Monday, December 31, 2007

Free Shipping on Unit Study Orders over $50!

From now through January 14, 2008 -- free shipping on orders over $50!

Happy New Year!

Amanda B.

New Unit Study Adventure Packs!

Just wanted to let you know that two new adventure packs have been released, and are available at

Remember that Easter is early this year! Easter is on March 23rd, so you can begin the four-week
Easter Unit Study on February 25th.

One more thing - no shipping charges on orders over $50 for the next two weeks!

Unit Study Adventure Packs
Each Adventure Pack includes three unit studies
and bonus notebook pages on CDROM -- SAVE!

Spring Adventures Pack 
Only $32.95

Easter, Gardens, Baseball

Fast Moving Adventures Pack 
Only $32.95
Flight, Auto Racing. Space

American Adventures Pack
Only $32.95

Pioneers, Horses, Trains

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Simple and Fun Family Traditions

              “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.

          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. 

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,
Amanda B.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fun and easy holiday projects for the family

Oh what fun it is to enjoy the holidays at home! As I write this, I've been busy trying to collect a few notes of fun things that we have worked on while home for the holidays in years past. We have made some very special memories as we studied and prepared for this special season, and here are a few of the fun projects:

1. Christmas ornaments to make at home - the rule is that they have to be SIMPLE and inexpensive to make. A favorite when I was a child was to take styrofoam balls, drizzle them with white glue (washable, of course), and then sprinkle glitter on the glue or roll the balls in glitter on wax paper. They would then be hung with pipe cleaners to dry, and later transferred to the tree. The glue can be applied in a random pattern or in a specific shape (bell, star, tree, etc.), and the glitter can be sprinkled on the design.

2. Another favorite ornament project was to take scraps of fabric cut into 1" squares and push each square of fabric into a styrofoam ball, using a mechanical pencil. Here's a link with instructions:

3.  I am experimenting with a new project, mainly for older kids and parents with patience. Take a clear glass ornament, drip a few drops of glass paint into the bottom of the ornament on the inside, then roll the ornament slowly and carefully, causing the paint inside the ornament to spin into a spiral inside the ornament. It is pretty, but does require patience! :-) I am still learning!

4.  We would spend hours cutting white snowflakes from copy paper and hanging them on the windows and doors. Remember - many of our early family years were spent in Florida, and we needed reminders that it was winter! Here's a great website for snowflake patterns to print and cut (There is even a pattern to cut from a coffee filter!):

5.  Another project that we've undertaken over the years is the painting of the small plaster houses and buildings that can be purchased very inexpensively at places like WalMart. We have worked on these as a family around the kitchen table in the evenings, sharing stories of past Christmases with family and friends who gather to paint. With a set of inexpensive string of C-7 white lights, the village is lit and arranged under the tree. As the children grow up and begin their own families, their "Christmas houses" can go with them, along with their handmade ornaments.

So many memories can be made this month as you all learn and share the message of Christmas. What are you up to this month?

Christmas blessings,
Amanda B.

Monday, December 3, 2007

And one more thing about Magi:A Novel - star charts online for 4 BC

at the author's website:

You can see the night sky from some of the places mentioned in the book
as you travel with the Magi - wonderful views and what a great site.

Christmas Blessings,
Amanda B.

An awesome new book for Christmas!

Have I found a terrific new book! It is called Magi: A Novel, by Daniel L. Gilbert. I enjoyed this book thoroughly and it opened up a whole new perspective on the study of Christmas. From the publisher,
Paraclete Press:

"One bright new star appears in the night sky.

One ancient prophecy foretells a king.

Everything will now change.

Finally, a full and far-reaching novel about the travels of the magi, or wise men, that combines history, astronomy, prophecy, legend, and culture, to culminate in a life-changing meeting with the new child
king, the Messiah. No other novel in history has brought together such a human and historical portrait of the travels and the search for the One who changed history.

One star. One king. One man's journey.

Ramates discovers a new luminary in the sky. What begins as his darkest day leads the hunter-priest on a journey to follow an ancient prophecy. A new star on a new course that will lead him to a new
country to see the foretold king. Untold fame awaits this first man to anoint the Deliverer with myrrh, but the inner gift Ramates discovers proves to be just as important. He confesses a dark secret and offers a gift more valuable than the oil of myrrh, the power of frankincense, and the weight of gold."

