How To Write Your Holiday Thank-You’s

Posted by Annie on Jan 14, 2010 in Activity, Education

With the holidays over, it’s time to start writing thank-you notes for all those wonderful gifts.

As Geoffrey Parker states, “The thought behind the thank-you should be equal to or greater than the thought that went into the gift.” A thank-you note is a critical part of the gift giving season, so pick up your favorite stationary and pen from the Parker Premier collection and start writing

How to write meaningful Thank You notes.

  • Why is hand writing a thank-you note more special than electronic devices?
  • What is the best way to show your appreciation through handwriting?
  • What is the best way to start off the card?
  • Why should you not sign with a signature? What is the best way to sign a personalized note?
  • Which types of pens are best for writing thank-you notes?

We all know email is the easy way out of thank you notes but are they Emily Post acceptable? In today’s fast paced, high tech world, the art of letter writing may seem passé, but it is a habit that should not be forgotten. What better way to say thank you than with a hand written note with a beautiful writing utensil, on your favorite stationary?

During the holidays, Geoffrey Parker, branding consultant for Parker Pen Co. and great-grandson of its founder, George S. Parker, is careful not to overlook what he calls a “critical” aspect of the gift-giving season: thank-you notes.

Common Courtesy!

“It’s common courtesy,” he says. “If someone does something for me, I need to acknowledge that.” Mr. Parker sometimes thanks a gift-giver or party host with a phone call, email or text message. But he believes that these modes are “insufficient” and always follows up with a handwritten message. “As these modern electronic devices become more common and overused, they become cheap,” he says.

Mr. Parker usually sends his thank-you notes on four-by-six-inch cards with his name and address printed across the top. He favors heavier paper and cards with printed words that are raised, noting that people often subconsciously run their fingers over the printed portion of stationery when they receive a note. “People are establishing impressions based on a lot of subtle things,” he says.

When writing a card, Mr. Parker eschews everyday ballpoint pens. “I feel fountain pens allow me to be more expressive,” he says. He likes using a pen with a broad nib, saying that the fatter script and signature “doesn’t look as if it’s something that’s been mass-produced.” He uses ink in a different color from the printed message on the card, usually favoring a striking bright royal blue for his black-printed stationery.

Before he writes his note, he sometimes practices writing a line several times to see how it looks on paper. “People are writing less and less these days … a lot of people have forgotten how to write,” he says. “You don’t want something to be difficult to read, misunderstood or simply not understood.”

How To Write Your Holiday Thank-You's

He typically begins the note with a line “harking back to the last time I saw or communicated with them” and then goes on to ask about an associate or family member. “By doing this, you establish a sort of conversation, more than a blunt ‘Thanks for the necktie,'” he says. While he tries to keep his message brief, he makes sure it is always more than one or two lines.

Finally, he signs off informally with his first name. “Do not use your business signature for a personal note,” he says. “It can seem too formal, and a personal note should not be done in any sort of mechanical or perfunctory way.” His rule of thumb: “The thought behind the thank-you should be equal to or greater than the thought that went into the gift.”

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Free Homeschool TeleConference

Posted by Annie on Jan 9, 2010 in Conference

Homeschool Thursdays TeleConference
With Diane Flynn Keith

I’m excited to invite you to Diane Flynn Keith’s first ever “Homeschool Thursdays

It’s designed to provide you with ideas to help you save time and money – and make your homeschool journey a whole lot of fun! The first presentation will be:

“The Mindset & Resources
You Need to Start Homeschooling Successfully!”

Thursday, January 28, 2010, 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. PST,
(7:00 to 8:00 p.m. EST)

From the comfort of your own home you can call in and listen to a themed presentation followed by a Q&A. This brand new homeschool outreach program for 2010 takes place on the 4th Thursday of each month.

Some of the teleconferences in the year-long series will include interviews with other experts and authors on various topics designed to help you have the best homeschool or unschool experience possible.

Diane will be hosting this first teleconference solo, that will include the following topics:

  • The Mindset You Need to Homeschool Successfully!
  • Legal Ways to Homeschool
  • What About Socialization?
  • Where to find Educational Curriculum & Resources

Then, you will have an opportunity to offer comments, ask questions, and make suggestions for future teleconferences during the Q&A portion of the presentation. This live event is FREE, you just have to pay for your own telephone charges.

Space is Limited, and You Must Register To Get The Call-In Instructions.

This “Homeschool Thursdays Teleconference” is designed for a diverse,
all-inclusive, non-sectarian audience.

Note: Recordings of this event will be accessible for a small fee. Information on how to download and listen to the call will be sent to you within 48 hours after each call.

Click here to register now!

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General’s Month

Posted by Annie on Jan 6, 2010 in Seasonal

It’s often difficult to get the kids on board with the history program.

At some point kids often ask, “Why should I care about about a bunch of old dead people?” “How can history be relevant in my life?” I can recall asking those same questions myself as a school girl. Fortunately, I had some very good teachers who did their best to make it almost painless to study history.

General's Month - Civil War Games

So, how can we impress upon our kids the importance of history in their own lives? It’s an age old problem, with no single answer. Each child is different and just like historians, they will see history from their own eyes and their own viewpoint.

I explained it this way to my own son: What did you do yesterday? What did you eat? Did you do anything of significance? This is history. Granted it’s a very recent history but it is history all the same. Many family traditions are created from our own meaningful experiences.

The things we did yesterday can have a profound impact on us today and even tomorrow and for many days to come. The decisions we made yesterday can influence us in a big way in the future and the things we do can produce wonderful memories that stay with us for many years to come. Use examples from your own family history to explain what history is and why it is important to you on a personal level.

February has long been known as “Presidents Month.” We remember our Presidents in ceremonies, celebrations, book reports and by putting on plays and productions in their honor.

Did you know that January is often referred to as “Generals Month” and for good reason? Four famous Confederate Generals claimed January as their birth month:

If you are homeschooling a boy or two, you know how difficult it can be to get them interested in history. Here are a few ideas to help you jump start their curiosity:

Play some games…

  • Play a game of with your son, talk about each piece as you play and what their duties might be in the military, paying special attention to the generals.
  • Play , discuss each piece and the role they can play in military operations.
  • Pick up some era toys, re-inact some of the battles.

Watch some DVD’s…

Read a Good Book…

All warfare is based on deception. Therefore, when capable of attacking, feign incapacity; when active in moving troops, feign inactivity. When near the enemy, make it seem that you are far away; when far away, make it seem that you are near. – Sun Tzu

Read Sun Tzu, “The Art of War,” an historic and timeless guide to military strategies and tactics. The guidance it offers is still useful today, especially off the battlefield. Today it is primarily used as a guide to understanding competitors and clients in business, so that you may better succeed when facing difficult challenges, though it will also help you to understand the concepts of strategy and tactics in practice.

  • (ages 9-12)
  • (ages 9-12)
  • (ages 4-8)

Don’t be afraid to get down on the floor and play with your son. Discuss strategy and the outcome of the Civil War. You may be surprised to find your discussions taking you in many new directions. The most important thing is to have fun and be open to new ideas.

For more fun ideas and resources visit Homefires’ Learning Calendar with DVD Resources.

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