Homeschooling Teen

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


 Homeschooled Teen Profiles: Oliver and Lennon Aldort

 Homeschool Friendly College: Simpson University

 College Bound Reading List: American Mania

 Special Feature: Building a College Portfolio

 E-Mail Etiquette: Tip-of-the-Month

 Readers Write: "Homeward Bound"

 HST Columns: Webcomix & Anime Reviews

 Homeschooling High School: "Can My Homeschooled Child Attend University?"

 Parents Column  

 Plus a whole lot more!!!


College Bound 

Preparing For College - ACT & SAT Information

Another school year has begun, and now is the time for high school juniors - especially if they dream of attending a highly selective college - to start thinking about taking the SAT and/or ACT. Besides good transcripts and letters of recommendation, entrance exams are an important part of the admission process. While some colleges have waived these tests as a requirement, many colleges and universities still rely heavily on SAT and ACT scores to help in admissions decisions. A typical applicant to a competitive college might boast section scores in the upper 20s for the ACT and above 600 for the SAT.

Read more by clicking
 Sponsored in part by
Sylvan SAT/ACT® Prep can help you prepare.
Find a participating Sylvan below 
  or visit
to find a center near you.

 Happy Holidays


 Concise (adjective) - expressed briefly and simply; succinct.

"Less than a page long, the Bill of Rights is a concise statement of the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans."

SYNONYMS: abridged, compact

 Christmas Carols

The word "carol" comes from the Greek word "choros" meaning "a circling dance," or "carolus," meaning "in a circle," like a carousel, or from a similar word meaning "to accompany the dance." There once was an ancient ring dance that was called a "carole." The earliest known reference to a carol in English literature that uses the word in its modern spelling is dated around 1300. It denotes a round dance in combination with a song. After a time, the dance was evidently dropped and the carol, which told a story, was sung by wandering musicians. The words were in a definite form of uniform stanzas, or verses, with a refrain that began the song and was repeated after each stanza. The "ring" leader sang the stanzas and the listeners joined in on the refrain. The earliest carols celebrated any happy or joyous event. Carols originally had nothing in particular to do with Christmas, and were used as much in the celebration of Easter. Others were actually quite pagan in tone.

Most authorities agree that the birthplace of the true Christmas carol is Italy where, in the 13th century, St. Francis of Assisi promoted the idea of singing at the Christmas season. The very first Christmas carol has been traced to a story about St. Francis and some of his followers kneeling at a crib resembling the manger bed of Jesus and singing of the Savior's birth. St. Francis of Assisi is credited with bringing about a new interest in the Nativity and being the originator of the Christmas crèche. The image of the baby lying in a manger surrounded by animals, which was promoted by Francis and his followers, was to feature prominently in many carols. Thereafter, from Italy the carol spread quickly to all those countries where Christianity existed.

Read more about the history and meaning of Christmas carols at




A column by Peter in AZ

 Precocious Webcomic

Because Knowledge is a Weapon!

Precocious is a comic strip revolving around four little kids who possess some degree of intelligence. In fact, they might just be a tad too smart for their own good. Actually, I got a little bit of a Calvin and Hobbes vibe reading it. The smart kid part, anyway. There are no stuffed tigers to be found, alas.

The artist, Christopher J. Paulsen, says: "If this comic looks and reads like what would happen if Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Ozy and Millie, Bloom County and Fox Trot were thrown into a blender and distilled... That's because it IS. I'm a huge fan of all those strips, and following them most definitely helped shape me into who I am today." Movie Review Contest

Create your own movie review video for a chance to win great prizes!

Create a video of you reviewing your favorite movie. Tell us why your favorite movie gets 4 stars and you are entered for a chance to win a $1,000 and other great prizes. Be sure to read all the rules and then when you are ready, use the "Enter now" button in the upper right corner to upload your video.

15 finalists will viewed by our panel of celebrity judges to determine the winners the week of January 10th - 17th. The celebrity judges will base their decision on the following criteria:

  1. Review Value - Does your review help viewers to evaluate the movie and decide whether they would watch it?
  2. Entertainment Value - Is your review entertaining and fun to watch?
  3. Creativity

How to become a finalist:

  • The 10 videos with the highest ratings (by vote) will be entered as finalists. You may enter more than 1 video, but only 1 video per person will be allowed in the top 15 finalists. If you have two videos rated among the top 10, the video with the most votes will proceed to the finals.
  • An additional 5 videos will be chosen by an internal panel of judges to be in the top 15. So even if your video doesn't get a lot of votes, it might make it into the top 15 if it is really creative and entertaining.

The Rules:

  • No inappropriate content
  • Videos MUST be 3 minutes or less
  • Kids under 18 may only enter with permission of the legal guardian
  • Do not use your last name in your video to protect your privacy
  • Copyrighted material (such as video from movie trailers) runs the risk of being removed if there is a complaint from the copyright holder
  • Videos must be uploaded to the contest site by 11:59pm CST, January 8th, 2010 to be considered for the final round.


  • 1st Place will receive $1,000
  • 2nd place will receive $500
  • 3rd place will receive $250
  • 4th place will receive $150
  • 5th place will receive $100
  • 6th place - 15th place will receive a $25.00 gift card

Read the complete rules and requirements at:



Advent, December 1-24

Day of the Ninja, December 5

Pearl Harbor Day, December 7 (1941)

Hanukkah, December 11-19

Poinsettia Day, December 12

Bill of Rights Day, December 15 (1791)

Wright Brothers Day, December 17 (1903)

Louisiana Purchase Day, December 20 (1803)

Pilgrim Landing Day, December 21 (1620)

Winter Solstice, December 21

Christmas Eve, December 24

Christmas, December 25

Kwanzaa, December 26-January 1

New Year's Eve, December 31



  Can you guess what movie this quote came from?

 "Whew... ha! Almost lost my *cool* there."  


