Monday, June 26, 2006

Homeschool Encouragement - Looking Back on 13+ Years of Homeschooling!

Sharing the View from My Rearview Mirror

By Amanda Bennett


What an adventure this has been! In addition to all that has happened in America, these past thirteen years have been spent by our family as a homeschooling family – a novel and not-always-positive label. 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 thirteen 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 more individualized focus on each child - unit studies make this so simple to implement

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” mode

5.                  Encourage more often, instead of being judgmental or comparative


Over the past thirteen 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 resulting surgeries, wrote 30 books, traveled across the country encouraging homeschooling families, launched two children off on college pursuits, 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 envelope 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,



"Wonder is the beginning of wisdom."  Greek Proverb


Amanda Bennett is a wife, mother of three, homeschooling mom, and author of several series of unit studies. Her newest studies (all on interactive CDROM) are called “Amanda Bennett’s Unit Studies” and cover many different topics.  To learn more about the studies, visit her website,


Friday, June 23, 2006

Scrapbooking Unit Study -- $9.95 sale ends tomorrow!

Just a quick reminder that the pre-order sale price on the new Scrapbooking Unit Study ends tomorrow at midnight -- order now and take advantage of this special price!



Amanda B.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Summertime Fun with a Touch of Learning – Part 2

For the older children, how about letting them plan the budget for the summer? Have them budget for all of the household expenses water, electricity, mortgage, food, gas, etc. Then, they can help write the checks and balance the budget as the summer progresses. Perhaps they can earn a percentage of any budget savings they identify, too! Not only will they learn about the difficulties involved in managing family expenses, but they will also discover the importance of saving and planning ahead for the unexpected. If they are too young to manage the entire family budget, perhaps they can manage just the family food budget – smaller amount with plenty of interesting variables like food sales, coupons, and so much more.

For those of you with sports fans in the household, the mathematics of statistics can be explored through the baseball season of summer. The children can track the stats of their favorite teams and team members, posting them in the kitchen and getting the whole family involved in cheering on the team. If the children are involved in sports themselves, they can learn to calculate and track their own statistics. Terms like average and total and other math terms can be understood in a meaningful way.

The time-honored summertime effort of working to save for a special item should not be overlooked, either. The child can plan to work to earn set amounts of money, saving and calculating how much more he/she will have to do to be able to buy that special bicycle, computer software, or whatever they've set for their goal. They can mow lawns, babysit, clean houses, etc. to earn money. They can watch the sales, determining the lowest price they will have to pay for the item. The lesson of working to earn what you want or need in life, can be a lesson in life as well as one in math.

And now, for the most fun area of all to enjoy in the summer – SCIENCE! So many moms are so nervous about teaching science to their children, and summer can provide the perfect opportunity to overcome this fear while launching a child into the fun and excitement of discovering the world and all of it s wonders. A simple project like a small vegetable or flower garden can fill your summer with studies of insects, plant science and cook- what-you- grow. Sometimes you can turn a picky eater into a vegetable enjoyer, and learn all through the summer as the crops are harvested.

Summertime is also a wonderful time to volunteer to help nature groups counting migrating birds, manatee observation, and much more. The family can volunteer to help out together and you can all learn together. The nature study groups appreciate the help, and your children can learn more about wildlife firsthand. Summertime can also be a time of camping and nature observation. We've had some wonderful experiences camping star watching together, observing hawks and mining for rubies. We've also learned about respecting nature poison ivy, ticks, snakes, and more. From watching meteor showers to sitting quietly and watching a family of hedgehogs, the lessons don't come from a text book. They come from God above! We've been slowly investing in a whole collection of field guides at garage sales, and these guides stay somewhere between the car and the family room and the creek. Nature provides some of our very best science lessons.

I hope that this article has given you some ideas and motivation for summertime learning and fun. Explore the forces of gravity on a roller coaster ride and watch the effects of sun and rain on a row of sunflowers. Watch the growth of nature this summer, as well as that of your children!


Amanda B.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Lighthouse Unit Study Now Downloadable!

The latest edition of Amanda Bennett's Lighthouse Unit Study is now available in downloadable format - check it out:


Lighthouse Unit Study


Thanks for those of you who have waited so patiently for this to be made available!



Amanda B.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Today is FLAG DAY!

