Knowledge House Newsletter

Homeschool Information... Ideas... and Inspiration

February Holidays & Special Days - Click Here!

~ February 2016 ~

Dear Readers,

February may be a short month but it sure is a busy one! February 8 is the Chinese Lunar New Year. February 11 is Make a New Friend Day, February 12 is Kindness Awareness Day, February 14 is Valentine's Day (and Arizona Statehood Day), February 16 is Presidents Day, and February 29 is Leap Year Day. Since we get to enjoy an extra day this month, let's make good use of it!

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 homeschooled her daughter Rose!)

Teri's Sig

Featured Article

Black History Month

February is Black History Month, an annual observance dedicated to celebrating the significant contributions that the African-American community has made to culture and history, especially in the United States. Famous black homeschoolers include: Benjamin Banneker (first African-American scientist), George Washington Carver (agricultural researcher), Booker T. Washington (Tuskegee Institute founder), Louis Armstrong (King of Jazz), Jordin Sparks (singer/actress), Venus and Serena Williams (tennis star sisters). There are numerous events, exhibitions, and parades taking place during the entire month of February virtually all around the country that will give you the opportunity to participate in recognizing and paying tribute to important milestones in black history, culture, and heritage. Here’s a list of activities that you can take part in with your friends and family:

Book of the Month

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!

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. If you like Abe Lincoln, you will love Abraham Lincoln: The Boy, The Man. This 160-page pictorial biography is perfect for homeschoolers, and it comes in a bilingual English/Spanish edition! Limited quantities.

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

Kit Carson, John Wesley Powell, John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Frank Lloyd Wright, Sharlot Hall, Henry Fountain Ashurst, Ansel Adams, Sandra Day O'Connor, Pat McMahon. 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 at Arizona Edventures.]

Did You Know...?
Arizona celebrates its Statehood Day on February 14. The 48th state was admitted to the union in 1912.

Reading Between the Lines

Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen

I’ve always been a fan of Jane Austen, and yet I never got around to reading Northanger Abbey until recently. Now it’s one of my favorites – and not just because the main character was homeschooled! Northanger Abbey was probably the earliest of Austen’s completed works, dating back to 1798, but it was not published until 1818, a year after her death. It’s a bit different from her other novels because this one has a Gothic theme!

Northanger Abbey tells the story of a 17-year-old girl, Catherine Morland, who reads a lot of Gothic novels and imagines herself as a Gothic heroine. The book is not a Gothic novel itself, but rather a lighthearted parody of the common literary convention of the day. Gothic novels of romance and terror were cheap escapist literature, mostly written by women for women, and were immensely popular in Jane Austen’s time. Austen mentions several famous Gothic novels in Northanger Abbey – most notably The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe.

In Northanger Abbey the main character, Catherine, has lived all her life in a small rural town with her parents and nine siblings. Her father, Richard, is a clergyman and her mother “was a very good woman in her turn, and wished to see her children everything they ought to be. But her time was so much occupied in lying-in and teaching the little ones, that her elder daughters were inevitably left to shift for themselves” (Chapter 1).

Catherine is a generally kind, cheerful, and well-behaved young lady who is concerned about others and believes in doing the right thing. However, she is quite uninformed and generally ignorant about society, having grown up in somewhat sheltered conditions in a happy family, and never having been away from home for an extended period of time. In fact, Catherine’s mother tells her, “Wherever you are you should always be contented, but especially at home, because there you must spend the most of your time” (Chapter 30).

As a child, Catherine was something of a tomboy, preferring active pastimes – such as cricket, horseback, and traipsing around the countryside – to studying or playing with dolls. In Chapter 1 she describes her elementary education at home “and how tired my poor mother is at the end of it.” Catherine pursued various interests but lacked the persistence necessary to develop advanced skills in any one area, and she doesn’t appear to have any particular talents or genius.

Catherine enjoyed “tinkling the keys of the old forlorn spinnet,” but she hated learning music, and “the day which dismissed the music-master was one of the happiest in Catherine’s life.” She also dabbled in basic art but cannot draw well, and neither does she like writing, accounts, or French. Catherine especially dislikes history:

“If people like to read [history] books, it is all very well, but to be at so much trouble in filling great volumes, which, as I used to think, nobody would willingly ever look into, to be laboring only for the torment of little boys and girls, always struck me as a hard fate; and through I know it is all very right and necessary, I have often wondered at the person’s courage that could sit down on purpose to do it” (Chapter 14).

Although Catherine has little interest in books of information, she does say “I can read poetry and plays, and things of that sort, and do not dislike travels.” As a teenager she began reading Pope, Gray, Thompson, and Shakespeare – “all such works as heroines must to supply their memories with those quotations which are so serviceable and so soothing” (Chapter 1). And of course, she became an avid reader of Gothic novels.

Jane Austen wrote that it is in novels where “the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language” (Chapter 5). However, Catherine’s vivid imagination – spurred on by a tendency to blur the lines between fiction and reality, and coupled with her naivety – eventually causes her a great deal of trouble and leads her into some awkward misadventures…

Read the book online or I'd suggest Northanger Abbey: An Annotated Edition for a more thorough literary study.

Learning Links

Childrens Dental Health Month

Chinese New Year Printables

Presidents Day

Abraham Lincoln Biography

George Washington Biography

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.

Leap Year Day

Freebie(s) of the Month

Give 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 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. Make as many copies as you wish!

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

Remember when you were a kid and your classmates exchanged Valentines? Living Waters has created a new Downloadable Valentine that can be easily understood by children. Simply print the pages back to back on card stock, then cut. You will have six Valentines per page with five different candy heart messages.

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

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

Presidents Day Quiz - Lincoln and Washington Trivia.

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

Quote of the Month

“May this Valentine's Day be filled with love, understanding, and contentment as you journey through life with those you hold dear.” ~Darly Henerson

A Note From Teri...

It's almost time for The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)! The 2016 GBBC will take place on February 12-15. The GBBC is an annual 4-day event that engages bird lovers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are. It’s free, fun, and easy! Everyone is welcome to participate - from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. Scientists use the observations from the GBBC to help get the “big picture” about bird populations. Learn about birds and bird watching, find birding activities for kids, and get more information about the GBBC at

Happy Homeschooling!

Teri's Sig

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