The author, Daniel Gilbert, is a professor at Tennessee Wesleyan College - and I'm going to meet him at a book signing next week! I've got all kinds of questions, as this book has made me think and wonder
more about the magi and others who met our Savior so long ago.

Here's the CBD link if you want to read more about it. I've also seen the book at local Christian bookstores and regular bookstores.

Blessings on your Christmas journey,
Amanda B.

Start making lifetime Christmas memories

Begin the Christmas Unit Study today and start  an unforgettable learning adventure for the whole family. You can download it now and begin today - here's the download link:

Amanda B.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Power of Homeschooling

The Power of Homeschooling
Copyright 2007 Amanda Bennett

Empowering, enlivening, energizing – all words that bring to mind a sense of power and energy – invigorating. The power of homeschooling is all of that and more for our generation as parents, the generations that we are teaching, and many yet to be born. I don’t know about you, but homeschooling gave this small-town girl the confidence to think independently, not follow the crowd, and to speak up. While learning to think and wonder and not conform to an ever-changing society, a funny thing happened along the trail of homeschooling – the children learned these lessons, too! From veterinary college to mock trial championships, our children have been empowered by homeschooling, right along with their parents.

I used to be a typical working mom, employed outside the home, struggling to find any time to catch my breath, while juggling schedules, family demands, finances, and dreams of retirement. With the switch to the amazing position of homeschool mom, I discovered both the rewards and fascination of following our interests, from studying the stars to tracking the ocean tides, from planting a vegetable garden to learning to cook, from following the routes of the explorers to tracking the paths of the men that walked on moon, from learning to quilt like the pioneers to learning how to build a fire, and so much more. No one ever made learning “interesting” for me when I was a child, but I’ve discovered that this is a powerful gift that I can give our children on a daily basis – a gift that will keep on giving for the rest of their lives.

In the beginning, homeschooling was a nerve-wracking choice – am I doing the right thing, what will I teach them, what books shall we use, will they be able to get into college, and on and on. Then, through trial and error, we hit upon unit studies – and the light turned on, and away we went. The choice of homeschooling is a wonderful choice to make for many families, and the combined power of learning and following interests together is a life-changing force.

First, let me tell you just a bit of my story. We began homeschooling in the middle of a school year, so we chose to keep using the textbooks that the children had been using in school. That was an easy enough decision, but it quickly became obvious that they were well-trained in the use of textbooks – they read for bolded and italicized words, answered the questions at the end of the chapter, and memorized just well enough to take the test. There was no interest in schoolwork other than getting it done – no joy and certainly no curiosity. Another problem that I became painfully aware of was that there was not much long-term retention of the material covered in the textbooks.

Rote memorization of textbook material is no replacement for thinking skills and logic when it comes to leading a satisfying and fulfilling adult life. If the knowledge isn’t there to stay, there is no foundation or framework to build on for the rest of their lives. For example, if they memorize the names of the parts of a plant, but never get to take one apart and experiment with the pieces, studying them under a magnifying glass or microscope, how will the controversy of genetically engineered crops ever begin to make sense? If the framework isn’t there, the new information isn’t connected to anything, and it is difficult to use new information in a meaningful way.

With unit studies, we found a very powerful tool that has helped build a strong tree of knowledge for our children. Remember, your curriculum should be a shaping tool, NOT a vice grip. In my opinion, the strength of a unit study approach is that the student looks at a topic from all different directions. For example, when studying gardens, we look at the basics of plant science, the history of gardens, the gardens around the world, the art of Monet and other artists who were famous for their garden paintings, and much more.

