Homeschooling Teen

 Happy New Year From HST Magazine!



Homeschooling Teen Profile: Amy Burritt


Homeschool Friendly College: The Master's College


College Bound Reading List: "A Walk Across America"


Special Feature: 2000-2009 Timeline


HST Readers Write: "Writing Scholarship Applications"


HST Exclusives: Webcomix & Anime Reviews


Homeschooling High School: Degrees, Certificates, and On-the-Job Training


Career-of-the-Month: Watch for this new column starting next month!


E-Mail Etiquette: Tip-of-the-Month


Parents Column  


Plus a whole lot more!!!



Be Somebody...Be Yourself 

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.

 Recycling Symbol



 Coddle (KOD ull) - verb

 Definition: To treat someone tenderly

Example: Kristin coddled the girl, bringing her candies and flowers because she was crying.

Synonyms: cosset, cotton, favor



New Year's Day, Jan. 1

Twelfth Night, Jan. 5

Epiphany, Jan. 6

Winnie the Pooh Day, Jan. 18

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 18

National Handwriting Day, Jan. 23

Chocolate Cake Day, Jan. 27

Blueberry Pancake Day, Jan. 28

National Hobby Month

National Soup Month

National Candy Month

National Hot Tea Month

National Oatmeal Month

National Wheat Bread Month



A Wish for the World

May the year ahead bring
health and happiness;
hearts that love each other;
strength and perseverance;
people helping one another;
a renaissance of values such
as family, faith, and freedom;
the spirit of God within us
as a living temple for Him;
children safe from any injury;
forgiveness of the past;
no more terror, war or poverty;
and peace on earth at last.

by Teri Ann Berg Olsen

MOVIE QUOTE- Can you guess what movie this quote came from?


"This is crazy. I finally meet my childhood hero and he's trying to kill us. What a joke."  


(Answer: Up)

The Best of Times; the Worst of Times

In the opening lines of "A Tale of Two Cities," Charles Dickens wrote: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way." The novel "A Tale of Two Cities" is about politics and war and human nature at its best and worst. The first decade of the 21st century might also be described as a time of great contradictions and extremes. But however you look at it, it seems like no consensus has been reached on what to call the first decade of the 21st century. The o's? The double-o's? The zeros? The zips? The naughts? Perhaps it's appropriate that we don't have a good name for it, since it turned out to be a decade in which there were no good answers.

Technically, of course, December 31, 2009 was not even the last day of the decade. December 31, 2010 is! That's because there is no year "0." Therefore, the first day of the first decade on our calendar was January 1st in the year "1." So the last day of that decade is actually December 31st, year "10." Just like the last day of the last decade was really December 31, 2000, although everyone was already celebrating the arrival of a New Millennium at midnight, December 31, 1999. Having readied ourselves for the Y2K Bug to cause world chaos (and either feeling a sense of relief or saying "I told you so" when nothing happened), the tragedy that actually did materialize on 9/11 came as a complete shock to every American. You might even say this has been a "Decade of Disaster," and yet there were some bright spots amid the gloom and doom as you will see in the following timeline.


2000-2009 Timeline



February 13, 2000 - Final "Peanuts" comic strip runs the day after Charles M. Schulz's death.


March 10, 2000 - NASDAQ peaks at 5134, before beginning a downwards descent as the dot-com bubble collapses.


April 3, 2000 - The ruling in the case of the United States versus Microsoft states that the company violated anti-trust laws by diminishing the capability of its rivals to compete.


November 2, 2000 - The International Space Station becomes the largest and the longest continuously crewed space station with the docking of the Expedition 1 crew.


November 7, 2000 - Hillary Rodham Clinton wins a seat for the United States Senate from New York. It is the first time a former First Lady wins public office.


December 12, 2000 - George W. Bush, son of the former President, and Vice President Al Gore were virtually tied for the presidency, with a disputed vote in Florida holding off the naming of the winner of the President Election until the Supreme Court of the United States voted in favor of Bush.



January 6, 2001 - Certification of the Electoral College victory of 271-266 in the 2000 United States Presidential election confirms George W. Bush as President, with Dick Cheney as his Vice-President.


April 8, 2001 - Tiger Woods becomes the first golfer to hold all four major golf titles simultaneously.


September 11, 2001 - Islamic fundamentalist terrorists hijack four U.S. airliners and crash them into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in New York City.  The attack of two planes levels the World Trade Center and the crash of one plane inflicts serious damage to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, causing nearly 3,000 deaths.  The fourth plane is heroically crashed by passengers into a Pennsylvania cornfield when they learn of the plot, preventing destruction of another structure in Washington, D.C., supposedly the White House or Capitol building. The plot is attributed to the Al-Qaeda organization led by Osama Bin Laden.


October 7, 2001 - In response to the tragedy of September 11, the United States military, with participation from its ally the United Kingdom, commence the first attack in the War on Terrorism on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.  By November 12, the Taliban government leaves the capital, Kabul.


October 23, 2001 - Apple launches the iPod.



January 1, 2002 - The Euro replaces the currencies of 12 of the EU's 15 members.


March 22, 2002 - "The Sims," originally released by Maxis in 2000, becomes the best-selling PC game in history, surpassing "Myst."


July 5, 2002 - Iraq refuses new proposals from the United Nations concerning weapons inspections. The inspections were part of the cease-fire agreement and terms of surrender in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. On September 12, President George Bush addresses the United Nations and warns the members that Iraq presents a grave danger to the world.


November 8, 2002 - The United Nations passes Resolution 1441 in a unanimous Security Council vote. It forces Saddam Hussein and Iraq to disarm or face serious consequences.



February 1, 2003 - A tragedy at NASA occurs when the Space Shuttle Columbia explodes upon reentry over Texas, killing all seven astronauts aboard.


February/March 2003 - A major SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak occurs in China, and SARS was verified to have entered Canada and the United States, but no SARS epidemic took place.


March 19, 2003 - The War in Iraq begins with the bombing of Baghdad after additional measures and mandates from the United Nations and the United States coalition fail to gain concessions or the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. The U.S. coalition begins land operations one day later with participation from U.S., British, Australian, and Polish troops.


April 9, 2003 - The U.S. coalition seizes control of Baghdad in the Iraq conflict, ending the regime of Saddam Hussein.