(Answer: The Grinch)

You too can be a Homeschooling Teen reporter or columnist! Please send information about what you like to write about, the reason you want to take on the challenge of a monthly column, and an example of your work to: 



Are you a cartoonist and would you like to see your work published in this magazine? Please write and tell us about the type of cartoon you create, (single pane, strip, etc.) the topics you cover (current events, humor, homeschool life, etc.) and send us a sample along with your name and age. Contact: 

E-mail Etiquette:

Tip of the Month

 In your e-mail program be sure to create a folder to file any e-mails received confirming your online shopping activities.

 If you are a online shopper like I am, create an "Order Confirm" folder where you can file all e-mail order confirmations you receive from those you do business with.  Talk about handy!

 This way if I am wondering about the status of an order or want to find out more info, I can usually just click the link in the order confirmation and go right to their site.


This E-mail Etiquette Tip is provided as a courtesy by: 

In 2010 we want to include more profiles of Homeschooling Teen subscribers - so that means we need to hear from YOU!

 If you are involved with an amazing project, have a special interest that you're passionate about, possess a unique skill, talent or ability, or have accomplished something positive and extraordinary for a person your age or in your situation - be sure to tell us about it and we will feature you in our magazine!




Charitable Christmas Ideas 

Celebrate Christmas and the joy of giving with 12 Days of Charity!

Provide a complete Christmas - including a tree, decorations, presents (toys, clothes, or practical gifts), and dinner - for a family down on its luck, or an elderly person in your neighborhood. You could also hang a birdfeeder right outside their window for them to enjoy.

Anonymously leave a special poem, a small gift, flowers, potted plant, or holiday story at a homebound neighbor or someone in need.

Bake a batch of cookies for someone special in your life - such as a neighbor, teacher, friend or relative - to say "thanks for everything."

Fill a shoebox with small gifts and a card for a homeless child or someone that will be spending the holidays in the hospital.

Make a festive holiday centerpiece or decorative place mats for a local senior center. You can print out paper placemats from your computer using Christmas clip art and a holiday border design.

Participate in a Christmas Angel, Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, or similar campaign.

Donate a bunch of soups and other canned goods to a holiday food drive.

Deliver handmade holiday cards to a nursing home.

Collect blankets, shoes, socks, and warm clothing for the homeless.

Go Christmas caroling at a children's hospital or nursing home.

Bring cat and dog food, clean old towels, blankets, newspapers, and paper towels to an animal shelter along with some extra "treats" or toys. While you're there, consider adopting a homeless pet for Christmas!

Decorate a tree for the birds! Make garlands of popcorn and cranberries. Cover pinecones with peanut butter, dip them in birdseed, and tie on the tree. You can also hang apples, oranges, and other fruits on the tree.

Courtesy of Teri @


HST Blogroll

Are you a homeschooling teen? Do you have your own blog? You know you excel in your field of thought, right? ;) Would you like to get more visitors to your blog? Let us add your blog to our Homeschooling Teen Blogroll at ! You can write about anything you want in your blog, as long as it adheres to the standards set forth in Philippians 4:8. ("Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.") In other words, keep it nice and keep it clean! Take a look at a few of the blogs that are already there, and be sure to contact us at to add yours to the list!

The Nativity Story - Retold by Teri Ann Berg Olsen


"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." ~Isaiah 9:6 

 nativity scene

 More than two thousand years ago, a miraculous event that changed the course of history occurred in an area known as the Holy Land, a desert region located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, in the Middle Eastern nation of Israel.

 While most people in the Holy Land were Jewish, they were ruled by the Roman Empire. The Romans treated the Jews harshly. Herod the Great, the local king of Judea, was a cruel tyrant. The Jewish people never gave up hope that someday God would send a Savior to deliver them from their oppressors, as the prophets had foretold.

 In the village of Nazareth there lived a peasant girl named Mary, who was pledged to marry a young carpenter named Joseph. Both Mary and Joseph were descendants of David, the second king of Israel. Even so, they were common people and were used to making do with what little they had.

 One day the angel Gabriel appeared before Mary. "Do not be afraid," he said. "Blessed are you among women. God has chosen you to be the mother of His son. The child will be called Jesus. He will reign over the Kingdom of David. His rule will never end."

 Another angel visited Joseph in a dream and said, "Mary is to be the mother of God's son. You should go ahead with your wedding ceremony, for you will be the guardian of His child." Joseph did what the angel commanded.

 Soon after Joseph and Mary were married, the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus decreed that everyone must immediately return to the city of their origin to register as taxpayers. For Mary and Joseph, this meant that they would have to travel all the way to Bethlehem, a distance of over 70 miles. They could not delay the trip until after the baby was born.

 Mary rode on a donkey as Joseph guided them down dusty trails to the sandy river valley, and trudged up steep winding paths over rocky hills. On the way, they saw mountain gazelles and desert foxes. The couple traveled by day under the bright glare of the sun, and camped out at night under a clear starry sky. The temperature dropped rapidly after sunset. Roaming jackals and wolves howled in the darkness.

 After about a week of travel, Mary and Joseph encountered more people along the route. This meant that they were close to the city. Soon they could see Jerusalem up ahead and they knew their destination was just beyond it. The couple hurried through the noisy, crowded city in order to reach Bethlehem before dark.

 By the time Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, the sun was setting and the village inn was already filled to capacity. They walked down the narrow streets looking for a place to stay, but could not find any. Finally they came to the edge of town, where a split level structure was built on a hillside. They climbed up the stairs to the main floor, knowing that this was their last hope.

 The kind gentleman who answered the door offered to let them spend the night in the lower part of his house, which was used as a stable. Excavated into the side of the hill, it consisted of rough limestone walls on three sides, posts and beams supporting the upstairs floor, and a wooden overhang across the front.

 Joseph cleaned up the cave-like room and made some beds of straw. At least they had a roof over their heads. There, during the night, Jesus was born. Mary wrapped him snugly in strips of linen cloth, according to custom. Joseph filled an empty feeding trough with soft straw to use as a crib.

