Knowledge House Newsletter

Homeschool Information... Ideas... and Inspiration

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~ October 2013 ~

Dear Readers,

Happy October! Here in the desert where I live, the feeling of autumn is finally in the air. And after a long hot summer, the pleasant fall weather is much appreciated. I love this time of year for other reasons too. My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on September 25th, which was also the 33d anniversary of the day we first met. The night before, we went to see the premiere of Kirk Cameron's new "Unstoppable" movie. The Saturday afterwards, we saw Ray Comfort speak at the Creation & Earth History Museum in California, where we also got to meet the cast of Jonathan Park. We decided to go at the last minute, and the South Carlsbad State Beach campground is always full, but we took a chance -- and thanks to someone who cancelled their reservation, we were able to get in! The boys had a blast in the waves, and it was a great way to end our anniversary week. Since then it's been one thing after another between school, work, and computer problems - not to mention mice and termites! - so it's nice to have some good times to look back on. Hope your family is having a fun fall season!

Teri's Sig

Featured Article

Great Books

The first week of October was Great Books Week, but don't worry if you missed it - we should be reading great books all year round!

What are great books? First and foremost, when we think of great books, we generally think of the literary classics. Few people would make a list of great books that left out William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, or Mark Twain. They set the standard for great literature.

Longevity is certainly an indication that a book is great, since people would not continue to read a book if it didn’t have value. Great books are both engaging and entertaining. The literary classics have been read and enjoyed for generations.

Great books are the books that stay with us long after we’ve put them down. They teach without preaching and leave us a little better than we were before we read it. Most of us probably have our own list of special books that have touched our lives.

For a list of great books that can be read aloud, click here: (This list includes great books for all ages, from preschool to adult.) Also, scroll down to "Reading Between the Lines" for a list of great fantasy books.

Book of the Month

Raising Boys by Design

Raising Boys by Design: What the Bible and Brain Science Reveal About What Your Son Needs to Thrive (Waterbrook, September 17, 2013), was co-written by Dr. Gregory Jantz and Michael Gurian to understand why so many boys are struggling in school and in life, and how faith-based parents can protect their sons. Jantz is a Christian psychologist known for his holistic “whole-person” approach to life issues. Gurian, the best-selling author of The Wonder of Boys, is a Jewish marriage and family counselor noted for his secular expertise in brain science and his bridge-building in faith communities. The result of their collaborative efforts is a must-read for parents who have sons of any age. READ MORE:

Famous Homeschoolers

Bethany Hamilton

The inspiring true story of Christian homeschooler Bethany Hamilton is an encouraging example for anyone facing a debilitating injury or other difficulty in their life. On October 31, 2003, the teen surfer survived a shark attack in which her left arm was bitten off. She overcame her injury and went on to become one of the top women surfers in the world. Bethany is an especially great role model for girls and young women.

Bethany just got married this summer, saying "We take marriage seriously. Right now things are lovey-dovey and it's fun and beautiful, but we want our love to remain through thick and thin. When we have hard times, we can rely on Christ and grow closer and stronger in our love and relationship. We know we can only prepare so much, but look forward to learning and growing together as we share life – to love beyond just a feeling."

Bethany’s autobiography is titled Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board. Hamilton also has several other books credited to her name including Ask Bethany: FAQs: Surfing, Faith and Friends, Soul Surfer Devotions, Rise Above: A 90-Day Devotional, and the Soul Surfer Bible.

My family finally got around to watching the Soul Surfer movie last week after I found it in the $5 DVD bin at Walmart. The acting, cinematography, and story are all excellent. Dennis Quaid does a great job as the dad. By the way, actress AnnaSophia Robb (who plays Bethany) grew up in a Christian family and was homeschooled too! Bethany herself performed all of the one-armed surfing stunts.

This is the perfect time of year to watch Soul Surfer, because the story starts out in October just before Halloween. Viewers can sit in on a Sunday morning worship service at Calvary Chapel in Kauai, and later see how they celebrate Thanksgiving in Hawaii.

Bonus features include behind-the-scenes footage and a faith-based documentary, "Heart of a Soul Surfer," which focuses on Bethany's devout Christianity, her courage and faith in Jesus Christ, and her quest for spiritual meaning in the aftermath of the shark attack.

For a free downloadable scripture-based discussion guide to go with the movie, click here:

Did you know...? Bethany's turning point was a trip to tsunami-stricken Thailand where she volunteered with the international relief group World Vision. Out of her own pain, she reached out to help others. For more information about Bethany and her work with Christian charities around the world, visit and

Reading Between the Lines

Teen Read Week, October 13-19

Teen Read Week™ is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually during the third week of October. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers. Teen Read Week's sub-theme for this year is Seek the Unknown @ your library, which encourages teens to explore and learn about the unknown through mystery, adventure, sci-fi, and fantasy books. In the latter genre, I'd recommend these classic Christian fantasy books:

The Pendragon Cycle, by Stephen Lawhead. (A Christian retelling of the King Arthur legend.)

The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald. (C.S. Lewis credited MacDonald, who predated him, with having baptized his imagination. This book is free on Kindle!)

Tales of the Kingdom and Tales of the Resistance, by David and Karen Mains. (These allegories teach kids and adults the importance of trusting God as they unveil fundamental truths about good and evil.)

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. (An Oxford professor, Tolkien was instrumental in C.S. Lewis’ salvation. His books personify the victory of good over evil.)

Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis. (The author of the children's fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia also wrote a more sophisticated science fiction trilogy, which takes older teens and adults through the battle between good and evil.)

Learning Links

Autumn Leaves (Activities and resources for learning about fall leaves.)

Fire Safety (National Fire Prevention Week is held during the second week in October.)

Columbus Day (Columbus Day is named in honor of Christopher Columbus for his discovery of the Americas on October 12, 1492.)

Make a Difference Day (The largest national day of helping others is held every year on the 4th Saturday of October.)

Halloween (The history and traditions of this holiday, along with a few Halloween alternatives.)

Spooky Shakespeare (In this article, you will find a selection of scary scenes from Shakespeare’s plays.)

Freebie of the Month

Download 7 pages of printable Fire Safety Activities including a fire safety quiz, word search, coloring page, and more: Safety Activity Pages.pdf

Do your kids like to dress up for Halloween or just for fun? Here is a copy of my "Costumes for all Seasons" booklet: Booklet 4.pdf

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

Quote of the Month

“There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

A Note From Teri...

Although I'm often late in sending out my monthly newsletter, I do a better job of keeping up on my daily blog updates. Subscribe to my Homeschool Library of Links blog which features educational websites, curriculum, lesson plans, web-based learning activities, online books and courses, videos and games, as well as freebies and special offers. Also, please consider nominating the Homeschool Library for “Best Variety Blog” in the 2013 Homeschool Blog Awards. You will be able to nominate your other favorite blogs too!

Happy Homeschooling!

Teri's Sig

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