Knowledge House Newsletter

Homeschool Information... Ideas... and Inspiration

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~ February 2012 ~

Dear Readers,

February may be a short month but it sure is a busy one! February 11 is Make a New Friend Day, February 12 is Kindness Awareness Day, and February 14 is Valentine's Day as well as Arizona Statehood Day (Arizona turns 100 years old this year!), and then there is Presidents Day on the 20th.

February is also a popular month for homeschool birthdays! Besides George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the following famous homeschoolers were born in February: Ansel Adams, Thomas Edison, Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, Charles Dickens, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. (Laura was taught at home when she was unable to attend school due to distance or weather, and she also homeschooled her daughter Rose!)

Teri's Sig

Happy Birthday Arizona!

The State of Arizona turns 100 years old on February 14!

Click here to download 48 FREE Arizona activity sheets!

Featured Article

Celebrating Arizona ~ 1912-2012

Arizona has such an interesting and colorful past, I think everyone should learn as much as they can about this wonderful state. Arizona was the last of the contiguous states to join the Union, becoming the 48th state on February 14th, 1912. The name “Arizona” comes from a Pima Indian word meaning “place of little springs.” Native American civilizations were flourishing in Arizona around 1000 A.D.

The first European to reach Arizona was a Franciscan friar, Marcos de Niza, in 1539. He traveled from Mexico, which was then ruled by Spain. In 1540, the Spanish explorer Coronado came looking for gold and the legendary Seven Cities of Cibola. He didn’t find any, but he claimed the land for Spain. This was 76 years before the settlement of Jamestown, 80 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, and 236 years before the Declaration of Independence.

Spanish attempts to colonize the region were largely unsuccessful, mostly because of Indian attacks. In 1692, Father Francisco Kino, a Jesuit priest, founded several missions in the area and converted many Indians to Christianity. However, early settlers faced other difficulties as well. The mountains and plateaus were too cool and rugged for farming, and the broad plains and valleys were too hot and dry.

After belonging to Spain for nearly three centuries, the region became part of Mexico when Mexico declared its independence from Spain in 1810. In 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War, most of what is now Arizona became a United States Territory (part of the Territory of New Mexico), and the rest was bought in the 1853 Gadsden Purchase.

Hardy pioneers began to move into the Arizona territory. They were trappers looking for furs, ranchers needing large areas of land for raising cattle and sheep, and prospectors searching for silver and gold. The fiercely independent Navajo and Apache Indians fought to keep newcomers away. Then copper was discovered in 1854, followed by gold in 1863. Homesteaders came in far greater numbers than before. In 1863 the Navajos were subdued, and by 1886 the Apaches surrendered to the U.S. Army.

The scarcity of water was still a great handicap to farming. Irrigation was the solution to that problem. In the early 1900's, dams, reservoirs, and a canal system were built to bring water to many parts of the state. Cotton, wheat, lettuce, melons, oranges, grapefruit, and dates were planted in irrigated fields. Irrigation turned Arizona into an important agricultural state.

The dams were also made to produce electricity. This, along with the invention of air conditioning, allowed for modern industrial and residential development in addition to the traditional occupations of farming, ranching, mining, and lumbering. Consequently, Arizona soon became one of the fastest growing states.

Despite its tremendous population growth, Arizona is still a relatively unpopulated state. This is because over half of the state’s land is government-owned (in the form of national parks, national forests, wilderness areas, national monuments, recreation areas, and military installations), and approximately one-fourth of the state’s land is held in Indian reservations.

For a long time, Arizona earned most of its money from the four C’s – cotton, cattle, copper, and climate. Today, manufacturing (i.e. electronics, aerospace, metal fabrication) is the leading industry, while tourism is also very important. The warm, sunny weather together with a wide variety of natural wonders attracts large numbers of visitors.

Some of the many interesting sites there are to see in Arizona include: the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, Hoover Dam, Meteor Crater, Ponderosa pine forests, giant saguaro cacti, extinct volcanoes, ancient cliff dwellings, old Spanish missions, ghost towns, copper mines, and astronomical observatories.

Learn more about Arizona at

Book of the Month

Presidents' Day was originally set aside to observe the February birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, two of our most beloved presidents. I have two special books to tell you about this month, in honor of Presidents' Day.

Citizens Rule Book

Citizens Rule Book George Washington is fondly called "The Father of his Country." As President of the Constitutional Convention, Washington was the first signer of the U.S. Constitution. The Citizens Rule Book contains the complete text of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. This booklet is a practical reminder of the values upon which our country was founded. Order some for your Presidents Day celebrations. Only $1.00 each!