December 13, 2003 - Saddam Hussein, former leader of Iraq, is found hiding in a small bunker and captured by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division.



January 4, 2004 - The "Spirit Rover" lands on Mars, transmitting detailed data and images of the Martian landscape back to earth.


July 4, 2004 - The groundbreaking ceremony for the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero, the former site of the World Trade Center complex, occurs in New York City.


November 2, 2004 - President George W. Bush wins reelection over Democratic Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts.


November 16, 2004 - "Half-Life 2" is widely considered to have revolutionized physics in gaming with its Havok engine, allowing for widespread interactivity with objects in the game environment.


November 23, 2004 - "World of Warcraft" established itself as one of the most popular PC games ever, and set what are now the generally-accepted standards for the genre of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).


December 26, 2004 - Following a 9.3 Richter scale earthquake in the Indian Ocean, a tsunami kills 290,000 Southeast Asian people from Sri Lanka to Indonesia, creating one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies in history.  A worldwide relief effort, led by the United States and many other nations, is mobilized to assist.



July 24, 2005 - American cyclist Lance Armstrong wins his record 7th straight Tour de France.


July 26, 2005 - In the first Space Shuttle flight since the tragedy of 2003, Discovery goes into orbit on a mission that returns to Earth safely on August 9.


August 29, 2005 - Hurricane Katrina strikes the Gulf Coast region, causing severe damage and inundating the city of New Orleans with water from Lake Pontchetrain when the levees break. Over 1,800 people perish from Alabama to Louisiana in one of the worst natural disasters to strike the United States.


October 26, 2005 - As elections in Iraq confirm a new constitution, a statement from the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calls for the destruction of Israel and condemns the peace process.



February 22, 2006 - The one billionth song is downloaded from the internet music store, Apple iTunes. This shift in the music industry to new platforms comes at the expense of many brick and mortar chains, including Tower Records.


June 20, 2006 - The first Blu-ray disc titles are released.


August 24, 2006 - The International Astronomical Union (IAU) demotes Pluto to "dwarf planet" status after it was considered a planet for 76 years.


October 9, 2006 - North Korea performs its first successful nuclear test.


October 17, 2006 - The population of the United States reaches the milestone of three hundred million.


November 7, 2006 - In the mid-term elections, both houses of Congress change back to Democratic hands for the first time since 1994.


November 19, 2006 - Nintendo releases the Wii video game console.



January 4, 2007 - The first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Representative Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, California, is sworn into office.


January 10, 2007 - President George W. Bush announces a troop surge of 21,500 to stem the violence in Iraq, a controversial policy which begins to show positive signs once fully implemented during the summer months, with a reduction in violent attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi civilians. 


June 29, 2007 - The Apple iPhone first goes on sale.


July 4, 2007 - The fifty star flag of the United States of America becomes the longest flying flag in history after flying for over 47 years.


December 13, 2007 - The Mitchell Report on the Steroids Scandal in baseball is published. It recounted a year long investigation into the use and abuse of performance enhancing drugs over a two decade period, in which nearly ninety players were named.



January 28, 2008 - The LEGO® brick turns 50 years old.


May 12, 2008 - Over 69,000 people are killed in central southwest China by the Wenchuan earthquake.


July 1, 2008 - A report by the U.S. embassy in Iraq states that 15 of the 18 goals set for the Iraqi government have been met, largely due to the surge implemented over the last year. The increase of 21,000 United States troops, commonly known as the surge, reduced violence and restored order to the nation, allowing the government of Iraq to focus more on solving other problems needed to establish a stable nation.


August 17, 2008 - Michael Phelps, the United States swimmer from Baltimore, wins his 8th Gold Medal of the Beijing Summer Olympic Games, surpassing the record of seven won by Mark Spitz in 1972.


August 29, 2008 - John McCain chooses Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, as his running mate. This made the contest between Barack Obama and himself, the first time a presidential election included both an African-American candidate and a woman amongst the Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees.


September 14, 2008 - Lehman Brothers, a global financial services firm, files for bankruptcy and becomes a catalyst for the global financial crisis.


November 4, 2008 - Barack Obama, Democratic Senator from Illinois, won the election for the 44th U.S. President over John McCain, making him the first African-American president in the history of the nation.         



January 15, 2009 - After striking a flock of geese immediately after takeoff, resulting in a sudden loss of thrust from both engines, US Airways Flight 1549, en route from La Guardia Airport, New York City, to Charlotte, NC, makes a forced landing in the Hudson River. All 150 passengers and 5 crew members survived. The entire crew of Flight 1549 was later awarded the Master's Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. The award citation read, "This emergency ditching and evacuation, with the loss of no lives, is a heroic and unique aviation achievement."


February 7, 2009 - The deadliest bushfires in Australian history kill 173, injure 500, and leave 7,500 homeless.


April 6, 2009 - A 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Italy kills nearly 300 and injures more than 1,500.


April 8, 2009 - Somali pirates hijack an American ship and take the captain hostage off the Horn of Africa. The ship, Maersk Alabama, was carrying food and other aid products for the World Food Program. On April 12, U.S. Navy SEAL snipers, positioned on the destroyer Bainbridge, kill three pirates and free Captain Phillips, ending the five-day ordeal in the Indian Ocean.


April 15, 2009 - Grassroots Tea Party protests spring up all across the nation to protest President Obama's big government spending projects such as the bailout of the banking industry, car industry, potential cap and trade legislation, and other administration projects that project a ten trillion dollar deficit over the next decade.


May 31, 2009 - Abortion doctor George Tiller, notorious for performing late-term abortions, is shot and killed at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas, where he served as an usher. His clinic has been closed permanently.


June 1, 2009 - An assailant opened fire on a United States military recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas. Private William Long of Conway, Arkansas was killed. Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, an American previously known as Carlos Bledsoe who converted to Islam, has been indicted on one count of capital murder and 15 counts of terrorist acts.


June 11, 2009 - The H1N1 influenza virus, commonly referred to as "Swine Flu," is deemed a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. This is the first such designation since the Hong Kong flu of 1967-1968.


June 12, 2009 - Federal law requires that all full-power television stations stop broadcasting in analog format and broadcast only in digital format.


July 3, 2009 - Sarah Palin, the first-term Republican governor of Alaska and former vice-presidential candidate, announces her resignation. Palin cites a desire to spend more time with her family and a lack of interest in running for reelection in 2010. During her time off, she also went on a 24-state book tour and scheduled a number of paid speaking events.


