmother coming to America on a sailing ship, bound and determined to find and marry her fiancĂ©.  From tales of the Civil War to victory gardens in World War II, the children now have their own roots and a personal feeling for American history, in a way that a textbook cannot match.

As I've gotten older, many of the relatives that had so much to share have now gone on to Heaven, and I miss them, especially in the summertime when the fireflies make an appearance. When we were children we would be busy chasing fireflies while the grownups reminisced on the porch and kept a watchful eye on our antics. Take advantage of the time that you are given and share. They will remember for a lifetime. If you don't have family to visit, begin to build a family journal, writing and sharing all that you can remember of your extended family. Have the children help, adding pictures and looking up dates of birth on a timeline of American history - they can see who was alive during the Civil War, who fought in the world wars, and much more.

Dig in and go visiting this summer! Even if the visits are by telephone or meeting family at a halfway point for a lake picnic, get them together with your family and encourage them to share. Perhaps the children can come up with some questions that they would like to ask, and then tape the conversations and enjoy. This is all part of your family's legacy!

I recently read a fascinating book, full of ideas to help you build your own family legacy - I highly recommend it, and yes, I've even gone to the basement and pulled out my own "blue plate":

Making the Blue Plate Special, by Florence Littauer, Lauren Littauer Briggs, and Marita Littauer
Three beloved authors. One of the great Christian families of our times. Who better to share the art of family memory making than the women of the Littauer family: Florence, Marita and Lauren? Through personal stories, anecdotes and vignettes-like how the "blue plate" became special-the Littauers show how ordinary items gain importance and grow in sentimental value over time. These warm and wonderful ladies show you how your family can enjoy shared memories and create traditions that will stand the test of time.

Fun Family Book Picks for May:

Baseball Math: Grandslam Activities & Projects
By Christopher Jennison
Girls and boys alike will love this completely and updated version of the best-selling Baseball Math packed with new players, new records, and new statistics. Realistic activities and projects, involving baseball card profits and losses, score keeping, team travel budgets, schedules, fantasy leagues, player salaries, and more, help kids sharpen math skills from simple calculations to geometric concepts. Kids really get in the spirit of the game as they design their own fantasy ballpark and join in a whole-class project based on the popular baseball poem "Casey at Bat." Grades 4-8.

Misty of Chincoteague, Paperback
By Marguerite Henry
Nobody could capture the Phantom. She was the wildest mare on Assateague Island. They said she was like the wind, that the white "map" on her shoulders was her mark of freedom. Paul and Maureen Beebe had their hearts set on owning her. They were itching to buy and tame her; and worked hard to earn the money she would cost. But the roundup men had tried to capture her and for two years she had escaped them.... Pony Penning Day holds a surprise for everyone, for Paul not only brings in the Phantom, but her newborn colt as well. Can Paul and Maureen possibly earn enough to buy them both? Recommended for ages 9 and up. A 1948 Newbery Honor book.

King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian, Softcover
By Marguerite Henry
He was named "Sham" for the sun, this golden red stallion born in the Sultan of Morocco's stone stables. Upon his heel was a small white spot, the symbol of speed. But on his chest was the symbol of misfortune. Although he was as swift as the desert winds, Sham's proud pedigree would be scorned all his life by cruel masters and owners. This is the classic story of Sham and his friend, the stable boy Agba. Their adventures take them from the sands of the Sahara to the royal courts of France and, finally, to the green pastures and stately homes of England. For Sham was the renowned Godolphin Arabian, whose blood flows through the veins of almost every superior Thoroughbred. Sham's speed-like his story-has become legendary. Recommended for ages 8 to 12. The 1949 Newbery Medal Winner.

From My Summer Book Pile:

The Awakening
By Angela Hunt
After nursing her dying mother, Aurora Norquest feels isolated from the living. But when bewildering dreams reveal her mother's untold secret, Aurora questions who is speaking during these wakeless hours. With love as his ally, can neighbor Philip Cannon help her to discern between truth and falsehood, whispers of guilt---and the voice of God? 320 pages, softcover from Nelson.

Bad Ground
By W. Dale Cramer
When 17-year-old Jeremy honors his mother's deathbed request to seek out his estranged uncle, Jeremy is hesitant. After all, his uncle was badly burned in the accident that killed Jeremy's dad. The boy finds the embittered man working as a hard-rock miner, and he also takes a job in the mines. Soon his faith is tested by his gritty co-workers, danger, and the possibility of love. 400 pages, softcover from Bethany.

Last Light, Restoration Series #1
By Terri Blackstock
Terror reigns when electrical power is cut off across the world-creating a global crisis that reveals even deeper darkness within human hearts. What would you do? Whom could you and your family trust, especially if there was a killer in the neighborhood? The first book in this exciting new series from Terri Blackstock.

Stealing Adda
By Tamara Leigh
Just because Adda Sinclaire writes best-selling romances doesn't mean she lives one! Adda can't shake the feeling that something's missing from her life---not her ex-husband, who ran off with another author and took their dog with him. And not a current beau, or her ability to put words on paper. Surely it's more than the Good Book . . . or is it? 416 pages, softcover from NavPress.

Learning Links: 

Benjamin Franklin - Make a Kite!

Ten Steps to Finding Your Family Tree Online

Tips & Tricks to Finding Your Family Tree Online

Grow a Tree - Family Ties for Kids

My Family Tree - Coloring Project for Kids

Kite Coloring Page

Kite Coloring Page

Memorial Day Coloring Pages

Memorial Day for Kids

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