Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Christmas Unit Study - sample lessons!

I forgot to mention that I also uploaded sample of lessons of the Christmas Unit Study, as well as the Thanksgiving Unit Study, to our Yahoo group "Files" section. Follow this link to join the group, then click on the FILES link on the left hand side of the page -- there are all kinds of things there of unit study interest!





Amanda B.



Want to see what the Thanksgiving Unit Study looks like?

I've just posted sample lessons in the Files section of our Yahoo Group - join and then click on the "Files" link:




Hope this helps!



Amanda B.



Take Your Children to the Voting Booth!

If You Want the Best for Your Children,

Take Them to the Voting Booth!


As homeschooling parents, we work hard to provide our children with the very best education. We research to find the best curriculum choices, we stay aware of the latest educational opportunities in our region -- we spend much of our time and energy on doing the best that we can for our families.  On Tuesday, November 7th, you will have an opportunity to teach your children a priceless lesson – take them with you when you go to vote!


I know it is not easy to gather the kids, stroller, voter registration card, and load up the crew to go to vote, but the lessons that they learn cannot be learned from any book. They will learn by watching – that their parents care enough to vote. They will learn that their neighbors and friends vote, and that when they grow up, they will be able to vote. Like many other things that they learn, these lessons of responsibility and obligation about voting are so important.


“Our American heritage is threatened as much by our own indifference as by the most unscrupulous office or by the most powerful foreign threat. The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter.”

 Dwight Eisenhower, 1940


If your children are old enough, study your ballot before going to vote. Visit websites like those in this list to learn more about the candidates and issues that will be on the ballot for your zip code or region:


Homeschool Ministry – Elections 2006


Project Vote-Smart




These websites provide so much information that you can share with your children, showing them how important it is to participate in the election of our government officials.  Give them some perspective by sharing some of your voting experiences with them – from the first election that you were able to vote in, and just how much voting has changed since you were a child (electronic voting versus marking a paper ballot, etc.)


Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.”

John Adams


Ask grandparents and family friends to share some of their election memories. If you know of people that have held public office or participated in an election campaign, ask them to share their experiences with your children. I will never forget the fun that we had when my father managed a governor’s race when I was a child. From stuffing envelopes to meeting all kinds of people and visiting many new places, it was a great and unforgettable experience.


Homeschooling is not an easy choice – but it is a thoughtful and life-changing approach for your family. Our educational freedom of choice, like our many other freedoms, needs to be protected, and we can do this by participating in elections as voters, volunteers, and even as candidates.


One more thing to remember – when you take the time to vote, you are also reaching across to future generations of your family by helping choose the candidates and issues that will help mold a better future for them.  By voting, you fulfill a very important obligation and privilege that we have as Americans, as well as sharing the experience with your children and showing them that you value this very important privilege, and that every vote is so important.


Thanks for caring, and I hope to see you at the polls!



Amanda B.



"It is the responsibility of the citizens to support their government. It is not the responsibility of the government to support its citizens."

President Grover Cleveland


Don't forget -- the American Government Unit Study is on SALE through Election Day!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Election Sale on American Government Unit Study!

From now through November 7th - Election Day - this CDROM study is on
sale for only $10.95, and the CDROM includes a bonus of the American
Government Notebook Pages. Here's the link:


Don't forget to VOTE!

Amanda B.


Awesome Homeschool/Elections Website!

Wow - what a find, and just in time! Here's the description - check out the website and see what they have developed!


"Our son, now 16, took your Government unit study course a few years ago, and we thought it was wonderful!  He recently designed a website www.micah6vs8.com to encourage prayer for the upcoming elections, and we are forwarding the link to everyone we can think of who might use it and forward it to their email friends as we really need to cover this elections in prayer! 
He has incorporated historical quotes from our founding fathers and articles designed to motivate including one on Jonathan and Sarah Edwards'  family of 13 titled, 'Prayers by Candlelight, One Family's Impact on America'.
Keeping in mind homeschooler's busy schedules, we've tried to share resources 'at a glance' including:
  *  Intercessors for America's 40-day pre-election prayer guide
  *  The Presidential Prayer Team's 'Pray the Vote' prayer guide
  *  Links to sites with voters' guides and candidate voting records for your area
  *  Sample church bulletins encouraging your church to pray"


Again, the website is:



I can't emphasize enough just how important this upcoming election is -- please vote! Check out the resources suggested on this website, study the candidates and issues for your area, and then take the kids and GO VOTE! It's an important blessing as well as a responsibility, and we are effecting generations yet to come by taking it seriously.


See you at the polls!


Amanda B.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Christmas Unit Study is now downloadable!


Just a quick note to let you know that the Christmas Unit Study is now downloadable! For those of you who have been waiting so patiently - many thanks. Here's the link to the downloadable study:


Amanda B.

Thanksgiving Tips

Hope everyone is getting ready for a very special Thanksgiving this
year! Here are a few ideas that might help in your preparations.

Here's a link to a cute play set for Thanksgiving -- wish this had
been around when my children were younger!


For those of you with older children, don't forget the creation of
Plymouth Plantation using modeling clay. This is such a fun project
for everyone to work on in the coming month. Keep Thanksgiving books
close at hand for reference to pictures of the town, people, and
other fun items to include. Ever try making a fishing pole with
modeling clay? <smile>

I still keep my big wicker basket on hand full of holiday books for
this season of the year - it is a popular fireside item for family
as well as visitors.

What are you planning for your Thanksgiving Unit Study?

Amanda B.

Family Traditions – For Today and Tomorrow

By Amanda Bennett 


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,

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Family Traditions – For Today and Tomorrow Part 2

By Amanda Bennett


  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 make 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. 


Join me here next week for Part 3!



Amanda B.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Free Resource for Thanksgiving Unit Study

Hello again!


This week's free book at homeschoolestore.com is a wonderful resource for those of you using the Thanksgiving Unit Study with older students when covering the Reformation in the first part of the study:


Marting Luther: The Great Reformer


Hope this helps!


Amanda B.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Baseball Unit Study Sale - just in time for the World Series!

For the next few days, HomeschoolEStore is running a sale on the
Baseball Unit Study, just in time for the post season playoffs and
getting ready for the World Series. Here's the link - join us as we
follow our favorite teams through the playoffs! Who do I cheer for -
stay tuned! <smile> Here's the link to get to the
Baseball Unit Study

Hint -- one of my favorite teams plays tonight, and the other one
tomorrow night!

Amanda B.

Free Thanksgiving Notebook Pages

Check this out - the free item at homeschoolestore.com this week is my book, Thanksgiving Notebook Pages - here's the link:


Thanksgiving Notebook Pages



Amanda B.



Saturday, October 7, 2006

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Family Traditions – For Today and Tomorrow -- Part 1

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.


Join me here on the Front Porch next week for Part 2!



Amanda B.



Sunday, October 1, 2006

Facing the Giants - GREAT movie

We went to see Facing the Giants on Friday, and it was GREAT - go see it if you can with your whole family. It was produced by a small church in Albany, Georgia -- an all-volunteer staff and cast was used. Here's a bit of the story behind the movie:

Facing the Giants


Amanda B.