Homeschooling Teen



Homeschooling Teen Profile: Lea Ann Garfias


Homeschool Friendly College: USC Riverside


Parallels: by Carly


Teen Culture Today: by Juliana


Political Column: by Calvin


Anime Reviews: by Xbolt


Readers Write: "One Body Many Gifts," by Kate Hall, 17


"Salvatore Giunta: An American Hero," by Peter Olsen


"Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans: Photographers of the Great Depression," by Peter Olsen


College Bound Reading List: War


Career-of-the-Month: Photographer


Homeschooling High School: "Becoming a Confident Communicator," by Jana Kornfeld


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


Plus a whole lot more!!!

Be Somebody...Be Yourself 

College Bound 

Preparing For College - ACT & SAT Information

Another school year has started for some, 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
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Sylvan SAT/ACT® Prep can help you prepare.
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Join our new Homeschooling Teen Forum! 

HST Forum

We have boards set up for every interest! Let's get some discussions going and stay connected!

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Exciting News!


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Please join us and let's keep in touch!

E-mail Etiquette Tip of the Month


End every e-mail with a "Thanks", "Sincerely", "Take care..." something to show that you are courteous and a pleasure to communicate with.


Also be sure to sign you name so that you don't come off demanding or terse.


If you are asking for assistance it would also behoove you to "TIA!" (Thanks in advance!) so they know you will appreciate their efforts on your behalf.


Folks will always respond faster to those they know are considerate of others.  This extra little step will go a long way to you being perceived favorably.


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


What is a Hero?


Have you ever stopped to think about what it means to be a hero? Ask people what their definition of a hero is, and you will receive different answers. However, they probably all have a similar theme:


"A man of distinguished valor, intrepidity or enterprise in danger; as a hero in arms." ~Webster's 1828 Dictionary


"An illustrious warrior; a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities; one that shows great courage." ~Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary


"A hero is a person of courage and integrity who undergoes great risk to reach a worthy goal." ~Teri


"I went to Homeschool Hero Camp, where Coach Joe taught us that God is looking for real heroes - people who are honest, humble, helpful, healthy and holy. Heroes are honest. Heroes must be willing to practice the truth. Heroes are humble. Humble people are teachable and have a desire to learn from others. Heroes are helpful. Heroes are willing to serve others with love that is unconditional and unselfish, they show they care by how they share, and they use their talents for the good of others. Heroes are healthy. Heroes have healthy bodies, healthy buddies, and healthy boundaries. They eat and drink right, exercise regularly, associate with others who challenge them and give them courage to be their best, and run away from those who would corrupt them. Heroes are holy. A hero loves what is right, hates what is wrong, and resists temptation. They aim for God's glory in all that they do." ~Peter


"In my opinion a hero is someone who is completely selfless. A hero is someone who will sacrifice his life and his reputation for the good of humanity. Someone like this would never care about his or her own needs, and they would not care what people thought about them. This is very hard to explain because most people only care about what their peers think about them, especially at the high school and college level. In my opinion, the only hero that I know is Jesus Christ. This is the only hero that had no deviousness in what he had to accomplish, and the only hero who gave his life intentionally to save mankind. This hero knew that he was far superior to everyone else, but yet he let everyone ridicule him, beat him, punish him, and spit in his face. I think that once we accept this, only then we would really understand what a true hero is." ~Joe


Do you like to write? Well, why don't you send us something! Become a part of Homeschooling Teen magazine and submit a letter, article, poem, short story, report, or review to:  

  Writing for HST will look great on a college application or resume!

Happy Thanksgiving!  



Aviation History Month

International Creative Child & Adult Month

National Novel Writing Month

International Drum Month

Peanut Butter Lover's Month

National Raisin Bread Month

National Pepper Month

Good Nutrition Month

Veterans Day, November 11

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, November 14

National Bible Week, November 21-28

Thanksgiving, November 25

Click here for more November holidays:



SUMMIT (suhm-it) noun - the highest point, state, or degree.


"I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday." - Abraham Lincoln


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!



Career-of-the-Month: Photographer


Photographers take pictures of people, places, or things in order to sell products, entertain people, report the news, or preserve memories. This profession allows one to work from almost anywhere - whether it be at home, in the local community, or from any particular location in the world. Newspapers and magazines commonly employ photographers. They may also work for advertising or design firms, in camera stores or commercial studios. Some self-employed photographers contract with companies to do individual projects for a set fee, while others operate portrait studios or license their photographs to stock-photo agencies. Freelance photographers may even sell their work directly to the public.

Many photographers specialize in pictures of certain things such as landscapes. Some photographers take pictures only at schools or weddings. Others photograph only cars, clothes, buildings, or animals. Some photographers take pictures to illustrate books. Movie still photographers take pictures on movie sets. Travel photographers and photojournalists may travel far away and they might even work in harsh or dangerous areas. Other occupations such as police investigators, real estate agents, and scientists may take photographs as part of their work.

Photographers should have an artistic eye as well as technical proficiency. They need to know how to choose the right equipment and techniques to give them the best picture. They may use a combination of lights, lenses, and other effects to create a picture. Photographers must buy the gear they need and then keep up with advancing technology. For the most part, film has been replaced by digital cameras, and photographers now edit images on a computer instead of developing them in a dark room.

Photography is not only a highly creative field; it is also a highly competitive field. There are more people who want to be photographers than there is employment to support them. Only the most skilled photographers, those with the best marketing ability and those who have the best reputations, are able to find jobs or attract enough work to support themselves. Persistence comes into play when breaking into the photography business and then once in, photographers must show a willingness to work hard and put in long hours. Photographers often have to work quickly and be available at all times to meet deadlines and please their clients.

Full-time salaried photographers tend to earn more than those who are self-employed. Because most freelance and portrait photographers purchase their own equipment, they incur considerable expense acquiring and maintaining cameras and accessories. Improved cameras and computer software require upgrades and significant additional investment as often as every 12 months. Unlike news and commercial photographers, few fine arts photographers are successful enough to support themselves solely through their art.

Some photographers are self-taught, while others have college training. Photography courses are offered by many universities, community and junior colleges, art institutes, and private trade and technical schools. Entry-level positions in industrial or scientific photography generally require a college degree in photography or in a field related to the industry in which the photographer seeks employment. Young photographers may start out as assistants to established photographers; this will help them to gain valuable experience. 

Whether or not one has a formal education, it is important to put together a portfolio of one's best work for showing to potential clients and employers. Individuals interested in a career in photography should try to develop contacts in the field by subscribing to photographic newsletters and magazines, joining camera clubs, and seeking summer or part-time employment in camera stores, newspapers, or photo studios.