August 25, 2009 - Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy, a fixture in the U.S. Senate for 46 years, died of brain cancer at the age of 77. Kennedy was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts; he filled the vacated seat of his brother, then-president John F. Kennedy.


September 8, 2009 - President Obama's back-to-school address to millions of American students causes a great deal of controversy over the President's political agenda in making the speech.


November 5, 2009 - A shooting at the Fort Hood army post in Texas left 13 dead and 31 injured. Ten of those killed are military personnel, while two are civilians. The gunman was Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a practicing Muslim, who opened fire while shouting "Allah Akbar!" Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and will be tried in military court.


December 1, 2009 - In a press conference, President Obama announces that the U.S. military will be sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, in an attempt to prevent further Taliban insurgencies. The troop surge will begin in January 2010, and will bring the total number of American troops in Afghanistan to 100,000. Obama also outlines his plan for the removal of these troops, which will begin in July 2011.


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: 

College Bound Reading List

Walk Across America


"A Walk Across America" spent three months on the New York Times bestseller list when it was first published in January of 1979. Still popular over 30 years later, this book remains one of the best selling backlist titles in the United States. Now considered a classic, "A Walk Across America" is required reading in hundreds of college and high school classes across America.

Just out of college and with his own feelings echoing the disillusionment of a whole generation, Peter Jenkins set out with his dog Cooper to uncover the truth of what his country was really about. Peter was wondering if America is worth staying in or if it is too corrupt. He walked from Alfred, New York to Washington, D.C. and then to New Orleans, Louisiana. Along the way, Peter learned timeless secrets of life from a hermit mountain man, caused a local stir by living with a black family in North Carolina, worked in southern mills, almost died on a mountaintop, and had more than a lifetime of experiences. Moreover, 5000 miles and 35 pairs of shoes later, his faith and pride in his country were restored. Yours will be too as you read this story.

In the process of seeking to discover his country and find himself, Peter also found God and met his wife-to-be. In his sequel, "The Walk West," Peter and his new bride travel from New Orleans to the Oregon coast. Filled with inspiring people and places from west of the Mississippi, this book describes the next segment of Peter's five year journey exploring America. Religion was an important part of the second book, and portions of the book were also written by Barbara Jenkins. Unfortunately, this one is now out of print.

"A Walk Across America" was one of the first books to popularize adventure travel and travel as a way of life. It's fascinating to look back and consider what it was like without the benefit of a cell phone, laptop, or GPS to help plan the route. Today there seems to be another great debate raging about what is wrong and what is right with our country. Maybe this would be a good time to "Walk Across America" again. Visit to learn more.

Send your book reviews to: 


Did You Know...?

January 19 is a day of celebration in some southern states. It is the birthday of Robert E. Lee, commander-in-chief of the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Lee is considered to be among the greatest generals, and remains one of the best-loved and respected men in American history. As a child he was taught at home by his mother, and his own children were homeschooled by his wife. Learn more about Robert E. Lee at:


E-mail Etiquette Tip of the Month


Make a point of filling in the Subject: field with a brief and concise description of the topic of your e-mail.


Many onliners take a quick glance at Subject:

fields to determine if they want to open an e-mail. So, using proper case and grammar is very important.


Leaving the Subject: field blank or having wacky verbiage or symbols could cause your e-mail to be mistaken for spam and deleted before opened.


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!



"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.  If you can dream it, you can become it." ~William Arthur Ward

Campus Reform Website
Bolsters Conservatives
      Voice on Campus



A new website is equipping conservatives on college campuses for more effective activism and leadership.

The website,, is an effort by the Leadership Institute, which has worked since 1979 to strengthen the future of conservative leadership in America.

The site describes itself as a "one-stop resource, networking, and instruction center for conservative activists to take back their campuses from leftist domination."

Connecting up-to-date communications technologies to a principled stand for limited government, the free market, national defense, and traditional values, makes possible a new generation of student activism to identify, expose, and combat the radical left.

A frequently updated national blog page displays posts and links to articles of special interest to campus conservatives. In November, the national blog covered Obamacare and Climategate very actively, especially the debate on these two issues on campuses. Conservative group leaders use the national blog to report on successful events and share other information that leaders will find useful. Users can also access subpages for all 2,376 American four-year colleges. Each subpage contains information about that college's conservative groups, as well as blog pages and discussion forums that conservatives on that campus can use to discuss issues specific to their own locations.

Campus Reform connects young conservatives not only to each other, but also to other national groups and resources that many will find useful. For example, the site offers information about 34 different legal defense groups that currently work to protect free speech on campus and to cry foul when liberal bias invades the classroom at publicly funded universities. Other parts of the site help young conservatives with fundraising, publicity, and creative activism ideas.

" will dramatically increase the number of battles fought against leftist abuses on college campuses this year," says conservative activist Morton Blackwell, Leadership Institute's president and founder. "And based on long experience, conservative students will win most of those new battles as they identify, expose, and combat leftist abuses and bias."


January 2010

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 



Amy Burritt: America Through the Eyes of a Student

My American Adventure 

Born on January 19, 1983, Amy Suzanne Burritt was raised in northern Michigan in a close-knit homeschooling family. Many homeschool families incorporate the educational benefits of travel into their lifestyle. Nevertheless, 12-year-old Amy Burritt at first thought her parents had gone crazy when she was told that they planned to sell their share of the family business, rent a motor home, and roam the country for a year. But later she would recall, "It's hard to put into words the way homeschooling has shaped me. Homeschooling provided the opportunity to do these things. Being able to spend the time with my mom, dad, and Jon has been great."


In the summer of 1995, the Burritt family - consisting of Amy, her younger brother Jonathan, and parents Kurt and Emily - started out on the adventure of a lifetime. They would leave their Traverse City home, drive from coast to coast, and fly to Alaska and Hawaii on a 50 state/50 week tour of the United States ... from the forests of the Great Lakes, across deserts, over twisting mountain passes, through urban jungles of the east, past Southern battlefields, and among giant redwood groves of the Pacific coast. To focus their travels on learning about American history, geography, and government, they set a goal to meet the governors of all 50 states.


