Friday, August 31, 2012

It's our Unbelievable, Incredible, Awesome Sale!

What do you do when you're trying to homeschool several children at different levels?
What if they having varying strengths and diverse interests?
How about opposite learning styles?
Plus -  


It's not too late to make this the

We have an Unbelievable, Incredible, Awesome deal for you...

Get the whole collection of 15 - 4 week Unit Study Adventures for just $100 on a CD!  That's right, 60 weeks of learning (almost 2 full school years) for just $1.50 per week!
Regularly $200

Better hurry, we have limited quantities available - prices good thru 9/3/12, or while they last.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Views from My Rearview Mirror - Part Two

When we made the decision to homeschool, we were considered to be very “different” and unconventional, by both family and neighbors alike. Things are a bit easier in that department these days. Thankfully, we had an exciting time of exploration and adventure, and there isn’t much that we would change if we had it to do all over again. The changes might come along these lines:

1.    Have more individualized focus on each child, they are so very different and unique.

2.    Focus more on the child, not the “information they need to know” kinds of lists.

3.    Expand the family’s horizons—as individuals and as a family.

4.    Listen more, talk less—avoiding the “transmit only” mode.

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

6.    Keep reminding ourselves that they are learning by watching what we do more than what we say.
Remember, homeschooling is not just about learning academic material. It is about opening the envelope of each child’s imagination with wonder and awe—feeding their desire to learn more, to investigate, to discover and pursue their unique God-given gifts and talents. Enjoy these days!

Looking back now, what one change would you have made last year that might have helped?


Amanda B.

PS - Did you miss it?  Read Part One now.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Beware of Letting Your Child Love Animals!

Not a dire warning, just a parent-to-parent heads-up. Here’s a rundown of our story:

One child loves animals, and I encourage her interest by writing the very first Dogs unit study. By the time we finish the study, our household dog count is three dogs.

The same child continues to love animals as she grows. We become the owners of all kinds of other creatures: numerous guinea pigs, rabbits, and other small mammals. Lots of cedar shavings and cage cleaning are required, and dogs must be kept separate from small mammals (aka appetizers).

Same child follows her love of animals and is accepted into veterinary college. At this point, we only have three dogs. She pursues her studies with a passion. Christmas vacation during her first year of grad school is spent reading a bird anatomy textbook aloud around the Christmas tree to help her study, everyone gathering to hear the information with fascination. By the time she finishes veterinary college, the dog count at our house is up to SIX dogs.

Be careful of letting them follow their passions; they just might find exactly what the Lord put them here to do!


Amanda B.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Buggy Beginnings

For those of you who aren’t aware, my husband and I have been married for MANY years, and that suits us just fine. We’ve grown up together, raised three children, made some amazing memories, and then, well, there are his collections. Over the years, his tastes in collecting have changed, and that series of changes is a story of its own.

When I met him in college, he was majoring in entomology: insects to him, bugs to the rest of us. Part of his studies included developing a huge collection of all kinds of insects, all pinned, labeled, and kept in these glass-covered display drawers. Enough to give most of us nightmares, in my humble opinion.

What I didn’t know BEFORE marrying him was that the bugs that he caught for his collection had to be stored in bags in the FREEZER until he had time to sit down and pose and pin these creatures. Now just let me say, the whole premise of being a perfect new wife usually involves dinner preparation and candlelight, right?

Suffice it to say I did NOT know that frozen hamburger looked that much like a bag of frozen bugs! Oh my word—you can’t imagine my surprise when I arrived home from work that day and got ready to cook dinner with the freezer bag of “meat” that I had been thawing in the refrigerator. No meatloaf that night!

Collections change, people change, but love remains. I’ll share more about our adventures with his collections one of these days. Right now, I think I’m going to go find him and give him a hug for giving up bugs . . .


PS - Speaking of bugs..  the NEW Incredible Insects Download N Go is just $5 this week!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Unbelievable Creatures! Classic Life Science Resource Library

Would you like to make life science truly come alive
for your young students?