Fly the flag today, and show your patriotism with red, white and blue! Take pictures and share them on your blog - let's show our patriotism in our neighborhoods and online. Wish I could send the troops the pics, too...


So thankful for our troops and their families!



Amanda B.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Flag Day Tomorrow -- Don't forget to fly your flag!

Don't forget to fly the flag tomorrow! It is an important day to all Americans, and I hope that our neighborhoods are decorated with the Stars & Stripes tomorrow.


If you can, take a picture of your flag flying tomorrow, and post it on your blog. Let's decorate the blog boards with red, white and blue!



Amanda B.


Free Horse Notebooking Pages!

For those of you with kids that love horses, check out the free download at this week at


Horses Notebooking Pages


You can download my whole set of notebooking pages that are horse-themed for free!


These pages were designed to be used with the Horse Unit Study, and can be used independently. Hope this helps!



Amanda B.


Summertime Fun with a Touch of Learning – Part 1

Ah, the sights of flashing fireflies and the sounds of summer -- crickets chirping and slamming screen doors, the sound of bare feet running through the house, the squeals and laughter as the children play in the sprinklers remind us of this season of fun and outdoor play. For many families, the summertime is used for a rest for mom, and a time to let the kids unwind and interact with the neighborhood kids, attend Vacation Bible School, and perhaps go on vacation. Over the years, I have found that keeping the learning process going, casually, through the summer has some valuable benefits. Summertime learning can help keep their thinking skills honed, reading interests and ability don't go through the throttle up and down that is typical in a structured school calendar, and it helps direct their activities in more beneficial areas of fun AND learning.

First, understand that these suggestions are shared with the intention of lightening your load and enriching your family's summertime learning - - NOT to give you more burdens. Take these ideas and custom fit them to your family's schedule for the summer. You will find that the "I'm bored, Mom!" isn' t heard quite as often, and trips to the library are more interesting than ever. So, with these things in mind, here are some ideas to get you started.

Reading can be a custom-made hobby for homeschoolers and summertime. The child can read more using those times when it is too hot to play outside, too rainy, or while traveling in the car. While some children look forward to reading, others drag their feet about it, requiring more motivation to get started. Consider having them participate in a summer reading contest at the local library. If your library does not offer this type of program, how about designing your own family or neighborhood reading contest? Keep the prizes affordable and fun, something that everyone will enjoy. A few ideas include:

Rewards of pennies per page for the younger readers, along with weekly trips to the store so that the awarded pennies can be spent. Make some coupons on the computer or with construction paper, and reward the reader with a coupon for each book completed. At the end of the contest, the coupons can be traded in for some fun treats rides at the amusement park, nights at the pizza parlor, a day at the water park, etc You might also consider having a reward system using items that your child already collects: baseball cards, Matchbox cars, doll clothes, etc.

Reading can be enjoyed as a family during the summer, too. What about all that time spent driving on vacation? I've heard of several families that use this time to read aloud to each other, making the miles go by while keeping the interest level high. Depending on the family members interests and ages, consider some of the classics like Swiss Family Robinson, Anne of Greene Gables, David Copperfield, etc. The book by Jim Trelease, The Read Aloud Handbook has a wonderful list of books to share during family read-aloud times. For those of you with readers that get car sick while traveling, consider getting some books on tape/CD at the local library for your journeys. Also, one of our favorite traveling stops is at the many Cracker Barrel restaurants along the interstate. These restaurants offer a books-on-tape rental program and you can return the tapes at any Cracker Barrel along the way.

Now, how about math skills? You say that your child forgets everything he/she learns about math over the summer? Then summertime can be a great time to keep the skills honed while having fun. If you are planning a special vacation or trip, consider having your child or children plan the vacation, under your supervision, of course. After you explain the places that you would like to visit and the total amount of money that you can afford to spend, have them get busy planning the project. They can divide the budgeted amount up by day or by event. They will have to map out the route to take, calculate the mileage, estimate gas expenses, hotels, food, etc. Then they can develop a fairly complete vacation budget, and keep track of actual expenses versus planned expenses–what a valuable lesson!

Tune in next week for Part 2 of Summertime Fun!

Amanda B.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Flag Day on June 14th! Get ready to join us and fly your flag!


