Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Grandma Bennett's Snickerdoodles

"At our house, a cookie party always includes Grandma Bennett’s Snickerdoodles. This wonderfully simple recipe has been handed down in my husband’s family for generations, and it is a favorite at our house.

Our children grew up helping to make these cookies, and that tradition continues with every passing year. I hope that you and your children enjoy these delicious cookies, too!”
~ Amanda Bennett

Grandma Bennett’s Snickerdoodles

1 cup shortening (part butter)
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2¾ cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix shortening, sugar, and eggs thoroughly. Measure the flour by the dipping method or by sifting. Stir together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Blend in with the shortening mixture.

Form into 1-inch balls and roll in this mixture:
2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for a minute or two before moving to a cookie cooling rack. Makes 4 to 6 dozen wonderful cookies!

Want to share your favorite cookie recipe?  We'd love to hear it!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cookies and Love

”Many years ago, I was working far away from home, in a very isolated environment. Packages from home were more cherished than gold there. My dearest friend’s mother in Oklahoma regularly sent a care package for her daughter and often included me as well. The item I most looked forward to in those packages was a bag of Monster cookies. They were chock-full of everything sweet, rich, wonderful, and reminiscent of the simple life at home. If it’s possible for a cookie to hug you and say “You are loved,” these do.”
~ Charlotte McKinney

Here's a recipe for you to send some "love" to someone you care about:

Monster Cookies
12 eggs 8 teaspoons baking soda
2 pounds brown sugar 1 pound margarine
4 cups sugar 3 pounds peanut butter
3 teaspoons vanilla 18 cups minute oatmeal
3 teaspoons white corn syrup 16–ounce package M&Ms
16-ounce package chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients in the order given (mixing margarine with eggs and sugar first).
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet and bake at
350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes (or more, depending on the size of your cookies).

If this sounds like too much to deal with all at one time, this recipe can be halved.

More fun and love are happening around here this week, make sure you don't miss out!   Subscribe to our RSS or Email Feed, and stop by our Facebook page!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Unit of the Week - Crunchy Cookies Download N Go

Many favorite childhood memories are formed around a mixing bowl and a cookie sheet full of warm treats. What is it about a warm, Crunchy Cookie that says “home”?

Over my years of motherhood, I have learned the power of home-baked cookies with my family. I discovered that some of the best thought-sharing and worry-calming conversations could be had around a platter of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies fresh from the oven. Just the smell of cookies wafting through the house brings a smile to each face as they come through the door. When they smell that aroma, it sends the message that all is well and Mom’s making cookies again!

Perhaps it is the great big bowl and taking turns at the mixing spoon that cement the experience, but cookie baking can form lifetime memories that extend to future generations. Even if you don’t have time to bake, kids still love to learn about cookies and form some cookie-sharing memories. One of my favorite childhood memories is of sitting with Mom at the kitchen table on cold winter afternoons, munching away on animal crackers and sipping hot tea carefully poured from the bright yellow teapot.

Choosing this topic for a Download N Go™ study was easy for me, since I have so many fun memories of childhood cookie baking with my mom, and later with my children. Each day, your child will explore and investigate, creating and adding more learning components to her Crunchy Cookies lapbook—building a wonderful reminder of all that she is learning to enjoy for years to come.

From gluten-free cookies to monster cookies, the range of tastes and ingredients is endless and always fun. I remember the Dutch windmill cookies that were a vacation Bible school staple—imagine my surprise to discover them again when researching for this study! With Crunchy Cookies, your student will learn about cookies and cookie entrepreneurs, along with the types of cookies and how cookies are made. She will learn how to make some of the Download N Go (DNG) team’s favorite cookies, learn about cookies from other countries, and find out why baking soda and baking powder
are important in the baking process. The finale is a big cookie party, to be enjoyed by one and all.

Be sure to sign up on our RSS or Email feed to get our blog posts sent directly to your inbox. You do NOT want to miss the exciting adventures we have planned for you this week!