To show the difference in textbook learning and unit studies, realize that nothing ever occurs in the vacuum of just being a historical, geographical or scientific event. When something happens, it happens in a particular place (geography), at a particular time (history), involving certain people (biographies), and has an impact on life in many ways (art, science, economics, etc).  However, when using a history textbook, events are presented chronologically, in a somewhat condensed and dry format. When we read about the first American landing on the moon, the typical history textbook will not include any information about the exciting scientific discoveries that were made to achieve this great feat. In this same textbook, we probably would not read about the astronauts and their individual contributions and sacrifices. The textbooks usually won’t include the thrilling descriptions of all that has been gained from putting a man on the moon – from the world of computers to the amazing breakthroughs in medicine. These exciting and interlinked accomplishments aren’t typically included in the brief paragraph on the American space program. See what we would have missed if we had relied on a typical history textbook to learn about the space program? And yet these missing pieces are the ones that open up the world to our children, and show them how to dream big dreams and understand how all things work together.

Boring Textbooks = Bored Kids + Bored Mom.

So, what do you do next? First and foremost, remember that every child is a blessing, uniquely gifted by God. Unit studies help us to help them discover their own gifts and talents, as they learn about the world while we are right there beside them. I’ll never forget the time that the chemistry experiment blew silver nitrate all over my brand new white curtains, and just how our daughter looked when it happened! I will never forget the thrill of the kids when they met some of the astronauts in person, and heard about some of their space adventures. To use unit studies is to begin a trail of discovery for both you AND your children – a powerful journey of discovery.

Give them a chance to follow their interests and you might just be surprised at the outcome. With unit studies, our children have obtained a better understanding of the way things work, the history of the world, their own abilities, and much more. I am always asked about “holes in their education” if unit studies are used. First, I ask the audience if anyone ever remembers completely finishing a textbook when they were a child – not many hands have ever been raised. I share my personal experience that we never finished a textbook when I was a child, and I was so disappointed – the “good” stuff was always toward the end of the book!

The concept of education is not just to fill their heads up with any and all information available – that would take hundreds of years in these days of ever-expanding information. The concept of a good education, in my opinion, is teaching the child to be able to think, to help them build a sound foundation of learning – a strong tree of knowledge where they can place more information over the course of their lives.

I will never be able to teach my children about all things, BUT, I will teach them how to think, to investigate, to research and dig for answers. In the years ahead, it is my opinion that this will be a priceless education for those who will be successful in a rapidly changing world. Unit studies can do just this, and that’s my intention when I write them and use them – getting the child to think and explore, letting curiosity get the best of them. Try to help them develop a love of learning and enjoy the wonder of the world – it’s quite an empowering accomplishment.

As powerful as homeschooling can be, it is not a result of all homeschooling families being just alike. Realize that you will never be “just like” other families in your homeschool group or those at your state convention. I’ve traveled all over the country as a speaker at homeschool conferences, and I’ve met all kinds of people. I am frequently asked by many parents, “Are we like typical homeschoolers?” I have to smile at this point – I don’t think I’ve ever met a “typical” homeschooler. That would be like having a “normal” day of homeschooling, whatever that is.

Enjoy the uniqueness of your family and your approach to homeschooling. Some families use textbooks, while others use unit studies. It isn’t as important to follow the crowd anymore, now that the crowd is just you and your clan – what a blessing this is for all of us. Our family has done so many things since we started homeschooling – we’ve traveled all over, met some amazing people, and followed our dreams to all kinds of places, and I can honestly say that we’ve never had a boring day – and certainly not a “normal” day, and that is not our goal.

As a former corporate engineer, I am well aware of the concept of having goals and a mission statement. What is my mission statement these days? To help the children discover their own gifts and talents, whether in botany or veterinary science, athletics or orthodontics, who knows what the future holds! Now, as a homeschooling mom, what is my goal? To work myself out of a job by helping them become self-motivated learners – to have them out there, learning and challenging and thriving within the realm of their own very unique gifts and talents.

Until next time,

Amanda B.

Amanda Bennett is an author/speaker and has homeschooled for more than sixteen years. Visit her website at to learn more about her books. She and her family live on a farm in Tennessee, enjoying the days of adventure! If you would like to have Amanda speak at your homeschool conference, contact your conference coordinator and let them know that Amanda can be contacted through her website,

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Free Shipping ends at midnight tonight!

I don't know about you, but I always like free shipping when I order online - know what I mean? I hope this helps, and thanks to all of you for being there!

Amanda B.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thanksgiving Blessings Tree - Online Leaves!

