Sunday, October 26, 2008

We held our drawing

Yay! We have our three winners from our drawing for the book entitled What Really Happened in Colonial Times. They were so excited!

Donna in NC wrote, "Wow! Awesome! Thank you! This has made a wonderful surprise for me today... I just LOVE good children’s literature!"

Cindy L in Ohio wrote, "Thank you SOOO much! My kids will be so excited!"

Amber in BC, Canada wrote, "Wow Terri, I am so excited! Thank you again for the excellent gift!!!"

Wow, this is so fun to do. Stay posted to this blog because we'll give away another book next month. I am so excited. Well, ladies, enjoy your books! They will be sent to you next week. And I thank the rest of you for entering our drawing and hope that you will enter next month and win the prize.

God bless,

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colonial Book Giveaway!

This week, we decided to have a sale on our What Really Happened in Colonial Times book of historical biographies. In thinking about the holidays and Thanksgiving coming up next month, our minds turn to the events of our founding forefathers. So, we want to get this book into your hands at a price that you can afford.

Then we got to thinking... that it would be fun to give away a few copies as well - yes, the printed books (not ebooks). So, if you would like to enter our random drawing, just click over to the webpage above, take a look around and then come back here and leave a comment. In your comment, mention something that interests you about the book or the webpage and be sure to include your email or blog address so that we can contact you if your name is drawn.

We'll post the winners on Friday - there will be 3 of them! So check back here if you haven't heard from us.

If you do purchase the book this week because of the great sale price AND then find out that you are a winner in our drawing, we'll just refund the amount that you paid (including shipping) and send the book to you through the mail. That way, you don't miss out on the sale while you wait.

And giving away stuff is alot of fun. We think we'll make a regular habit of it. So you might want to include this blog in your RSS feeds so that you can stay posted.

Have an excellent week!


Let's Homeschool with Confidence!

Hey there,

I am so thrilled to have finished my free 5 Day Mini-course on "Homeschooling with Confidence". The topics addressed over the 5 days are:

1. 4 Steps to Successful Homeschooling
2. What Your Child Needs to Know & When
3. Homeschooling on a Dime
4. Getting the Help & Encouragement You Need
5. Success Requires a Plan and a Purpose

You can sign up for this class at There is no charge - it's my gift to you. Enjoy!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Host an Authentic First Thanksgiving

In a recent issue of Seasons at Home, we discussed the benefits of holding historical feasts in your home as part of your family’s delightful and hands-on educational experience. You can read “Feasting on History” in the Summer 2008 issue of Seasons at Home magazine.

What Really Happened in Colonial Times?
Get the facts! Find out with these great sale prices - up to 50% off -

With the arrival of autumn and the cooling temperatures outside, our thoughts turn to holiday celebrations – the gathering of family and friends around our hearth and home. The brilliant color display of the deciduous trees reminds us that this is the time to express our thankfulness to the Lord for His goodness and the abundant harvest of this past year.

In the year 1621, just 10 months after arriving at Plimouth, our pilgrim forefathers held a feast to celebrate their successful harvest and the Lord’s goodness bestowed upon them. With only 53 surviving members of their colony – about half of the number that left England the year before – these resilient men and women invited over 90 Wampanoag Indians to join them and threw an outdoor feast lasting 3 full days.

This feast may not have actually been called “Thanksgiving” because to these devoutly religious people, a day of thanksgiving was a day of prayer and fasting, and would have been held at any time during the year when they felt an extra day of thanks was called for. It was also a feast that was not repeated annually, so it can't even be called the beginning of a tradition. At least, not yet…

It wasn’t until 1863, shortly after the battles of Vicksburg and Gettysburg, that our tradition began when Abraham Lincoln declared a national holiday – a day of remembrance and Thanksgiving – to be observed on the last Thursday of November. It has been an annual American tradition ever since. Even so, we will always reflect upon and observe the 1621 feast as the very first Thanksgiving and it has become the model that we pattern our own Thanksgiving celebrations after.

So what was served at that very first Thanksgiving? Was it turkey and pumpkin pie? Well, yes and no… Turkey was undoubtedly served, but it wasn’t the centerpiece at the table nor was it stuffed. It was accompanied by venison, duck, geese and fish. Pumpkin may have been served, but certainly not in the form of a pie. Most likely, it would have been stewed and not sweetened like we serve it today.

Here is a recipe that may have found its way onto that first Thanksgiving table. It is called Furmenty and it is a pudding usually served at Harvest time in England. Furmenty is made from whole hulled wheat. Unusual, but delicious!


