Friday, April 10, 2009

Interview with Cyndi Kinney from Knowledge Box Central plus a surprise gift to you from KBC!

I recently interviewed Cyndi Kinney from Knowledge Box Central, a wonderful resource for notebooking and lapbooking. You will enjoy reading her inspiring answers! Make sure you read this interview because Mrs. Kinney has a nice surprise for you in one of the answers!

1. First, tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Cyndi Kinney, and I am a homeschool mom and owner of Knowledge Box Central. Multiples Sclerosis somewhat defines my life from time to time, as my body doesn’t always want to do what my mind tells it to do. However, God has given me a way to use my mind when my body doesn’t want to work…and that is through writing and speaking. I am a Registered Nurse, but have been unable to work in that field for years, due to my disability. So, I went back to school and earned my PhD in Education. God has such an amazing way of putting us where HE wants us instead of where WE think we should be! My husband, Scott, is my best friend, and our 14 year old daughter, Shelby, is the light of our lives…..and quite a challenge to homeschool!

2. Tell us about Knowledge Box Central and how it got started.
Really, Knowledge Box Central was born out of a bit of frustration and accidents. I had been frustrated for quite some time over how to really connect with my daughter during our schooling hours. She is SUCH a kinesthetic learner! We began creating little booklets during our studies, and later I found out that this was called lapbooking. Some of the members of our co-op knew that I had done some lapbooks with my daughter and asked me to be in charge of lapbooks in the co-op. After several co-op classes involving lapbooks, I began having parents ask me to show them how to create lapbooks. In our Tapestry of Grace (a great Christian Classical Education curriculum) co-op, someone suggested that I put a note on the Tapestry of Grace forum and let the users know that I had made some lapbooks to go along with a couple of the units. These well-meaning parents seemed to think that someone out there might want to buy them from me.

So, I created a very small, cheap website and put 2 lapbooks on it. I posted a note on the Tapestry of Grace forum, letting them know about it. Before I knew it, I had orders coming out of my ears!!! You would think that this would be a good thing, right??? Wrong…I was totally unprepared!! I didn’t think anyone would REALLY want my lapbooks…..let alone want to BUY them!! As I was scrambling to figure out how I was going to make this “new business” work, I received a call from the owner of Tapestry of Grace. Thank God she GAVE ME GRACE! It seems that I had crossed some important lines when I posted my advertisement on the forum. She politely said, “You can’t advertise on the forum. I’ll have to remove your posts.” Then, she added, “but we’d love to talk with you about having you design lapbooks for all 16 of our units.”

And so…….there was born Knowledge Box Central. We were now a full-blown home-based business. I no longer had anything to whine about…I had plenty to keep my brain busy! God gave me a way to use my brain, even when my body didn’t want to cooperate with me much. Isn’t he good?

The business took off….to the point that my husband came home full-time. He felt God calling him to make the sacrifice to leave his job and give his support to the ministry that I had begun. He has been the biggest blessing for this business! It is still a struggle, but we are finally “breaking even.” I guess that’s not bad, since we started this business officially in 2005. We don’t have a storefront or big cars, and we haven’t gone on any vacations……and I still wear old clothes from years ago. We are a long way from what I would really call “profiting,” but we are making something that is OURS…TOGETHER. My daughter and mother have participated in the design of several of our products as well…. It’s a true family business. I think God is pleased.

4. What is your favorite product that you sell?
Wow…that’s a tough one. I think that one of my favorites is the Modesty Lapbook for Girls. It has such an important message for our girls. Another one of my favorites is the Basic Cooking Lapbook. Cooking is becoming a lost art as our culture has become such “fast-food junkies.” And…I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the U.S. Government Lapbooks. Those were a joint project between myself and my mother, and she did an amazing job!

5. My reader's love freebies and sales. Do you have anything special going on at your site right now?
Well, I’d love to give all of your readers a $10.00 off gift certificate! Just go to our home page and sign up for the newsletter…..and you’ll receive a confirmation email. Confirm, and then you’ll receive your discount code!

6. Do you have any tips for mom's wanting to make learning history fun?
When I was in school, I honestly hated history. It was the subject that I dreaded the most. So, when I started homeschooling my daughter, I began to dread it as well. Then, I realized how much FUN it could be, and now I think I’m learning as much as she is!

Studies show that the more of the students’ senses that you involve in the learning process, the more information the student will retain. It’s a fact. Cook foods from the time period or country that you are studying. Act out plays or small skits. Dress up in costumes, maybe even making them yourself. Field trips make history fun as well, as seeing it for yourself is a much better teacher than seeing it in a book. Involve others in your studies in the form of discussions. Build dioramas, make lapbooks, draw pictures! Get all of your senses involved!

7. How does a child benefit from notebooking and lapbooking?
Lapbooks remind me of the old fashioned ‘pop-up” books from my childhood. They are merely file folders and paper booklets that are folded in all types of unique ways. They may be used for any subject and any age.

When relatives or friends come to visit, your child will love pulling out these prized possessions and showing them off. But..the best thing is…your child will truly remember what he studied. As I said before, it has been proven that the more senses a child uses when studying a topic, the more he will retain. By creating this treasure himself, your child will experience this increase in information retention, and an excitement about education will be renewed.

Notebooking is merely lapbooking inside a notebook…and sometimes the older children prefer this method, as it is more like scrapbooking.

8. I saw on your site that you have different audio products. Could you tell us a little about those?
We sell Henty Audios as well as audios by me! These are recordings from seminars in which I have spoken. We are in the process of adding more of these, so be on the watch!

9.Do you have a blog?
Yes! I just set up a brand new blog, and it is still a bit in the construction stages. I’m pretty much blog-challenged…but I’m working on it! Here is the blog address:

Thank You Cyndi for this interview and the gift certificate!
***As many of you know, running a home-based business is a lot of work. If you subscribe to KBC and use the gift certificate, take a second to go by Mrs. Kinney's blog and post a Thank You comment!***

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