Winners Revealed

December 12th, 2009 / No Comments » / by Terri

Yay!  We held our drawing and are so excited to be sending out printed copies of the book – What Really Happened During the Middle Ages – to these winners:

Linda S.

Michelle

Susan

Dawn

Jennilyn

If you wrote a comment and your name is here, then please contact me and we’ll get your mailing address so we can send this to you in time for Christmas.  And have a very Merry Christmas – to each and every one of you.

Here’s my email address – terri@kqpublishing.org.

And for those of you that are interested in purchasing the book at 40% off, or the set of 3 at 47% off, then follow this link – /What-Really-Happened-During-the-Middle-Ages.html.

Merry Christmas!

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Americans geographically illiterate?

December 3rd, 2009 / 2 Comments » / by Terri

These statistics are from a recent National Geographic survey.  Sad, but true.

Americans are far from alone in the world, but from the perspective of many young Americans, we might as well be. Most young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 demonstrate a limited understanding of the world, and they place insufficient importance on the basic geographic skills that might enhance their knowledge.

Young Americans answer about half (54 percent) of all the survey questions correctly. But by and large, majorities of young adults fail at a range of questions testing their basic geographic literacy.

Only 37% of young Americans can find Iraq on a map—though U.S. troops have been there since 2003.
6 in 10 young Americans don’t speak a foreign language fluently.
20% of young Americans think Sudan is in Asia. (It’s the largest country in Africa.)
48% of young Americans believe the majority population in India is Muslim. (It’s Hindu—by a landslide.)
Half of young Americans can’t find New York on a map.

What do you think of these findings?

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Good King Wenceslas

December 3rd, 2009 / 26 Comments » / by Terri

Just who was Good King Wenceslas anyway?

Have you ever wondered about Good King Wenceslas, the ruler who has been sung about since the famous hymn was written by John Neale in 1853?  Just who was this man, why do we call him “king” and why do we call him “good”?

Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas

Since it is Christmas time, we are pleased to give you this sample biography from our book of medieval biographies entitled What Really Happened During the Middle Ages.  We hope that you will take some time out of your busy schedule to read a timeless tale to your children about Wenceslas, a man who exhibited character qualities that truly matter – compassion, selflessness and courage.

Pick up your free historical biography here:

/wenceslas.htm

Enjoy!

Also, if you would like to be included in our drawing to win 1 of 5 free copies of What Really Happened During the Middle Ages, please post a comment here below with your thoughts on the Wenceslas biography.  Just tell us if you like it or not and why.  Please be sure to leave contact information so that we can contact you if you win (email or blog address is great). The drawing will be held on December 11th.

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The Opportunity of Homeschooling

December 1st, 2009 / 1 Comment » / by Terri

Guest article by Heidi St. John of First Class Homeschool Ministrieshttp://www.fchm.org

Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Eph. 5:15-16

People often ask us why we’re so passionate about homeschooling.  Why does it matter?  Aren’t all educational options “the same”?

The simple answer is NO.  They’re not.

Why?  Because education, at it’s core, is discipleship.  The real role of a teacher is to disciple, or mentor a student.  But what does that mean?  It means that teachers play a huge part in shaping the hearts and minds of their students.

Luke 6:10b says, “everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”  This verse is just one of many that tells us why education is so important.  The Bible says that students, when fully trained, become like their teachers.  It’s a sobering thought, given what our children are being taught about moral issues in most public schools today.

This verse from Luke should serve as a reminder to parents about our own responsibility in teaching our kids.  If they are going to be like us, then we need to be like Jesus.

Homeschooling has many wonderful facets to it, but by far and away, we’ve come to believe that the best thing about homeschooling is that it gives parents the opportunity to invest in the lives of their children like no other educational format.  It gives parents the gift of time with their children.

Where are our children spending their time? Are we making the most of every opportunity to impart a biblical worldview to our children?

Studies have proven the educational advantage that homeschooling affords children but it’s much more than that.  When we educate our children at home with solid biblical teaching, we make the most of every opportunity God has given us with our kids.