Related Occupations:


Camera operator





Photo editor




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: 




By Alannis
The Average Time Spent Online In 2007 was 13 Hours; Now The Average Time In 2010 Is 22 hours and 15 mins!
9kg Of Chocolate on Average Is Consumed Per Person,  Per Year!
50% Of Babies Born In Britain Are Expected to live past their 100th Birthday!
6,205,000 is the number each one of us blinks in a year!
1000,000,000 Galaxies are thought to exist in the observable Universe!
A Corned Beef Sandwich Bought From A Florida Deli was Smuggled On Board Gemini Space Craft in 1965. Unfortunately it Broke Up In Flight - Unable To Withstand Zero Gravity!


Alannis lives in England where she has been homeschooled for over three years now. She likes to write and she loves to bake, take photos, and act.


Teen Culture Today, by Juliana


One Step Closer


Each day we are one step closer to tomorrow.  One step ahead of yesterday and one step toward the future.  With everything we do, we are advancing through life.  Why then are we sometimes so hesitant in today?  Why is it that people miss important opportunities?  Especially since what you miss may never come back again.

            Americans today take so much for granted.  Realistically, how many people stop and truly think about others that are less fortunate every day?  The answer is probably, not that many.  Of course people will say that they do, but then they go out and buy something at a ridiculous price without thinking twice.  It is those people that really concern me.  These people are also the predominant number in our society today and these are the people that will become the leaders of the future.

            So what do the rest of us do?  Are we being active or passive?  The truth and reality is that we tend to sit around and watch this happen.  It is depressing to think that this is true.  If one were to think back into his or her past, how many missed opportunities do we think they would have?  Chances are, quite a few.  Every day we let people walk by us without even thinking about sharing our faith or just even saying hello and inviting them to worship service?  In homeschool group or at college, how many times do we try to make a new friend?  What can we do to seize these opportunities before it is one step to late?  One step too many to the future, with no way to step back to yesterday?

            Every day people pass us by - we live in a large world with millions of people!!  It only takes one time to stop someone, to just say "Hi" and brighten a person's day.  When at homeschool group, instead of sitting with people that have been friends for years, sit with the new kid in the group, let him or her feel welcome.  Take the time to invite your friends to church.  Do not be afraid to stand out or to be different, because every step you take might be one step too late to touch someone's life.


Have a question or comment?  E-mail me at

Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans: Photographers of the Great Depression

By Peter Olsen


In 1935 as part of his "New Deal" package, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Resettlement Administration, later renamed the Farm Security Administration (FSA). The purpose of this federal agency was to aid poor rural Americans who were uprooted from their farms during the Great Depression, a time when drought and over-farming had turned vast areas of the Midwest into a huge dust bowl. The FSA is famous for its influential publicity program that portrayed compelling and poignant images of poverty-stricken people and places. The FSA used these photographs to help justify and document federal aid by highlighting the work they were doing, the challenges of rural poverty, and American rural life in general. The main goal was to show Americans in a desperate situation and enlist support for government programs of grants, loans, and resettlement money to displaced farmers (Hirsc h 233-234). Although the FSA photography project has been viewed by some as propagandistic, it is also largely responsible for creating the iconic images that come to mind when one thinks of the 1930s Depression Era. "In fact, he and his colleagues invented the new form of social documentary, eloquently blending artistry and propaganda to create what is arguably one of the most valuable records of American life" (Pricola).

The FSA photography group carried out their assignments having been trained in the official FSA "documentary" style, with the intent "to dramatize real subjects in their actual settings, li nking them to specific cultural messages so that viewers would formulate a favorable response to the new government programs" (Hirsch 235). Overall, rural people were respectfully portrayed with dignity and shown to be actively trying to improve their predicament, implying that that they deserved better. "Camera angles and distance tended to follow the normal eye-level standards, giving a sense of cooperation and social equality, underlining the idea that these were good people experiencing hard times" (Hirsch 235). Heart-wrenching photographs of women, children, and families in dire circumstances played on people's sympathies - after all, who woul dn't pity a poor deprived child? The images were published in popular magazines and newspapers where they would be sure to be seen by the general public. Thus, even the increasingly urban population would be made aware of the plight of the rural farmers, migrant workers, and sharecroppers. The dilemma of seeing other  families needlessly suffering would present a challenge to comfortable middle-class citizens and encourage them to do something about it, which in this case meant embracing government-sponsored welfare programs.

Among the photographers commissioned by the federal government were Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans. Lange and Evans were technically expert photographers whose images displayed sharp focus, clarity, and precision. Both Lange and Evans became well known for their photo graphs of rural poverty during the Great Depression. The mission given to Lange and Evans along with the other photographers was to capture the human side of the pressing social and economic concerns of the day, bringing them to the attention of the nation. The sheer number of photographs taken by the FSA gave the impression that such situations were widespread, presenting a looming threat to American family life everywhere. The faces, postures, and clothing of people profiled in these photographs overwhelmingly show them as worried, sad, ragged, and broke. No one smiles, and dirt- smudged children - innocent victims - stand barefoot in the dust. While documenting the signs of the times, these images depicted real people with real lives. Lange produced more subjective images based on feelings and impressions, as compared to Evans' objective style w hich was undistorted by emotion  or personal opinion.

Lange Migrant Mother

Dorothea Lange (1895-196 5 ) is known as a "photographer of people" for her visual interpretations of the human condition. Lange had a compassionate eye and a consciousness for social justice. Lange's photographs documented the misery and despair suffered during the Great Depression in an effort to help the people by bringing attention to their situation. Her photographs are full of raw emotion that brings home the sobering realities of the Depression. They elicit feelings of empathy and enable viewers to identify with the subject. Even though Lange photographed what she saw, her images were transformed by her personal vision. The viewer can sense the presence of an author striving to make a statement. For example, her "Migrant Mother" image is one of a series of photographs that Lange made outside a pea-pickers camp in Nipomo, California. Lange zoomed in on the mother while keeping the children's faces hidden, and leaving her other children out of the picture completely. This serves to emphasize the mother's facial expression, showing both the strength and the concern of a mother in distress. Perhaps her stare indicates a resolute determination to overcome poverty as strongly as it suggests a resignation to it. Roy Stryker, head of the FSA photographic project, declared, "To me it was THE picture of Farm Security. She has all the suffering of mankind in her, but all the perseverance too" (Nordeman). "Migrant Mother" captured in a single photograph the desperation of the times. This powerful image won the heart of the public and became one of the most famous photographs in American history. Unlike Evans, Lange used a Graflex 4x5 camera which allowed her to get closer to her subject. She mostly took photographs of her subject as they were looking away from the camera. Her insightful photographs humanized the tragic consequences of the Great Depression.  