Stop by and visit us on Facebook as well. We will have more Crunchy Cookie fun all week!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fantastic Friday Giveaway

For Fantastic Friday we are giving away - Fully Engaged, How to Do Less and Be More by John Busacker.
Just in time to help you launch this new school year!
Publisher's Description
Want to live an astonishing life? One you feel good about each morning as you awake? One that makes others marvel and say, "Your life is simply amazing"? We all long to feel connected, joyful, and alive. To love what we do and who we are. Fully Engaged provides answers to your real questions about balancing life's competing demands and an action plan for pursuing an exciting future. It coordinates daily choices with your core values and beliefs and creates simple solutions to follow through on your dreams. You can experience that astonishing, engaged life, where each day is packed with purpose and passion. It's time to make good on all the talents and promise you were born with-and to enjoy the satisfaction that results.

John Busacker is president of The Inventure Group, a global leadership-consulting firm, and founder of Life-Worth, LLC, a life planning creative resource. He is a member of the Duke Corporate Education Global Learning Resources Network and is on the faculty of the University of Minnesota Carlson School's Executive Development Center.

In 2009, Busacker released his first book, 8 Questions God Can't Answer, which unlocks the profound power of Jesus' timeless questions. He annually teaches in a variety of emerging faith communities and supports the development needs of leaders in Africa through PLI-International.

John is an avid explorer, occasional marathoner, and novice cyclist. He and his wife, Carol, live in Minneapolis and have two adult sons, Brett and Joshua.

To enter this Fantastic Friday giveaway, simply leave us a comment below (not on FB) telling us what your number one goal for the school year is. For one extra entry, "like" us on Facebook. Be sure to leave a separate comment HERE letting us know you do! You must leave an email address for us to contact you in case you win. Entries with no email address will be discarded.

Please read the Contest Specific Rules before entering.The winners will be chosen by random drawing soon after 9:00 pm CST, Sunday, August 29, 2011. Winners will be notified by email and announced here on the blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hebrews 11:1 - My Story

Some of you have asked about the story behind the Scripture that is on our webpage—Hebrews 11:1. As a young child, I memorized plenty of Scripture, and Hebrews 11 was one of the passages that I learned and hadn't thought about in many years. Fast-forward about 30 years to when I was in a very bad accident and had to have many surgeries. One of them was an emergency neurosurgery at UCLA, and while they were waiting for the anesthesiology team to arrive, I was a nervous wreck lying on the operating table. I was a long way from home, and oh, so tired of surgeries and pain.

I tried to focus on praying for peace to calm down—no easy task in the midst of a huge, cold, computerized operating room full of people rushing around in protective scrub gear from head to toe. In the middle of my panic, the entire passage of Hebrews 11 came wafting through my mind like a fresh wind. It was jarring at first and so unexpected. As I quietly recited the entire passage, a feeling of total peace washed over me. By the time I got to the end of the passage, the anesthesiologist and his team had arrived, and everyone was calm and ready to begin. It was after this surgery that the surgeon told me that I only had a 50/50 chance of regaining the use of my right hand, “with a little luck." I smiled and told him that I didn't do luck, that I had faith in my heavenly Father and that was all that was required. No matter what the outcome turned out to be, my faith in Him was complete.

Now, 11 years later, I am still keyboarding with both hands, and very thankful for all that I am able to do with my right hand. It doesn’t work as well as it used to, but it works well enough to be able to write, hug my family and friends, and even cook a pretty mean dish of lasagna!

In our trials, we are given just what we need, exactly when we need it, and it all begins with faith. If we do nothing more than build and encourage the faith of you and your children, then my team and I have succeeded, and that is my prayer.

 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

(Hebrews 11:1 NIV)

Amanda B.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wacky Wednesday Fun

Wacky Wednesday here on the blog! I thought you might have some fun reading a list of some of the strangest things that people have suggested for unit study topics.