 That night some shepherds were sitting around their campfire in a field outside the village. Suddenly, an angel appeared among them and said: "Fear not! I bring tidings of great joy. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord." Then the angel was joined by a multitude of heavenly voices, singing: "Glory to God in the highest; peace on earth, good will toward men."

 The shepherds ran through the village, praising God and telling everyone what they had seen and heard. The townspeople were amazed by the news of this baby who was the son of God. As the word spread, people came from miles around to see the Christ child and bring him gifts. Mary gracefully accepted every present, no matter how small, while she quietly pondered to herself about everything that had happened.

 Meanwhile, in different faraway lands to the east, three wealthy wise men were each gazing at a star in the sky that glowed much more brightly than any others. These men had no doubt that this signaled the birth of a great king. They had read the book of Daniel who 600 years earlier predicted the year in which the savior of Israel would arrive.

 The three wise men set out independently to follow the star, believing that it would lead the way to this newborn king and savior. They each carried with them a valuable treasure: gold, a precious metal; frankincense, a perfumed resin; and myrrh, a fragrant gum. After traveling for a while, the three men met in the desert. Realizing that they were all on the same pilgrimage, the men decided to continue on their journey together.

 As the three wise men neared Bethlehem, they saw that the star light shone just ahead of them. The closer they came to the stable, the brighter it appeared overhead. The wealthy men, dressed in their fancy silk robes adorned with jewelry, stepped inside the lowly stable. Upon seeing the baby Jesus, the wise men fell to their knees and worshipped him. Then they brought out their treasures and placed them on the dirt floor before the baby.

 Thus, the ancient prophecy was fulfilled. A Savior had indeed been delivered unto the people. The coming of Jesus brought the good news of God's love to the world. God's gift of Jesus came for everyone - young and old, poor and wealthy, people of all races and nations. This is the reason for the Christmas season, that joyous time of year when we celebrate the birth of a blessed baby in a humble stable long ago.

Click here for a printable copy:


Homeward Bound, by Peter O.

 "Every family needs a place to call home."

Homeward Bound - before  
Homeward Bound is a shelter located in Phoenix, Arizona, for homeless families with children. Their mission is to help those families achieve economic independence, secure long-term affordable housing that is safe and decent, and break multi-generational cycles of homelessness and domestic violence.

 Two friends of mine and I volunteered at Homeward Bound to build some new mobile shelving units and use them to organize donated clothing in a designated storage area.

 The storage room was crowded with clothing and other items that first had to be removed to a nearby hallway. The hallway was lined with empty tables used for sorting items into bins.

 Once the room was clear, we started opening the boxes and assembling the shelves. There were three boxes containing one rack of shelves each. Once the shelves were assembled the clothing was sorted, folded and put in bins. Then we put the bins on the shelves.

 We took a short lunch break and cleaned up the area, taking the cardboard out to the dumpster. After we were done, the manager invited us to tour the grounds.

 The facility has an administration building that houses the security personnel room. The campus is secure with fences, security personnel, and gated entry. You really feel safe inside. The employees are experts in helping children who are hurting and who have suffered in their lives.

 Homeward Bound - after

 The families live in a group of apartments surrounding a courtyard. There is a laundromat, grassy areas, and a water play area. Everything is kept neat and clean.

 They have an infant day care center, a toddler and older day care center. There is a medical facility with a dentist chair and two physician examination rooms. There is a library and reading room as well as a multi-faith chapel. There is even a basketball court donated by the Phoenix Suns, a professional NBA team.

 They have a computer room where parents can take online classes as well as look for work. The people are expected to find jobs, support themselves in the community, free themselves from destructive and un-profitable behaviors, and eventually move on to mainstream life.

 We met one family - a man, his wife and daughter, as well as two nieces - that came from Africa. They were fleeing a war refugee camp where they had lived for ten years.

 This was an eye opening experience for me. It is good to know that so many families with dim futures are being helped by nice people who care enough to get involved.

 What are you doing to help your community? Tell us about it! Send your volunteer stories to  


Anime Reviews by Xbolt
Anime of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is... different than I was expecting. At first glance, I thought it was going to be some high school drama kind of thing. But what do I find upon watching it? A quasi-science fiction story! I totally did not expect that.

The story follows Haruhi Suzumiya, a first-year high school girl with a strange fascination of aliens, time travelers, and all that stuff. Her introduction to her class went as follows, and I quote: "I have no interest in ordinary humans. If there are any aliens, beings from the future, or super-humans, come see me. That is all!"

She joins every club in the school, only to leave again before the day is out. None of the clubs hold any appeal for her, and so she decides to form her own club: the Spreading Excitement all Over the World with Haruhi Suzumiya Brigade. But that name was too long to fit on the form, so it was shortened to the SOS Brigade. She then abducts others into the club:

Kyon really had no idea what he was getting himself into. He can be very observant and quite intelligent, despite getting average grades. He often intervenes when Haruhi behaves particularly erratic, usually without the aid of the other members of the club, who passively follow Haruhi's orders.

Yuki Nagato is a quiet girl, and is the only member that willingly joined the Brigade, as opposed to being 'voluntarily arrested'. She was originally a member of the Literary Club, whose other members were all seniors, and consequently graduated, leaving Yuki the sole member of the club. When the Brigade took over the room, Yuki came with it. Yuki prefers simple body language rather than speaking, and when she does speak, it is always in a monotone with a dispassionate expression. She thinks very rationally, has a huge intellect, and enjoys reading. In most of her appearances, she is reading a book. I think she's my favorite character in the series. It's hard to find a person who is more like Mr. Spock than Mr. Spock, if you know what I mean.