P.S. The Citizens Rule Book was created by the late Charles R. Olsen. “Charlie” was a World War II Marine Corps veteran and printer from Boston, Massachusetts. He began publishing the booklet in 1976 to get people to read the Constitution. Family-owned and operated Whitten Printers of Phoenix, Arizona, continues to print and distribute the Citizens Rule Book in memory of their father, who died in 1990, but also because they believe in the message. “The Constitution was supposed to be for everyone…Now we’ve got judges set up as kings…making rules. The book stands for itself.”

Abraham Lincoln: The Boy, The Man

Abraham Lincoln: The Boy, the Man Over two hundred years after his birth, Abraham Lincoln is still considered one of the most influential Americans of all time. More books have been written about him than any other president. The 16th President is commemorated in sculpture, music and poetry. His words are quoted by poets and politicians. His face appears on stamps, coins and bills. Mountains, cities, highways, and schools bearing his name dot the land. Lincoln's enduring legacy includes the famous Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation. If you are fond of Abe Lincoln, you will love Abraham Lincoln: The Boy, The Man. This well-researched 160-page pictorial biography is perfect for homeschool history studies. It also comes in a bilingual English/Spanish edition! Highly recommended but hard to find and quantities are limited, so get yours while you can! ;)

E-Book of the Month

George Washington's 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior Download this 17-page e-book for FREE! Includes Washington's original rules as well as selected examples for copywork and memorization, plus a writing activity.

Famous Homeschoolers

Famous Homeschoolers of Arizona

Some grew up in Arizona, others moved there later in life, and a few were just passing through. They all left their mark on the state. Each of them was homeschooled or self-educated! Read the full article here.

Reading Between the Lines

March into Reading

It’s getting near that time of year again, time to gear up for “Reading Month” in March. It all begins with Read Across America Day on March 2 which is Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Across the country numerous schools, libraries, and community centers will participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books – your family can too!

And what better way to get ready for reading than to stock your shelves with Usborne books! Usborne is an award-winning publisher of high quality children’s books that make reading and learning fun. Usborne Books are a part of many major homeschool curricula (Sonlight, The Well-Trained Mind, Weaver, etc.), and they're popular with both homeschooling and unschooling families as supplemental reading material. Many Usborne books are suitable for a wide age span, so several family members can learn about a topic together. Best of all, you can find an Usborne book for just about every subject.

We’ve set up a Knowledge House eFair that makes it easy to get Usborne books. You will be able to see the top sellers, view the newest titles, and check out the internet-only sales (40-70% off!) and other special offers. This would be a great time to stock up on gift books for those spring and summer birthdays too! All you have to do is click through the link:

* * * Click here for a chance to win $50 in free books! * * *

Learning Links

Presidents Day

Abraham Lincoln Biography

George Washington Biography

Childrens Dental Health Month

George Washington's Farewell Address
Since 1862, there has been a tradition in the United States Senate that George Washington's Farewell Address be read on his birthday, February 22.

Freebie(s) of the Month

Remember when you were a kid and your classmates sent each other handmade construction paper Valentines? This year how about handing your friends, colleagues, and neighbors a Valentine greeting that lets them know how much God loves them! I've created a Valentine gospel tract for you to download. It's actually two pages that you can print double-sided and fold over so that the recipient can open it up and read the message inside. The main text also works as a stand-alone Valentine handout if you'd rather just print that page only. It can be printed in color on white paper, or print it in black-and-white on pink paper. Make as many copies as you wish!

Valentine Gospel Tract - inside page
Valentine Gospel Tract - outside cover

Washington Word Find - My favorite kind of word game! (I found 60; can you beat me?)

Presidents Day Quiz - Lincoln and Washington Trivia.

Valentine Cutouts - Write your own messages on these Bear Heart Notes.

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

Quote of the Month

“We have serious enemies and growing threats around the world. Unfortunately, we have an administration whose idea of a rogue state is Arizona.” ~Mitt Romney

A Note From Teri...

At the end of the year I had told you that I would make a set of helpful household lists available, but as it turned out I didn't have time to work on them, sorry! (You may have noticed, I didn't even get to publish a January newsletter.) Meanwhile, I had to quickly finish my Arizona worksheets so they would be done in time for the State Centennial. But hopefully I'll be back on track starting next month, and will be able to get caught up on those household lists.

Happy Homeschooling!

Teri's Sig

P.S. Did you like this month's newsletter?

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