Knowledge House Newsletter

Homeschool Information... Ideas... and Inspiration

December Holidays & Special Days - Click Here!

~ December 2013 ~

Dear Readers,

Happy December! We spent two days after Thanksgiving getting out all of the Christmas decorations, putting up the tree, and hanging the outside lights, so we're all set! My 13-yr-old made my day by saying, "I can't think of anything I want for Christmas this year." We literally don't have any money, and we don't believe in racking up credit card debt, so we'll most likely be creating our own handmade gifts or reusing past presents.

We've always been a frugal family, but with four of us living on one part-time income for the last few years, it's been a real struggle. Now we go without things that we used to take for granted - such as heat in the house. I've been praying for a Christmas miracle, and then my husband came home yesterday and told me that starting on Monday, his boss wants him to work 32 hours per week instead of 24. That was a surprise blessing, like getting a big raise for the new year!

I had fun putting together my annual Homeschool Gift Guide - I listed some things that we already have and that I recommend, as well as other things that I would pick if I had kids that age. If you see anything that you like, and can afford it, please click through the links on my page to place your order. Shopping at Amazon saves you time, energy, and money - and whenever you click through my Amazon links, even if it's to buy something else, it allows me to earn a small commission. Thanks, and Merry Christmas!

2013 Homeschool Gift Guide - Click Here!

Teri's Sig

Featured Article

Gifts that Keep on Giving

Rather than CONSUMING, many families have a holiday tradition of GIVING. They donate their time and talents, and/or provide monetary gifts to families in need. It's good to know that instead of spending $25 on a plastic toy that probably won't last long, for that same $25 you can give a gift that changes a life. Gospel for Asia and World Vision are two nonprofit Christian organizations through which you can share the true gift of Christmas - God's love.

Gospel For Asia publishes an annual Christmas Gift Catalog in which donors can contribute toward a wide variety of practical and much needed items to help poor people in Asia including mosquito nets, water filters, blankets, sewing machines, weaving looms, bicycles, water wells, tool kits, building supplies, solar-powered lights, radios, and even animals such as chickens, goats, pigs, lambs, and cows.

World Vision publishes an annual Christmas Gift Catalog in which donors can help poor families around the world by choosing a gift to give on behalf of your family or designated in honor of someone special. Choose from farm animals, clean water, clothing, medicine, and other necessities. Even children like the idea of being able to give the gift of live animals! When you give the gift of a goat or chickens, you can also receive a plush goat or chick for your own child.

There are many other ways of sharing God’s blessings with those in need, even in your own community. For example, maybe you can...

  • Provide a complete Christmas – including a tree, decorations, dinner, and presents (toys, clothes, or practical gifts) for a family down on its luck.
  • Participate in a Christmas Angel, Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, holiday food drive, or similar campaign.
  • Collect blankets, shoes, socks, and warm clothing for the homeless.
  • Anonymously leave a small gift, cookies, flowers, or potted plant at the home of a lonely or elderly person in your neighborhood.

Book of the Month

Easy Homeschooling Series

The perfect gift for a homeschool mom - or for yourself!
This wonderful set of books by a veteran homeschool mom will provide refreshing encouragement and practical motivation for the new year!

3 Books for $30 - plus FREE shipping!

1. Easy Homeschooling Techniques
2. Easy Homeschooling Curriculum
3. Easy Homeschooling Companion

Click here for detailed book descriptions!

Get ALL 3 BOOKS (valued at $57) for ONLY $30!*
OR purchase one or more individual titles - also on sale!

*And don't forget the FREE SHIPPING!

E-Books of the Month

nativity Story
The Nativity Story: with Nativity Activities contains an original 10-page rendition of The Nativity Story, KJV Scriptures from the Old and New Testaments, questions for personal study and family discussion, and a condensed version of The Nativity Story for use in Christmas cards or as handouts. Nativity Activities include: Nativity Quiz, Projects & Crafts, Nativity Vocabulary, Nativity Traditions, Host a Nativity Party, Nativity Music, Movies & Multimedia, Nativity Poetry, Nativity Word Search, Nativity Art, Nativity Word Scramble, Christmas Word Find, and more. Over 60 pages, only $4.95! Click here.

Gifts for all Occasions
Gifts for All Occasions is jam-packed with a wide variety of ideas for gift exchanges, hostess gifts, stocking stuffers, gift baskets, homemade gifts, gifts for the whole family, gifts for babies, gifts for him, gifts for her, gifts for children, gifts for teens, gifts for grandparents, gifts for hospital patients and nursing home residents, gifts for the person who has everything, sentimental gifts for loved ones, and more! 22 pages of gift ideas! Only $4.95! Click here.

Easy Money Gifts
Easy Money Gifts features more than 50 easy, unique, and fun ways of giving money that will surprise and delight the recipient – while saving you time and money! This 40-page e-book also contains money facts, quotes, verses, and other monetary information of interest to homeschoolers. Only $4.95! Click here.

Famous Homeschoolers

Wilson Bentley

Wilson A. Bentley, taught at home by his mother, had a unique hobby of studying snowflakes. He was the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in 1885. In his lifetime, Bentley captured more than 5,000 snowflakes on film. Of course, no two were exactly alike. Learn more about "The Snowflake Man" at

Reading Between the Lines

Family Business

Why is there a big green tree on the front cover of a book titled FAMILY BUSINESS?