The leaves are changing here, and the colors are beautiful. Many of you will be making the Blessings Tree that is described in the Thanksgiving Unit Study, and I have discovered some online leaf outlines that might be helpful as you prepare the leaves for the next four weeks. Here are a few leaf outline sites:

Leaf Outlines

Leaves of England

Maine Foliage Fall Clip Art

Counting my blessings here, and I hope you are too,
Amanda B.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Giving Thanks as a Family!

This is the time of year that the warm weather is waning, you begin to notice the smell of burning leaves and ripening apples. The clear cool breeze is on your face first thing in the morning, and the children have new energy and interest in the season. Autumn is here and isn't it beautiful? A time for harvesting, canning, preserving and getting stocked up for winter -- and the perfect time for reflecting on the many things for which we should be thankful.

I number among these: God, our family, our home, our love and our great country. We have indeed been blessed in this country, as were our forefathers and the early celebrants of that first Thanksgiving in America -- both the Pilgrims and the Indians that shared the meal and celebration together. At our house, we use this time of gratitude and counting our blessings to study that first Thanksgiving as an integral part of our homeschool studies.

As with any unit study topic, I try to pick out all of the important subtopics, crossing the curriculum spectrum many times. For example, when studying Thanksgiving, there is plenty of historical information to examine, along with geography (ocean crossings, continents, climates), science (plant varieties, growth, propagation, some of the sicknesses of the time, animal life in the region), art (N.C. Wyeth's paintings, clothing of the time, crafts), and reading (both fiction and nonfiction books).

When I first began preparing a unit study on Thanksgiving, I had the incorrect notion that my understanding of that period of American history was fairly complete. I was certainly proven wrong as we progressed through our study! I had not realized the extent of the sacrifice made by the Pilgrims over that 13 year period, traveling to Holland for years, and then finally returning to England to take part in the colonization of America. I never really knew or understood the origin of the "King James" version of the Bible and how it was connected to the Separatists.

Each year, we focus on different aspects of the event. One year, we took a look at what was involved in their survival in a new land. When we started making our list of what we would do if we were the Pilgrims, one son chimed in "find a Walmart!" The reality of being in the middle of nowhere to maintain your religious beliefs, giving up what was so familiar and comfortable to go to an unknown destiny was pretty amazing to them. This was exactly the concept that I wanted them to understand -- that sacrifices are often made for what you believe in, and to trust in the Lord to lead and protect you.

As we work our way through this study, we have many activities and studies that we enjoy. For example, a popular question has been over the difference in Indian corn and table corn, as we know it. This opens the door to an opportunity to help them learn more about the differences in plant varieties and about the gardening practices of both the Pilgrims and the Indians.

Not only are we looking at some of their survival gardening, we are also trying to get a better understanding of what types of shelter they built, what kinds of sickness they had to deal with and why we don't have those illnesses today. There are many aspects of their daily living that we can't easily relate to from our own experience, and it is important for the children to "see" what life was like then, the tools they used, the things they did without, the responsibilities of each family member, and the importance of their faith and trust in God to provide for their needs.

One of the books that opened my eyes to a broader view of the politics and history of the Pilgrims' journeys was Saga of the Pilgrims: From Europe to the New World, by John Harris (published by Globe Pequot Press). This book, written for the seventh grade and up, is very interesting reading and certainly presented a new perspective on these religious outcasts. I recommend that both parents and the older children read this one -- it is a very informative and interesting book to share and discuss. For the younger children, a comparable book might be If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620, by Ann McGovern.

As we study the Pilgrims and the people involved in this "new beginning", the characters of the people and some of the flavor of their hopes and dreams, ideas, work ethic, and humor come to light, and are appreciated by those involved in the study. When reading about their first winter, you can't help but feel the loss of so many loved ones on a personal level.

The resourcefulness and foresight of these religious outcasts helped lay some secure and strong foundations for our country. When they took the time and painstaking effort to write and bring to acceptance the Mayflower Compact, they unknowingly developed the long-lasting concept of freedoms and rights that we Americans enjoy and expect.

People tend to develop a much deeper appreciation of these freedoms when they get some hands-on exposure to the price that has been paid to obtain and protect those freedoms, and it is my goal that this study will help the children develop a solid understanding and appreciation of these principles and ideals.