After reading this post, leave a comment with your own unit study topic suggestions for a chance to win the new Unit Studies 101/Unit Study Journal Combo pack!
“Amanda, would you please write a unit study about:

1. Gunpowder – “My sons are fascinated with the way that it works!”
2. Cannons – “Our kids love to hear them roar.”

3. Fireworks – “My son loves explosions!”

4. Housekeeping – “I am not a good housekeeper, and we need a unit study to teach all of us!”

5. Physics – “I think my kids would love physics more if you could write a unit study just on physics.”

6. Superheroes – “My kids love action figures and superheroes. Can you please write a study on superheroes?”

7. Shoes – No, I am not kidding, someone even asked for a unit study on shoes!

8. Klingon – I will never forget the guy who came up to me at a convention and claimed to be the president of some Star Trek Klingon club. He kept speaking Klingon to me–I am NOT kidding.

The list could go on and on, but I would like to hear from YOU now–what topics would you like for me to write on? Please let me hear your suggestions by posting them as a comment here.

We are giving away a Unit Studies 101/UnitStudy Journal Combo pack.

To enter this Wacky Wednesday giveaway, simply leave us a comment below (not on FB) telling us what your favorite "future" Unit Study topic is. Feel free to submit as many suggestions - but, only ONE entry per household will count for the drawing. You must leave an email address for us to contact you in case you win. Entries with no email address will be discarded.

Please read the Contest Specific Rules before entering.The winners will be chosen by random drawing soon after 12:00 am CST, Wednesday, August 24, 2011. Winners will be notified by email and announced here on the blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What's New?

First, what on earth is Pinterest, and why is everyone talking about it? Let me say that this has to be one of the best social media ideas ever created for homeschool moms! J Let me share what I’ve learned so far, and here’s my Pinterest page if you would like to take a look around.

What if you could take a quick virtual tour of all the ideas that you’ve ever seen for your schoolroom, from the comfort of your sofa? Or what if I could take you through some of the places that we’ll be visiting with the new Passport titles, giving you and your crew a taste of the fun and learning they are about to experience?

Welcome to Pinterest, the newest generation of social media that is turning the world on its side and letting people build visual collections for all kinds of uses! Pinterest works as a virtual bulletin board, letting you “pin” images from websites to your own online bulletin boards. As you visit fun sites and blogs about starting your school year off with a new look, you can “pin” some of your favorite photo ideas to your own Pinterest board and use them to refresh your memory and help you develop more ideas as you go along. You can read a good explanation of it here.

You can also use it for personal hobbies. For example, one of my goals is to learn how to quilt, and I’ve started my own Pinterest Quilt Board here. I also happen to be fascinated with stained glass windows, which I’m having fun collecting here!

Throughout all of my writing, I have always wished for a way to share some of the sights that I see while researching and developing books for your children. Pinterest allows me to do this, and I’m so excited about it! Here are a few of my favorites (so far). Please join in the fun and follow me as I keep pinning about what I’m writing:



Well, you get the picture. J

Please comment and let me know what you think!

Amanda B.

Monday, August 22, 2011

You Asked, and We Listened - It's BACK!

Learning should be an exciting adventure – SHOULD BE but that’s not always the case, is it? I can honestly say that learning was not exciting to me UNTIL we began homeschooling with unit studies. When we made this switch, a breath of fresh air moved through our lives, and nothing has been the same since that time. With the change came the realization that education was more than books or homework or hours spent in sheer boredom.

With textbooks, I could pour facts into our children’s minds on a daily basis, but these facts seemed to disappear just as quickly. Unit studies can change this – the retention, the adventure, the family fun, and the lifetime lessons of learning and exploring, along with the ability to become self-motivated learners. Bingo! J

Unit Studies 101:

In this book, I have shared all kinds of information that should help you better understand unit studies and how they work. You will also learn how to choose our own topic, how to research and build a unit study, and how to use a unit study. Whether you are trying to better understand the concept of unit studies and how they work, or want to learn more about how my unit studies are created, or perhaps build your own unit studies, this book should be a big help.
Some of the topics addressed in Unit Studies 101 include:
  • What is a unit study and how does it work?
  • What is the difference in textbook study and unit study?
  • How do we learn?
  • The role of hands-on learning in today's children
  • Basics of using a unit study successfully
  • Creating your own unit studies
  • Choosing a topic
  • Researching your topic
  • Building your study
  • Using your study
  • Online resources for your unit study research--TIMESAVING!
  • Bringing it all together for success!
  • Amanda's unit study starters for ten favorite study topics
  • Research tips from Amanda, along with brainstorming forms and much more!