 Walker Evans


Walker Evans (1903-1975) did most of his photographic work for the FSA while traveling from the coal country of West Virginia and Pennsylvania into the southern states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Unlike Lange who focused mostly on people, Evans' photographs of places are rich in details of daily life. Besides portraiture, some of his most prominent themes were architecture. He photographed storefronts, barbershops, rural homes, shop windows, sidewalk displays, roadside stands, street scenes, posters and signs. His work is significant because it documented 1930s America in vivid detail, capturing objects precisely as they were. Even his portraits lack the emotional expression of Lange's because he remained detached from the images he was recording, acting as an impartial observer. Evans used a large format 8x10 view camera. This camera is known to create the appearance of a dispassionate viewpoint, which helped with the type of subjects that Evans shot. Evans took mostly straight-on shots of his human subjects so they were looking directly at the camera. Evans veered from the FSA's mission of focusing on a better future for the rural poor by photographing his subjects exactly as they were in the present, rather than hinting at what they might become if only they had the opportunity. "The images, unveiled by sentimentality, are possessed by the photographer's puritanical objectivity mixed with an edge of pessimism" (Hirsh 236). In addition, his images show that architecture and material objects can be as representative of a people as the people themselves. "Evans found in these subjects an authentic expression of what was most American about America, and his lasting achievement was to express that sense of indigenous national character in his photographs" (Met). As documentary images, his detailed portrayals of authentic everyday artifacts are unparalleled in their realism and serve to preserve an era in time.

Ironically, although people were led to believe that the government cared about the subjects of these photographs since they spent the time and effort to document their situation, the subjects themselves didn't always see it that way. Years later, Troy Owens, son of "Migrant Mother" Florence Owens Thompson, said, "That photo may well have saved some peoples' lives, but I can tell you for certain, it didn't save ours" (Stones). Charles Burroughs, whose parents were photographed by Evans, recalls, "They never had a chance to buy a new truck. They never had a chance to buy a fridge. They never had a chance to buy a washing machine. They never had a chance" (Whitford). So it would seem that the living conditions of these people weren't necessarily improved as the FSA had promised. Nevertheless, "Through the work of Lange and Evans, we are provided a window into the past, a window into the lives of people whose names we may never know, but whose images will be forever remembered" (Ludlow). Their photographs will always be inspiring evidence of the persevering American spirit, and valuable studies of Americana to be treasured for generations to come.


Works Cited:

Hirsch, Robert. Seizing the Light, A Social History of Photography. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2009.

Ludlow1897. "Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans - Photography of the Great Depression." YouTube. May 1, 2009.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Walker Evans: Special Exhibitions." The Metropolitan Museum of Art. February 1- May 14, 2000.

Meyer, Chris. "The FSA Photographs: Information, or Propaganda?" WR: Journal of the Arts & Sciences Writing Program. Boston University: Issue 1, 2008-2009, p. 21-28.

Nordeman , Landon. "Walker Evans Revolutionizes Documentary Photography." American Studies. University of Virginia: February 28, 2007.

Pricola, Jennifer. "Age of Lost Innocence: Photographs of Childhood Realities and Adult Fears During the Depression." American Studies. University of Virginia: Summer 2003.

Stones, Michael. "The Other Migrant Mother." Open Photography Forums.

Whitford, David. "The Most Famous Story We Never Told." Fortune Magazine. September 19, 2005.


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

College Bound Reading List

  War book

War - by Sebastian Junger


"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it!" This memorable quote is said to have been spoken by Robert E. Lee as he watched the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862. Actually, that statement has been true of combat throughout history, ever since the first men took up arms against one another - and it's still applicable to describe 21st-century warfare.

Sebastian Junger, the journalist who wrote "The Perfect Storm," has written a new book titled "War." The book doesn't glamorize war but accurately tells it the way it is. In his book, Junger draws a clear distinction between "war" and "combat." The book probably should have been called "Combat," because that's really what it's about. It's an eyewitness account that captures the true sense of what combat is like, up close and personal. From 2007-2008, Junger followed the 173rd Airborne's Battle Company which was serving a 15-month tour of duty on the front lines in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, also known as "The Valley of Death," the epicenter of Taliban operations and the most dangerous place in the world no matter who you are. The rough terrain in that region negates many of the advantages one would expect a modern army to have, often forcing today's soldiers to revert to old school infantry tactics. "After months of fighting an enemy that stayed hundreds of yards away, the shock of facing them at a distance of twenty feet cannot be overstated," Junger points out.

Responsible combat journalism is a difficult assignment, but Junger is a keen observer and his portrayal of the soldiers is honest and respectful. It is a story of heroes - normal guys who have risen to do what the worst situations demand of them. For the most part, "War" does not take a political side but simply records what these guys are up against. According to Junger, the men of Battle Company don't waste time worrying about politics. They were dropped into the middle of a war zone and basically just want to survive and destroy those who are trying to kill them. For these young men, the courage to fight comes more from the love they feel for their fellow soldier than from any sense of patriotism. They are mostly concerned about protecting their comrades; all are willing to risk their own lives to save the lives of their brothers in arms. Indeed, the greatest fear of many is NOT the very real possibility that they themselves will die. It's the fear that they might get careless, make a mistake, or show some weakness that will cost another man his life. From a society that encourages the pursuit of self-interest, these soldiers epitomize the greatness that comes from self-sacrifice.

Junger spent a significant amount of time with the soldiers, going out on missions and living with them at their remote outpost on the Afghan-Pakistan border. Thus, his book is a well-written depiction of daily life in a typical Army combat unit, although admittedly not every unit is so isolated or heavily involved as this one. Despite the fact that journalists are not allowed to carry a weapon, Junger faced the same dangers and lived under the same rudimentary conditions as the professional soldiers. The troop never knew when they would be under fire, since it usually came suddenly and unexpectedly, so the soldiers had to adapt to the constant threat of attack. (Chapter two contains an account of the ambush in which Salvatore Giunta earned his Medal of Honor.) The author himself survived an ambush, a roadside bomb, sniper fire, and other dangerous situations. Consequently, he lived through the same emotions and trauma experienced by the men that he came to know so well. By the end of the book you will feel as if you've been through the same grueling deployment.