Mikuru Asahina is very shy, and easily embarrassed. Easy prey for Haruhi, who makes her do embarrassing things. She makes very good tea, and is often praised by Kyon. She starred in "The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina," a film produced by the Brigade for the school festival. (It had production values even worse than "The Hobbit" movie that my friends and I made several years ago.)

Itsuki Koizumi is the fifth member of the Brigade. He is constantly smiling, and speaks in a formal and polite manner. He was recruited by Haruhi as the stock 'mysterious transfer student' character. He seems to agree with every one of Haruhi's demands or actions, no matter how ridiculous it is.

Something else to note about the series, is that the episodes were initially broadcast 'out of order'. Meaning, they were not broadcast chronologically. Initially, this is a bit confusing, but it begins to make sense after you watch more of the series. People new to the series, should watch it in this order, referred to as the 'Kyon order'. After you've watched it once, you can go back and watch it again in chronological order, or the 'Haruhi order'.

I don't want to say too much about the plot, as it should be left to be unraveled by the viewer. I will say though, that it is weird.

Watch Episode One of the series here:

 (That's the first according to the original airing order. Chronologically, it's the 11th episode.)
  • Parent's Column
    Dear Parents,   
    Thank you for taking the time to view Homeschooling Teen Magazine. We hope that you and your homeschooler enjoyed reading with us. That is our goal, after all! It is also our goal to provide homeschooled teens a place of their own, to highlight their accomplishments, talents and thoughts. Here at Homeschooling Teen Magazine, our articles and information are written exclusively by homeschoolers, for homeschoolers. We strive to make this a safe place for your teens to join in and express themselves in accordance with Philippians 4:8. We will never share or sell your information with any third party. Content is a top priority for us and articles will always be age appropriate. Our magazine will only allow sponsorship logos and links that are family friendly. However, the opinions expressed in our magazine are not necessarily those of Homeschooling Teen Magazine and we cannot be held responsible for any information listed or actions from our sponsors. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
    Our magazine is free to all homeschoolers. If you know someone who would like to view a sample copy, please have them send us an e-mail to request one. If you would like to forward this issue, please feel free to do so; however do advise the person you are sending it to that all the links may not work when forwarding. If this copy has been forwarded to you and you would like to have Homeschooling Teen Magazine sent directly to your inbox each month, just click on the link below:
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    Copyright 2009 Homeschooling Teen Magazine

December 2009 

Welcome... Homeschooling Teen is a free e-zine for homeschooled high schoolers and young adult alumni. Published once a month, each issue is full of fellowship and fun, human interest and humor. Much of the content is written by other subscribers, and there are many opportunities for readers to participate - whether it's writing book or movie reviews, sending in original short stories and poems, or submitting favorite websites for the links section. Additionally, in each issue we feature a profile of a different Homeschooling Teen subscriber and/or a famous homeschooled teen. Write to us at 


 Oliver and Lennon Aldort

 Two brothers who have never been to school and are flourishing through self-directed learning!

Oliver Aldort is a 15-year-old musical prodigy who began his musical performing career just one year after beginning cello lessons. He was 7 years old when he gave his debut recital on center stage to a full house at Orcas Theatre in Seattle, Washington. His first orchestral appearance at the age of ten included a cello and piano concerto. Oliver plays both the cello and piano at the professional level. He is also a conductor and a Oliver Aldortcomposer. Oliver's prodigious talents are unique in this genre because of his fantastic understanding of the structure of music. He works from memory and can start anywhere without referring to the notes. Oliver also has perfect pitch with the ability to immediately tell what key he is listening to, while being able to detect the slightest intonation fluctuations.

Oliver has performed as a soloist with symphony orchestras in Washington, Boston, and British Columbia. He has played Dvorak, Saint Saens, Hayden, and Schumann cello concertos as well as Mozart's two late piano concertos. For Oliver, the greatest pleasure of his musical career is performing. Oliver explains, "I enter the room to win, and then I am fine with whatever happens."

Oliver has been the winner of several state, regional and national music competitions. In 2007, he won the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National competition on cello. In 2008, he was awarded the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival (SYAMF) medal for ages 14-19. Oliver's performance of the Schumann cello concerto left the large crowd gasping and wanting more. Oliver's three-quarter-size cello was awarded to him by the Carlsen Foundation in recognition of his talent and dedication to music.

Aldort has appeared on KOMO-TV, and was featured on the National Public Radio program, "From the Top," recorded live in Jordan Hall in Boston. He was also heard on CBC radio in Vancouver and was filmed for the UK Channel 4 TV program, "The World Greatest Prodigies."

Oliver is a self-directed learner. He does not attend school, does not watch TV, and his musical path is his own initiative. "Oliver had to nag me to learn to play the cello," says his mother Naomi Aldort, an internationally published parenting advice columnist and author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. Naomi says, "It's my philosophy to wait until they nag the way they do for a candy, and then I know it's the child's passion, not mine."

Having previously studied under Philharmonica Northwest conductor Roupen Shakarian, Oliver is currently studying cello with world renowned cellist Lynn Harrell. "Oliver has distinguished himself as an outstanding cellist because of his unique ability to empathize with the composer," she says. "Oliver easily outshines many of my graduate level students and never ceases to amaze me."

While he is now the principal cellist of the Northwest Chamber Youth Orchestra in Seattle, to broaden his musical base he is also playing with several chamber groups, most of them as a cellist and one as a pianist.

Oliver's days are typically spent with music on his own initiative. You can find him practicing, improvising, listening, conducting, playing by ear, or playing from symphonic or operatic scores most hours of the day. A break from practice is often piano improvisation, sight-reading or conducting. Other loves of his are his cat Beethoven, reading, swimming, ping-pong, hiking and sightseeing.

Visit Oliver Aldort's website at .