From learning styles to using unit studies with multiple children, I have included plenty of the lessons that I’ve learned over the past eighteen years. Now go on and enjoy the learning adventure!

Unit Study Journal:
The Unit Study Journal has been created just for YOU! With forms that you can fill out on the computer or print and fill out by hand, Amanda takes you by the hand and walks you through recordkeeping for unit studies. From the "Starting Point" forms where you find out what each child wants to learn about the unit study topic (when do geckos sleep, what is pizza like in Italy, etc.) to the "Books That We Used" forms that help you track those library books, Amanda’s included plenty of helpful things to give you an edge with your unit study explorations.

The Unit Study Journal is packed with even more help to get (and keep) your school year on track. It includes forms to help you keep track of:
  • Independent Reading
  • Family Read-Alouds
  • Internet Resources
  • Movie and Videos
  • Unit Study Projects
  • Field Trips
  • Unit Study Plan Calendar
  • Unit Study Assignments
  • Daily Unit Study Diary
  • And more!
Go ahead and take a peek inside this valuable resource!

Get all of this for the low introductory price of
Regularly $29.95

Be sure to subscribe to our RSS Feed or Email notifications.  You don't want to miss our exciting giveaways coming up on Fantastic Friday and our Labor Day Suprises coming soon!

Stop by and visit us on Facebook this week for more Unit Study tips, tricks and inspiration!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fantastic Football Frenzy Friday!

To celebrate our New Football Frenzy Download N Go we have 4 books to giveaway in this week's Fantastic Friday!

One - Autographed copy will go to our first winner chosen:

One Call Away: Answering Life's Challenges with Unshakable Faith  by Brenda Warner

From the Publisher:

The remarkable story of Brenda Warner’s resilient faith in the face of the unpredictable, both before and during her marriage to NFL quarterback Kurt Warner.
Brenda’s life has taken twists and turns that are stranger than fiction. It always seemed as if she was just one phone call away from the next explosive change. Each time her plans fell apart, she had a choice: would she give up, or would she press forward and learn from the unexpected? One Call Away is the inspiring story of a woman who has prevailed through many of the circumstances that discourage women: tragedy, poverty, betrayal, and humiliation. But unlike most women, her life has been on display in the media.

Brenda’s faith and God’s strength enable her to face challenge after challenge: an accident that leaves her son blind and brain damaged, a crumbling marriage, a tornado that kills her parents, a new relationship with promising football player Kurt Warner, and the pressures his sudden success brings to their growing family.

Through food stamps and funerals, Super Bowls and serving others, Brenda’s strength is unwavering. Her determination to dream new dreams, willingness to learn from her mistakes, and commitment to giving back to her community make her a role model for women of all backgrounds.

Her dreams haven’t materialized as she had imagined, but Brenda has found that God has a much bigger plan for her. Conversational and candid, One Call Away invites readers facing their own difficulties to trust God and discover hope in the future.

The next three fans chosen will get this book:

Growing Up Colt: A Father, A Son, A Life in Football
By Colt McCoy, Brad McCoy & Mike Yorkey

From the Publisher:

He vied for the Heisman and the national championship, then earned a first-round NFL draft spot. Now, Colt McCoy offers an up-close and personal view of his life, covering football, family, and faith. Growing Up Colt-A Father, a Son, a Life in Football is a unique biography by both the Cleveland Browns quarterback and his father, Brad, a highly-respected football coach in his native Texas. Describing the formative events of Colt's football experience alongside the foundational principles of his family and faith life, Growing Up Colt promises an inspiring read for football fans of all ages. Includes a full-color photo section.