Please join us as we encourage homeschoolers across the country to commit to flying their flags on June 14th. Let's show our patriotic pride and send a sign of our support to the troops working so hard on our behalf.


Many thanks,

Amanda B.


Thursday, June 8, 2006

Digital Photography Tip and News


For those of you that are interested in digital photography and/or learning more about how to take great pictures, I have two bits of news:

1. I have found one of the best books for digital photography that is affordable and easily understood by all of us! My mom, who is new to photography, loves this book and I have to arm wrestle her for it just to be able to use it myself! <grin>
It uses wonderful pictures to explain the various concepts, which is great for those of us that are visual learners. I found it in the magazine section of WalMart - it is a large format special edition published by National Geographic. The title is Taking Great Digital Photos. It retails for $9.95

2. One of the new unit studies that is currently in development is Digital Photography. I am learning so much while writing this study - about photography and its origins, the art of photography (taking pictures of complete scenes instead of the tops of people's heads), and so much more about how to use a digital camera effectively. So, while we are learning about scrapbooking, I'll be busy getting the Digital Photography Unit Study ready to roll. It's going to
be a GREAT summer of learning for all of us!

Amanda B.

PS: I should add that I love digital photography, and have been trying to learn about it since we moved to the farm. It is so easy to begin and so simple to delete photos that don't turn out well! If I can learn this, anyone can. I was told over and over again by a high school art teacher than I would never make it as an artist, because I wasn't creative enough -- too detail-oriented.  But remember, this teacher was a friend of my high school English teacher who told me that I'd never make it as a writer, for the same reason. It only took me a few decades to test their wisdom. Learning styles and gifts and talents weren't a primary focus back in those days - oh well! Here are two links to some of my photos:

Getting ready for scrapbooking unit study


Just a quick note to share that Hobby Lobby is having a big sale on scrapbooking supplies this week -- 1/2 price sale! I believe that it runs through Saturday. If you want to see the sale details or find a store, here's their website:

I am starting this process slowly, so I purchased several of their photo storage boxes that come with dividers to help me ORGANIZE them! They were on sale for $1.99 each, and safely hold LOTS of photos. I also purchased some of the scrapbook paper packs -- mostly patriotic colors to kick off the scrapbooking project in early July! <smile> The scrapbooking paper packs are on sale for $0.99 each. The albums are also on sale for 1/2 price, but I'm not ready for that yet -- can't jump into this too quickly and forget to organize first.

I hope that you all are getting excited about this project, too. Right now, I am just pulling out any and all photos and mementoes from all of the closets, nooks and crannies where I've carefully placed precious items to scrapbook... someday. What a collection! I have to admit, it is getting fun as the collection piles up, and
everyone is beginning to join in on the discoveries and the accompanying stories.

Enjoying the day and I hope you are too!

Amanda B.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Scrapbooking Unit Study -- NEW!

Scrapbooking Unit Study

Come join in our summertime fun
as we all learn together...

You know those boxes of pictures and tubs of mementos, along with the loosely stuffed baby books and photo envelopes with the negatives sliding all over in the back of the closet? These bits and pieces of the past are part of your family legacy, and you can use this summer and assemble some wonderful scrapbooks that will help tell your stories for generations yet to come. From your mother's cheerleading picture to the tassel from your own high school graduation, all of these have a story to tell. Join me in my move to prepare a lasting library of the history of our family!

I am so excited to announce the newest unit study for this summer project, good for the whole family!

Scrapbooking Unit Study   for a summer of memories

What a perfect topic for a unit study for the whole family. We'll all be learning while we gather and organize.  I have learned so much while writing this book -- did you know that Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain were avid scrapbookers? Did you know that girls would include hair weavings in their scrapbooks of the 1800s? I was amazed to find out that Mark Twain probably made more money from a scrapbooking invention than he did from royalties on his books! It is a fun project study, and I can't wait to share it!

Pre-Order the Scrapbooking Unit Study CDROM now for only $ 9.95 and save!
This special offer is only good through June 24th,
and the book is scheduled for release the last week of June.

Even as you read this, I am pulling out pile after pile of pictures and memorabilia -- assembling the piles in a corner of the family room. Using this unit study, we will organize and assemble records of our adventures. After 20+ years of marriage and three children, I have a LOT to organize, and so much to share with our children! Come along and join me - we will tackle this project together...