Amy's favorite subjects were reading and writing. While on the nationwide tour, she studied interviewing and public speaking to prepare for meeting with the governors. Besides being an interviewer and gatherer of information, Amy was the official trip documenter and faithfully recorded daily events in a journal each night. In addition, by writing down ahead of time all that she hoped to accomplish along the way, Amy learned that "if you can dream it, you can do it." Amy's learning journey also taught her about compassion for others and the value of persistence.


As a result of the trip, Amy realized that she had learned a lot of valuable information about America. Upon arriving back home, Amy wrote a book about her adventures with the help of her mom and a writer friend. In May 1998, when Amy was 15 years old, the Burritt family self-published "My American Adventure: 50 States in 50 Weeks." It was soon republished by HarperCollins/Zondervan. Adapted from the journal she kept on the road, her book is a travel guide, history text, and personal memoir that provides a firsthand account of the people and places she discovered on her American odyssey. Her story is interesting and heartwarming, imbued with a spirit of adventure that makes readers want to go out and do something themselves. It will also inspire teens to set high goals and keep reaching to achieve them.


Amy's sojourn reads like a series of extremely well-written "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" essays. She cruised through the streets of New York City in a jeep, and walked the path of George Washington at Valley Forge. In Vermont, she narrowly escaped falling down a waterfall. She made friends with homeless children at a Rhode Island campground. She watched bighorn sheep butt heads in South Dakota. She swam with dolphins in Hawaii, and saw the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska. Besides describing her many adventures, Amy also reflects candidly on personal struggles and relates amusing incidents, such as when her dad knocked off the 34-foot motor home's television antenna.


Amy's meetings with the governors provided some of her most vivid memories. The governors were as diverse in temperament as the states they came from. A few refused her request to meet them. Some curtly offered little more than a handshake. Others warmly granted interviews in which they reflected on their lives and work. Governor David Beasley of South Carolina invited her to his Christmas Open House at the governor's mansion. Amy personally met 44 out of 50 governors, and she was able to get all 50 governors to sign her and her brother's sweatshirt mementoes of the trip.


"I've learned that if you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything," Amy said. "But I didn't know just what I was getting into at first." The trip's low point was a gloomy Easter in Alaska. Amy was tired of living on the road and interviewing governors; she just wanted to go home. But when her mom reminded her that "we aren't quitters," Amy resolved to keep going because she didn't want to have to tell her friends that she had given up. Rather than admit failure, Amy decided to take charge. "That's when it became MY project," she said. "I saw real purpose behind it." Her father adds, "That was the real turning point. She made a determination to finish what she'd begun and from then on you could see a change in her. We left with a girl and came home with a young lady."

For her next adventure back at home, Amy switched from writing to music. She worked on expanding her vocal ability, knowledge of the guitar, and songwriting talent. She led her youth group worship band for several years, and was involved in a second church band. Amy also played with other musicians, picking up tips and tricks. At age 17 she recorded a demo CD and began playing in small venues, sometimes picking up paid gigs. Since then, Amy has written hundreds of songs and performed in a wide variety of venues. Her style is an original combination of folk, blues, jazz and pop combined with soothing vocals and engaging lyrics.

Amy attended Michigan State University and graduated in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications. The day after graduation, Amy moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where she started her own graphic design and creative consulting business called Carbonated Creative. Since then, Amy also has been performing in coffehouses around Asheville, where she always enjoys meeting new people. She released her own album in September 2008, and is currently working on turning her garage into a recording studio. Many of her lyrics reflect upon themes of driving, camping, and homelessness, harkening back to her travel experiences: "And we're heading down the highway / I'm still trying to find my way / home."


Visit Amy's website:


National Handwriting Day is January 23. For some people, practicing better handwriting might be a good New Year's resolution!

Handwriting and Penmanship

Handwriting is the physical activity of writing printed or cursive characters with the hand and a writing instrument. It incorporates posture, balance, visual acuity, fine motor skills, and knowledge of how individual letters are formed. Penmanship is the art of writing clearly and quickly. The main purpose of penmanship instruction is to promote legibility in handwriting so that we can effectively communicate with others (and easily read our own notes!).

Does your handwriting look like scribbles and chicken scratches, or does your script flow gracefully across the page? Good handwriting is eye-catching, easy to read, and quick to write, while the fact that it is easily legible shows respect for the reader. The best handwriting is clear and beautiful, perhaps even embellished with calligraphy (stylized, decorative writing). Poor handwriting is careless and sloppy. Your character is reflected in the way you write. What does your handwriting say about you?

Mahatma Gandhi once said that bad handwriting is a sign of an incomplete education. However, there are many successful adults who are handwriting challenged. It seems like the more gifted, logically-brained people have the worst penmanship. Studies have found significantly lower legibility than average associated with being an executive and being male. Doctors are notorious for having poor penmanship. Almost all computer hackers have terribly bad handwriting, often block-printing everything like junior draftsmen.

The French emperor Napoleon had horrible handwriting. Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition didn't write very well either. I. L. Gordon, the editor of Who Was Who, had such poor penmanship that he took to the typewriter. Music scholars believe that Beethoven's "Für Elise" may have been titled "Für Therese," but the printer couldn't read the composer's handwriting. Likewise, Eric Clapton's instrumental piece "Badge" was actually called "Bridge," but Clapton's hand-scribbled title was misread. Even geographic landmarks and place names have been incorrectly labeled due to misinterpreting the scrawls of explorers and cartographers.

The need for good penmanship has not gone out of style in the computer age. We still have to sign our name on checks and other documents, jot down notes, write memos, make shopping lists, address envelopes, fill out forms, take written exams, etc. Calligraphy or artistic handwriting is not required in day-to-day writing but simple, graceful handwriting gives a warm personal touch to personal correspondence such as thank you notes, greeting cards, and letters.

Clear, legible handwriting is a valuable skill in the workplace, enhancing communication and preventing misunderstanding. More and more of the new computers and pocket organizers rely on "pen-based input", i.e., handwriting entered with an electronic pen on a special tablet or screen. Handwriting skills also complement other language skills such as spelling, note-taking, composition, and editing.

We know from observing young children that being able to print and write bolsters self-confidence as it develops fine motor skills. The practice of handwriting also fosters an appreciation for words and language as it teaches attention to detail. As children develop and improve their handwriting skills, the process of penmanship will eventually become automatic, an almost subconscious output of their brain. A person's handwriting generally develops until about age 17, although even as adults our handwriting can change over the years.