"Colt and Brad McCoy have plenty to say about football, Texas, and family. They have even more to say about faith. It could change the way you live your life." -Max Lucado, Pastor and Bestselling Author

To enter this Fantastic Friday giveaway, simply leave us a comment below (not on FB) telling us what your favorite football team is. For one extra entry, "like" us on Facebook. Be sure to leave a separate comment HERE letting us know you do! You must leave an email address for us to contact you in case you win. Entries with no email address will be discarded.

Please read the Contest Specific Rules before entering.The winners will be chosen by random drawing soon after 9:00 pm CST, Sunday, August 21, 2011. Winners will be notified by email and announced here on the blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Funny Memories and Size 17 Cleats

Dear Friends,

As we prepare to move our youngest son to college in just a few days, I am thinking back over just how quickly time has gone and how much fun we've had over the years that he's played baseball. Here are a few of our favorite funny moments . . .

The first time one of the local moms in the bleachers learned that our son had to wash his own uniform, she was so upset with me. I had to laugh when I heard her mutter that homeschool moms sure are tough. :) Not tough—we just have great expectations!

Then there was the time that scouts were at a big high school tournament, and our son entertained the entire dugout as he showed off his juggling skills. Everyone in the stadium could see the show and I'm pretty sure that it was quite impressive to the scouts! :) I have to say, we were laughing with all of the other folks in the stadium, and enjoyed the show!
And there was the time our homeschool high school baseball team went to Texas to play in the regional tournament, and the parents decided to take the players to a local mall to let them stretch their legs and have some fun. In the middle of their mall-walking adventure, my husband started taking pictures of the kids having fun in the mall and was confronted by mall security. They were upset that he was taking pictures in the mall and he almost got thrown out! I can just imagine the headlines now . . .

During that same tournament, I received a frantic call about our son's cleats. They had torn open during a game, and he and his dad didn't know what to do. Realize that I was over a thousand miles away, speaking at a homeschool convention, and of course the call came right before I went on stage. My recommendation was for them to go find some duct tape, since it can fix anything. You might be wondering why they didn't just go buy another pair of cleats. Because size 17 cleats have to be special ordered—you can't pick them up at Walmart. The duct tape worked! 

So many great memories for our family, and to think that about ten years ago, we knew NOTHING about baseball! We were a football kind of family, but God had other things in mind, thank goodness. Our son is heading off to college to major in computer science and play baseball, and we are getting ready to cheer for a new team. One of the best things about this new phase of his life is that the college now buys his baseball cleats!  :)

Enjoy these days of football, baseball, soccer, or whatever sports or passions your children find to follow! The lessons learned and sweet memories made along the way are priceless and will last a lifetime.
 Amanda B.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Playbook

Today we are thrilled to welcome our guest blogger, Barb Cash! She is a long-time friend and fellow homeschool mom, as well as a very gifted writer and speaker. Her husband, Tim, is a former professional baseball player and currently pastors The Oasis Church in Loganville, GA, and they have five terrific sports-addicted kids. 

 Please welcome Barb and read the words that she shares today. Don't forget to leave a comment for her and make her feel right at home here on the USAB blog!
Many thanks,
Amanda B.

Our oldest daughter, Rachel, babysits for a member of the Atlanta Falcons. One Friday night he and his wife were going out, so she went to care for their two sweet little ones. She had not been there long when she called, obvious excitement in her voice.

"Mama, you're never going to guess what I am staring at right now!"

I quickly racked my brain to try and come up with a reasonable explanation for her fervor, but I was left wondering. I guess I should digress at this point and let you know that Rachel is a rather unusual teenage girl. She is a sports junkie, and nothing makes her come alive like a good baseball, football, or basketball game! Given that knowledge, I figured it must be sports related, but the details escaped me! I told her I gave up.

"I am staring at the playbook for the game between the Falcons and the Eagles this Sunday. The real playbook. The key to everything that is going to take place on the field this week!"

