Knowledge House Newsletter

Homeschool Information... Ideas... and Inspiration

Happy New Year!

~ January 2010 ~

Dear Readers,

I'm featuring a bunch of items related to the New Year in this issue, but before we get started I'd just like to tie up some loose ends from last year. You may recall my son's community service project, collecting footwear for the homeless. Thanks to so many generous people (you know who you are!), he not only met but exceeded his goal. He collected a total of 698 pairs of shoes and 1125 pairs of socks!

The new socks were individually wrapped in holiday paper and distributed to the homeless through Shoebox Ministry. He learned that the socks they give out are sometimes the only Christmas presents the recipients receive.

He and his friends took the rest of the shoes and socks to an event called Cover the Homeless. The organizers of this event had gathered only about 300 pairs of shoes and slightly more socks, so our contribution more than doubled their supply. Hundreds of homeless men, women, and children came from nearby shelters, and the teens were able to give the shoes and socks directly to the people who needed them.

You can view a few photos of the final results at

Click Here for January
Holidays & Special Days

Freebie(s) of the Month*

Start the New Year off Right!

Download a replica of Ben Franklin’s virtue chart. Every evening, review your day and give yourself a mark if you transgressed the week's virtue. The goal is to live your days without having to place any marks on your chart.

See Also: a completely blank template, with only days of the week. You can print this out and write in your own virtues and descriptions or use it for tracking daily exercises, etc.

Franklin also created what may have been the original Day-Timer. Download a replica of Franklin's Order of the Day chart based on his scheme of employment for the twenty-four hours of a natural day. Print this out and use it to organize your own day.

(*Requires Adobe Reader: click here for free download.)

Featured Article

2000-2009 Timeline

Happy New Year! Well, are you glad the 00’s are over? Technically, of course, December 31, 2009 was not the last day of the decade. December 31, 2010 is! That’s because there is no year “0.” Therefore, the first day of the first decade on our calendar was January 1st in the year “1.” So the last day of that decade is actually December 31st, year “10.” Just like the last day of the last decade was really December 31, 2000, although everyone was already celebrating the arrival of a New Millennium at midnight on December 31, 1999. Having readied ourselves for the Y2K Bug to cause world chaos (and either feeling a sense of relief or saying “I told you so” when nothing happened), the tragedy that actually did materialize on 9/11 came as a complete shock to everyone. Click here for a 2000-2009 Timeline. My personal family timeline goes as follows:

April 4, 2000 - Our third child, Joshua Paul, is born.
March 2001 - My husband, Rich, is laid off from a company he worked at for 15 years.
April 2001 - Rich gets a new job.
April 6, 2002 - My grandmother dies at age 96.
June 2002 - Rich is laid off.
September 2002 - Rich gets a new job.
January 2004 - Rich is laid off.
March 12, 2004 - Rich's mother passes away from cancer.
June 2004 - Rich gets a new job.
July 22, 2004 - My first book, Learning for Life, is published.
September 2005 - Rich is laid off.
June 2006 - Rich gets a new job.
September 2007 - Rich climbs a 14,000 ft. Rocky Mountain peak for his 50th birthday.
May 30, 2008 - Our oldest son, Peter, homeschooled all his life, graduates high school.
September 25, 2008 - We revisit our favorite honeymoon places for our 20th Anniversary.
October 30, 2008 - Rich is laid off.
November 27, 2008 - A packrat causes $4,000 damage to our one and only vehicle.
November 2008 - Peter is awarded a full tuition scholarship at the community college.
March 2009 - Peter's appendix ruptures and he misses two weeks of school.
October 2009 - Rich finally gets a job, only to be let go after a month.
December 2009 - Teri logs over 2000 miles on her exercise bike. My original goal was 1000 miles but now that I know it can be done I've set a 2000-mile goal for this year. ;)

Talk about ups and downs! Time Magazine called the last ten years the “decade of sorrows” and said it was “one heart-breaking disaster after another.” How true, and that was certainly the case for me and my family. If I was a superstitious person, I would have sworn I’d broken a mirror and been cursed with seven years of bad luck. Except that the bad luck didn’t stop after the seventh year! Kind of ironic when we were so excited about a new millennium, to have it start out like this. And yet...

We have to remember that even if bad times do last a long time, they won’t last forever. For everything there is a season. Good times and bad times come and go, like drought cycles or the ebb and flow of ocean tides. No matter what, there is always hope for a better tomorrow. That’s one thing that can never be taken away. After all, the Bible says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Of course, He doesn't say it will happen overnight! While we're waiting, we must do our best to enjoy the life that God has given us at this moment in time and have faith that our luck will change one of these days.

Blessings to you all and best wishes for a happy, healthy new year!