Different styles of writing have been popular at different times. In the mid-1800s, the Spencerian form of penmanship was the standard. Palmer Hand became the style taught in most American schools through the late 20th century. Some schools view the teaching of D'Nealian handwriting as easing the transition from print to cursive writing. Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting is also popular.

Keep in mind, however, that no one has identical handwriting. No matter what penmanship program is used and how strictly students are forced to follow the rules, by the time they leave school most will have developed their own style which may consist of printing, cursive, italic, or a combination of forms joined together. Each individual's handwriting is as unique as their own set of fingerprints. The study of graphology - a division of psychology - has shown that handwriting can reflect our personality. Handwriting can also be influenced by our personal circumstances, mood, and health.

Article Source:


A column by Peter in AZ

True Remembrance

True Remembrance

I'm filing this under Webcomix, even though it isn't technically a webcomic.

True Remembrance is a visual novel. Everyone familiar with the term? Yes? ...Oh, no? You in the back, you're shaking your head... Alright. You all know what a novel is, right? It's "an invented prose narrative that is usually long and complex and deals especially with human experience through a usually connected sequence of events." Now, what about the visual part?

A visual novel is what you could call an interactive novel. They are especially prevalent in Japan. It shows images of the various characters on the screen, and a text box that shows what they're saying. You press a little button to advance to the next paragraph, and the character's facial expressions will change. It can even be accompanied by a soundtrack!

Anyway, back to True Remembrance. The setting is rather interesting. Extreme depression is a pandemic spanning the entire globe. The condition is known as the Dolor. And people will go to one remote city, where they can have their bad memories removed by 'Mnemonicides'.

In this city, live Blackiris, an Alpha Class Mnemonicide, and La, his patient. And this is their story.

And quite a nice story indeed. There is little in the way of action scenes, and much more about character development/interactions. So if you like a good story, you can't go wrong with this. If you want things exploding every five minutes... you'll have to look elsewhere.

As for the character art and accompanying soundtrack, they are both excellent. (It's originally from Japan. Good artwork seems to flow from there.)

The entire story takes about three hours to read, and may be longer or shorter depending on how fast you are. But I recommend going a little slow in reading the first time.

When people are first introduced to the concept of visual novels, they are often directed to this piece. (Just as I just did. ;) )

Visit the official site here, where you can get True Remembrance for free:

  College Bound:
       Homeschool Friendly Colleges

The Master's College


The Master's College (TMC) is a private, non-denominational Christian college located in Santa Clarita, California, 30 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. For over 80 years, TMC has provided quality, Christian liberal arts education to thousands of students around the world. Ranked 3rd in the West for nine consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's Best Colleges in the category of Best Comprehensive Baccalaureate Colleges, TMC is also cited as one of the best values, ranking 4th in the category of "Great Schools, Great Prices." Under the leadership of president Dr. John MacArthur, TMC provides quality education both on campus and through online distance education.

TMC is one of the academically-strongest evangelical Christian colleges in the nation. TMC offers bachelor's degrees in over 55 different areas of study, all of which are founded on the Word of God and taught by highly qualified faculty. Academic programs include: Biblical Studies, Business Administration & Management, Computer & Information Science, English, History & Political Studies, Home Economics, Mathematics, Media & Communications, Music, Natural Sciences (Biological, Physical, & Environmental), Physical Education, Pre-Law, Pre-Medicine, and Teacher Education.

Most importantly, the mission of TMC is to empower students for a life of enduring commitment to Christ, biblical fidelity, moral integrity, intellectual growth, and lasting contribution to the Kingdom of God. The school's motto is "For Christ & Scripture." TMC has chapel three times a week - every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It opens with worship, followed by a guest speaker or preacher, focusing mainly on encouraging the students to keep their lives committed to Jesus Christ. Students are only allowed a maximum of six chapel misses per semester.

Men's and women's basketball, soccer, baseball, cross-country, golf, tennis and volleyball are all available on the TMC campus, which is situated on 100 acres in a beautiful canyon setting. The campus provides dorms for the students. It is important to note that dorms are not coed. Off campus housing is restricted to married students, part-time students, students over the age of 21, or students who live at home and commute to campus.

The student/teacher ratio averages 16/1. Class sizes range from 30-40 students in lower division classes down to 8-15 students in upper division courses. However, some Bible classes will have close to 100 students. All students - including freshmen - benefit from being taught by exceptional full-time senior faculty members, 70 percent of whom hold doctoral degrees from many of the nation's most respected graduate schools.

The caliber of TMC students is likewise exceptional. They exhibit high standards in personal character, scholastics, leadership, and performance talents, including music and athletics. According to Katie Meade, Regional Alumni Ambassador for The Master's College, "One-third of our students come from homeschooling families." Academically strong 11th & 12th grade students who demonstrate adequate academic capability to be successful in college-level courses may also take online classes at TMC. Applicants must be in general agreement with the TMC Doctrinal Statement, must regularly attend a local evangelical church and provide a pastoral reference from one of the pastors or church leaders, and must be able to give a clear testimony of the basis of his/her salvation and hope of eternal life.

Whether your goal is to become a teacher, start your own software company, pastor a church, or run a PR firm, TMC's timely, robust liberal arts curriculum provides outstanding career preparation as well as a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning.


CONTACT:   Admissions Department, 800-568-6248 for more information

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


Anime Reviews by Xbolt



WOOHOOO!! Garbagemennnn...Innn....SPAAACE!!! And there you have the basic setting for Planetes.

The year is 2075. It has been over a century since mankind first ventured out into space, and in that time, we have established permanent bases on the Moon, and we have set foot on Mars. Unfortunately, we have also created a lot of trash out there. Broken satellites, spent rockets, lost tools, all of that. This is extremely hazardous to spaceflight, as a piece the size of a bolt traveling thousands of miles an hour can cripple an entire spacecraft. This is what debris haulers are for. They clean up in order to make space safe to travel in.

Technologically, the show is incredible. Not since 2001 have I seen a show that painted a realistic picture of spaceflight. (Thankfully, Planetes doesn't have any Mysterious Alien Black Boxes of Doom in it.) In Planetes, it is stated that a planned mission to Jupiter will take seven years. Sorry, Star Wars. You can't just go zipping halfway across the galaxy in a couple hours. In addition, exterior shots of the spacecraft are silent. You can't hear the engines firing. Heck, you can't even hear it when two objects crash into each other! As someone who likes science, this impressed me greatly.