Be one of the first to own the new
Life Science Collection

Children are fascinated by living creatures. From the power and beauty of horses to the wonders and abilities of the tiniest insect, they want to know every detail; and what they learn now, on their own investigations, will create memories that will last a lifetime. Knowing this, we have assembled the Download N Go Classic Life Science Collection (which includes the brand new Incredible Insects study)--a great and affordable library to have on hand. You never know when kids will discover something that will capture their attention, teach them volumes, and provide entertainment and funny, shared tales for many years.

I wish I could share more of our stories about this kind of spontaneous learning, but here is one of my favorites. While digging in the yard, the children of one family discovered some animal bones and wanted to know more about the animal, of course. What kind of animal was it? They carefully arranged the bones on the picnic table, spending days researching the animal's joints, assembling its legs, connecting the ribs to the spine, and reconstructing the jaws and teeth. After putting the whole thing together, they determined it was the skeleton of a gray fox! Just imagine the looks on the faces of their dinner guests the next weekend when the mom told the kids to "get the fox off the table" as they prepared to eat dinner!

I've researched and written these studies to make it easy for you and your crew to explore all kinds of animals with your children. With this special half-price sale on the Classic Life Science Collection, you can make this the year your family will remember for a lifetime!


Amanda B.

Our Back-to-School Giveaways continue
Enter to win . . .

Teaching Textbooks
To help celebrate Classic Life Science week, the folks at Teaching Textbooks have generously donated one Math 3 complete set, valued at $119.90.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 24, 2012

Views from My Rearview Mirror - Part One

Over the past eighteen years, our family has experienced a circus of life-changing events—actually, just life itself. We moved twice, launched our homeschooling adventure, survived raising three toddlers, wrote over 90 books, survived teaching three teenagers to drive, traveled across the country encouraging homeschooling families, launched three children off on college pursuits, and experienced farm life firsthand—and we have loved it. Through it all, we have homeschooled, and are blessed to have been able to pursue this course.

People ask me how I can stay so calm and upbeat through it all and I respond that I have learned three very important lessons. First and foremost, my faith has never failed me—never. Second, always stay flexible and expect the unexpected. Third, this day is a gift—and I will never, ever, have this time to spend again—I must use it wisely.

What do I know now that I wish we had known when we first started homeschooling?

The things that count can’t be counted.
  1. Time goes by too quickly to worry about or obsess over small things, like whether or not my child can read by the time they are five years old, etc.
  2. Keep the big picture in the forefront—getting from point A (beginning homeschooling) to point B (finish homeschooling)—remember that perspective is key to success. While we might miss algebra for this week due to family illness, we will still focus on the desired outcome, a well-rounded and enthusiastic learner by the time high school is complete.
  3. Homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep your eye on the big picture, not what happened or did not happen today or this week.

What would you add to my list?


Amanda B.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It’s Up To You . . . They Are Watching!

When our children were younger, one of my favorite things to do during campaign season was to teach them about elections by getting involved in the process as a family, using a unit-study approach. J From reading about the childhoods of some of our presidents, the stories of the Founding Fathers, volunteering to help with campaigns when the kids were old enough, and taking them along to vote from when they were tiny tots to their first time voting as adults, we set the pace and stayed involved in the process. After all, they learn by watching us!

There are so many wonderful lessons about government and responsibility, and they finally begin to understand that we ARE the government. Government is not some separate company or corporation like Wal-Mart or McDonalds—it is a group of people that we elect to represent our family. This vital concept is one that they will share with the next generation and on and on.

The upcoming elections present a great season to learn about government, elections, heroes, and American history, and I’m thrilled to be able to share some of our family’s lessons along the way.

Main tips:

1. Keep the learning simple and matched to the age. Hold mock elections at home, voting on dessert or family vacation destinations to give them an idea of majority rule. J

2. As they grow older, start discussing some of the major local, state, and national issues that will be part of this year’s election. Challenge them to investigate the issues and form their own opinions, and listen with open ears and minds to what they discover.

3. Have fun with these topics, letting them see that candidates and elected officials are real people who were once children full of fun and laughter, and most of them raised families as they led our country.

4. If your area has town-hall type meetings, take the older children to attend some of them so they can listen and learn how the process works.

5. If at all possible, take them with you when you vote. This is a great activity for many types of learners, and it’s unforgettable!

Now take off and enjoy the learning adventure—this can be SO much more interesting and important than any dull, boring textbook on government!