When I got done laughing and inwardly rolling my eyes, I admonished her not to even open the cover! "Oh, I wouldn't," she replied, "but it sure is one of the prettiest things I have ever seen!" (I told you she was rather unusual.) After telling her I thought it would be okay to take a picture of the cover with her phone, I hung up and shook my head. What a nut!

Last night while lying in bed, though, I revisited our conversation (with a giggle, of course) and suddenly I was struck with a thought. How many people are facing the Playbook for the game of life, but never do more than stare at the cover? You with me? I am referring to the Bible, of course!

The Falcons playbook was designed specifically for the opponent they were going to be facing that particular Sunday. The Bible was given to us so we would be prepared to meet the opponent we will go up against every day from now to eternity—Satan!

Why then do we fail to open our Playbook and read what the One who has already been victorious shares with us are our best offensive tactics? Football players know that it is to their benefit to focus on their offense and rack up the points so as to not have to rely too heavily on their defense. A good defense is necessary, but if the offense is on their game, the defense is not exhausted to quite the same extent.

It's the same for us in life. The Lord has laid out in a very clear and concise way what our best offensive plan of attack is. He has also laid out a defensive plan, but if we employ the offensive tactics, the defensive ones are not as necessary. We are able to live a victorious life without always trying to dig ourselves out of a hole.

The reality that we face an opponent who is alive and well and seeking to annihilate us at any moment is a given. Why enter the battle each day without having read the Playbook and seeing what patterns the Coach thinks we should run that day then? It's all there—everything we'll need to play effectively.

- Barb Cash

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Valuable Lessons of Teamwork

Can you believe it? Some of our children’s most lasting lessons had nothing to do with homeschooling! As parents, we stayed busy planning so many things in their lives—their spiritual and academic lessons, church activities, camp, family vacations, etc. But the lessons from sports were unexpected, indelible, and contributed so much to the adults that they are becoming. Whether football or baseball, swimming or soccer, the lessons aren’t just those involved in the outcome of the game.   

When they were old enough to become interested in sports (something that my husband and I knew nothing about), we weren’t exactly sure where softball and baseball would fit in with our plan. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and off they went, to three different teams on three different fields, and there were only two parents. You know what I am talking about, I’m sure!   

Along the way, our kids had some amazing coaches, great times with new friends, and they learned the priceless lesson of teamwork. That’s such a simple concept, and you’d think that we had that one mastered, with three children and a slew of friends and cousins and neighbors. That’s not quite the same thing as having to work with 8 or 10 relative strangers to reach a common goal. They had to learn a whole new concept: “There is no ‘I’ in TEAM!” They had to compromise, negotiate, encourage, and oftentimes lead—all priceless skills as they move into adulthood.   


Amanda B.   

Monday, August 15, 2011

Unit of the Week - Football Frenzy Download N Go

It’s Saturday, and that’s football day across most of the United States! Having grown up in a football household, I lived in the midst of football mayhem and can throw a football better than you would imagine. My dad played football as a quarterback when he attended college, and football was a fun part of my childhood. From attending neighborhood flag football games to Friday night high school games, we have many fun football memories. You and your family can share those same kinds of memories, and this new study can help with learning the basics of the game and much more.

Many of our children are interested in football, playing the game as well as watching it, and supporting a favorite team! Like many sports, football opens up a fascinating window for fun and exciting learning for children. Your child will learn about the science of football—the physics of throwing the football, the trajectory of a kicked football, and more. How do football cleats work? The history of football will introduce the origins of the game, as well as the history of the football itself.

From learning about the NFL teams to learning the roles of the offensive and defensive lines and special teams, your child will have fun with the basics of the game. With Football Frenzy Download N Go™ , the focus is on using the very popular game as a launching point for learning more about the sport, geography, history, science, and much more.

With this study/lapbook, your child will investigate all kinds of things about football, including game basics, how to play, types of equipment, and the story behind some of the popular players. Each day he will explore and investigate, creating and adding more learning components to his Football Frenzy lapbook—building a wonderful reminder of all that he is learning to be enjoyed for years to come. Let the games begin tomorrow, August 16, when this amazing study becomes available for purchase!