Lennon AldortLennon Aldort is a 19-year-old self-taught pianist and composer. Lennon grew up on Orcas Island, Washington. He started playing the piano on his own at the age of three when he began playing by ear, hands together, pieces by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and Schumann. At age five he began improvising on his own without having had any lessons. He began composing his first pieces for the piano at age seven, and had completed two symphonies by age thirteen. He conducted a movement of his own symphony at age fourteen. His 2nd symphony, first movement, was performed by the Academy Chamber Orchestra in Seattle in summer 2009.

Although Lennon has never had any lessons on the piano, his musical education has included violin lessons, playing in youth orchestras, composition lessons, and a few conducting and theory lessons. He studied in British Columbia, Canada, at the Academy in Vancouver and at the Victoria Conservatory. He has also studied one semester in the New England Conservatory. Lennon's music has been compared to Rachmaninoff and George Winston.

Homeschooled from the beginning, Lennon has always been encouraged to follow his own interests and passions.

Lennon is currently living in Seattle, Washington. Because he has an extremely well rounded background and education in music, he is available to be hired for a variety of music related composition, arranging and performing jobs. His main interest is in film composing and solo piano improvisation. In April 2008, Lennon produced his first CD which is available on Amazon. His second recording, "Melodies from Heaven," was released in May 2009 and is also available on Amazon.

Lennon Aldort's debut CD is a collection of seven solo piano improvisations, invented on the spot during the recording sessions, taking piano improvisation to a whole new level. He developed his improvisational technique on his own, and his music is flowing with rich melodies and harmonies that come directly from the fingers and spirit of this amazing youth. On his second album, every piece overflows with beauty, richness and intensity. The opening track "Serenade for an Angel," is the only composition on the album. Tracks two through four are improvisations based on Lennon's original melodies. The rest of the album is 100% spontaneous improvisation, beginning with the haunting interlude "Solitude," which leads into the final two astounding masterpieces.

Visit Lennon Aldort's website at .

  College Bound:
       Homeschool Friendly Colleges
Simpson University 
 Simpson University

Simpson University is a private, Christian, fully accredited liberal arts institution in Redding, California. Redding is the largest city in Northern California between Sacramento, California and Eugene, Oregon - and yet it has the ambiance of a small town. Simpson's beautiful 92-acre rural campus is located within sight of three mountain ranges, but it is not far from the urban center. The college currently serves over 1,200 graduate and undergraduate students.

Simpson University is selective and does not offer open admission. The average high school GPA of new freshman undergrads is 3.4. SAT scores of accepted students average at least 450 for verbal and 440 for math. Scholarships are awarded on a priority basis to undergraduate students who excel academically, artistically, or spiritually. In addition, grants are given to students who fit certain criteria. One of these is a Home School Grant of $1,000 per year for students homeschooled at least 75% of their high school career. March 2 is the priority awarding deadline.

Originally founded in 1921 as Simpson Bible Institute in Seattle, Washington, the school was named in honor of Dr. Albert B. Simpson, a Presbyterian minister in the late 19th century who pioneered the Bible institute movement and founded the Christian and Missionary Alliance. From its earliest days, the motto of the college has been "Gateway to World Service." Initially offering a two-year program of study, the school was designed to promote spiritual growth and fulfill the Great Commission by preparing students for service overseas.

By 1940, Simpson was offering a choice of programs: Theology, Missiology and Bible/Music. In 1955, the school moved to San Francisco, and its name was changed to Simpson Bible College since it was now granting bachelor's degrees. In 1968, the college was granted regional accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Over the years, the college continued to broaden its academic offerings so that by the time the half-century mark was reached in 1971, it had become a comprehensive liberal arts college offering professional as well as biblical studies. That same year, its name was changed to Simpson College.

In 1989, Simpson College relocated to a new campus in Redding. After the move, undergraduate enrollment more than doubled. Graduate programs (including the School of Education and A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary) were established, and the School of Continuing Studies (ASPIRE) was added. Although its original mission has expanded to prepare students for a variety of ministerial and lay professions, the college (now Simpson University) maintains its focus on global service.

Simpson faculty members are experienced in international study and ministry. They reflect a broad range of evangelical backgrounds and come from a variety of institutions across the nation. Class sizes are small at Simpson University, averaging 16 students to every professor. The small class size gives students an opportunity to interact one-on-one with their professors. This personal learning environment is part of what makes the Simpson experience more appealing than a typical four-year university.

Simpson students represent 30 different Christian denominations and several independent churches, although the largest segment continues to be members of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. They also represent a mix of ethnic backgrounds, and come from a number of states and foreign countries. On average, there are two male to every three female undergrads at Simpson.

Simpson University has a greater breadth of degree programs (majors) than most colleges of its size. Simpson offers traditional undergraduate, accelerated undergraduate, study abroad, graduate, and credentialing programs to meet a variety of educational needs. The school is known for its highly successful programs in music, therapy and counseling, business and human resources management, and liberal arts.

Simpson University's undergraduate program offers Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees. The 23 bachelor's degree programs are offered in three divisions: Theology and Ministry, Science and Business, and Humanities. The university also offers graduate degrees in teaching, education, divinity, psychology, and Christian leadership. The A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary opened in the fall semester of 2007, offering graduate degrees in Bible and Theology.

Simpson University has a residential campus feel, where full-time students are the norm. The school provides dorm rooms to a higher percentage of its students than do most colleges, and freshmen are required to live on campus. Each dorm floor participates in events such as movie nights, bonfires, prayer groups, and more. A student meal plan with 21 meals per week is available. Part-time jobs can be found on or off campus.

Parents are encouraged to view the Simpson faculty and staff as instruments of God in the lives of their students. At the same time, the college recognizes that the parental commitment to their students does not end at the college door. Having more directly guided students through the pre-college years, parents now have the opportunity to coach their student from the sidelines, watching them they develop as individuals and as followers of Jesus Christ. Parents are welcome to get involved in supporting their students through the Parent Council and "Hugs from Home" program. 

Simpson has always valued student athletics, with five men's sports teams and six women's sports teams. The Simpson athletic program is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). Simpson students compete in the California Pacific Conference and in the sports of soccer, cross country, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, and golf. Simpson University has won the Cal Pac Sportsmanship award numerous times.