Besides the mental stress, these men had to endure extreme physical exertion. Carrying at least 75 pounds of ammo and gear, they would scamper up steep rocky mountainsides in intense heat. ("Summer grinds on: A hundred degrees every day and tarantulas invading the living quarters to get out of the heat....The last stretch is an absurdly steep climb through the village of Babiyal that the men call 'the Stairmaster.'") "War" exposes all the different sides of combat: from the comic to the tragic, from the heroic to the hellish, from sheer boredom to sheer terror. Junger's details of the day-to-day lifestyle of a soldier are informative, and his descriptions of battle scenes are riveting and scary. Whether he's discussing something routine (practicing their combat skills) or explaining the shocking (one man calls out that dinner's ready and then an RPG takes his arm off), the reader is able to view everything through a soldier's eyes. Some of the high points of the book are his explanations of how soldiers deal with casualties and find the strength to persevere. The raw emotion experienced by these soldiers is much more intense than most Americans realize, in conditions that few back home can even begin to imagine.

"War" is about terror. It's about violence. Most of all, it's about brotherhood. Such is the reality of a soldier's life. With our own hectic lives and popular culture occupying so much of our time, it can be hard to relate to the story of these men who are living in such a brutal environment. The camaraderie, savagery, and bravery of combat are all there - along with its randomness. Junger divides his book into three sections: Fear, Killing, and Love. Other than that, "War" lacks a typical plot structure and the narrative jumps around so it can be hard to tell when and where a particular event is occurring. The reader often can't be sure if it's summer or winter, if this is his first embed or last, and if the action is next door or down the valley. This unorthodox arrangement is understandable, as the focus is on the experience and not the precise chronology. After all, time itself is fluid; depending on the situation, a minute can seem like an eternity, an hour can go by in a blur, or you might even lose track of what day it is. If you've ever been in an accident, in the hospital, or a similar stressful situation, you know that the events are often disjointed and dreamlike; you may remember things in terms of feelings or in disconnected snapshots rather than in the exact order in which they happened. That's pretty much what combat is like.

Even though this book is specifically about the war in Afghanistan, it's also about combat in general. The author delves into ancient truths; for example, men don't fight for flags, but for each other. Love overcomes fear. The single overarching value that all soldiers uphold is that of looking out for the team instead of yourself. The teamwork that develops between small groups of men in dangerous situations compels them to do things they wouldn't normally do as individuals: to fight against terrible odds and to sacrifice oneself in order to save others. Junger writes, "The unit that choreographs their actions best usually wins....The choreography always requires that each man make decisions based not on what's best for him, but on what's best for the group. If everyone does that, most of the group survives. If no one does, most of the group dies. That, in essence, is combat." Junger includes historical information on how men react in combat, both physically and psychologically. He cites military statistics, university research, studies made of soldiers during World War II, and first-hand experiences. However, his attempt to analyze the biology of combat and try to tie it to the theory of evolution was weak and just didn't fit.

If you've ever wondered how and why soldiers do what they do or if you like stories of danger, adventure, and human experience, then read this book. The conversations in the book were actual quotations confirmed by Junger with the help of some 150 hours of recorded video. But be forewarned, "War" is not for the squeamish. It would be rated R since the author describes several deaths and does not censor the gut-wrenching violence or salty language of the soldiers. Personally, I would have preferred it if he had left out some of the off-color incidents since they weren't necessary to the theme. Still, the book gives an insider's view of what it's like to be in the military. It will help the average person to understand the hardships that soldiers go through on a daily basis, and the sacrifices they make for the rest of us. It also offers some insight into the minds of our fathers and grandfathers, and why they were often reluctant to speak of their war experiences.

Junger's deployment in the Korengal Valley is also featured in the documentary film "Restrepo," which won the 2010 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Sebastian Junger co-directed the film with award-winning photographer Tim Hetherington. "Restrepo" is an experiential film that transports you to the site as if you're embedded with the platoon, so the book and the film complement each other and yet they are very different. "Restrepo" (93 minutes, R) is now showing in select theaters, and it will be available on DVD after November 30.


November 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  

Lea Ann Garfias


Homeschooling Teen Profile: Lea Ann Garfias


When I was in Bible college, I learned that the definition of success is "finding God's will and doing it."  I like that definition, mostly because of what it doesn't say.  That definition does not include what vocation I follow, what educational choices I make, what financial goals I achieve, or what grades I score.  Success is measured, then, in light of eternity.  I hope that my life is measured positively that way, too.


I was home educated from 7th grade onward.  Being an over-achiever and a glutton for punishment, I decided to complete the 6 years of my secondary education in 5 years, without skipping any grades. I had to work through the summers, but I enjoyed it for the most part.  My favorite subjects were English and mathematics.  My mother made me write a lot of papers, and she was a very good editor and stylist.  I had no idea how much I would use her wisdom and training later in life.  My father taught me Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus, and Statistics.  We played games like "what is the probability of having all 12 beans in the Twelve Bean Soup in your bowl?" during dinner conversation.  Learning was a regular part of our life.


My younger sister and I not only learned our academics during our homeschool years; we also took regular piano and violin lessons.  Disciplined practice time was part of our daily routine.  Homeschooling made musical success possible, and we both took frequent awards in state and national competitions.  This paved the way for us both to study music on the college level as private students when we were teens. 


By the time I was nearing graduation, I knew where I wanted to attend college.  My parents registered me for an ACT prep course at a local community college, and I'm glad I took it.  The course not only prepared me well for the test I would receive, but also acclimated me to the environment in which I would be tested.  Even though I was ill the day of my test, I scored in the 99th percentile and was offered scholarships from Harvard and my state's university.  Instead, I chose to attend Bible college and study Church Music.


After two and a half years of university work, I met and married the love of my life.  David is a Peruvian immigrant who came here during his high school years. Together, we are rearing four children in the Dallas area. At first, I didn't want to homeschool; I knew how much work it is! But my husband insisted we try it for "just one year," and now we are hooked.


Home education is much different now from when I was a student.  For one thing, I was a student in the late 80s and early 90s in Michigan, where homeschooling was nearly illegal.  We didn't go out of our homes much during the day, and we made up a name for our "very exclusive private school" in case people asked us questions. Today, we can proudly say, "We homeschool!" and strangers are not only unsurprised, but they have neighbors who home educate, too.


Another big difference in home education is because of the computer. When I was a student, very few people had home computers, and they still weren't connected by internet (I feel so old typing that!).  This made it so much harder to obtain materials, reach out for support, and even to find other homeschooling teens.  We really felt isolated.  But not now! So, as a result, I get very excited every time I meet another homeschool graduate; it is like meeting a classmate!


