Knowledge House Newsletter

Homeschool Information... Ideas... and Inspiration

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~ October 2015 ~

Dear Readers,

Happy October! I hope you and your family are enjoying the wonderful autumn weather! As 19th-century novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote in his journal, “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” (American Notebooks).
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Featured Article

National Fire Prevention Week

October 4th-10th has been declared "National Fire Prevention Week," a time to reflect on our nation's past fire history, remembering the "Great Chicago Fire of 1871," and how out of that tragedy a national interest in fire prevention and safety emerged.

The 2015 National Fire Prevention Week theme is: "Keep your family safe with a working smoke alarm in every bedroom." Did you know that roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep?

According the National Fire Protection Association, “almost three of five (60%) reported home fire deaths in 2007 to 2011 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.” Smoke alarms save lives!

The key message of this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign is to install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement.

Visit NFPA's Fire Prevention Week page for more information about smoke alarms and other fire safety activities.

Book of the Month

Planet Middle School

If you have kids aged 11 – 13, you will want to read this new book by parenting expert and bestselling Christian author Dr. Kevin Leman. With humor and practical advice, Planet Middle School aids parents in helping middle schoolers "through the Peer Pressure, Awkward Moments & Emotional Drama" that often occurs at their age.

Though homeschoolers usually don't have to deal with the bullying and other stuff that kids are subjected to in school, homeschool parents can glean plenty of useful information from this book. For example, Dr. Leman talks about the importance of parents upholding the “ABCs” of a child’s life: Acceptance, Belonging, and Competence (that they can do at least one thing well). He also recommends that moms and dads give middle school kids a dose of “Vitamin E” - Encouragement - every day.

I especially like the chapter on "Raising a Home Boy/Girl." (Your kids want to feel like they belong somewhere. Why not make it your home?) Some other great chapters are: "How to Talk So They'll Listen," "Expect the Best, Get the Best," "Creating an Attitude of Gratitude," "Raising a Giver in a Gimme Generation," and "Life-Mapping." (It's never too early to plan your child's future, but you shouldn't be the one in the driver's seat.)

Here is a free PDF with some quick and helpful suggestions from Dr. Leman: A Middle Schooler’s 10 Commandments to Parents

Planet Middle School just came out this month! Grab a brand new copy at (Also on Audio CD.)

Famous Homeschoolers

Bethany Hamilton

On October 31, 2003, 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing in Hawaii. She says that because of her faith, she never doubted that she could continue surfing and fulfill her dreams. Bethany is now a 25-year-old wife and mother of a 4-month-old son, so her message has matured a bit, but she still enjoys surfing and speaking about her faith in Christ.

Bethany and her husband, Adam Dirks (a Christian youth minister), are involved in many charitable efforts. As a motivational speaker, Bethany continues to inspire others through her life story. She is also working on a film project to encourage young girls to participate in sports.

The inspiring true story of Christian homeschooler Bethany Hamilton, as told in the movie Soul Surfer, is an encouraging example for anyone facing a debilitating injury or other difficulty in their life. 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.

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. By the way, 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.

Bonus features on the DVD 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 “epiphany moment” was a trip to tsunami-stricken Thailand where she volunteered with the international relief group World Vision. In 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

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, Soul Surfer Devotions, Rise Above: A 90-Day Devotional, and Ask Bethany, Updated Edition.

Read more about Hamilton's younger years at

Reading Between the Lines

Teen Read Week, October 18-24

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 "Read For The Fun Of It." Teen Read Week's sub-theme for this year is Get Away @ your library, which encourages teens to escape from the daily grind of school, homework, family responsibilities, part time jobs, etc. by picking up a fantasy novel, sci-fi, adventure, or travel book! Here are some of my favorite classics that fit these categories:

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

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.)

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. (Tolkien’s lengthy fantasy with its underlying theme of good vs. evil features suspense, adventure, unique characters, and wonderful dialogue.)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne. (Go on an underwater voyage of exploration aboard The Nautilus with Captain Nemo.)

Two Years Before the Mast, by Richard Henry Dana. (A detailed autobiographical account of a two-year trip out of Boston and around Cape Horn to California circa 1834.)

Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O'Dell. (The Newbery Award-winning story of an Indian girl - sort of like a female Robinson Crusoe - who is left alone for 18 years on an island off the coast of California circa 1853. If you didn't read it when you were younger, be sure to read it now.)

Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson. (This adventure tale about a boy, buccaneers, and buried treasure was written for young people but it's enjoyed by all ages. Many of our popular perceptions of pirates originally came from this book.)

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

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child” — train UP, not down — “in the way he should go.” Now here’s our problem as parents… I knew exactly how my kids ought to be. But “in the way he should go” really speaks to the individual bent of each of your children. You have two boys; one turns left, one turns right. One has skills in this area; one has skills in that area…. God made them all different. ~Dr. Kevin Leman

A Note From Teri...

The Library of Congress is hosting a FREE online conference on October 27-28 from 4-8 ET, for K-12 educators on how to use primary source documents in their instruction. There will be sessions on The Veterans History Project, Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions, Working with Visuals, Reading Like a Historian, Provoking Inquiry through Primary Sources, World Digital Library, Young Learners Explore Library of Congress Images, and more! Registration is now open, and you can register for one or more sessions. For more details, visit the Library of Congress website. (Homeschool teachers are free to register, too. All they ask for is your name, e-mail address, zip code, and you have to create a password.)

Happy Homeschooling!

Teri's Sig

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