Because author Ernesto J. Poza says, “You never own a family business. You just grow it for the next generation.” Poza uses an oak tree as a symbol for family business; and growing a family-led business is the theme of his book. With an emphasis on stewardship, leadership, and positioning for the future, FAMILY BUSINESS shows how the family enterprise can achieve sustained growth and continuity. “I can’t think of anything better or more noble,” Poza explains, “than to have somebody else take the baton from you and run with it for another generation.”

Poza is a professor of Global Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona. He is on the editorial board of Family Business Review and The Journal of Family Business Strategy, and is a contributing editor to Family Business Magazine. Fluent in Spanish, Poza is an internationally recognized consultant to family-owned and family-controlled firms around the world. He has advised executive management of Fortune 500 companies as well as privately held businesses in many countries including Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ireland, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Perú, Spain, the United States, and Venezuela.

Poza grew up in Cuba, where his family owned a cattle ranch and sugarcane plantation. His parents dreamed of passing their enterprise to the next generation, but they lost the opportunity when Fidel Castro came to power in 1959. Castro made radical changes including nationalizing industry, collectivizing agriculture, and seizing American-owned businesses and farms without compensation. After relocating to the U.S., Poza attended Yale University and MIT, where he received his M.S. in Management from the Alfred P. Sloan School of Management in 1974. Now Poza specializes in helping other business families make the transition from one generation to the next.

Even though family businesses are the oldest form of enterprise, serious research on the topic was not done until the early 2000’s. Poza was a pioneer researcher in the field, having first published the critically acclaimed and oft-cited FAMILY BUSINESS book in 2003. Still one of the few books specifically written about family businesses, FAMILY BUSINESS is recommended for anyone considering working in or learning about running a family business. The 4th edition, written with co-author Mary S. Daugherty and published in early 2013, is the most comprehensive family business book available to date.

After a decade of research, Poza continues to challenge assumptions about the differences between traditional publicly-owned companies and family-owned businesses. “Contrary to the prevalent stereotype of family businesses as nepotistic, conflict ridden underperformers,” observes Poza, “in reality family firms perform better than nonfamily firms.” He says the Achilles’ heel of many family businesses is governance issues, especially when leaders fail to establish proper ownership structures, boards of directors, family constitutions, and employment policies. As an expert in family culture, strategic management, and succession planning, Poza points out 13 pitfalls that can derail family businesses before the second or third generation: click here and scroll down to see what they are.

FAMILY BUSINESS is excellent reading for business students as well as family business owners. The book will provide the next generation of family business persons with the knowledge and skills needed for the successful management and leadership of the family enterprise. FAMILY BUSINESS takes an honest look at the advantages and challenges facing family firms, while teaching how to effectively deal with the conflicts that inevitably happen. Although focusing more on large wealthy enterprises, the book covers a lot of valuable concepts and ideas that can also be applied to smaller mom and pop shops. Just think, many of today’s household brand names started out as small family businesses!

NOTE: This book is rather high-priced because it’s used as a textbook in college and grad school classes, but if your family has a business the advice will be well worth the price. You can even turn it into a high school elective for your homeschool student! The book is available at in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle.

Learning Links

  • Family Holiday Ideas (For many families, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the winter holiday season.)

  • Gingerbread Houses (A homemade gingerbread house makes an impressive centerpiece during the holidays.)

  • An Old-Fashioned Christmas (Celebrating family traditions is what makes families unique and bonds family members together.)

  • Homemade Gifts from the Heart (Sometimes the best gifts you can give are those from the heart. They are always appreciated more than those from the wallet.)

  • Merry Christmas & Happy New Year in Many Languages (Can You Guess the Languages? Translations provided.)

  • Merry Christmas (Jesus is the Reason for the Season... and Wise Men Still Seek Him.)

  • Christmas Carols (From the first angelic choir over Bethlehem, carols have rung joyously through the centuries.)

  • Let it Snow (Learn all about snow, as well as the Eskimo names for different kinds of snow.)

  • The New Year (Here's our chance to start over, to do it right this time, to accomplish something that we want to finish.)

Freebie(s) of the Month

The Candy Cane
Print this page, cut it in half, roll each half into a scroll, and attach to a large candy cane using a pretty ribbon. Makes a great stocking stuffer or Christmas party favor.

The Nativity Story
Print this page (double-sided) and make copies for inserting in Christmas cards, or give as handouts. This is an abridged version of my original 10-page story.

Keep track of your contacts and Christmas lists with these printouts: Contact List | Christmas Card List | Christmas Wish List

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

Quote of the Month

“Being found in human form, he humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” ~Phil. 2:8-11

A Note From Teri...

Sometime after the Christmas rush and before the New Year begins, it would be nice for the whole family spend some quality time together discussing goals, dreams, and the purpose of life. While you’re at it, why not write a homeschool mission statement! I've created an easy to follow step-by-step guide that explains how. If you're like many families, you may have noticed that the busyness of daily life seems to distract you from the principles that matter most. Your family can get back on track by preparing a homeschool mission statement to clarify your reasons for homeschooling and assist in guiding you from this day forward. "How to Write a Homeschool Mission Statement" is only $4.95 for 36 pages! View the contents and download your copy here:

Happy Homeschooling!

Teri's Sig

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

Copyright © 2013 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 .