• 1 cup whole hulled wheat/wheat berries (available at many stores that sell bulk foods)
• 1 quart milk
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1/8 tsp. ground mace or a pinch of nutmeg
• 2 egg yolks
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• additional sugar for sprinkling

1. Fill a large pot with 8 cups of water, bring a boil and add the wheat. Lower heat to simmer, cover, and continue to cook for 3/4 hour, or until, soft. Drain off all the water and add the milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon and mace/nutmeg.

2. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed (20 to 30 minutes).

3. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and cream together and slowly stir 1/2 cup of the hot wheat mixture into the yolk mixture. Then stir the yolk mixture into the pot, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Serve sprinkled with sugar.

To re-create the other foods that were most likely present at that first Thanksgiving, I would recommend that you order the Thanksgiving Primer, a book that has been published by the Plimoth Plantation, a living museum recreating 17th century Plymouth. The museum’s goal is to create a better understanding of the life and times of both the English colonists who settled there as well as their Native American neighbors, the Wampanoag. (Another source of authentic Thanksgiving recipes is the book titled Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie also available from Plimoth Plantation. Amazon price is $22.50.)

Order the Thanksgiving Primer by writing to:

Plimoth Plantation
Attn: Mail Order Department
P.O. Box 1620
Plymouth, MA. 02362-1620
Include a check for $10.90.

Or you may order these titles from Vision Forum or

Within the pages of the book, you will also learn how the colonists might have dressed in 1621. We conjure up images of dowdy figures dressed head to toe in black with just a peek of white around the collar and cuffs. This was not the case at all. There was a much wider range of colors worn than our modern image portrays – colors such as red, yellow, purple, blue, brown and grey.

Clothing was fashioned primarily from wool and linen, with some leather pieces. Most of the garments worn by a typical English commoner from this time period would be recognizable today, consisting of a long shirt, breeches, knee-length stockings, coat and cape. Women wore shifts and petticoats as undergarments and gowns, waistcoats, capes and aprons over the top. Most women wore a linen cap called a coif covering their hair while the men wore varying styles of hats and caps, worn inside and out.

Although the 3 day feast of 1621 was more of a secular event and not a true day of Thanksgiving as they defined it, the faith of our pilgrim forefather’s permeated their every day lives. They undoubtably would have said a prayer before sitting down to their meal. Although the exact words are unknown, a typical “prayer before meate” would have gone something like this:

O Lord our God and heavenly Father, which of Thy unspeakable mercy towards us, hast provided meate and drinke for the nourishment of our weake bodies. Grant us peace to use them reverently, as from Thy hands, with thankful hearts: let Thy blessing rest upon these Thy good creatures, to our comfort and sustentation: and grant we humbly beseech Thee, good Lord, that as we doe hunger and thirst for this food of our bodies, so our soules may earnestly long after the food of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Amen

George Webb - Short direction for the daily exercise of the Christian London 1625.

The pilgrims would have sat on benches at cloth-covered tables. They ate with knives, possibly spoons, but without forks. They would have used large linen napkins, about 3 feet square, for wiping their hands, which were used to both serve and eat the meal. The individual dishes they used were called trenchers, which are small square or round wooden plates. The food would have been brought to the table on serving dishes or platters and the trenchers used as a place to cut food just before being consumed, much like the “reach and eat” style of eating that is still common in the Near East today.

Enjoying an authentic first Thanksgiving will be a very worthwhile and memorable event for your entire family and invited guests. I challenge you to take a stab at it and take many pictures throughout the process. What a highlight for this fall season! Take the guesswork out by ordering a copy of the Thanksgiving Primer. This book outlines everything you need to know about throwing your own 1621 Thanksgiving feast.

Bon App├ętit!

What Really Happened in Colonial Times?
Get the facts! Find out with these great sale prices - up to 50% off -

Terri Johnson
Knowledge Quest, Inc.

Is this your first year homeschooling?
Make it the best year possible with

Friday, October 10, 2008

Update on the opinion poll...

Wow, there has been a dramatic shift in the survey results. Here are the latest numbers:

Homeschooling on a Dime - 15
What You Child Needs to Know When - 27

Would you like to express your opinion? I am trying to decide which topic I should write about for a 5 day ecourse for beginning homeschool parents. The course would be free.

My initial thought was that I would write a 5 day class on the topic of What Your Child Needs to Know and When. However, with the economy the way it is and an uncertain financial future on the horizon, I started to wonder if a better topic might be Homeschooling on a Dime. That is why I initially turned to you, my readers, for help.

I am leaning back towards my original topic and will probably get started on it this weekend. Thank you so much for your opinions! And they are still welcome, by the way. Please do share your thoughts. Your feedback is so valuable to me!


Survey says...