Amanda B.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Freedom, Government, and Elections - Teach Your Children Well

Political parties. Debates. Platforms. Electoral College. You and your family are going to be hearing about these over and over again in the next 11 weeks. So, what do these terms mean, and how will America decide who gets elected?

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a simple-to-use collection of Amanda's best American government resources on hand in the months ahead? These tools are so easy for the whole family to use.

For a limited time, we are offering the American Government 2012 Resource Library which includes: 
American Government Resource Library
$54.75 value

That's not all...

Don't miss this fantastic giveaway . . . 
This week the folks at have generously donated a $100 gift card for our giveaway! Whether you're shopping for curriculum, music, fiction books, or even gifts, has a HUGE selection of wonderful products.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Reason to Study Geography!

This great big wide world—what a place to roam and explore! When God created earth, He created a place that is custom made for us, filling it with all kinds of plants and animals living in amazingly different places. As we homeschool, we have the perfect opportunity to explore His world and its geography through the lens of faith and the Great Commission.

Geography can be such an exciting part of learning. By studying the many places of the world, students can get to know the power and creativity of our heavenly Father. From the top of Mount Everest to the depths of the Mariana Trench, they will begin to understand the astounding variety of people, places, climates, and cultures around the world.

Before launching into geography, take time to help your students develop an understanding of the Great Commission, where Jesus instructs His disciples to go to ALL nations:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18–20 NIV)

This passage captures the heart of His will for Christians around the world, and it is important for your children to understand what it means. When you are teaching them this passage, and you get to the “all nations” part, take a moment to show them where ALL the nations are on the world map or globe. They need to see just how big the world is and how many nations there are that need to be reached!
Amanda B.
PS - Our Classic Geography Collection is a great way to introduce your children to the World!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back to School Classics - Geography!

First impressions are long lasting.
Download N Go Expedition studies make those first experiences an exciting journey that they will always remember.

Children are all naturally curious about faraway places. They want to know about the people who live there, what the weather is like, what kinds of houses they live in, the foods they eat, the animals they see, and the kinds of games that the children play. Download N Go Expedition studies do just that, and all of the work is done for you--the studies are ready for immediate use, no prep required!

Fan the flames of curiosity by taking them on unforgettable interactive journeys to places around the world, sharing delights that will captivate them and turn the study of geography into a daily safari of fun learning. With seven titles to choose from, your students can experience these virtual travel adventures with videos, crafts, easy-to-make recipes, and the music of each country. To cap off the fun and reinforce the learning, they can build an integrated lapbook as the study progresses.

Classic Geography Collection

Through 8/18/12 - ONLY $25

 (Just $3.57 Per Study)

Through 8/18/12 - Just $5 Each

Africa, Australia, China, Israel, Ireland, Canada, Mexico

Make this year one that is a positive learning adventure for you and your child. As a mom of three, I know just what it is like to face a new school year and search for curriculum that will excite them AND not make our family life so very complex. When I write and create, it is to help meet both of these needs, and include geography, history, science, art, and so much more!


Amanda B.

Celebrate Back-to-School with our
Rosetta Stone Spanish Latin America Level 1

To help celebrate Classic Geography week, our friends at Rosetta Stone have generously donated one Spanish Latin American Level 1 Homeschool program, valued at $159.

Rosetta Stone Homeschool features a foreign language curriculum specially designed to provide homeschool students with a rich, fully interactive and engaging language-learning experience, while giving parents the tools and resources needed to manage student progress without extensive planning or supervision.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Olympic Reflections

Welcome back to Nicolene, our UK insider!  

If you missed her guest post about an Inside View of the Olympics 2012, you can read it hereToday she's sharing her reflections on the Olympics.

All of a sudden, I find myself here in the final week of the London 2012 Olympics. A couple more days, and it will all be over. An event we have been anticipating for several years has now come to a close. It was certainly worth the wait.

Our family has had so much fun! We have gained a wealth of knowledge and a huge understanding of the wide range of emotions seen at the Games—compassion, determination, and pride being just a few.