The opportunity of homeschooling is simple:  it offers parents the gift of time.  Time to teach them how much God loves them. Time to read together.  Time to build relationships.  Time to talk about what’s important.  Time to discover together the unique gifts God has placed in each child He created.  Time to teach our children to be discerning, and to study God’s word together.

Yes, math, reading, writing and history are important.  But they pale in comparison to discipling our children in the ways of the Master.

On the days when homeschooling seems to take all your time and you wonder if you’ll make it out alive (yes, I’ve been there, too),  remember that time is a gift.  Your children will grow and be on their own before you know it.  Your investment in the spiritual and academic growth of your children is worth it.

Aside from leading them to Christ, homeschooling is the best thing you can do for your children.  As Chris Klicka wrote, “it’s the “right choice!”

Jay and Heidi St. John have six children who range in age from 4 to 18.  Their desire to see churches reach out in support of homeschooling families prompted them to found First Class Homeschool Ministries.   For more information on First Class or to contact the St. Johns, please send feel free to send them an email or call 360-326-8826.

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Medieval Map Trek

November 20th, 2009 / No Comments » / by Terri

Yay, it’s finished ahead of schedule!  In honor of National Geography Awareness Week (did you know there was such a thing?), we have finished the second volume of Map Trek.  This ebook covers the Medieval World and is here to rescue all of you out there who consider yourselves geographically illiterate :-) .

In 1987, President Reagan signed legislation establishing the third week in November as the time to showcase geographic education in the U.S.  So, at the very least, print out the sample maps provided to you at the link below and learn something about the world before Geography Week comes to a close!

Map Trek: Medieval World

Map Trek: Medieval World

/MapTrek2.html

And if you decide to purchase the set at a discount this week, then give yourself another pat on the back for making geography a priority in your children’s education.

All sarcasm aside, I hope that you like the new release.  As always, I would love to hear your comments!  Feel free to post them here or on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/KnowledgeQuest.

Have a great weekend!

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8 Medieval Maps to Download

November 11th, 2009 / No Comments » / by Terri

Would you like a sneak peek into our second volume of Map Trek?  We have provided 8 full-sized and full-color maps that you may save to your computer and use with your children.  We’d love to hear what you think of them.

/MapTrek2.html

Map Trek: Medieval World

Map Trek: Medieval World

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I don’t teach my teens

November 7th, 2009 / No Comments » / by Terri

Want to hear something shocking?  I do not teach my teens their school lessons.   You heard that right… I do not teach my teens their history, geography, math, science, grammar, spelling, logic, Spanish or any other school subject.

But you may be asking, Don’t you homeschool your kids all the way through high school?  And the answer is… well, sort of.  You see, I don’t need to teach my teens anything because they have learned to teach themselves.  They have become completely independent in terms of learning their school subjects.

They memorize scripture on their own (however, they do recite it for us).

They teach themselves their history, science, grammar and spelling lessons.

They take classes outside of our home and are completely responsible for their homework.

They are teaching themselves higher math that I never learned.

They are utilizing the local community college for advanced classes.

In fact, here is how our school day goes:

9:00 – We meet together as a family to discuss the days events, coordinate rides, worship, pray, etc.

9:30 – I read to my middle two daughters, while my oldest daughter watches the two little ones.  My son works on his biology assignments for a class that he is taking with a group of homeschoolers.

10:00 – I work with my youngest school-aged daughter on her math lesson, while my middle daughter takes care of the youngest two (ages 4 and 1).  Oldest DD works on her college Spanish assignment and DS works on his pre-calculus assignment.

10:30 – I work with my middle daughter on her math lesson, while my 3rd daughter watches the youngsters.  Teens are busily working on their math and science school work.

11:00 – Son’s turn to watch the littlest ones, while oldest daughter gets ready for class at CC.  Middle girls finish up their school work and then turn to their piano lessons.

Noon – 3rd and 4th graders are finished with their school work, while teens head off to various classes and finish up school work in the CC library or when they return home.

As you can see from our schedule, I do not teach my teens.  They teach themselves.  However, I am available for questions and schedule in times for discussions.  I want to hear about what they are reading; I want to help them formulate their opinions on something they have read or heard; I want to help them debrief about a book or lecture or assignment they have finished.