There are many things I wish I had done differently during my 5 years of home education.  I wish I had not given my parents a hard time about the hard assignments.  I wish I had studied harder.  I wish I had not argued with my father over the math answers; he was always right and my answers were always wrong.  I wish I had taken my mother's English corrections graciously.  Most of all, I wish I had valued the learning more, and worried about the grades less.  Who cares what grade I got in Trig? But do I really know why the Fall of Rome changed the course of history? I am shocked and dismayed how much I need to go back and re-learn before I can teach my own children properly these and many other things. 


I hope that as I continue the home education tradition with my children, I can pass on a true love of learning to them.  Whether it is God's will for them to attend college or not, whether or not He would have them tackle the sciences or the arts, it is the desire of their parents that they each find God's perfect will for them.  Then, we pray, they can study to do it.


Lea Ann Garfias is a homeschool graduate and home education consultant in the Dallas area. Together with her husband of 13 years, she is teaching their four children at home and encouraging young families to raise their godly heritage for His glory. She is a classically trained pianist and violinist and avid reader. The Garfias family enjoys learning from a variety of resources, including great books, experiments, and family trips. You can read more of Lea Ann's writing on her blog at, in Home School Enrichment Magazine, and on the Dallas Morning News Home Education blog.


Please share your story! If you are involved with an amazing project, volunteer in your community, 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! Contact:

Salvatore Giunta: An American Hero

 Salvatore Giunta

By Peter Olsen


Sgt. Salvatore Giunta is a real-life hero. In September 2010 he was awarded the Medal of Honor, which he earned while fighting in the war in Afghanistan in October 2007. The Medal of Honor is given for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty, in action involving actual conflict with an opposing armed force. Giunta received the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions and willingness to sacrifice for his troop, by risking his own life to save another soldier.

Salvatore Giunta was born on January 21, 1985 in Clinton, Iowa. He grew up in Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha. His parents are Steve and Rose. He has a brother named Mario and sister named Katie. Salvatore attended John F. Kennedy High School. Giunta enlisted in the Army in 2003, after hearing a recruiting commercial on the radio while working at a Subway sandwich shop. He was first deployed to Afghanistan from March 2005 until March 2006. His second tour lasted from May 2007 until July 2008. Giunta was promoted to staff sergeant in August 2009. He is currently stationed at a base near Vicenza, Italy, where he resides with his wife Jennifer.

Sgt. Giunta is the first living person to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. There haven't been very many medals at all awarded since then, and those that were awarded had to be given posthumously. An analysis by Army Times states that there were, on average, two or three Medals of Honor per 100,000 service personnel in previous wars - but that the rate for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan averaged only one per million. It's also important to note that the Medal of Honor is not won like a prize in some sort of competition. It is awarded for one reason only, because the person earned it through distinctive accomplishment.

Courage. Selflessness. Sacrifice. These are commendable terms that characterize Sgt. Giunta. But what actions make him deserving of such high praise?

Courage - Sgt. Salvatore Guinta is a very courageous man. This brave American soldier exposed himself to enemy fire so he could pull one soldier back to cover. He also shot two insurgents after seeing them try to carry away another U.S. soldier. According to a statement issued by the White House, "His courage and leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon's ability to defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American soldier from enemy hands." Sgt. Guinta has the heart and courage of a true American hero.

Selflessness - Sgt. Salvatore Giunta is an excellent representation of selflessness. He risked his own life to save the lives of his fellow soldiers. Very few would be brave enough to risk their own life to save the lives of others. The families of the fallen soldiers, the people, and our country will forever remember this act of selflessness. As described on, "Sergeant Giunta's selflessness, first by choosing to serve his country, and then by risking his life to save the lives of his compatriots, is an inspiration. At a time when America is tried by war and recession, his story reminds us of what is best about our country."

Sacrifice - Sgt. Salvatore Giunta is a notable example of the word "sacrifice." He and his troop often went without electricity or running water, ate pre-packaged meals every day, and went up to a month without showering. They patrolled a mountainous region where Taliban fighters had the high ground and would constantly shoot into the U.S. camps. As if that wasn't enough, Sgt. Giunta also put his life on the line to save his fellow soldiers' lives. There are not very many people who would do the things that this brave American soldier has done for his country and his fellow soldiers. Yet he had no hesitation in doing so.

Rose Giunta said her son gives credit to God for surviving the attack, which surely should have killed the entire squad. She said: "There was a piece there when my son was struggling just with, 'Who am I? I want to be this person that you want me to be, God. But you've seen what I've done.'"

Due to his acts of courage, selflessness, and sacrifice, Sgt. Giunta is truly a national hero deserving of the Medal of Honor. While each of these characteristics is shown in his military actions, something that is not always recognized but is especially noteworthy of Sgt. Giunta is his humility. His father, Steve Giunta, said, "He was very honored, but ... he's just humble and...I don't think he's completely comfortable with that kind of recognition when everybody else in the squad did their job as well." Sgt. Giunta himself said, "If I'm a hero, every man that stands around me, every woman in the military... is a hero."

Rather than be singled out as a hero, Sgt. Giunta would prefer that his award stand for the many heroic acts being carried out by many soldiers everyday. That the award stand for his purpose - to protect our country...and each one of us!


Homemade Family Videos

Thanksgiving is a good opportunity to gather the family together to make a video as a gift to send to faraway relatives and friends. You can write an original script in which everyone has a part, or just follow people around like in reality TV. Another option would be to have a talent show in which one person sings, another recites a poem, etc. You might even dress up in costume. It's a fun and easy way to spend quality family time while sharing the holidays with distant relatives. If you can, edit the footage on your computer, burn it onto a DVD, and design a personalized label for it. Be sure to mail the DVD in a padded envelope so it won't get broken. You might also want to have a home video party starring your family. We never laugh so hard as when we're watching our own movies!

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


"Paulie, it's Thanksgiving. I got a turkey in the oven."  


(Answer: Rocky)


Pilgrim Timeline

Plymouth Colony existed from 1620 until 1691 when it was incorporated into the Massachusetts Bay Colony. During this time period, the Dutch artists Rembrandt and Vermeer were painting masterpieces, the Three Musketeers were guarding the king of France, Isaac Newton was making scientific discoveries, the First Folio edition of Shakespeare's plays was published in England, and pirates of all nationalities were using the island of Tortuga as their base of operations in the Caribbean.