Enjoy this season of giving thanks and bringing the harvest home. There is so much to be thankful for, and as homeschoolers, we have even more to be thankful for -- the chance to really know our children and walk the walk with them, sharing and caring and motivating and learning beside them. Enjoy the adventure, and may you and your family be abundantly blessed!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Flight Unit Study - new and downloadable!

Thanks to everyone that has patiently waited for me to offer the Flight Unit Study in a downloadable format - here's the link, and you can either download it or purchase the CDROM (note - the CDROM version includes the Flight Notebooking Pages as a bonus):

I'm working on the others as quickly as possible, and filling orders as fast as we can here. Can you hear the Thanksgiving music playing in the background as I write? :-)

Amanda B.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Only 4 more hours on Holiday Unit Study Sale!

Thanksgiving Unit Study + Notebooking Pages CD - only $10.95 until midnight tonight, eastern time

Christmas Unit Study + Notebooking Pages CD - only $10.95 until midnight tonight, eastern time

Free shipping from now through the end of October!

Join us as we get ready to begin these holiday studies in just a few weeks.

Amanda B.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

For book lovers and those that are thinking of the holidays...

I have been fortunate enough to meet some of you in person, and hope to
meet more of you as I begin a new season of travel and speaking. Those
of you that have met me KNOW that I am a book-lover through and
through, and I always have some new book to recommend. Many of you
write, asking about what I am reading these days - this might help!I
have added a special Thanksgiving page of recommendations just for this

I know how difficult it can be to find just the right book when you are
busy with young children. Now that are kids are older, I have more time
to read a wide range of books, and try to filter through them to
recommend some of my favorites.

I have slowly but surely been building a website - primitive but it
works - where I can keep listing my finds as time permits. Hopefully
this will help you, and if your library system has an online book
reservation system, you can cut and paste the titles in one fast

Remember, it is just a beginning effort - sorry it isn't more
extravagant! Somehow, I've been busy writing books myself, and this has
been a "fun" effort on the side when my hair is standing up straight
and my eyes are crossing at the thought of another vocabulary list. :-)

Here's the site - hope it helps:

Amanda Recommends

Yep, keeping it simple and hope to keep it updated as I can. The
Christmas link will be ready in a few weeks. In the meantime, keep reading!

Amanda B.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Fun and easy holiday project!

While thinking about easy and fun things to do for the holidays, here's an idea. We have made pillowcases using cotton holiday fabric for our own family, as well as for gifts for others. They are VERY easy to make, and here's a link to my favorite SIMPLE instructions - keep in mind that I am sewing-challenged, so you know this MUST be easy:

Pillowcases with Kids

I saw some very cute snowman fabric the other day, as well as some beautiful harvest fabric. One year, an aunt made the kids some simple beige pillowcases, and embroidered two praying Pilgrim children on the wide hems of each one. They were beautiful, and still treasured here.

Be creative - it really can be fun! I will NEVER forget the time that the boys chose glow-in-the-dark shark fabric for their new pillowcases while we studied oceans. Imagine my shock when checking on them in the middle of the night and seeing bright green sharks swarming around their heads! :-)

Amanda B.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Holiday Unit Study Sale!

Hello friends!

Email about ordering the holiday unit studies is just beginning to pile up, and many of you are asking when to get ready and begin the studies. Others missed the earlier sale on the Thanksgiving & Christmas Unit Studies. This is a very exciting and fun season for family learning and making great memories - join us as we prepare for this season of love, blessings and thanksgiving!

To try to make all of our lives a bit simpler:

1. For the next few days, through October 5th, we have put the Christmas and Thanksgiving Unit Studies on sale for $10.95 - the CD version, and these CDs will include the coordinating Notebooking Pages. The sale price - $10.95, usually $14.95. REMEMBER - this pricing is only good through midnight (Eastern time), at the close of October 5th. Then the prices will return to $14.95.

2. Timing of the studies - I recommend that you consider beginning the Thanksgiving study on October 29th, which will have your family finishing up the four weeks on the week of Thanksgiving. I also recommend beginning the Christmas Unit Study on the Monday after Thanksgiving, November 24th, which will have your family finishing up the four weeks on December 21st.