Be sure to stop by our Facebook page often this week. We will have lots of exciting announcements, Terrific Tuesday, and more!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fantastic Friday Flies High!

Our friends at XKites have graciously donated this Fantastic Friday Giveaway!  XKites is a maker of high performance kites.  Check out their many cool designs online here.

Need help getting your kite to fly? - XKites can even help you get your kite in the air - check out their handy tips!

Here's a description of the giveway :

1) Description: 3D Nylon 76" Wingspan Dragon Kite
2) Ripstop Fabric
3) Easy to Assemble
4) Ready to Fly includes handle and string
5) Wind Range 7-18 MPH
6) 170' of 25lb line
7) High performance Kite

Imagine the fun you and your kiddos could have flying this one!

To enter this Fantastic Friday giveaway, simply leave us a comment below (not on FB) telling us what your favorite kite memory is. For one extra entry, "like" us on Facebook. Be sure to leave a separate comment HERE letting us know you do! You must leave an email address for us to contact you in case you win. Entries with no email address will be discarded.

Please read the Contest Specific Rules before entering.The winners will be chosen by random drawing soon after 9:00 pm CST, Sunday, August 14, 2011. Winners will be notified by email and announced here on the blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Life, Lessons & Sports

Hike!” The cry could be heard up and down our neighborhood on Saturdays when I was a child. These days, football for kids is more organized, but the family fun factor is still there. Here in our small town, the beginning of football season for the youngest players is quite an event, and it is celebrated all over town. Their team colors match the local high school colors, and they are so proud of their uniforms and the chance to play. This is truly a family sport in my town!

When this young team takes the field, ages 5 and up, their helmets and shoulder pads are just about all that you can see; they closely resemble bobble-heads. Parents, siblings, grandparents, and other family members bring along lawn chairs, as well as coolers full of sports drinks, sodas, and lunch. This is when the fun begins for these families, and memories and friendships are formed.

At the Bennett house, football season is always greatly anticipated and the countdown has begun here. While we have raised baseball and softball players, everyone still has a favorite college football team, and the weekend gatherings to watch games on television are memorable. Football provided some of the earliest lessons in strategy, along with an understanding of the importance of teamwork. They learned about the dedication to faith and God-given talents of some Christian college athletes. Our kids still follow the lives and accomplishments of these dedicated young men who are now professional football players, missionaries, and more.

There have been some priceless lessons along the way—lessons about life and sports and kids. I hope that you and your crew can find the same kinds of lessons as you travel along your adventures in learning. Life lessons from sports—who knew that learning could be so much fun?

- Amanda

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Some Kite Capers Blog Fun!

We thought it might be fun to show you what some of our blogging friends did with Kite Capers Download N Go -  Check these out!

Wait until you see the Kites these kiddos made!  Check out their adventure here.

A day by day description of what you will be learning!

This family shows you some books they used, and the kites they drew!

 Copywork is included in this unit as well.

And Kite Cookies too!

Love the fun indoor kites these guys made!

We hope you enjoyed spending some time with our friends and their kites.  Doesn't it inspire you?  Do you have a Kite Caper to share with us? 

Be sure to subscribe to our email or RSS feed feature (it's NEW) You'll get an update whenever we add something.   You won't want to miss our Fanstastic Friday Giveaway this week!

Share your pictures with us on our Facebook page - we love seeing your kiddos and their kites!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The NEW DNG Teacher's Guide

Finally, it's HERE . . .
the brand new DNG Teacher's Guide!

Custom-made for use with the One Year DNG package, this guide is loaded with features and forms that will provide what you need to plan a year of fun with DNG!