One Body Many Gifts


It was the beginning of their Junior Year. Jessica and Tina were ready for what was ahead. Being best friends since the first grade, they signed up together for Home Economics. During the first semester of the class they had really enjoyed it till the day they received their report cards. When Jessica got her report card, she noticed she made straight A's. She went to her best friend Tina to tell her. When Tina found out her friend had made straight A's, she looked at her card, but she had made B's and C's. That evening Tina went home and while she was lying on her bed she felt really bad that she made such poor grades. That night Tina went and told her mom' she made C's while Jessica made straight A's in Home Economics. She also explained how she just didn't understand; nor did she find it fair. When Tina's mom seen how down Tina was, she got out her Bible and turned it to 1 Corinthians 12:14-26. After Tina's mom was done reading, Tina told her mother that she just didn't understand what she had read. Tina's mom said, "While it would be nice for you both to make straight A's in school, that just is not the case." She also said, "Honey, everyone has different personalities and talents. God has given everyone a different gift. Each gift that God gives to people is important and special. God knew before you were created hat you had a purpose and a special gift for your life. So maybe your gift isn't getting straight A's in Home Economics. Don't get me wrong, good grades are important, but it's not the only thing. You are good and special in something, you just have to discover it first, then use that gift to the best of your ability. Stay in school, do the best you can do." When Tina's mom was done talking, Tina hugged her mom and said, "thanks mom." By the end of the evening Tina realized that she has a gift or maybe many gifts, she understood that just because Jessica was good at Home Economics didn't mean that's what she was good at; but that was okay, because God has something else in stored for her!!!


- Always Be a First Rate Version of Yourself, Instead of a Second Rate Version of Somebody Else!!!


By Kate Hall, 17

Calvin's Political Column


The Five Pillars of American Restoration Pt. 1: Faith


By Calvin Lyman


In my last posting I introduced you to what I am calling the five pillars of restoration. These are five principles that I believe need to be restored in order for us to succeed as a nation of liberty. I am now going to continue the series by delving into each principle in turn throughout separate postings.

The five principles that I introduced to you in my last posting were faith, family, truth, education and law. Today I am going to focus on the first point: Faith.

It is integral to our nation's survival that we keep faith in God as a unifying factor amongst the people. It has been shown time and time again that a nation who glorifies God is always more successful then a country that does not. This is why I chose Proverbs 29:18 as the theme verse for this pillar: "A nation without God's guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God's law!" (Today's English Version)

If you compare America to any other country, especially those run by Communist or Marxist regimes of which the common factor is atheism, and you will find that America is supreme in areas such as military strength, economic prosperity, and individual liberties. I firmly believe that the benefits that our country has reaped over the centuries are due to the profound faith that the majority of Americans have in God. Virtually all of the Founding Fathers were Christians, and they made it plain by their writings that this was an integral part of their positions on issues in the areas of government, natural rights, and economics.

Take, for example, this excerpt from one of George Washington's personal prayers [from a 24 page authentic handwritten manuscript book dated April 21-23, 1752]:

"O Most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ, my merciful and loving Father; I acknowledge and confess my guilt in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on Thee for pardon and forgiveness of my sins, but so coldly and carelessly that my prayers are become my sin, and they stand in need of pardon.  I have sinned against heaven and before Thee in thought, word, and deed. I have contemned Thy majesty and holy laws. I have likewise sinned by omitting what I ought to have done and committing what I ought not. I have rebelled against the light, despising Thy mercies and judgment, and broken my vows and promise. I have neglected the better things. My iniquities are multiplied and my sins are very great. I confess them, O Lord, with shame and sorrow, detestation and loathing and desire to be vile in my own eyes as I have rendered myself vile in Thine. I humbly beseech Thee to be merciful to me in the free pardon of my sins for the sake of Thy dear Son and only Savior Jesus Christ who came to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Thou gavest Thy Son to die for me. Make me to know what is acceptable in Thy sight, and therein to delight, open the eyes of my understanding, and help me thoroughly to examine myself concerning my knowledge, faith, and repentance, increase my faith, and direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

And yet some say that the Founding Fathers were not religious. But I digress. Sure their approaches to God differed, but they all had one thing in common, and that was their faith in God. Don't get me wrong, I am not preaching universalism. I believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light, and that no one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:16).

However, the majority of early Americans did have faith in God. The majority of Christians today have a faith in God as well. Or at least that is what they tell surveyors who ask them if they do. The following is an excerpt from a 2004 Political Landscape Report by the Pew Research Center:

America remains an intensely religious nation and, if anything, the trend since the late 1980s has been toward stronger religious belief. Eight-in-ten Americans (81%) say that prayer is an important part of their daily lives, and just as many believe there will be a Judgment Day when people will be called before God to answer for their sins. Even more people (87%) agree with the statement "I never doubt the existence of God."

While one's projected religious belief does not always reflect their standing insofar as a personal relationship with God is concerned, this report nevertheless gives me hope for America's future. For the full report click here:   

The bottom line is that without God, we will fail. It is imperative to our success as a nation that we restore our trust in Him. Did you know that at the top of the national monument is inscribed the words Laus Deo (Praise be to God)? If we can restore that national trust in God ,then everything else will fall into place. This is why I have placed faith in God as the first pillar of American Restoration. I have a plan for these five pillars, which is why I am pursuing this topic in this specific order with an overview of all five pillars, proceeded with an article on each pillar in turn. Until next time: Laus Deo!


Calvin is fourteen years old and lives in Granbury, Texas. He is a devoted Christian, and regularly attends church worship services. Some of his activities include following political stories, reading, playing air soft and video games with friends, and doing school work. Calvin owns, a political site for American teens and young adults interested in politics.


Book Review of "The Andromeda Strain"


Do you like science fiction books? Then you might want to read The Andromeda Strain, a book by Michael Crichton. A group of military scientists are trying to collect life outside of the Earth's atmosphere using orbiting satellites. One of the satellites crashes near the small town of Piedmont, Arizona, where it is found by people living there. One of the townspeople opens a compartment in the satellite, releasing a virus-like microbe, the Andromeda Strain, that quickly sweeps across the town. The strain causes some people to go insane, and immediately kills others. Only two people survive. A team of scientists are called in to analyze and try to contain the strain. Read the book to find out what happens next. I like this book mainly because I like science fiction. This book is suspenseful, and you'll want to keep reading it until you finish.