Scrapbooking Unit Study CDROM  -
Pre-Order Special: $9.95 (through 6/24/06)
Study is scheduled to be released the last week of June.

Amanda Bennett's Unit Study Newsletter

Amanda Bennett's Unit Study News

June 2006

You are receiving this newsletter because you subscribed to it at This issue may be freely distributed to friends, discussion lists and groups, as long as the entire issue is included.

Newsletter Sections:

Amanda's Corner
Going Digital
Our Legacy - Telling the Stories
Favorite Family Book Picks for June
From My Summer Book Pile
Lots of Learning Links

Amanda's Corner


Look out - here comes summer! I hope this finds you and your clan well and enjoying this beautiful June weather. The magnolia blossoms are whiter than ever and smell heavenly, and the geraniums are in full red bloom here on the porch. The garden is growing right along with the deer and rabbit that are feeding on it. With the change in season, we are moving to a slower pace of life in some ways – less time indoors with books, and more time outdoors with farm life, baseball, and enjoying friends and family.


Have you had a chance yet to see how far you have come over this past year of homeschooling? June is the month for that around here, and I look forward to analyzing our forward progress. Did we accomplish what we had planned this year, and what other lessons were learned along the way? Over the years, I have learned to take a “big picture” view of these things, instead of focusing on the minute items on a check-off list. It is too easy to fall into measuring failures as opposed to lessons learned.


As I have traveled this past month, I met some amazing people and learned several important lessons. The most important was a reminder that life is not a dress rehearsal – and I tend to forget this sometimes. Live today as if there were no tomorrow. We don’t get a second chance to say “good job” or “I am so proud of you” at the most important moment of accomplishment. Words of encouragement last a lifetime, and then some. Share your legacy – your life – with your children. Speaking as one who lost her father at an early age, I can assure you that what you share today, about your faith, hopes and dreams – will live on in the hearts of your children long after you have gone on to heaven.


This month, go outside and play, taking plenty of photos of the family adventures. Remember to fly your flag on Flag Day! Later in the newsletter, you will see my announcement about the exciting new unit study that is perfect for a summer of fun. I will be adding several new titles over the summer, and look forward to introducing them.  Enjoy these days, for they are gifts!

Amanda B.


Flag Day is next week, on June 14th -- don't let it go by without learning about this special holiday as well as the American flag. Spend a week learning about Flag Day in the Patriotic Holidays Unit Study, and enjoy the relaxed pace of summertime family learning. You can purchase the Patriotic Holidays Unit Study in the CDROM format or the Download Format. Learn about American history together this year -- Patriotic Holidays includes one-week studies on Flag Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day

Our Legacy - Telling the Stories

You know those boxes of pictures and tubs of mementos, along with the loosely stuffed baby books and photo envelopes with the negatives sliding all over in the back of the closet? These bits and pieces of the past are part of your family legacy, and you can use this summer and assemble some wonderful scrapbooks that will help tell your stories for generations yet to come. From your mother's cheerleading picture to the tassel from your own high school graduation, all of these have a story to tell. Join me in my move from procrastination to preparation of  a lasting library of the history of our family.

I am so excited to announce this new unit study --
perfect for a summer project and good for the whole family!

Scrapbooking Unit Study

What a perfect topic for a unit study for the whole family. We'll all be learning while we gather and organize.  I have learned so much while writing this book -- did you know that Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain were avid scrapbookers? Did you know that girls would include hair weavings in their scrapbooks of the 1800s? I was amazed to find out that Mark Twain probably made more money from a scrapbooking invention than he did from royalties on his books! It is a fun project study, and I can't wait to share it!

Pre-Order the Scrapbooking Unit Study CDROM now for only $ 9.95 and save!
This special offer is only good through June 24th,

and the study is scheduled for release the last week of June.

Even as you read this, I am pulling out pile after pile of pictures and memorabilia -- assembling the piles in a corner of the family room. Using this unit study, we will organize and assemble records of our adventures. After 20+ years of marriage and three children, I have a LOT to organize, and so much to share with our children! Come along and join me - let's tackle this project together...

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. We are adding new downloadable titles all the time, so bookmark the site and check the selection!

Click on the titles that are downloadable to see previews:

Patriotic Holidays Unit Study
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!