Storyline-wise, the show isn't too bad either. It tells the story of the Debris Section of Technora Corporation. Overworked and underpaid, the Debris Section nevertheless works hard to keep space safe.

Hachirota Hoshino is one of the guys who does the EVA work when collecting debris. His nickname is Hachimaki, or Hachi, because he always wears one. (A hachimaki is a type of headband, worn as a symbol of perseverance or effort by the wearer.) He is loud and brash, and has difficulty expressing himself adequately.

Ai Tanabe is the newest member of the team, and she learns the ropes from everyone else, especially Hachimaki. She is bright and earnest, yet mostly unsure of herself. She is willing to do almost anything to help others.

Fee Carmichael is the pilot of the debris-collecting ship, the Toy Box. She is even more loud and brash than Hachi, and can get violent when others get on her nerves. She is a heavy smoker, which leads to trouble, since smoking is a strain on life support systems. She has to go into designated smoking rooms, and will fly into a fit of rage if they are out of order for an extended period.

Yuri Mihairokov is calm, kind, and compassionate, and often acts as the most level-headed member of the group. He is in charge of taking care of the animals that live on ISPV 7, the space station the Debris Section operates from.

Philippe Myers is the manager of the Debris Section. He is overweight and jolly, and is near retirement, but something always happens to stop that.

Arvind Ravi is the assistant manager. He is a bit of a trickster, and a prop comedian, which he enjoys very much.

Edelgard Rivera is a temporary worker, and she is in charge of secretarial and clerical duties. She always has a quiet and professional demeanor.

Despite it being awesome, Planetes is not nearly as well-known as it should be. So I'm doing my part to spread the word.

Watch the opening sequence here:

View the series trailer here:

Editor's Note: The Japanese anime "Planetes" is an award-winning science fiction story that pays tribute to Russian rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in its opening scene. In a later episode, one of the characters quotes Tsiolkovsky: "Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot remain in the cradle forever." Tsiolkovsky was entirely self-educated. "Besides books I had no other teachers," he wrote. You can read his biography here:

Happy New Year!

This is the time of year when many people resolve to make positive changes in their lives. If you're like me, your New Year's resolution probably is: "This year I will do all of the things that I didn't get to finish last year." Of course if the new year is really going to be any different, it means that you have to actually do something, not just continue in your wishful thinking.

Still haven't thought of a New Year's resolution? It's not too late! How about picking one or more from the following list!

∙  Start a new tradition.
∙  Break a bad habit.
∙  Go to church.
∙  Practice punctuality.
∙  Get organized.
∙  Keep a journal.
∙  Be more polite.
∙  Learn another language.
∙  Read through the Bible.
∙  Make a new friend.
∙  Smile instead of frown.
∙  Get enough sleep every night.
∙  Don't hog conversations.
∙  Enjoy the small pleasures in each day.
∙  Clean your room and give some stuff to a charity.
∙  Learn about your native plants and animals.
∙  Don't gossip or snoop into others' affairs.
∙  In your heart forgive those who have wronged you.
∙  Research your family heritage.
∙  Really listen to what others are saying to you.
∙  Stop negative thinking - try to see more of the positive.
∙  Volunteer in your community.
∙  Limit fast foods to twice a month.
∙  Once a month try a new type of ethnic food.
∙  Read a new book every month.
∙  Learn how to paint, bake bread, read music, do CPR, etc.
∙  Turn off the television during dinner.
∙  Be more thoughtful and considerate of others.
∙  Put a stop to an unhealthy relationship.
∙  Start a consistent exercise program.
∙  Make every Monday and Wednesday low-fat days.
∙  Do something special every week for a loved one.
∙  Spend more time outdoors.
∙  Stop grumbling and complaining.
∙  Count your blessings every night when you go to bed.
∙  Think a happy thought each morning when you awake.
∙  Put more money into your savings account.
∙  Each day take five minutes to look out the window.
∙  Develop a mission statement or personal motto.


Do you need some more ideas for resolutions to make, or tips on how to keep your resolutions this year? See:
Stay Tuned Next Month for our New Career-of-the-Month Column!

The Home School Legal Defense Association has just announced the 2010 Art contest for homeschoolers!

Submission Dates: January 1 through February 1, 2010


Students must submit a piece of artwork which, through the art, defines the appropriate word below:

Category 1: Trustworthy
Category 2: Tranquil
Category 3: Tenacious

We try to choose themes that will leave a lot of room for students' imagination and interpretation. We want students to come up with their own ideas of what best defines the given theme.

Students do not have to actually include the word or any text by way of answer in their artwork. The word is meant to be the inspiration and theme behind whatever image students decide to portray. Our judges love it when a student comes up with something they had not thought of before.

When you think about the theme, what comes to mind? Take it from there and be creative. We hope that students will come up with many imaginative ideas to fit the theme.

We do ask that your entry be original and appropriate for public display to our homeschooling audience (which is not meant to limit your creativity or choice of subject; for example, you are free to choose a serious or deep subject, such as suffering). We look forward to seeing what you come up with!


Category 1: Homeschoolers ages 7 to 10 as of January 1, 2010.
Category 2: Homeschoolers ages 11 to 14 as of January 1, 2010.
Category 3: Homeschoolers ages 15 to 19 as of January 1, 2010.

For the purposes of this contest, an eligible student must have been home educated in the past year and received a majority of his or her education in the past year through home education.


  1. Flat, two-dimensional, artwork less than one-quarter-inch thick, not including mat or frame (drawing, painting, mixed media, etc.)
  2. Completely original hand-done artwork (no tracing, photography, or computer-generated artwork).

For those pieces that make it to the final round:

  1. All work must be matted and/or framed with a simple and lightweight matte or frame and have wire or other hanging hardware attached ready for hanging.
  2. Maximum size including matting and framing is 48 by 48 inches. There is no minimum size.
  3. It is highly recommended that you use plexi-glass rather than glass in the framing. We have received damaged artwork before from glass shattering in the mail. HSLDA cannot be held responsible for artwork damaged in the mail.