Adam C., age 12, has been homeschooled for 6 years. He likes to write poetry, articles, and really short stories. He also likes to do almost anything related to computers, mostly programming. Adam also likes running in 5K races. He lives in northwest Indiana with his parents and his older sister.

Send your book reviews to:  

College Bound: Homeschool Friendly Colleges

USC Riverside College

UC Riverside Welcomes Homeschooled and Non-Traditionally Educated Students


The University of California, Riverside, commonly known as UC Riverside or UCR, is a public research university and one of the ten general campuses in the University of California system. UC Riverside realizes that quality students come from all walks of life and all manner of educational backgrounds. That's why UCR is consistently ranked as one of the most ethnically and economically diverse universities in the United States. In fact, UCR's extensive outreach and diversity programs have contributed to its reputation as a "campus of choice" for minority students of all kinds. UC Riverside also recognizes the unique qualities that homeschooled and other non-traditionally educated students can bring to campus. UC Riverside encourages these students to apply during the November 1-30 application period through its admission program for non-traditionally schooled students.

Examples of non-traditional educational settings include those where the high school education was: primarily home-based (homeschooling); completed as home-based after leaving a traditional high school during the last year or two; a combination of courses from various sources such as high school, community college, and online programs, with or without extensive home-based education; completed early by taking the California High-School Proficiency Exam AND performing additional studies outside of class or participating in significant educational life experiences such as charity work or experience in another country; taken at a non-accredited charter school that uses innovative educational methods and doesn't have a UC-approved course list; any other novel educational approach to learning in a setting other than a regularly attended classroom.

UCR has developed a special admission program for homeschooled and other non-traditionally educated students in recognition of the depth of learning and socialization benefits they have gained. Students who have received an innovative, customized, or self-determined education, which includes real-life learning experiences, may not only have obtained an excellent education but may also have developed the personal character and vision that can lead to success in college and life. Such qualities include: maturity and self-discipline, leadership skills, creativity and ingenuity, an intrinsic motivation to learn, determination, a desire to volunteer or perform community service, an interest in the exploration of other cultures and languages, and a possession of clear and achievable goals. These characteristics provide excellent foundations for pursuing an education at UCR, and UCR is likewise a good fit for such students.

Founded in 1907 as the UC Citrus Experiment Station, a pioneer in biological pest control, UC Riverside is now a major research institution and national center for the humanities with a current undergraduate and graduate enrollment of nearly 21,000. Some of the world's most important research collections on citrus diversity and entomology, as well as science fiction and photography, are located at UC Riverside. Key areas of research include nanotechnology, genomics, environmental studies, digital arts, and sustainable growth and development. UCR provides many research opportunities for undergraduates as well as cutting-edge knowledge in the classroom. All of this excellence lies within a tight-knit community of recreation and social opportunities that meet every student interest, convenient shopping and entertainment, and nearby beaches, mountains, and desert. The 1,200-acre park-like main campus is located in the heart of inland Southern California, with a branch campus of 20 acres in Palm Desert.

All applicants must have a high school diploma, a GED, or a Certificate of Proficiency and submit ACT/SAT scores. In addition, non-traditional applicants should prepare a portfolio, a paper document that follows certain guidelines describing subjects they studied and learning methods used. The portfolio provides an opportunity for applicants to describe their unique educational backgrounds and their specific educational accomplishments which were not captured in the UCR application. Examples include: learning from source documents rather than a textbook, blending English and history in a single learning project, making extensive use of a museum for learning, in-depth study of a topic of great interest, or choosing a particular mathematics curriculum after determining the best match to one's learning style. A committee of faculty members and staff who are familiar with home or non-traditional schooling will review the portfolio along with the other application materials. (Applicants with strong SAT scores and/or strong grades in several college-level courses - e.g., community college or Advanced Placement - may elect to postpone their preparation and submission of a portfolio, and instead wait to see if the review committee can make a positive decision from the rest of the application materials without a portfolio.)

Homeschooled and other non-traditionally educated students should look at the Non-Traditional Admission section of the Paths to Admission area of the UCR website for more information:


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

Parallels : Mothers


By Carly Anspaugh, 16


Of all the equipment in the shed, the most valuable machine is the one that enables all the others to carry out their task properly.  Of all the members in a family, one role is especially crucial, although all are important and treasured.  The mother is the generator that empowers the other members to be who they are, do what they do, say what they say, and go where they go.   Aside from a particular day in May, mothers rarely receive the honor and recognition that is so very much due them.  History, as a whole, has neglected the tribute owed to the miraculous nepenthe only a mother can give.  This error is about to be corrected. 

The first mother who played such a fantastic role in American history was born, the same as the rest of us, to her mother, in Virginia and was the first and only child in her family.  The girl's father died when she was three and her mother passed when Mary was 12.  The orphan was placed in the guardianship of a lawyer named George Eskridge.  George and his wife had children with whom Mary was tutored.  When Mary was twenty, she followed family tradition and journeyed to her Grandfather's homeland, England.  Whilst there, she met a fellow Virginian also on holiday.  His name was Augustine Washington.  He was a 37 year-old widower with three children.  They returned to Virginia and were married.   The next year Mary gave birth to a son, named George Eskridge Washington, in honor of the man who had raised her as his own.  Ahh, she's not so obscure now is she?  Mother of America's sole greatest hero, look what a precious influence she was on her son.  He says about her:  "My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her." 

Mary Ball Washington truly deserves honor, for being such a spiritual rock in her home and raising her children to respect and treasure the word of God.  Had she been interested in her own well being, leaving the mothering of her children to the world, the country we proudly call America, with liberty and justice for all, might still be under the religious oppression of the church.  By her steadfastness, and selflessness, she dedicated her life to the creation of ideals that ultimately founded the greatest country in the history of civilization.  She purchased our spiritual freedom with the sacrifice of her personal agenda.  Thank you Mary.


"If the whole world were put into one scale, and my mother in the other, the whole world would kick the beam."  ~Lord Langdale


Nelle Wilson was another simple girl who married a simple man and had simple children.  She was unaware of the profound impact she would have on the American economy of the late 1980's when she tucked her children in at night and said their prayers with them.  She had two sons, nicknamed Moon and Dutch.  From an early age the power of true prayer was an integral part of the boys lives.  Nelle was heavily involved in her church, teaching Sunday school, giving Bible readings, leading prayer sessions when the pastor was away and leading midweek prayer.  Members of the church would come to Nelle when they had issues to be laid at the Father's feet.  Her son, Dutch, was heavily influenced by her spiritual life and chose early on to reincarnate his mother's Protestant faith rather than his father's Catholic religion.  This did not diminish his respect for his father though.  As Dutch grew up, he moved to California to become involved in filming movies.  He later became the governor of California and then progressed to the Oval office as the 40th president of the United States, Ronald "Dutch" Reagan.  Ronald was one of the best things that happened to America in the 20th century and much of that is due to his spiritually living home and the respect of God and others instilled in him at a young age.  Ronald repaid the care his mother bestowed on him in his childhood, buying his parents a home in Hollywood and taking care of her after his father's death.  She remained involved in her church throughout the years and also assisted at a tuberculosis sanitarium until Alzheimer's got a hold of her at the end.  Thank you Nelle.   