This 63-page guide includes everything you'll need to have a stress-free year using Download N Go unit studies. Full of great information and powerful tools, it includes:

  • Answers to frequently asked questions about using unit studies
  • An extensive topical index (similar to a scope and sequence), to help you document what your children learn during the year
  • A one-year plan to guide you through the year using the 36 Download N Go studies included in the One Year DNG package
  • More than 40 pages of interactive forms to journal and document your learning adventures throughout the year

This guide provides the tools you need to jump right in and begin using Download N Go unit studies with confidence. Enjoy the adventure!

Take a peek inside this guide.

Here’s what another homeschooling parent has to say about the DNG Teacher's Guide:

"I just finished looking at the DNG Teacher's Guide and I think it is WONDERFUL!!
The DNG Teacher Guide is a great resource to all parents, but especially to those who are following a unit study approach to homeschooling, specifically those using Download-n-Go's (or other of USAB's unit studies).

The one year topical index is awesome. You can go to any one section and see which units will cover which topics. You could also scan through and see which units cover specific things like specific artists, Biblical characters and traits, presidents, historical figures, countries, inventors and even what animals would be discovered. Then the One Year Plan (which is also linked, HOW COOL!) is a visual of when you could cover each unit! Love it!!

The best part of the DNG Teacher Guide are the printables. You can use them all year with customization for each child. And the best part . . . all the printables relate specifically to the unit study model of homeschooling. You could print a bunch of them out, stick them in a 3-ringed binder and add to them as the year progresses.

Thank you so much Amanda for letting me get a 'preview' of this teacher guide. I think it is AWESOME! You truly have a heart for the homeschooling parent!"

—Kellyann Walker

Kites & Kids

“Let’s go fly a kite, Mom!” When the wind and the weather would cooperate, this chorus could be heard at our house when our children were younger. Is there any feeling more powerful to a child than to be the one who gets to hang on to the kite string spool and feel the strong tug of a kite in flight?

We built kites from scratch, using all kinds of kid-tested materials: drinking straws, balsa wood, craft sticks, tissue paper, plastic wrap, and pieces of old rags for the kite tails. We had a blast! They learned about the basics of flight and the importance of hanging on to the string spool—all valuable lessons in understanding the world of “what goes up, must come down.” Eventually. Hopefully where it can be retrieved.

Take some time this week and build a kite with your crew. Let them try all kinds of materials and designs; you’ll find plenty of tips and links in Kite Capers. You can even learn how to launch a kite WITHOUT running halfway across the park!

After you all build the kite, pack a lunch and head for a nice open space. Take along the camera—the photo opportunities are priceless! Let your kids be kids, and you can join in the fun.

Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest heights . . .

- Amanda

Monday, August 8, 2011

Unit of the Week - Kite Capers Download N Go

There are some things that I think every child should be able to experience, and kite flying is close to the top of the list. From the first thrill of building their own kite to the successful launch of the kite -
“I did it!”— these are exciting memories that children will carry for a lifetime. Because of this, the topic of kites makes for a fun study and lapbook adventure for the whole family.

From the history of kites, which takes us around the globe, to the science of how a kite flies, there is much to be learned in this study. What better way to learn about the wind and how forces work? From simple diamond kites to stunt kites on the beach, our family has always enjoyed kite flying, and we have made so many great memories on these adventures. With this study/lapbook your child will investigate all kinds of things about kites, including the history of kites, types of kites, how kites fly, and how they are enjoyed across the globe.

Each day he will explore and investigate, creating and adding more learning components to his Kite Capers lapbook—building a wonderful reminder of all that he is learning to be enjoyed for years to come.

From developing an understanding of the basics of how a kite is made and how it works to learning about Benjamin Franklin’s own kite experiment, this is going to be an exciting adventure. Your child will be learning about:

*The history of kites
*How a kite flies
*Kite safety
*Kites around the world

Along the way, there will be science discoveries, such as learning about the wind and clouds. Your student will also learn a bit of history and geography as he studies the different types of kites and the way kites are enjoyed around the world.

Be sure to visit our Facebook page this week to find more kite fun.  And, you won't believe the cool giveaway we have on Fantastic Friday!   Remember to subscribe to our RSS Feed or Email notifications so you won't miss what's going on here on the blog!