The climate in the Redding area can be described as Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Average high temperatures during July and August frequently exceed 90 degrees but drop to the low 50's in winter. With lakes, caverns and even a ski park nearby, Redding is the gateway to numerous outdoor activities. Tourists use the city as a base to explore Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lake Shasta, the Cascades, and other natural attractions.

The area has an abundance of outdoor activities to suit every taste, including fishing and boating on the Sacramento River. The Sacramento River meanders nine miles through the middle of town, beginning just below Shasta Dam. This stretch of river is one of the finest trout-fishing waters in the Western United States.

Turtle Bay Exploration Park, a 300-acre ecology park located along the banks of the Sacramento River, contains a museum and 20-acre garden to allow study of native flora and fauna of the Sacramento River ecosystem and surrounding forests. The complex currently includes three museums, a visitor's center, an aviary, a summer butterfly house, arboretum, gardens, and exhibits highlighting art, history, horticulture, forestry, wildlife, and natural science.

The crown jewel of Turtle Bay Exploration Park is the Sundial Bridge, a unique cantilevered cable-stayed pedestrian bridge designed by world-renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and completed in July 2004. The harp-shaped suspension bridge features a glass deck, and the tall tower holding up the support cables also acts as a sundial. The bridge links the north and south sides of the park and serves as a downtown entrance for Redding's extensive Sacramento River Trail system.

Simpson University seems to be an ideal choice for well-rounded homeschool graduates who like nature and the outdoors, have a desire to develop spiritually as well as academically and physically, and are considering the ministry/mission field or have an interest in the other majors offered by the college. For more information, see:

Tell us about your favorite homeschool-friendly college, and we will feature it in an upcoming issue!  

THE RULES OF TOM (Toward Optimum Mindfulness)

 Tom's rules are a common sense approach to slowing down and managing time, technology, appetite and activity by living life to the fullest in the moment that it is happening.

 Rule #1: It's Your Time ... So Use It Wisely It's not scheduling that's important; it's making every moment meaningful.

 Rule #2: You're The Boss Make technology work for you, not vice-versa. Technology is a two edged sword; make sure the priorities it serves are yours.

 Rule #3: Take Charge of Your Appetite for FoodEat responsibly, and in company. In an affluent society appetite is the gateway to both pleasure and disaster.

 Rule #4: Honor Your BodyDon't substitute frenzied activity for the joy of routine physical exercise.

 NOTE: The "Rules of Tom" are abstracted from American Mania: When More is Not Enough, by Peter C. Whybrow, Chapter Nine; "Finding Balance in the Age of the Merchant" (pages 235-263) (Published by WW Norton, January 2005).



Homeschooling High School: Helpful Tips

Can My Homeschooled Child Attend University?

By Melissa Murdoch

The question, "Can my homeschooled child attend University?" is a perpetual one for homeschooling parents. The fact of the matter is that yes, a homeschooled child can absolutely attend university, and some institutions even lay aside spots in their freshmen classes for homeschooled students.

Many homeschooling families report that their friends and families tell them that, by homeschooling their child, they are depriving their child of the possibility of attending tertiary studies. Fortunately, this is not the case. All it takes is a little research into the way your preferred universities work, ahead of schedule, and you can tailor some of your homeschooling activities toward achieving university entry. In fact, you may be able to do so much more effectively than the strained school system.

Let's think about your local school system. They are busy teaching various subjects but do they provide any extra help for national college exams? How can you make sure that when your child sits for college exams that they will be ready for all the material? If you ask your teen to devote more time to studying after the hours of homework they are already taking on, you are most likely going to get some resistance unless they are particularly academically oriented. Both you and your child have worked hard so that they can be the very best, and do and be whatever or whoever they want to be. If you have decided to take your child's education into your own hands by homeschooling you can still get into any institution in the country.

College Preparation

When your child gets to high school level, this is the time to start scoping out potential college institutions and their requirements. This way, if you need extra years of a certain subject, you can plan the secondary coursework accordingly. You will also want to look at their entrance exam requirements and prepare accordingly for those exams. After the freshman year of high school (or beginning of the 6th form in the UK) you will want to start doing research on potential institutions, building relationship with admissions offices, and taking stock of testing requirements and coursework.

High School Diplomas

When it comes to the question of "Do you have a high school diploma?" the answer to that question varies. There are three ways to deal with the high school diploma situation.

  1. You can issue one yourself, sign it yourself, and let that be the end of it.
  2. Private schools may issue you one with the appropriate records and materials.
  3. Your child can take the GED and have that certification as their testament to their secondary education.

One Last Thought

In conclusion, please keep in mind that there will be an adjustment period for your child between the homeschooling environment and the college environment, especially interaction in the classroom. This will be minimized if they have already taken some subjects at community college, however. They will however, be able to manage their time effectively, interact with all kinds of people, and have a well-rounded learning experience.

About the Author: Melissa Murdoch has a passion for life span development and education, and believes wholeheartedly that a healthy society begins at home. For further information on how to get started in homeschooling, please visit

Article Source:


College Bound Reading List

American Mania: When More Is Not Enough

 Modern America is known as being a consumer-oriented society, and the holiday season never fails to inspire an even greater amount of unrestrained consumption than normal. In the book American Mania: When More Is Not Enough, author Peter Whybrow explores the stress, obesity, anxiety and time urgency that are associated with a materialistic, demand-driven lifestyle. Below is a summary of Chapter 7 - Dreams for Sale: of Culture and Commerce:

 Like the never-ending search for El Dorado, the American dream has ranged from the early settlers' visions of a heaven on earth ... to the dreams of new frontiers that drove America's westward expansion ... to Martin Luther King's dream of equality for all citizens. Throughout this journey, technological advances have been intertwined with the marketplace. Americans instinctively see the commercial opportunities that new technologies may bring - the challenge to grasp the future and to make it prosperous. But as Peter Whybrow points out, not all needs flow through the marketplace. Markets are tools, just as technology is a tool. The purpose of the marketplace is to serve prosperity, not to be the basis for it.