3. If you can, begin by getting the studies as soon as possible, collecting the books that you choose to use with the study, and getting things from the library before everyone else in your county wipes out the special holiday collections! :-)

4. Free shipping for the month of October - my gift to you all and I hope that it helps.

Thanks SO MUCH for your patience as I have been busy with new books, kids, life and lots of adventure. The new titles are slowly but surely shipping out of here!

Amanda B. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Last days of Amanda Bennett's new studies sale!


The three new studies begin shipping this weekend, Lord willing, and
I am so thankful for your patience as I've been away working on all
of this and more! You have been so patient, and I can't thank you
enough. I think that you will all like these new titles, and they've
got a few new features that are a surprise - and I can't wait to hear
what you think of them.

In the meantime, while I burn the midnight oil (feels like college
finals week here) - you've got a few more days for the pre-order sale
prices. Once the studies begin shipping, the regular prices of $14.95
will be in place.

If you want to check out these new titles, go to:

For those of you that emailed, asking whether or not these new titles
will be available for download - yes, they will eventually be
available for download, but it might take a few weeks to get them set
up for download. Our first priority right now is for the CDROM
version of these studies, and the download version will follow.

Again, thanks for your patience. I've got plenty of news and great
finds that I think you will enjoy, and will share in the next
newsletter once these studies are on their way.

Amanda B.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Only 2 more days for Unit Study Sale!

The new Flight Unit Study and the Race Car Unit Study can still be pre-ordered for a special price for 2 more days! Follow this link to check out the sale:

Amanda B.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fun Projects for Fall

Hello! I hope that your learning adventures are off to a good start! 
It has been a long and very hot summer here, and I am looking forward
to cooler weather and planning a few fun projects that tie in with
our areas of study.

One of the most popular projects that I have undertaken has been my
creation of bandana quilts for our children. Now I have other friends
and family members waiting in line for their quilts! It is fun,
inexpensive and EASY for those of us who are not exactly sewing-
oriented. :-)

You use 12 - 16 bandanas, depending on the size of the bed that you
are planning on covering. These days, you can find a wide variety of
bandanas in stores like Hobby Lobby and Walmart. From camouflage to
jelly beans, and even great new colors for the standard paisley
bandana - the choices are many. I've seen cowgirls, cowboys, horses,
flags, airplanes, trains, fish, wildlife, space planets, and many
more. Try to choose bandanas that have nice square corners and are
uniform in size.

I sew the bandanas together in rows of three or four across,
depending on the size of the bed. I use rows of three for a double
bed. Then I sew the rows togther - remember, I am not a terrific
seamstress, so these simple straight lines work well for me! Now,
I've got the main top part of the quilt complete - very easy.

For the backing and border, I find a solid color or simple pattern
(no lines) that complements the bandanas. For example, if you are
using American flag bandanas, there is a Federal blue cotton fabric
with small gold stars at Walmart - perfect match! It is 44-45" wide,
so I have to plan on sewing two pieces together to get the width that
I need for a double bed quilt. This also provides a wide enough piece
that I can wrap the blue over the side and use it for the top border -
very easy. I also learned that the quilting safety pins that are
bent (Walmart) are WONDERFUL to use when laying out the quilt and
backing and batting to hold it all in place before assembling the

I use cotton yarn thread to tie down the quilt at various points
across the quilt, to keep the quilt and batting from bunching up when

OK - is this making any sense? I hope so - it is fun to plan and
create, and not too tedious for this craft-challenged mom!

I hope this helps, and let me know if you have any questions. Oh, and
if you want a very soft quilt - back it with flannel. I did this for
my daughter and she loves it. If you are looking for wide material in
both cotton and flannel, check out - their prices can be
great, and then you don't have to sew any pieces together for the
back of the quilt!

Amanda B.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Unit Study Newsletter August 2007

Amanda Bennett's Unit Study News
August 2007

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

Amanda's Corner

It's that time of year again - time to make a few last fun memories and enjoy the squeals of the kids chasing each other with water balloons! Like you, I am wondering where this summer went to - time seems to fly be faster these days. I hope you are keeping fairly cool in the middle of this big heat wave - 100 degree days in the Appalachians are unusual for us - even the forest trees seem to droop in the heat.