Favorite Family Book Picks for June:


The Swiss Family Robinson, Unabridged
By Johann Wyss
After days of being tossed and battered by a raging storm, the ship on which the narrator, his wife, and their four sons are passengers smashes against a reef - and the last lifeboat pulls away without them. Next morning, the intrepid, loving little family finds itself cast away on an uninhabited island. Never losing hope, they retrieve what they can from the ship and construct a life for themselves through their own resourcefulness - building a tree house, finding such food as coconuts, sugarcane, honey and potatoes, and securing themselves against danger. Adventure follows adventure as they explore the island, encounter wild birds and terrifying animals, plant crops, build sturdier shelters, and settle in for a long stay. Although there are many hardships, the family lives in peace and harmony, and even rescues a girl who herself is a castaway on a nearby island. Recommended for ages 8 to 12. So much better than the movie!


By Catherine Marshall
Inspired by the fervent idealism of a missionary speaker, Christy Huddleston abandons her prospects for a comfortable, conventional life in her North Carolina hometown to teach penniless, barefoot children in the Smoky Mountains to read. Young and naive, Christy is ill-prepared for the hardships, superstition, and lawlessness of this isolated village. But she's determined to see God change hearts---even if one of them is hers! This book touched my heart when I was a young teenager, and now that I am living in Christy's world, it has so much more meaning.


My Side Of The Mountain
By Jean Craighead George
Sam Gribley is terribly unhappy living in his family's crowded New York City apartment. So, armed with just the bare necessities--a penknife, a ball of cord, some flint and steel, and the clothes on his back--he runs away to the mountains. There, Sam must rely on his own ingenuity and the resources of the great outdoors to survive--and he discovers a side of himself he never knew existed. Recommended for ages 10 and up. A 1960 Newbery Honor book.


The Sign of the Beaver
By Elizabeth George Speare
Now that twelve-year-old Matt and his father have finished building a comfortable cabin for their family in the Maine wilderness, Matt's father must leave to bring the rest of the family to the new settlement. Until the day his father returns, Matt must try to survive on his own. Matt is brave, but he's not prepared for an attack by swarming bees, and he's astonished when he's rescued by an Indian chief and his grandson, Attean. As the boys come to know each other, Attean learns to speak English, while Matt becomes a skilled hunter. Many months pass with no sign of Matt's family. Then Attean asks Matt to join the Beaver tribe and move north. Should Matt abandon his hopes of ever seeing his family again and go on to a new life? Recommended for ages 10 to 14. A 1984 Newbery Honor book.


Because of Winn-Dixie
By Kate DiCamillo
When ten-year-old India Opal Buloni moves to Naomi, Florida, with her father, she doesn't know what to expect--least of all, that she'll adopt Winn-Dixie, a dog she names after the supermarket where they meet. Right away, Opal knows she can tell Winn-Dixie anything--like the fact that lately she's been thinking a lot about her mother, who left when Opal was three. And that her father, the preacher, won't talk about her mother at all. And that she's lonely. But with such an unusually friendly dog at her side, Opal soon finds herself making more than a few unusual friends. And ultimately, Opal and the preacher realize--with a little help from Winn-Dixie, of course--that while they've both tasted a bit of melancholy in their lives, they still have a whole lot to be thankful for. Recommended for ages 8 and up, 192 pages. A 2003 Newbery Honor book.


The Cooper Kids Adventure Series #4: Trapped at the Bottom of the Sea
By Frank E. Peretti
Time is running out on a desperate rescue mission...
After an argument with her father, a sullen Lila Cooper boards an Air Force flight from Japan to the U.S.. Her brooding is interrupted when a sudden hijacking leads to a scuffle and an explosion, causing the plane to plummet toward the Pacific Ocean. Trapped inside a secret weapons pod on the ocean floor, Lila can do nothing but pray that rescuers will find her before her oxygen supply runs out. Meanwhile, Joy Cooper and his father team up with journalist Meaghan Flaherty in a frantic struggle to beat a group of angry terrorists to the pod. You will be holding your breath to find out what happens next. Recommended for ages 10 to 14.

Preparing for next year  - Invest in the Teacher!