 One might ask, in our commercial success, have we achieved what the founding fathers had in mind, and if so, why are so many citizens stressed out and discontent? Obviously, seeking more of what we have is not the answer. America's pursuit of prosperity is pushing the mind and body to the limits - damaging both individual and public health. This is the American paradox - the paradox of prosperity. 

 Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, American commerce rapidly extended its global reach to penetrate some of the world's most remote and sacred places. "Even in Beijing's ancient Forbidden City, the 5 million Chinese who each year enter the Palace of Heavenly Purity must now pass the brand logo of Starbucks coffee. American fresh-glazed donuts and decaf lattes have established themselves at the symbolic center of the tea-drinking universe. Such American icons - with Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Disney being the leaders - are a familiar part of urban landscapes around the world. America has become synonymous in many countries with the youth-driven, pop culture of Hollywood blockbusters, the Internet, Nike sneakers, and music video."

 Whybrow gives a firsthand account from a visit to Poland. There, he notes, young people wear imitations of American clothes complete with corporate logos. They see commercial sponsorship, fast food, and trendy boutiques in a positive light - as evidence of their new democracy. For the Poles, the open market and an influx of branded goods provide welcome evidence of freedom and choice. Whybrow's student guide said it this way: "Like America's revolution, ours was for freedom and a set of principles, not for a paradise. I accept commercial sponsorship because free trade is indivisible from a thriving democracy. For me, it's an American dream come true."

 The simple logic that freedom of choice in the marketplace is equivalent to democracy is a compelling message in Poland and other East European countries where precious freedoms have only recently been retrieved. But in European nations where democratic ways have been long established, global commerce is seen as being not about democracy but about money. For many Europeans, the coming of a McDonald's restaurant represents the Trojan horse of America's commercial imperialism. They think the international markets are biased in favor of the massive financial resources of American corporations that are greedily intent on increasing their profits.

 McDonald's is typical of American companies indulging in international expansion under the banner of market freedom. The company even advertises itself as the "largest and best known global food service retailer." Between 1996 and 2000, the growth of new McDonald's restaurants occurred mainly outside the United States. In Poland alone, between 1993 and 1998 - only 5 years - the number of McDonald's restaurants increased from 10 to 130. The "golden arches" have now established themselves in approximately 120 countries, with over $36 billion in worldwide sales.

 In France, the invasion of American mass-marketing techniques is seen as diminishing choice by destroying local markets. Many French people view American society as materialistic, competitive, and commercially driven. This goes well beyond the food industry and into entertainment, since America overwhelmingly controls the film market in Europe. Amid growing public alarm that American values and money are swamping France, even members of the French government have begun to speak of defending the national interest to preserve that which is distinctly French.

 So, what explains the worldwide appeal of American mass-marketing techniques? Why do the French continue to buy Big Macs and visit EuroDisney despite their national sentiments? While it is commercial dominance that drives the expansion of American pop culture across the world, it is also true that the majority of people find the goods enticing.

 Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Disney are each pioneers in the art of expanding consumer markets through the "branding" of fantasy fulfillment - selling moments of reassurance and comfort in a stressful world - in a friendly place where everything works as it should, where there are tasty things to eat and drink, and where happiness prevails.

 When it comes to making people smile, Disney is one of the most powerful brand names on the planet. This focus on attracting and pleasing a mass customer base is the philosophy that McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Levi Strauss, Gap,, and other Internet companies now emulate in their self-promotion. These American corporations have built a global market for themselves by creating brand loyalty in the young. With an addictive message, the individual is invited to sidestep the reality of an imperfect world and live the American dream of plenty, even if it's mass-produced.

 Beyond the branding of fizz and fantasy it is the continuous expansion of the market that permits profits to grow while costs are held down. Mass markets demand megacompanies, and while such corporations have improved the material standard of living for many people, their growth is crippling to local communities and economic microcultures. Wal-Mart, the American retail giant, offers a powerful example. When Sam Walton opened his first store in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962, his advertising slogan was the same as it is now: "We sell for less." Walton's special edge was that by mass purchasing he offered goods at prices lower than those that local variety and hardware stores needed to charge to stay in business. In its dominance over the domestic market, each day Wal-Mart sells approximately 474,000 pairs of shoes and 52,000 pairs of jeans - an astounding achievement that would have been impossible before information-age technology and the globalization of trade.

 The service goal of Wal-Mart stores is to "drive unnecessary costs out of business," and it achieves this by pushing its 65,000 suppliers to adopt lean practices. This has fostered a globalization of the production chain, where to meet the low wholesale prices Wal-Mart demands, many vendors subcontract with overseas agents running factories with unregulated, and sometimes highly questionable, working conditions. Fiercely opposed to union organization, Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the United States, with more than 1 million full-time and part-time employees. Its down-home folksiness disguises the chain's subversion of small-town society and the dramatic changes in local employment that occur whenever it enters a community. In smaller towns some 25 percent of local retail shops commonly disappear when a new Wal-Mart opens nearby. This weakens the diversity and viability of the local market economy and of the community itself.

 "Bigger is better" is the corporate mantra of the multinational company. Giants must become super giants if they are to survive in the competitive global markets, either by dominating a major market - as Wal-Mart has done in America - or through the acquisition of potential rivals and international competitors. Whybrow points out that superpower conglomerates now dominate the food and agricultural business, banking, pharmaceuticals, media, telecommunications, and the auto industry. Some of the world's largest corporations have budgets higher than the gross national product of certain industrialized countries. The global marketplace is now dominated by only a few hundred companies, about 40 percent of which are American.