Though the Olympics were just two weeks long, we have been enjoying the build-up for a lot longer, participating in almost every Olympic-themed event we could. The first and most enjoyable was the torch relay, an event we could not wait to be part of. We tracked the torch almost daily via TV and Internet from its initial landing back in May to the day of the opening ceremony. It was an activity that gave my children a much greater understanding of the geography of the country they live in. We were lucky enough to travel to three different towns to watch the torch go by, and each time was a truly unique experience and an emotional event. Each torchbearer with his or her own story and being part of the thousands of people there to cheer support and encouragement—amazing!

Though we were not able to attend the Olympics, we found ourselves blessed enough to experience a pre-Olympic visit to London just days before the opening ceremony. What an adventure it was—an experience we will never forget and a memory my children will hold forever. The streets were decorated with hundreds of flags to welcome all the athletes arriving from around the world. We bumped into uniformed Olympic workers complete with official name badges and saw soldiers brought in from Afghanistan in training for Olympic security. These were all wonderful learning experiences for my family.

Since the opening ceremony was way past our little ones’ bedtime, we brought down our pillows and blankets, nestled up on the floor with a snack picnic, and literally waited for the games to begin. The children were so excited, cheering along holding their Olympic mascot toys Wenlock, Mandeville, and the team GB lion. It was lovely to share the historic moment together.

Watching the games has been wonderful and truly inspiring not only for my children but friends’ children too. There has been many a lump in the throat when I hear the backstories of some of the athletes. And for the children to see their determination has added a little mortar to the building of their characters. Who knows how many budding young future athletes will come from these Games? We have already been discussing how old each child will be by the time the next Olympics comes around. We’ve talked about which of them would be old enough to participate in the Games, what sports they think they could achieve in, and the scientific makeup of the medals.

This has been an opportunity to give my children one of the richest learning experiences of their lives so far, and sharing it with others through the unit study Olympics co-op on Facebook has just been the icing on the cake.

Nicolene Barnes and family
High Peak, Derbyshire, U.K.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Classic Geography Collection Giveaway

Our giveaway will help keep the International Celebration going after the Olympics end!

 The Classic Geography Collection

Expedition AfricaExpedition Ireland
Expedition Australia                  Expedition Israel
Expedition CanadaExpedition Mexico
Expedition China

7 studies
  retail value of $55.65

Download N Go unit studies are interactive and engaging one-week studies that are cross-curricular (include history, geography, science, etc.). They include integrated lapbooking components, and are ready to use immediately—no preparation required. Don't be surprised if your students wake up each day, asking what they will get to do for school that day!

These studies contain daily lessons and lapbook instructions designed for K - 4 students—woven together with eye-pleasing pages and interactivity based on exciting themes—ready for immediate use. There are no expensive resources required; these units are complete and very affordable. Many homeschoolers love this method because it works so well for simultaneously teaching multiple age levels.

Take a trip around the world and keep the celebration going!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Taking Care of You - Part Eight

Welcome back to our “Taking Care of YOU” series. This is the final installment in this series.  If you missed any parts please click on these links—Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7—to read those posts before continuing here.

   Find ways to help others.

Along with hobbies, it is important to many of us to give back to our community. Can you read to the elderly, sew nap quilts for the abused children's home, or help out at the library from time to time? You will find that time spent in service to others not only improves your community, but also your own outlook.

I hope that these last few weeks’ suggestions have helped you to see the importance of taking care of YOU, the caretaker! When you get some time to continue your own personal growth, you will find more patience with your family and your homeschooling efforts.

As you begin to take care of your needs, your children will learn a valuable lesson—that everyone has needs that are very important. As parents, our needs tend to get pushed to the background and set aside, and this isn't healthy for the individual or the family.

Remember to seek help and support when you are feeling stressed. You are not alone, and your needs are very important! As they say around our house, "When Mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy!"

Take care of YOU, and God bless!

Amanda B.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Scotland, Geography, and the Learn to Burn Gene

Many times in my life as a wife and mom, I have had a tendency to forget that I was cooking. I would easily become totally wrapped up in some project with the kids or writing a new book and forget that I was cooking. I own the website—seriously! For all of these years, I thought that I was simply domestically challenged. However, while learning about the nations of the U.K. with our children, I made a HUGE discovery!