My teens are very helpful around the home and are active in their community.  I am enjoying the fruit of spending quality time training them and teaching them when they were younger.  I am also enjoying the benefit of having them home most of the time because I cherish their company and appreciate their involvement in my life and in the lives of their siblings.

Are you homeschooling your teens?  Are you considering it?  Are you looking for some guidance so that you can launch sons and daughters from your home who are well-prepared for life?  Do you just need a little confidence, resources and tools to help you KNOW that you are doing things right?

Check out Upper Level Homeschool for a free 5 day mini-class.  We also offer a paid 13 week course that will show you all of the ins and outs of homeschooling your high schooler.

http://www.upperlevelhomeschool.com

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Early Christmas Gift!

November 5th, 2009 / No Comments » / by Terri

Here at the Johnson house, we celebrate 5 birthdays over the next 4 weeks, plus squeeze in a huge family Thanksgiving feast at our house and begin to prepare for Christmas ahead.  It can feel a little overwhelming at times.  But it does put me in a giving mood, so I wanted to make sure that you received this beautiful early Christmas gift!

2009 Holiday Digital Supplement/Idea Book

Thinking about Christmas yet?  Maybe not.  How about Thanksgiving?  If you want to stay on top of all of the holiday baking, shopping, entertaining, reading, devotions, crafts and more, then it’s best to get started on some preparations now.  And to help you do that, the publishers of The Old Schoolhouse magazine have put together a special holiday edition for you and it is completely free.

Yes you heard that right, it is free.  All you have to do is click on this link below and then on the button that reads “Get Your Free Copy” and the 180 page digital issue will load onto your screen.  From there, you have the option to bookmark it, print it out, share it with your friends or download it to your computer.

Here’s the link to your beautiful “glossy” holiday issue:

http://thehomeschoolmagazine.com/Digital-Supplement/Thanksgiving&Christmas.html

Book Recommendation

Do you celebrate Advent?  There are many advent devotionals out there and we used the same one for years and years.  Last year, we decided to try something different and our family loved it.  If you are looking for something new this year to shake things up, check out Jotham’s Journey by Arnold Ytreeide.  We purchased ours from Timberdoodle, but you can purchase it from Amazon.com or another favorite book retailer.

Do you have comments?  You can post them here on my blog or the KQ Facebook page:

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/KnowledgeQuest

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Medieval Map Trek coming soon

October 29th, 2009 / No Comments » / by Terri

Many of you have been asking when the next volumes of Map Trek will be available.  Here is our schedule.  We intend to roll out future volumes of Map Trek every 6 weeks or so, which means…

Volume 2: Medieval World will be available around the beginning of December;

Volume 3: New World will be available around the end of January

Volume 4: Modern World will be available around the beginning of March.

We hope to have the Complete Collection available to you in printed book + CD combo in early Spring 2010.

Would you like a sneak peek at a couple of the maps from Map Trek: Medieval World?  Head on over to the Knowledge Quest website using this link here – /MapTrek2.html.

Map of Charlemagne's Empire

Map of Charlemagne's Empire

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The First Thanksgiving

October 26th, 2009 / No Comments » / by Terri

I talked with my dad last night and found out that we have two more coming for Thanksgiving this year.  Yay, the more the merrier.  So, I definitely have my head full of visions of turkey and stuffing and yummy apple pie!  Not sure where I’ll seat everyone yet, but that is a small hurdle to jump over.

With the beautiful fall display outside and the lovely decorations within, I often find myself thinking about how warm and cozy and relatively easy our lives are now as compared with the daily lives and sufferings endured by our pilgrim forefathers.  They celebrated that first Thanksgiving with just half the population that arrived the autumn before.  And yet they were thankful…

A couple of years ago, our family made an attempt at recreating that first Thanksgiving dinner.  The food was strange, but the camaraderie and joy we shared together was great.  Here’s an article I wrote about the event.  I hope that this may inspire you to enjoy an authentic first Thanksgiving feast in your home.

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!

Furmenty

* 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 Amazon.com.

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.

Pilgrim Thanksgiving

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 Appétit!

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