 But megacorporations and globalization are ill quipped to solve social inequality. They may even worsen it by destroying local economies. Once you start eating at McDonald's, you stop cooking at home, and once you stop cooking at home, you stop buying local produce. It's all a vicious cycle. Wherever major franchises move in, local businesses are forced out. Whybrow proposes that the anonymity of the international corporation must be broken and local economies nurtured if global capitalism is to benefit not just corporate managers and investors but also the majority of the world's people.

 Whybrow suggests there is an irony here. The principles of self-expression, freedom to think, and local self-rule are the fundamental principles that Americans struggled to preserve in the fight for independence. These are the beliefs that shaped the early guiding images of the American dream. The ultimate irony is that the commercial Americanization that is now threatening to destroy small local markets around the globe originally grew out of the hopes and aspirations of ordinary American families living in small rural communities. Whybrow focuses on this subject in his next chapter.

 If the above summary interests you, get the American Mania book to read the rest of the story. Dr. Whybrow is currently working on a new book about what we can learn from our recent experiment in market materialism, how we might begin to repair the damage, and how we can work toward a vibrant and sustainable future. For more information, visit the author's website:

 By HST Reporter: Peter, 19

 Send your book reviews to: 

 Are you suffering from American Mania? Take the American Mania Quiz at

How to Build a College Portfolio

 Traditionally, a portfolio has been a case for carrying papers, drawings, photographs, maps and other flat documents - especially the works of an artist, architect, or photographer. Similarly, a college portfolio is an organized collection of papers and other items that showcase and document a student's education, experiences, and achievements. The portfolio will be used by the student, viewed by college faculty, and perhaps even looked at by future employers. 

 College students are often asked to make a personal portfolio that will serve various purposes, from meeting admissions requirements to measuring educational milestones. Later, it can be used in a job interview to demonstrate the student's qualifications and skills. The most important part of building a portfolio is to present your abilities in an effective, positive fashion. Consider carefully what to put in your portfolio, and be sure to use this as an opportunity to thoroughly showcase your talents.

 To assemble a strong portfolio, gather your best pieces of academic work and any other accomplishments that you are most proud of. Whenever possible, choose items that are directly related to your major field of study, rather than from general education courses. You should make copies of any awards, certificates of achievement, letters of recommendation, and other important documents.

Be prepared to spend as much time as necessary when preparing your portfolio, because you want it to be a good reflection of your personality and potential. Make sure the overall impression of your portfolio is one of excellence. It should be neat, professional, and well-organized. Papers should not be wrinkled or dog-eared. Everything should be typed and properly formatted. Do not include torn or poorly cared for work.

 Begin preparing your portfolio well in advance so that it won't look like you threw it together at the last minute. A busy admissions officer or potential employer will not enjoy sifting through a disorderly mess. You will want to be thoroughly familiar with the contents of your portfolio so that you are prepared to answer any possible questions the interviewer may have. You should also be ready to lead an interviewer through your portfolio, pointing out the highlights of each piece.

 Always include your most recent work in your portfolio. Once you have spent the time and effort on building your portfolio, you can easily keep it updated by adding new information and refining old information. After several years of schooling, you will likely have quite a few items that would make excellent additions to your portfolio. And once you have been employed for a few years, you can add professional examples of your work. Just be sure not to include anything from your current employer that could be construed as confidential or proprietary information.

 A well-designed portfolio will not only make your work stand out and be noticed, but more importantly portrays the idea that any future work you do in school or on the job will be of the same high quality.

How to Organize a College Portfolio

 The student portfolio can be made of a three ring binder with a clear front pocket that allows for the display of a cover page. Feel free to design a creative cover that reflects your personality and interests, but keep it professional and in good taste. Place a title page inside the front cover with the following information: "Student Portfolio," full name, current year in the program, and date of submission. Follow this with a Table of Contents listing the sections and the items placed within each. After that will be pages of information, with tabbed dividers separating each section. Create headings such as "Academics," "Awards and Honors," "Citizenship," "Leadership," "Sports," etc. Under each heading you may also include a brief description. Plastic page protectors may come in handy for certain things, but they are not necessary.

 What Should Be In My Portfolio?

 A college or employer may state what to put in your portfolio. If so, be sure to follow their guidelines. Certain fields like art, music, and teaching will have specific portfolio requirements. Use the following list as a starting point for ideas regarding items and information to include:

 Your portfolio MUST include:

  • Table of Contents
  • Resume (professionally formatted and up-to-date)
  • Essay (the college essay you are most proud of)
  • Letter of Recommendation (from an advisor, instructor, employer, or mentor)
  • Transcripts (from high school and/or college)
  • Research Paper (an example of your best one)

 Your portfolio may also include:

  • Autobiographical Essay
  • Personal Goal Statement
  • Awards, honors, or certificates you have earned (academic, athletic, citizenship, etc.)
  • Additional letters of recommendation (you need at least one, but more are better)
  • Documentation of any extracurricular programs or internships you have completed
  • Documentation of any leadership positions or offices you have held
  • Results from Standardized Tests or Learning Assessments
  • Thesis project proposal and supporting work
  • Additional Writing Samples
  • Copies of your published articles
  • Samples of your original artwork
  • Photographs of three-dimensional/sculptural work
  • Newspaper articles about you
  • Description of a special project that you completed
  • Photos of volunteer services you performed for your community or a group
  • Music CD or video of a theatrical performance (be respectful of time restraints by including short clips of longer works)
  • PowerPoint presentations or software that you have created
  • Screen shots of websites you have designed
  • Computer disks and printouts of programs you have written or modified
  • Final results of projects or committees you have been a part of
  • Anything else that tells something important about you and your accomplishments

 New Media Portfolios (Video, Disc, and CD-ROM)

  • You must check with each individual college or employer to see if they accept new media presentations and what format or software they can accommodate.
  • Include a color printout of the work as well as a copy on disk format with attached list of instructions and programs used.

 Courtesy of Teri @