Knowledge House Newsletter

Homeschool Information... Ideas... and Inspiration

~ January 2011 ~

Dear Readers,

Happy New Year! Did you notice that no one was giving away free promotional calendars this year? Usually I get them from various organizations and businesses, but after Christmas I realized that I didn't have a 2011 calendar. So this year I decided to make my own! Although I keep a list of holidays and special days on my website, I forget to look at them on a regular basis. Now I won't miss any because I've listed the special days right on the calendar! In each issue of this newsletter I will share a copy of two months at a time. (I didn't have time to make the whole year at once.) Find my downloadable calendar pages under "Freebies of the Month."

Teri's Sig

Featured Article

Homeschool Resolutions

If you're like me, your New Year’s resolution probably is: "This year I will do all of the things that I didn’t get to finish last year." LOL! Of course if the new year is really going to be any different, it means that you have to actually make some changes, not just continue in your wishful thinking. It might help to read this article that I wrote. See also the sample homeschool resolutions below:

1. I will develop a homeschool mission statement and follow it.
2. I will re-examine our curriculum choices and make changes if necessary.
3. I won’t get upset when my homeschool fails to run “smoothly” based on a made-up schedule or pre-set timeline.
4. If our homeschool schedule is not practical, I will change it.
5. I resolve to keep our schoolroom neat and organized. (Really, I will!)
6. I resolve to keep our homeschool records updated and accurate.
7. I will not compare my family to other homeschooling families.
8. I will not covet the free time that my neighbor has because her children are in public school.
9. I resolve to always spend my time and money wisely.
10. I resolve to always treat my children respectfully.
11. I resolve to acknowledge each of my children’s unique strengths and gifts.
12. I resolve to use those unit studies that I bought last year and haven’t touched yet.
13. I resolve to not get discouraged when I have bad days, but to call a friend who I can count on to empathize with me and encourage me in some way.
14. I will watch that fine line between giving up on something too easily, and knowing when it’s best to go on to something else for the time being.
15. I resolve to assist a beginning homeschool family in getting started.
16. I resolve to actively participate in a local homeschool group.
17. I resolve to take some regular time off for relaxation and reflection, and to maintain my mental and physical fitness.
18. I resolve to do my best to keep my patience and sustain my enthusiasm.
19. I resolve to trust in God’s help and pray for the Lord to bless my homeschooling efforts.
20. Finally, I know I’m not a perfect person, so I won’t expect my child to be a perfect student.

Book of the Month

Easy Homeschooling Series

This wonderful set of books by a veteran homeschool mom will provide refreshing encouragement and practical motivation throughout the year!

3 Books for $30 - plus FREE shipping!

1. Easy Homeschooling Techniques
2. Easy Homeschooling Curriculum
3. Easy Homeschooling Companion

Click here for detailed book descriptions!

Get ALL 3 BOOKS (valued at $57) for ONLY $30!*
OR purchase one or more individual titles - also on sale!

*And don't forget the FREE SHIPPING!

E-Books 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 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.

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

Famous Homeschoolers

Jaime Herrera Beutler

The 112th Congress includes a huge class of freshman Republicans. Few incoming freshmen know Capitol Hill better than Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA). Jaime has been highlighted by Time Magazine as one of the 40 leaders under 40 who are “rising stars of American politics.” Jaime was one of the female Republican candidates who rose to prominence in 2010, and she's the first homeschooled member of Congress in recent history. Read about her background here.

(Each month I will highlight another famous homeschooler.)

Reading Between the Lines

The Elements of Style

E.B. White is best known for his three children's books: Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte's Web (1952), and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970). White was noted for his crisp, graceful style, and author James Thurber once wrote, "No one can write a sentence like White." In 1957, E.B. White wrote an essay for the New Yorker about his former English professor, Will Strunk Jr., which inspired a reissue of the original 1918 edition of Strunk's grammatical usage and style text, The Elements of Style. This led to the 1959 edition in which White revised his essay on Will Strunk Jr. for the introduction, updated much of Strunk's advice and examples, and added a chapter titled "An Approach to Style."

The revised edition, which came to be known simply as "Strunk and White," combines the experience of a language scholar and classroom teacher with the expertise of a professional writer. The meeting of these two minds, Strunk and White (Strunk died in 1946; White in 1985), proved serendipitous. The Elements of Style has sold millions of copies, and today this small book is still a classic reference for students and writers. White revised the book again in 1972 and 1979. A modernized 4th edition appeared in 1999 (with minor revisions made anonymously, such as eliminating masculine gender "bias"). An illustrated edition was published in 2005 (not very practical but makes a good gift book). The 50th Anniversary Edition includes a brief overview of the book's illustrious history, but other than that the content is the same as the 1999 edition. I've always been partial to the 3rd edition myself.

Used extensively by professional writers and editors as well as high school and college students, The Elements of Style is a must-have book for any conscientious writer or teacher of writing. This fundamental work on the use of the English language is concise, direct, and comprehensive. There are no endless pages of explanations - just simple reminders about how to present the written word effectively. The book includes an overview of conventional rules and principles of composition (commas, conjunctions, independent clauses, sentences, paragraphs, etc.), as well as words and expressions commonly misused (too many people have not learned these to this day!). If you are serious about wanting to improve your written communication skills, if only for personal reasons, you should have The Elements of Style on your desk for ready reference.

You can get a Public Domain PDF of the full text of Strunk's original edition of The Elements of Style from

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 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? This article includes 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.)

Freebie(s) of the Month

Start the New Year off Right!

January & February Calendar - NEW for 2011! Print out these calendar pages and hang on your fridge, next to your computer, or keep in a binder. Includes a convenient list of holidays and special days, plus space for notes. Throughout the year, I will supply two printable calendar pages in each issue of this newsletter.

For Everything There is a Season...and a Time for Every Purchase - If you want to get the best deals, it helps to know when the sales are. Most stores follow a regular sale pattern throughout the year. Here is a month-by-month guide to the biggest bargains for you to print out.

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

Quote of the Month

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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!

Teri's Sig

Copyright © 2010 by Teri Ann Berg Olsen, To subscribe to this free e-newsletter, send a blank e-mail to and follow the instructions in the confirmation e-mail that you will receive, or sign up on the web at To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to . Questions? E-mail .