  1. $10.00-HSLDA Member Discounted Entry Fee
  2. $15.00-Regular Entry Fee


  1. One entry per person
  2. Entries must include a completed and signed entry form (attached).
  3. Entries must include an entry fee (only check or money order).
  4. Preliminary entries must include an 8-by-10-inch color photograph, 8½-by-11-inch color copy, or 8½-by-11-inch color digital print of the artwork. Preliminary entries will not be returned. Do not send the original artwork-only submissions in one of the above media will be accepted.
  5. Finalists will be contacted by the contest coordinator and must send in the actual artwork that was presented in the preliminary entry. Finalists will be instructed on how to submit their artwork for the final round.


Artwork should be mailed to:

Attn: Art Contest
One Patrick Henry Circle
Purcellville, VA 20132-3197


  1. Preliminary entries will be received after January 1 and must be postmarked no later than February 1, 2010. (Entries postmarked after February 1 will be sent back or discarded.)
  2. Preliminary judging will take place in mid-February.
  3. Finalists in each category will be selected and notified by letter and/or email in early March.
  4. Final entries from finalists must be received by March 15, 2010.
  5. Final judging will take place in late March or early April.
  6. Winners will be notified by letter, and/or email or phone and announced on HSLDA's contest website and e-lert service by late April, 2010.
  7. Final entries will be on loan to HSLDA and may be displayed at HSLDA for one year.


  1. A panel of judges selected by HSLDA will judge both the preliminary and final rounds.
  2. Pieces will be judged on originality, creativity, and adherence with the theme.
  3. The decision of the judges is final.

Prizes for Each Category

Category 1: 1st Prize $100; 2nd Prize $75; 3rd Prize $50; Honorable Mention $25.
Category 2: 1st Prize $150; 2nd Prize $100; 3rd Prize $50; Honorable Mention $25.
Category 3: 1st Prize $200; 2nd Prize $150; 3rd Prize $100; Honorable Mention $50.

Other Information

  1. Proceeds from the contest will go to the Home School Foundation's Special Needs Children Fund.
  2. HSLDA has the right to use reproduction of entered artwork at its discretion.
  3. All judgments are final and interpretations of the guidelines are at HSLDA's sole discretion.

Download an entry form here:

Please contact the Contest Coordinator at with any questions.

Homeschooling Teen Readers Write:

Writing Scholarship Applications

 By Peter Olsen, 19

The job of filling out scholarship applications is a necessary and important one. The thought of it can be scary, however, knowing that there is so much at stake. Whatever you do, don't procrastinate so much that you miss the deadline!

The first thing to do when applying for scholarships is to make sure you carefully read and understand the instructions - because if you don't follow the directions, the scholarship committee will immediately have a negative first impression. Incomplete applications are often rejected, too, so it's best to answer all questions even if they don't apply to you. Writing "not applicable" or "N/A" is better than leaving a question blank and risking the possibility of looking like you didn't fill out the application completely.

Be truthful and don't exaggerate on your application. While listing specific skills that you have, consider whether you can answer questions about those skills if asked to explain what you know. In other words, don't make it sound like you're an expert when you're really just an amateur. If, during an interview, the selection committee detects that you're not being honest, you will most likely be disqualified.

Neatness counts, so print carefully or type your application. It's a good idea to make a photocopy of the application and practice on that first. Then you can easily make changes and corrections, and see how your words will fit in the available space. When you're sure it's the way you want it, you can re-copy your answers onto the real application. 

Many scholarship applications require a written essay, on a topic such as "Describe your most meaningful educational learning experience." A memorable, well-written essay can have a big impact on whether you win a scholarship. The key to writing a good essay is to write about something of special interest to you. If you are passionate about a topic, you will be able to write a better essay that engages the reader. Be especially creative in your opening paragraph to attract the reader's attention.

Make sure your essay has a clear thesis statement, and a unifying theme that shows not only where you have been and what you are doing now, but how these experiences relate to your future plans. Writing an outline first will help provide focus and structure to your essay. That way instead of rambling from one thought to another, you can present your ideas in a manner that support one another, building up to a strong and positive conclusion.

Be specific, not vague or abstract, and use concrete examples. If you have done significant volunteer work, don't just say "I like helping others," but describe particular actions that you have taken. Also discuss the effects of your volunteer service on the community, as well as on you personally. The scholarship committee likes to see tangible results, and evidence of how you are developing your abilities and applying your skills. Address the difficulty of the endeavor and explain how the outcome will be long-lasting.

Proofread your application and essay carefully. Check for correct spelling and grammar, making sure you have used proper academic vocabulary. It always helps to have another person - such as a parent, teacher, or tutor - read over your application. They can catch any errors you may have missed and make helpful suggestions. But remember, this is your scholarship application and it has to reflect your voice and who you are. So while you can have others edit it, just don't let them re-write it.

Peter Olsen, a homeschool graduate, was awarded a Presidents' Scholarship at Paradise Valley Community College.

Homeschooling High School: Helpful Tips

Do you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or teacher? How about a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker? The type of higher education or training you will need to choose depends on what kind of career you wish to pursue.

Postsecondary Degrees & Awards

First Professional Degree - Completion of the degree usually requires at least 3 years of full-time academic study beyond a bachelor's degree. Examples are lawyers, physicians and surgeons.

Doctoral Degree - Completion of a Ph.D. or other doctoral degree usually requires at least 3 years of full-time academic study beyond a bachelor's degree. Examples are postsecondary teachers; and medical scientists, except epidemiologists.

Master's Degree - Completion of the degree usually requires 1 or 2 years of full-time academic study beyond a bachelor's degree. Examples are educational, vocational, and school counselors; and clergy.

Bachelor's Or Higher Degree, Plus Work Experience - Most occupations in this category are management occupations. All require experience in a related non-management position for which a bachelor's or higher degree is usually required. Examples are general and operations managers; and judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates.

Bachelor's Degree - Completion of the degree generally requires at least 4 years, but not more than 5 years, of full-time academic study. Examples are accountants and auditors; and elementary school teachers, except special education.

Associate Degree - Completion of the degree usually requires at least 2 years of full-time academic study. Examples are paralegals and legal assistants; and medical records and health information technicians.

Postsecondary Vocational Certificate - Some programs last only a few weeks, others more than a year. Programs lead to a certificate or other award, but not a degree. Examples are nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants; and hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists.

State License - Some occupations require licensing by the state before offering services directly to the public. That means passing an examination after getting a college degree, as well as having practical work experience in that field. Examples are architects, civil engineers, and interior designers.