I am often asked about tips to make homeschooling better and easier, and I have to say that my top response is to stay informed of what is available to homeschoolers, the latest ideas and concepts about learning, along with helpful information for us as we continue this great adventure . One of the easiest and best ways to do this is to invest in the teacher (YOU!) by subscribing to a solid homeschool magazine. My top pick is The Old Schoolhouse.  And now, the publisher is offering a great promotional package for both current AND new subscribers:


Collection of 19 Gifts for Homeschoolers - Limited Time Offer!
Subscribe Online (click here)
or call in your order to 1-888-718-HOME.

What are the gifts? There is a huge list and great items for all homeschoolers --  click here.


Whether you are new to the magazine or a long-time subscriber, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has an incredible offer that you won't want to pass up! In the past, renewing subscribers were NOT allowed to receive the 19 gifts - it was only for new customers. But for a limited time only, RENEWING subscribers get all 19 gifts (over $200 value), too!

From My Summer Book Pile:


By Ted Dekker
Seth Borders isn't your average graduate student. For starters, he has one of the world's highest IQs. Now he has the ability to see multiple potential futures. But with no sleep, a fugitive princess by his side, hit men an heartbeat away, and a massive manhunt steadily closing in, evasion becomes impossible. This book engages issues as ancient as the earth itself...and as current as today's headlines.


90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death & Life
By Don Piper with Cecil Murphey
After a devastating car accident, Baptist minister Don Piper is pronounced dead at the scene. During the next 90 minutes, he remembers hearing beautiful music, meeting those who had a spiritual impact in his life, and experiences deep peace--until suddenly he is brought back to "real life" through another minister's prayer in this amazing true story.


Farmer's Market Cooking
This useful directory features an ingredient-by-ingredient guide to the foods found at your local farmer's market, including vegetables, fruits, grains, herbs, breads, dairy, fish, meat and poultry. The book features full-color photographs throughout, with more than 100 recipes keyed to the ingredients.


Look What You Can Make With Paper Bags
Look What You Can Make With Paper Bags is an activity book with over 90 pictured crafts and dozens of other ideas children ages 4-12 will enjoy making. Puppets and pinatas, scrapbooks and scarecrows, mobiles and maracas, banners an baskets all made from paper bags! Large full-color photographs, simple step-by-step instructions, and a wealth of idea sparkers provide hours of craft-making fun. With the addition of some easy-to-find household items and craft supplies, paper bags can be transformed into a vast array of toys, games, decorations, and gifts.


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?  

Announcing the newest unit study from Amanda:


Perfect for summer and fun for the whole family, this unit study will help you tell your family's story in an unforgettable way. Finally, drag out those boxes and envelopes and tubs of photos and mementoes -- this is the time to put it all together and learn at the same time.


The history of scrapbooking is fascinating -- did you know that Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) were avid scrapbookers? And what was this about hair weaving popularity back in scrapbooks of the 1800s? What is the big deal about "acid-free" paper for scrapbooks - what is an acid and why would it be important to avoid in scrapbook papers?


Along with the history of scrapbooking, famous people of scrapbooking and learning more about scrapbooking today, we will also take a look at using digital cameras for scrapbooking and much more.


Pre-Order the Scrapbooking Unit Study CDROM now for only $ 9.95 and save!

This special offer is only good through June 24th,
and the study is scheduled for release the last week of June.

Lots of Learning Links: 


FLAG DAY  --  June 14th!


Stars and Stripes Cake

Angel Food Flag Cake

Safety Pin and Seed Bead American Flag Craft

American Flag Online Jigsaw Puzzle

American National Anthem

USA Mobile Craft Project

American Flag Cake

FATHER'S DAY June 18th!


Father's Day Coloring Pages

More Father's Day Coloring Pages

Father's Day Coupon Book and Printables

Father's Day Crafts and Activities

Father's Day Crafts

(Remember the Swiss Family Robinson?)


Tree House and Play House Plans Online

Tree House Plans

Tree House Plans Online

Frontier Pioneer Playhouse Plans



Saturday, June 3, 2006

June 14th is Flag Day - Don't Forget!

Just a reminder that Flag Day is almost upon us -- mark it on your calendar and fly the red, white and blue! The Flag Day Unit Study is included in the Patriotic Holidays Unit Study, and offers a fun week of learning about our flag as well as American history. Enjoy the adventure!



Amanda B.