Well, you guys are really helpful! The two choices are neck in neck - basically a tie so far! So I am still wanting to hear your opinion, in case you haven't left it yet. Here are the survey results so far:

Homeschooling on a Dime - 13
What You Child Needs to Know When - 14

Thank you so much for posting your thoughts. Keep 'em coming - they are priceless!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Affiliate commission has been upped to 75%

Do you want to post feedback on our survey question? Scroll down to the next post. Thanks!

Hey, we are so excited about our Homeschooling ABCs class and want to get the word out about it. So, we are offering a 75% affiliate commission to anyone that wants to refer it to their friends or acquaintances. If you are interested, here's how you can get started:

You are free to use any wording that you find on the website ( or if you would rather, you can send out an article written by me entitled "5 Essential Ingredients to Homeschooling Success". If you indicate interest by sending me an email, I'll send it right over. Then you will simply replace your affiliate link at the end of the article so that you can get credit for the sales that you generate from it.

To get your special affiliate link, follow the directions on this page - If you have a clickbank account, just enter your "nickname" and click "create". The page will generate your special affiliate link. If you do not have a clickbank account yet, simply follow the directions there to sign up for one (it's free!) and then use the nickname that you were given to complete the affiliate link on the page above.

This is easier than it sounds and I think that you will be pleased by the response that you will receive when you let your subscribers know about this opportunity. Here are a just a few of the comments that we have received already:

I just have to say, thank you so much for offering this opportunity. I haven't even gotten started (just subscribed), but as I was reading about the offer it brought me to tears. I want to homeschool and do a good job from the beginning and it's been a very scary and unsupported road so far. I feel a new surge of hope. You are an answer to prayer.

Thank you again! I'm looking forward to getting started!


Wow! What a great idea! I am so excited to get started. I feel encouraged already. Thank you so much for taking the time to put this class together for newbies like me. You are a blessing.


I just had to send you a quick note to thank you for this wonderful service you are providing. I'm a "veteran" homeschooler (we're starting our 7th year), but last year was really discouraging for me, so your ABCs came just at the right time. I really needed a remedial course in homeschooling--your weekly assignments have been so helpful for me. It's the class I needed to take 7 years ago!


Let me know if you have any questions whatsoever. Have a good evening!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Guarding our school day

Survey below - I want your opinion!

I just finished writing Lesson J for our Homeschooling ABCs class ( I am really enjoying teaching this class for beginning homeschool parents. The lesson that I just wrote and uploaded to the membership site is about guarding our school time. The title is "Just Say No - Staying Focused and On-track".

How many times do we pick up the telephone and realize that shouldn't have because we KNOW we are going to lose 45 minutes of school time. And how many times have you decided to check email for just a few moments and realize that a half an hour has slipped by and the children have wandered off and are no where to be seen.

Guarding our school time is an important and hard-learned lesson for most of us. How many times have you had your sister-in-law drop her little kids off at your house during school time because she figures you're home and can easily fold another busy toddler and demanding baby into your day's routine and activities. How hard and yet how important it is that we communicate our schedule and when we are and are not available for others.

This lesson provides a framework for when to say "no" to an activity and when to respond with a wholehearted "Yes!". When we are careful about the things we say yes to, we don't get the life sucked out of us and have burn-out set in. Setting boundaries is so, so crucial to our homeschooling success!

Survey: I would love your opinion! I am writing a 5 day mini-course that will be free to all who want to take it. This is separate from our Homeschooling ABCs class which is a paid membership class. Anyway, which topic do you think would be more useful for beginning and seasoned homeschoolers alike:

Homeschooling on a Dime (free and cheap ways to teach your kids at home)


What Your Child Needs to Know and When (now you can rest easy!)

I would love to know your opinion! Thanks for sharing.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Getting started with Facebook

Okay, I took the plunge and decided to set up a Facebook account. Some of my friends have been persuading me to do it for a few months. I'm not sure why I hesitated except for maybe the fact that I already have a hard time finding enough time to post to my blog. I thought, Oh dear, if I have one more thing I have to keep updating, I could be in trouble.

Anyway, I found out that it's not hard at all and you can add to it whenever you want. You don't have to have everything perfect the way you want it on Day 1. In fact, I still have some information that I need to fill in and I might add some pictures a little bit later. What I have been excited about is finding some old friends and keeping up with family members who live far away. It's pretty nifty. If you aren't on Facebook yet, might I suggest that you give it a try. I think that you will be glad that you did.

Here's the link -


Saturday, October 4, 2008

The next "Around the World" unit study

These are so much fun to put together. I hope that you enjoy using them. This unit study is on the country of China. After becoming more intrigued with China as a result of the 2008 Summer Olympic games, it was fun to dive in and learn even more about this complex and ancient country. The best way to take full advantage of this unit study is to read the article first in the fall issue of The Old Schoolhouse magazine (link below). Here is the China unit study:



Terri Johnson