Knowledge House Newsletter

Homeschool Information... Ideas... and Inspiration

~ March 2010 ~

Dear Readers,

Dale Carnegie once said, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Our family has been pounded with rotten "lemons" lately: liars and cheaters, friends-turned-enemies, the pain of old wounds and distress of new ones, a need of tires for our car and orthodontics for our son, while underemployed and barely able to pay the bills as it is. I think it will require more than a little bit of sugar to turn that combination into something good; we'll have to pray for a miracle. On the bright side, my sister-in-law give us some nice fresh lemons off her tree - over 100 of them! So we've been making lots of lemonade, my favorite drink. I have a little lemon tree of my own, but sadly it doesn't even have any blossoms on it right now. One morning I looked out and all I could see were bare branches. A deer must have come along and eaten all of the leaves! They're finally just starting to grow back. A few weeks ago we went to Yuma, the warmest corner of Arizona and a major agricultural producer in the winter. I saw a lemon tree in someone's yard, hardly larger than mine, about 4 or 5 feet tall, its branches drooping from the weight of all the large yellow lemons. (Sigh.) We've received 6.8 inches of rain at our house so far this year. For the desert that's a pretty big deal... it's like seven month's worth in 66 days! No snow, though. Hope you're all keeping warm and dry.

Teri's Sig

Featured Article

Think Green...

When I was a girl, my favorite color was green. I always liked Saint Patrick's Day because that was the only day I could go to school dressed in green clothing from head to foot without looking completely conspicuous. The other kids would take one look at me and say, "You must be Irish!" and I'd reply, "Nope, I just like green." Just as green has always been one of my favorite colors, spring is one of my favorite seasons. Spring arrives early in Arizona, where even the desert turns green at this time of year. Nurtured by winter rains, all of the dry, dead-looking plants come alive, and the ground is covered with a lush carpet of vegetation. No wonder the ancient Egyptians considered green to be a sacred, joyous color. Green is the universal color of nature and spring. Green signifies life, healing, renewal, hope, and GROWTH. Read my devotional article here. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Book of the Month

Patrick Henry Study Guide

Patrick Henry Study Guide

This study guide contains a biography of the famous homeschooled patriot as well as vocabulary, discussion questions, writing questions, research questions, an overview of rhetorical techniques and literary devices, additional assignments and study questions. Includes a copy of “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.” Practice your oratory skills by reciting it on March 23, the anniversary of Patrick Henry's famous speech. Makes a great Language Arts or American History unit study! 18 pages ~ only $4.95! Click here.

Famous Homeschoolers

Daniel Boone

He was one of America’s first folk heroes, a legend in his own lifetime, respected as a man of courage and integrity. He never went to school but still learned how to read, write, and do arithmetic. His favorite book was the Bible. Read more at: (Each month I will highlight another famous homeschooler.)

P.S. Thank you, Chris, for telling me about Tim Tebow being homeschooled. I'm sorry that I didn't get around to featuring him here, but you can click on the link below to read his bio:

Reading Between the Lines


I've been writing reviews for so long now (since 2000), once in a while I find one that needs to be updated. Such is the case with WordSmart. While I still recommend the software program for learning vocabulary, I've been hearing quite a few reports these days about their poor customer service and misleading marketing tactics. Hmm, are they under new management or something? One guy said, "They essentially used false advertising and manipulation, resulting in me having to pay for the software though I'd called twice to return it." I would hate to have any of my readers or website visitors find themselves in such a predicament; thus I feel compelled to warn people to use caution if you should decide to purchase direct from the WordSmart company. If you look around a bit, you may be able to find second-hand copies of the software at Amazon Marketplace, eBay, or a homeschool auction site. Nevertheless, it's disappointing that they would take such an excellent product and ruin its reputation through shoddy marketing practices. To top it off, the main screen of their free online WordSmart Challenge prominently features a picture of an ape evolving into...Alex Trebek?! Do they really think that's going to help sell their vocabulary program? If I had seen that back then, I probably would not have purchased it. What a shame!

* * *

Speaking of vocabulary, there is a neat little book series that I like, by the editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries. It includes the following titles:
100 Words Every High School Freshman Should Know
100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know
And coming soon...
100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know

Each of these inexpensive paperback books contains less than 100 pages, with only one or two words per page, and each word is fully defined as well as shown in typical contexts with sample sentences and quotations, many of which are taken from famous authors. When I was a kid, I once tried reading the dictionary from A to Z and this is not at all like that! The appealing layout and interesting facts makes browsing through these books an easy, painless way to add to one's vocabulary a little at a time. They're just the right size for carrying in purse or backpack, and perfect for waiting rooms, car or plane trips, and bathroom reading. ;)

Click on these links to download printable word lists:
100 Words Every High School Freshman Should Know
100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know
You may also be interested in the following:
100 Words Almost Everyone Confuses and Misuses
100 Words Almost Everyone Mispronounces
(Includes a podcast where you can hear many of these words pronounced!)

Learning Links

Saint Patrick's Day (Saint Patrick's Day, March 17th, is a national Irish holiday honoring Saint Patrick, the missionary credited with converting all the people of Ireland to Christianity in the 5th century.)

Pi Day Activities (Pi Day is March 14. A great day to learn math facts while eating pizza and pie!)

Albert Einstein Biography (This famous mathematician was born on Pi Day!)

Patrick Henry Biography

Robert Frost Biography

Freebie of the Month

"Give Me Liberty or Death" Speech - Print this out and practice your oratory skills by reciting it on March 23, the anniversary of Patrick Henry's famous speech.

Ben Franklin’s Virtue Chart - An astute (but anonymous) reader recently pointed out an error in my original chart. As a result, I have revised it and here is the updated version.

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

Quote of the Month

“The year's at the spring, and day's at the morn; morning's at seven; the hill-side's dew-pearled; the lark's on the wing; the snail's on the thorn; God's in his Heaven - All's right with the world!” ~Robert Browning

A Note From Teri...

Here's an Irish Blessing for you...

“May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.
May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.
May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that’s always blue.
And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.”

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 .