Work-related Training

Work Experience In A Related Occupation- Most of the occupations in this category are first-line supervisors or managers of service, sales and related, production, or other occupations; or are management occupations.

Long-Term On-The-Job Training - Occupations in this category generally require more than 12 months of on-the-job training or combined work experience and formal classroom instruction for workers to develop the skills necessary to be fully qualified in the occupation. These occupations include formal and informal apprenticeships that may last up to 5 years. Long-term on-the-job training also includes intensive occupation-specific, employer-sponsored programs that workers must complete. Among such programs are those conducted by fire and police academies and by schools for air traffic controllers and flight attendants. In other occupations-insurance sales and securities sales, for example-trainees take formal courses, often provided on the jobsite, to prepare for the required licensing exams. Individuals undergoing training generally are considered to be employed in the occupation. Also included in this category is the development of a natural ability-such as that possessed by musicians, athletes, actors, and other entertainers-that must be cultivated over several years, frequently in a non-work setting.

Moderate-Term On-The-Job Training- In this category of occupations, the skills needed to be fully qualified in the occupation can be acquired during 1 to 12 months of combined on-the-job experience and informal training. Examples are truck drivers (heavy and tractor-trailer), secretaries (except legal, medical, and executive), and food processing workers (bakers and butchers).

Short-Term On-The-Job Training - In occupations in this category, the skills needed to be fully qualified in the occupation can be acquired during a short demonstration of job duties or during 1 month or less of on-the-job experience or instruction. Examples of these occupations are basic machine operators (such as in manufacturing plants), retail salespersons, waiters and waitresses.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Essay Writing Tip

If you find it difficult to write essays, try talking about the essay topic while recording the conversation. After you're done, transcribe the recording and edit it into essay form. This will give you a good start on your essay. Since the act of writing often interferes with the flow of ideas (most people can think and speak ten times faster than they can write or type), speaking into a tape recorder can help you capture your ideas and emotions better than staring at a blank piece of paper.

Did You Know...?

January 19 is a day of celebration in some southern states. It is the birthday of Robert E. Lee, commander-in-chief of the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Lee is considered to be among the greatest generals, and remains one of the best-loved and respected men in American history. As a child he was taught at home by his mother, and his own children were homeschooled by his wife. Learn more about Robert E. Lee at:

The History of Teddy Bears

Teddy Bear

The teddy bear, having come from humble beginnings, has grown over the years into a multi-million worldwide hobby. One of the most traditional of all toys, stuffed bears are the favorite companions of many children around the world. They are also treasured as beloved collectibles by grown-ups. Tell the truth now, how many of you still have your favorite old teddy bear? Is it sitting prominently on a shelf in your room or hidden away in the closet somewhere?

January 18 is Winnie-the-Pooh Day. This silly old bear and his friends are perhaps the most famous stuffed animals of all time. British author A.A. Milne wrote "Winnie-the-Pooh" and "The House at Pooh Corner" for his son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920. The real Christopher Robin had a stuffed bear, and later he was given a stuffed tiger, pig, donkey, and kangaroo. Ernest Shepard, who illustrated the stories, visited the Milne family at their country home and based his drawings on Christopher Robin and his toys.

Teddy bears were born almost simultaneously in Germany and the United States. One of the pioneers was Margarete Steiff in Germany, who as a child was stricken with polio and confined to a wheelchair. She loved children and liked having them visit her. She enjoyed sewing and made stuffed toys to entertain her little visitors. Margarete soon began getting requests for copies of her felt toy animals. As time went by she trained other women to help her and eventually set up a small factory. The company made wool-felt pincushion-type animals of many varieties.

By 1887 Margarete's toys were being sent all over the world. Her nephew, Richard, an artist who spent many hours sketching bears at the zoo, in 1902 created a large toy bear for his aunt out of mohair, with a moving head and limbs. The Steiff Company then started producing jointed stuffed bears during 1902-1903. These Steiff bears were first introduced at the 1903 Leipzig Fair, where an American buyer for a New York import house, looking for something soft and cuddly, saw them and ordered several thousand for shipment to the United States. Before long they had received another 3,000-piece order as well.

Meanwhile, in November 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt was in Mississippi conducting meetings over a boundary dispute. He took a day to relax by engaging in one of his favorite activities, bear hunting. It had been an unsuccessful day, but his hunting party wanted to help him get his trophy, so they captured a bear cub and tied it to a tree. The President refused to shoot it, however, because he considered shooting a captured bear to be unsportsmanlike.

The following day, November 16, 1902, The Washington Post printed an article about the incident. Accompanying the story was a political cartoon by editorial cartoonist Clifford Berryman. He drew a picture of a bear cub with round eyes and large ears tied to a tree. Next to the cub stood Teddy Roosevelt, his gun before him with the butt resting on the ground and his back to the animal, gesturing his refusal to take the shot. Written across the lower part of the cartoon were the words "Drawing the Line in Mississippi."

The cartoon drew a lot of attention. In Brooklyn, New York, a Russian immigrant named Morris Michtom displayed two toy bears in the window of his stationery and novelty shop. The plush stuffed excelsior bears with black button eyes were made by his wife, Rose, to look like the bear in the cartoon. Alongside the display she put the newspaper clipping. The bears sold immediately. Recognizing the bears' popularity, Michtom requested and received permission from President Roosevelt to call them "Teddy's Bears." The little stuffed bears were a huge success.

As demand for the stuffed toy bears increased, Michtom's business was taken over by the Butler Brothers, a U.S. toy wholesaler. In 1903 they formed the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company and in 1938 changed the name to the Ideal Toy Co. Since stuffed "Teddy" bears had become such big sellers in the U.S., the Steiff Company also supplied many of them. Consequently, in 1907, Steiff started calling the bears they made Teddy bears.

The height of the Teddy bear craze coincided with Roosevelt's second term in office, from 1905-1909. This is why many people consider Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, to be truly the father of the Teddy bear. November 2002 marked the 100th anniversary of the teddy bear.

Did You Know...?

The Stuffington Bear Factory in Phoenix, AZ is one of the few remaining stuffed teddy bear factories in the U.S. Take their factory tour, and you can even stuff your own teddy bear or southwestern animal. For info, go to

  • Parent's Column
    Dear Parents,   
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