Sunday, September 24, 2006

Awesome Autumn Learning Links

From Amanda Bennett's September 2006 Unit Study Newsletter:


Pastel Fall Leaf Art Project


Art Lessons Online - Amazing Projects!


Design Your Own Thanksgiving Placemats


Leaf Art


Fall Coloring Pages


More Fall Coloring Pages


Apple Coloring Pages


Apple Picking Tips


How to Make Applesauce

Favorite Book Picks from Amanda Bennett

I am constantly asked for good book suggestions, so here are a few of my current favorites for the coming month:


The Copper Scroll
By Joel C. Rosenberg / Tyndale House
On June 1, 1956, the New York Times broke a story that captured the imagination of the world. Another Dead Sea Scroll had been found, describing unimaginable treasures buried in the hills east of Jerusalem and under the holy city itself. But the scroll code had to be broken, and experts from all sides warned that any effort by Israel to rebuild the Temple with the treasure would undoubtedly trigger a war of biblical proportions. Fifty years later, the world is about to be shocked again. New York Times best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg takes you on his most exciting and heart-pounding ride yet, as a new democratic Iraq rises, so, too, a new evil, and White House advisors Jon Bennett and Erin McCoy find themselves facing a terrifying threat triggered by an ancient mystery.


In My Father's House, Shiloh Legacy Series #1
By Bodie Thoene & Brock Thoene / Tyndale House
They just fought the War to End All Wars in France. Now they return home to a different kind of battle . . . one more fierce than they could imagine. In My Father's House follows the lives of four young soldiers: Max Meyer, an orphan from the poor Orchard Street neighborhood of New York; Ellis Warne, an Irish Doctor's son from Ohio; Birch Tucker, an Arkansas farm boy; and Jefferson Canfield, the son of a black sharecropper. Will these four men and those who love them be able to find any freedom, any peace, on the warring home front? Special Feature: Study questions suitable for individual use or group discussion.


By Robert Whitlow / Thomas Nelson
Thirteen-year-old Jimmy Mitchell from Piney Grove, Georgia, knows he's "slow," but he has an uncanny ability to see, hear, and understand quite a lot---even the occasional angel! When Jimmy's court testimony saves a man from jail, his neighbors are astonished---and wonder how one "special" child could change their lives forever. 416 pages, hardcover from WestBow.


Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook: Feasting with Your Slow Cooker
By Dawn J. Ranck & Phyllis Pellman Good / Good Books
Slow cookers are having a comeback. With good reason. They are friends on a day of running errands. They allow easy entertaining with no last-minute preparation. They are miracles for potluck meals, whether in your home or someone else's. And vegetarians won't find a better way to work with dried beans. Slow cookers are gentle with the food budget--less expensive ingredients flourish in their slow, moist heat. This book offers more than 800 recipes--the whole range of recipes slow cookers do well. Tips and hints are dropped in throughout, urging one additional small step for lots of extra flavor, offering ways to make your cooker a complementary appliance, explaining seasoning to maximum effect. Bring an element of simplicity--and quality--to your pressured life! Let your slow cooker work for you. This book has a comb binding which lays flat for easy reading.


God's Good Gifts: A Scrapbooking Bible Study for Women's Groups
By Group Publishing
Add wow to your women's ministry! Group publishing's best-selling Scripture Scrapbook helps women form meaningful friendships while creating compelling scrapbook pages that focus on deep, personal elements of spiritual heritage. These 12 sessions provide a Bible study with discussion questions, templates, stickers, and 12 perforated devotions for your pages, idea and activity pages, and a leader's guide. Each woman's finished project will be a devotional scrapbook her family and future generations will enjoy again and again. Devotion authors include Katy Arthur, Jill Briscoe, Emilie Barnes, Jody Brolsma, Amy Nappa, and Sherri Harris.

Fun Tip for the Thanksgiving Unit Study

Consider working with modeling clay to recreate Plymouth Plantation this year as you use the Thanksgiving Unit Study. Place a cookie sheet or other flat surface in the middle of the table to use for a base. You can cover it with foil or fabric before beginning to place the structures on the surface. With the clay, everyone can create the homes, worship house, town layout and the nearby waterside shore. For fun as well as ideas, visit this website that is on the Library of Congress website:




Amanda B.

Thanksgiving Unit Study on Sale NOW!

Thanksgiving Unit Study CDROM Special!


From September 23 - October 8, 2006,
the Thanksgiving Unit Study CDROM will be $10.95!

Take advantage of this special and get ready for a blessed holiday with your family. Also, with the purchase of the CDROM version of the unit study, the Thanksgiving Notebook Pages are included as a bonus on the CDROM! Follow this link to learn more:




Happy Autumn - time to enjoy!


Happy Autumn! At long last, autumn has arrived, the leaves are beginning to change, and we have already made a trip to the apple orchard. The cider is sweet and the apples are perfect, and our hearts help get our minds ready for a new season. Teaching, learning and investigating receives more of our attention, along with the need to split and stack firewood and get ready for cooler weather.


We have many traditions that have developed over the years for the season changes, and a toasty morning fire after the weather turns cool is a fun one. We also collect gourds and pumpkins and squash that are the end-of-season garden picks for Dad to make a fall collage down the driveway to greet our guests. This is a big tradition in our area of the country. People work on some amazing autumn lawn displays from their produce, mixing in chrysanthemums and other autumn treasures. It is fun to cruise the country roads to see the creations.


I am home now for the season - hurray! It was wonderful to meet many of you around the country, and thanks for your encouragement and for allowing me to share a few of the lessons that I've learned along the way. While speaking recently at a conference, I shared that we need to remember that we are not raising "4th graders" or "8th graders" or 10th graders" - we are raising children. We need to help them discover and develop their unique gifts and talents, and their developmental timetable can be very different from those that we read about in child development books. After all, who do you know that has "normal" children or "normal" days? ;-)


Many of the parents in the audience came up to me later and thanked me for pointing this out to them - that we are not producing robots or identical widgets in an assembly line. We are here to protect, nurture, teach and assist them into whatever God has in mind for them. Our children have all developed very interesting and very unique interests and talents - all in areas that I knew nothing about! However, that did not slow us down from helping them investigate and learn about these distinct gifts. You can do it, too.


Blessings to you and yours,
Amanda B.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Enjoying the Harvest - Part 4

Amanda Bennett


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!


Amanda B.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Enjoying the Harvest - Part 3

Amanda Bennett

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.

To be continued next week – see you here on the Front Porch!



Amanda B.


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Tuesday, September 5, 2006

September Unit Study Sale - Autumn Fun!

Check out the new September Sale:

Pioneers and Trains Unit Studies

I hope that it helps create many fun learning adventures for your whole
family as we approach autumn and cooler weather for outdoor fun!
Pioneers and trains, pumpkin pie and autumn train rides - what a season
to enjoy...

Amanda B.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Free Baseball ABC Book!


Hello and Happy Labor Day!


If your house is like ours, baseball talk is beginning to heat up as the playoffs and World Series approach. If you have young ones that are interested in baseball, take a look at the Baseball ABC file in the File section of our Yahoo forum:


If you aren't a member of our unit study online group, go ahead and join us - it's free!


The Baseball ABC book was originally published in 1885, so the kids can have fun checking out the differences in rules, equipment, uniforms, and more. The illustrations are in black and white, and could be used as coloring pages. I think that I might give it a try with colored pencils!


Amanda B.