E-book(s) of the Month

Homeschool Mission Statement

How to Write a Homeschool Mission Statement - The new year is a good time to re-think and re-organize your homeschool. Perhaps the excitement of beginning school in the fall has worn off and the mid-winter doldrums combined with the anxiety of all you have yet to cover has you feeling overwhelmed. In addition, you may have noticed that the busyness of daily life seems to distract you from the things that matter most. The whole family can get back on track by sitting down together and compiling a homeschool mission statement to assist in guiding you from this day forward. My easy-to-follow step-by-step guide explains how. Download this 36-page e-book for only $4.95! Click here for more details.

Benjamin Franklin’s Proverbs

Ben Franklin's Proverbs - We’ve all heard the advice "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." Benjamin Franklin had this to say and much more in his Poor Richard’s Almanac. This e-book features over 100 of Ben's best proverbs, along with lined pages for children's copywork with appropriate quotes, additional lessons and writing assignments for all ages. Makes a great Language Arts unit study! Also great for penmanship practice! HINT: National Handwriting Day is coming up on January 23. Practicing better handwriting would be a good New Year's resolution! Start by copying Ben Franklin's Proverbs. Only $4.95! Click here for more details.*

*I've seen a 15-page e-book of Ben Franklin's Proverbs on sale elsewhere for $3.99, so I think this one is a great deal considering it's 36 pages and includes supplemental lessons!

Quote of the Month

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.” ~Charles Dickens

Famous Homeschoolers

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart was born on January 27, 1756. He showed remarkable musical aptitude at an early age. Mozart never went to school and was tutored by his father in all subjects including music, languages, and academics. One of the few composers to master both the opera and the symphony, Mozart created over 600 different compositions in a wide range of musical genres during his brief lifetime. What did Mozart and Albert Einstein have in common? Click here to find out: (Each month I will highlight another famous homeschooler.)

Verse of the Month

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

Reading Between the Lines

Manga Messiah
The greatest story ever told, about the most controversial man who ever lived, in the most popular graphic novel format on earth! Tyndale House is publishing a whole series of Christian manga, offering positive content with accurate Biblical messages. My son got one of these books for Christmas, and it's excellent! Manga Messiah and the Manga Bible have been out since 2007. These were followed by Manga Mutiny in 2008, and Manga Metamorphosis in 2009. Fans can also look forward to Manga Malech (Fall 2010) and Manga Messengers (Fall 2011). These are all produced by a talented team of Japanese artists, writers, and manga industry professionals. If you're an anime fan and want to learn more about this series, or if you have no idea what manga even is, read my review.

Rent Faith-Friendly Movies Online at

Learning Links

  • The New Year (Here's our chance to start over, to do it right this time, to have another chance at success, to simply accomplish something that we want to finish.)

  • New Year Resolutions (Haven't thought of a resolution yet? Try picking one or more from the list! Do you really want to keep your resolutions this year? Here are a few goal-setting tips.)

  • Homeschool Resolutions (Even though it's the middle of the school year, the new year is an excellent time for re-assessment and mid-course corrections.)

  • Let it Snow (Fun facts about snow! Includes Eskimo names for different kinds of snow.)

  • The Snowflake Man (Wilson A. Bentley, homeschooled by his mother, had a unique hobby of studying snowflakes.)

  • Teddy Bears (January 18 is Winnie-the-Pooh Day. This silly old bear and his friends are perhaps the most famous stuffed animals of all time. Learn all about the history of Teddy Bears.)

  • Robert E. Lee (January 19 is a day of celebration in some southern states, because it is the birthday of Robert E. Lee. As a child he was taught at home by his mother, and his own children were homeschooled by his wife.)

  • Handwriting & Penmanship (National Handwriting Day is coming up on January 23. This article contains tips for teaching handwriting and ideas on how to improve penmanship. Practicing better handwriting would be a good New Year's resolution! You can start by copying Benjamin Franklin's Proverbs.)

  • My Products

    Learning for Life Gardening for Wildlife How to Write a Homeschool Mission Statement  Abraham Lincoln: The Boy, the Man Citizens Rule Book
    Psalm 23 Ben Franklin's Proverbs Easy Money Gifts Gifts for all Occasions
    My Websites

    Knowledge House

    Homeschool Patriot

    Little Brick Schoolhouse

    Homeschooling Teen

    Homeschool Hall of Fame

    Famous Homeschoolers

    Arizona Edventures

    A Note From Teri...

    May the year ahead bring
    health and happiness;
    hearts that love each other;
    strength and perseverance;
    people helping one another;
    a renaissance of values such
    as family, faith, and freedom;
    the spirit of God within us
    as a living temple for Him;
    children safe from any injury;
    forgiveness of the past;
    no more terror, war or poverty;
    and peace on earth at last.

    Happy Homeschooling!

    Copyright © 2010 by Teri Ann Berg Olsen, To subscribe to this free e-newsletter, simply send a blank e-mail to and then
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