Once again, we are preparing for another year of learning, picking and choosing topics and books. Over the years, I have learned to program in some flexibility when planning, because "real life" never seems to be an exact fit with any schedules that I have planned. :-) From an unexpected sickness to a new church drama team, from sports to volunteer work, our family's lives can be so much richer because we do care enough to be flexible, keeping extra room for the things that mean the most to us. Leave some room to breathe, and then remember not to sweat it when something DOES come up.

Don't forget to ask your children what they would like to learn about this coming year. Sometimes we overlook the obvious - we are so busy planning and scheduling that we lose sight of the goal of educating our children to help nurture their gifts and talents. I don't know about your children, but ours are each very unique individuals with very different interests. Start a conversation with each child, finding out what they hope to learn about in this coming year of learning adventures. Don't forget to check out some of the August specials listed later in the newsletter, along with some great book recommendations and learning links.

Take time to make some memories, update the scrapbooks, and ease into a new season of learning. They grow up so quickly, just turn around and they are in high school, wanting to learn to drive! And as you trip over all of the kids shoes at the front door, remember that the pile is small now compared to when they get older...

Enjoy each and every day,
Amanda B.

PS - I am in the process of scheduling speaking engagements for 2008. I speak at conferences as well as women's church retreats -- if you would like more information, send me an email at Amanda's E_Mail

Announcing Amanda's New Books!

Due to be released in September 2007, these new studies can be pre-ordered
at the Introductory Price of only $10.95 each*


Flight Unit Study

Auto Racing Unit Study


Missionary Heroes


* Introductory price is valid through August 31, 2007

ALL NEW -- Unit Study Adventure Packs
Get ready to launch into learning with Amanda's three new
Adventure Packs!
Full of great learning adventures, fun for the whole family, plenty of savings, limited time offer:


American Adventures Pack
This adventure pack includes these three very popular
 four-week unit studies and the matching notebook pages, all on CDROM:


Pioneers Unit Study 


Horses Unit Study


Trains Unit Study



All three units + coordinating notebook pages
for a very special American Adventures Pack Price of only 
 $ 32.95
(Retail Value $ 44.85, you save $12! )


Nautical Adventures Pack
This adventure pack includes these three very popular
 four-week unit studies and the matching notebook pages, all on CDROM:


Oceans Unit Study


Sailing Ships Unit Study


Lighthouse Unit Study



All three units + coordinating notebook pages
 for a very special Nautical Adventures Pack Price of only
 $ 32.95

(Retail Value $ 44.85, you save $12! )


Home for the Holidays Adventures Pack
This adventure pack includes these three bestselling
holiday unit studies and the matching notebook pages, all on CDROM:


Thanksgiving Unit Study


Christmas Unit Study


Easter Unit Study


All three units + coordinating notebook pages
for a very special Nautical Adventures Pack Price of only
 $ 32.95

(Retail Value $ 44.85, you save $12! )

Book Suggestions for the Coming Months:

Thanksgiving, A Time to Remember: Hardcover with CD
By Barbara Rainey, published by Crossway Books

Is your November celebration becoming an annual blur of food, football, and dirty dishes? Rainey will help your family rediscover the roots of thankfulness and the joy of tradition. Reviewing this holiday's rich history, she explores the biblical teaching on remembrance and suggests creative ways for making lasting memories. Includes a CD of instrumental Thanksgiving music.

Gifts in a Jar: For Kids
By CQ Products
Use this book to delight your family and friends with a gift jar filled with all the ingredients for a yummy recipe. Each mix fits in a quart jar, and gift tags with recipes are included. Just cut them out, personalize, and attach to the jar. Fun recipes include "Sand Art Cookie Mix," "Almond Joy Brownies," "Trail Mix Bars," and more! Spiral-bound for lay flat convenience.

Gifts in a Jar: Bars & Brownies
By CQ Products
Make your own gifts with the bars and brownie recipes included in this handy do-it-yourself book. Each of the recipes include six gift tags for you to personalize and attach to the jar. You can decorate the jar top with any fabric, making it a useful and thoughtful gift for any occasion. Spiral Bound.