When we began learning about Scotland, land of our ancestors, the children wanted to learn more about our family’s clan. In the process of doing this, we investigated the clan castle and some of our wilder ancestors. The kids LOVED this part and still tell the tales of these great, wild forefathers. All of this was wonderful, and they loved the history, beauty, science, people, and stories of Scotland. But there was ONE more bonus lesson in the mix for me, the homeschooling mom who can’t cook.
Just imagine my surprise when I learned that our clan’s ancestral castle suffered a major fire back in the 13th century after it was newly built. As we were reading this and imagining the horror of the fire, the kids could NOT figure out why I started laughing and couldn’t quit. I finally shared my research “find.” The fire started in the main kitchen area! J
Amanda B.
PS - Our Passport Geography titles are all on sale this week - don't miss the opportunity to explore Europe with your family!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Join the Adventure - The World is Waiting for you!

Which would you rather have learned geography from: a dry and boring textbook OR a virtual field trip, full of interesting places, people, science, history, the arts, the food, and much more? Here's your chance to take off on a learning adventure!

Pack up and get ready to travel across Europe with Amanda Bennett's new Passport Geography series! These one-week unit studies were developed to provide your student with virtual tours of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and now Italy too. Each study explores the geography of the nation, as well as some of its history, art, literature, landmarks, and interesting people.

Get the entire family in on the adventure! Whether you have elementary, high school, or a range of students, there are options to suit your needs.  This week we're not only spotlighting the newest Passport study, Passport Italy, but we're also featuring the entire series with special, discounted pricing.

For a limited time--Buy 5, Save $5 More!

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the second week of our Olympics 2012Facebook Co-op!

 Last week was quite a learning adventure at the London Olympics, as well as here on our Facebook gathering. There were some spectacular achievements and touching moments of firsts and finals for athletes Gabby Douglas, Oscar Pistorius, and Michael Phelps. One thing we have seen over and over again is that athletes who make it to the Olympics work hard, train hard, and give it everything they’ve got—they never quit.

The stories and testimonies of Christian athletes have spoken to our hearts and strengthened our faith. One of my favorite quotes so far was from Gabby Douglas when she won the gold medal: “I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to Him and the blessings fall down on me.”

This week, we are going to see some fantastic competition in areas like athletics, cycling, diving, and volleyball. We will meet many more athletes and hear their stories of trial, perseverance, and incredible effort—and their stories will stay with us for years to come. Through stories of country, culture, faith, and training, they will teach us about struggle and facing challenges.

Thanks for joining us as we continue our Olympics Co-op! I look forward to sharing and seeing what you discover and share in this coming week of the games.


 Amanda B.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Giveaway to Help You Get Away!

Do you wish you could take a month-long trip to Europe?  See the amazing sites, explore historic places, experience the local culture, and eat the delicious food--but don't have room in your budget?

 USAB has a giveaway to help you get away! 

4 Titles--United Kingdom, France, Germany and NEW--Italy  

Passport Geography - these one-week studies use a cross-curricular approach (covering geography, history, science, etc.) to take you on virtual journeys around the globe. Each  K - 12 Combo Package is interactive, including daily lessons for both elementary grades and Jr/Sr High grades, with no prep required.

Each study is an in-depth, virtual field trip, a complete immersion into the country so that the student will see things as a "whole" instead of bits and pieces learned throughout their education.

Lapbooking, included in the Scout level (K - 6), brings a lively, creative project appeal to this series in a simple, ready-to-use format. These activities are made to be easy enough for a beginner, but "meaty” enough for children who have been lapbooking for a long time.

Research and writing skills are especially emphasized for the Explorer Level for Jr/Sr High grades. Reading skills are honed using the various books studied. Thinking skills mature through hands-on activities and problem analysis.

So, are you ready to go? 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Taking Care of You - Part Seven

Welcome back to our “Taking Care of YOU” series. This is part 6. . If you missed Part 1, 2, 3 or 4 please click on these links—Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6—to read those posts before continuing here.


         Make time to see just how far you have come!

Go back through photo albums and scrapbooks occasionally. Look back over goals from years past. See just how far your family has come. You may also notice some new directions that need to be taken.

Stay tuned right here for the final “Taking Care of YOU” post in just a few days!


Amanda B.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

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