The following books are for moms and dads who enjoy an interesting book:

When Crickets Cry

By Charles Martin / Thomas Nelson
From Christy Award finalist Martin comes a work of "God-haunted" southern fiction sure to tug at your heartstrings! Travel to a sleepy town square in Georgia, where a 7-year-old child sells lemonade to raise funds for a heart transplant, an onlooker watches, and a speeding truck comes around the bend---changing both lives forever. 320 pages, softcover from WestBow.


Chasing Fireflies

By Charles Martin / Westbow
When paramedics find a malnourished 6-year-old boy near a burning car that holds a dead woman, they wonder who he is---and why he won't talk! Chase, a small-town journalist, is assigned to cover the story and investigate the boy's identity. But will his search unearth long-buried emotions about his own history?


Wrapped in Rain

By Charles Martin / Thomas Nelson
 If it weren't for Miss Ella, Tucker and Mutt would surely have been destroyed by their father's drunken rages. Ella loved and sheltered the boys like her own. Now adults, they trust only each other, and their troubled childhood friend Katie. Can the legacy of Miss Ella's faith help all three
face the demons of the past? 368 pages, softcover from WestBow.


Learning Links:


National Aviation Day - August 19th

Orville Wright's Birthday


Wright Brothers National Memorial


Building and Flying the Wright Brothers’ Kite


Printable coloring page of the Wright Brothers’ Airplane


National Left Handers Day – August 13th


National Dog Day – August 26th


National Marshmallow Toasting Day – August 30th


August printables


Sunflower Coloring Page


Sunflower and Fall Coloring Pages


Chicken Crockpot Recipes – Keep Cool in the Kitchen!


Perseid Meteor Showers this Month


No-Cook Smore Pie

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Last day of free shipping on all orders over $50!

Take advantage of the last day of the special, and make sure to check out the brand new Adventure Packs that are selling like hotcakes! Here's the link:

Amanda's Unit Study Adventure Packs

Amanda B.


Friday, July 20, 2007

New - Unit Study Adventure Packs, and on sale now!

Introductory Sale!

Unit Study Adventure Packs  
Each Adventure Pack includes three unit studies and notebook pages

American Adventures Pack
Pioneers, Horses, Trains

Nautical Adventures Pack
Oceans, Sailing Ships, Lighthouses

Home for the Holidays
Adventures Pack
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter

On Sale Now - and remember that shipping is free for orders over $50
this month...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Life in the Country

For those of you who have been asking for more pictures, the Life in
the Country page has been updated finally - thanks for your patience!
Here's the link:

Hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day, full of fun memories and
patriotic moments. Here in our small town, we had a beautiful fireworks
display, kids running all around, a local band playing in the
background, and plenty of laughter and celebration.

Amanda B.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Fireworks - How do they work? Stay Safe!

Happy Independence Day!

For those of you with curious kids, here are a few links that are great fun and very interesting to check out before heading out to the local fireworks display later this evening:

KABOOM - How Fireworks Work from PBS

National Council on Fireworks Safety - Online Safety Video and Online Quiz

Pyrotechnics - How They Work


Amanda B.


Flight Unit Study - a fun online games page

Enjoying the days of finishing up the new Flight Unit Study, and came across this NASA Fun and Games web page that your favorite airplane addicted kids might enjoy while they wait:

NASA Aeronautics Fun & Games

This unit study has been so interesting to write - makes me wish that I had time to go learn to fly myself!

Amanda B.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Early Bird Sale - a note from Amanda

Happy Independence Day, just a few days early! :-)

Just wanted to let you know that there are some July specials that you might be interested in - early notice since I'm looking forward to enjoying some fun times over the holiday week!

First - Christmas in July - the Christmas Unit Study is on sale for only $10.95 on CD, and the Christmas Notebooking Pages are included as a free bonus on the CD.

Second - FREE shipping on all orders over $50 - hoping this helps as you begin to get geared up for this coming school year.

Hope you and your clan have a terrific Independence Day - and that you find a few moments to enjoy and savor the special meaning of this day!

Amanda B.