"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me.  They have clung to me all my life."  ~Abraham Lincoln


These past women have been models of motherhood at its finest.  They have shown us that we ought to be good for the sake of goodness itself, without knowing where our actions will lead us, without knowing whether or not we will make the historians account.  There is a certain beauty associated with a job done well, and the mothers who have healthy, God-inspired relationships with their children posses more of this beauty than any other creation.  Our God has blessed us with mothers for the purpose of instilling, teaching, nurturing, tending, and loving.  He gave us each our very own mother, to be shared with only a few.  He knows what a beautiful treasure He is giving us and expects us to respect, and honor the gift of a mother. 

          As cherished as the position of "mother" is, it is also a delicate role, and if the part is abused, strife often follows.  Ann Dunham, an American woman who died of ovarian cancer at the age of 52, can illustrate this property well. 

Born in 1942, she was named Stanley Ann Dunham, on account of her father so desperately hoping for a boy.  She apologized for her masculine name each time they moved to a new city, which happened frequently.  She attended the University of Hawaii in 1960, 10 years after it became the 50th state.  During her time there she met Barack Obama Senior.  He left behind a pregnant wife and toddler in Kenya, in order to accept an international scholarship at the University of Hawaii.  Shortly, Ann Dunham found she was carrying Barack's child and they were married three months later, Ann unaware of his current wife in Kenya.  It was not a marriage born of romance but of necessity.  Already, Ann is displaying her lack of quality possessed by Mary Washington and Nelle Reagan.  Ann was putting her sinful desire before the thought of her child(ren).  Barack continued to travel the world studying, and made his way to Harvard, ignoring and neglecting his paternal duties, not willing to sacrifice anything for his first wife, let alone his second.  Ann moved with Barack Jr. around quite a bit but eventually landed back at the University of Hawaii.  She filed for a divorce from Barack Sr. and the marriage was annulled. She soon met an Indonesian named Lolo Suetoro.  They were married and the three of them moved to Indonesia.  There, Ann gave birth to Maya Suetoro.  Ann began teaching English at the American Embassy and was doing anthropological fieldwork.  When Barack was 10 she sent him to a prep school in Hawaii, remaining herself in Indonesia.  Soon, she was bored with the domestic aspect of her life and moved back to the states to continue with studies.  She only lived with her husband, Lolo for about three years.  They were divorced about eight years later. 

          How did she think her selfish lifestyle would be beneficial to her children?  Ann was concerned only in her education, which she got.  Her soul was starved to death for truth and left only the sin nature to act at will.  She did not believe in Jesus as the son of God, contrary to our president's statements that his mother was a Christian.  She said Jesus was a good man, and the embodiment of Christianity, we cannot be fooled by terminology.  She was just as open to Islam, Buddhism, Hindu, and other religions of the world.  How could she have ever been happy?  How were her children happy?  Her life was a tragic chain of self-satisfying acts.  Her children were results of this and therefore, she neglected to honor the gift of motherhood that God so graciously bestows upon us.  It is such a pivotal position in a child's life that the one chosen to love the child must take their job seriously, or else they are rejecting a treasure. 


"If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been."  ~Robert Brault


          Mary Ball, Nelle Wilson, Ann Soetoro, three women who have been the prominent melody in the rhapsody of history.  Did they know each other?  Dear me, no.  Did they know they were sparks of an American fire?  Not in your life.  Were these women the idealized princess with golden locks and cornflower eyes?  Negative. Mary raised the man who created the United States. Nelle raised the man who saved the United States.  Ann raised the man who crushed the United States. 

          Our mothers may not be perfect, but they shape who we are.  They may be raising the next president, or a revolutionary scientist, or an art master.  Can't we make their jobs a little easier?  Sometimes we, as teenagers, like to go on our own merry way, without the encumbrance of responsibility.  If we only knew how many hours our mothers dedicated to the keeping of us, we might respect their work, and value their material.  We might begin to dream we can do the things they know we can do.  We ought to repay our mothers effort with seizing every opportunity they give us to better ourselves.  


Carly, 16, has been homeschooling her whole life, and has two younger siblings. She has a summer catering business, a custom greeting card line, and she enjoys dancing - Ballet, Pointe, Ballroom and Celtic.



Anime Reviews by Xbolt

 Sugar Anime

Sugar: A Little Snow Fairy

This was the first anime I ever watched, and it still holds the place closest to my heart.


The basic premise is that the world's weather is controlled by Season Fairies; tiny creatures who use magical instruments to do their thing. Normally, humans cannot see Season Fairies, but very rarely, there comes along someone who can.


Saga Bergman is one such individual. Saga is an utterly dependable girl, who takes issue if she is just five minutes late to an appointment. "Tardiness is tardiness!" is what she says. She lives by the clock, creating complete schedules for her and her friends days in advance. However, her perfect rhythm is interrupted when she finds a tiny little creature nearly passed out from hunger during a rainstorm. She feeds it a waffle, and takes it home. She soon regrets it, as her new roommate, Sugar, causes her nothing but trouble.


Sugar is an apprentice Snow Fairy currently undergoing training in the human world as a part of her effort to become a full-fledged Snow Fairy. Along with her friends, Salt the Sun Fairy and Pepper the Wind Fairy, Sugar is in search of the mysterious 'Twinkle', which will allow their magic flowers to bloom, thereby completing their training. Sugar is very clumsy, always trying her best, but messes up because she never thinks things through properly. Salt and Pepper are less prone to impulsive actions than Sugar is, but they will still do so at times. Salt is kind of loud, whereas Pepper is always quiet and polite.


Greta is an interesting character. The spoiled daughter of a rich family, she is very arrogant and boastful. She is Saga's (self-proclaimed) rival, and is always setting up contests between them. (They usually end in pain for Greta, though.) However, despite her outward abrasiveness, Greta takes her place as my favorite character in the story.


In my opinion, Sugar reached almost perfection in the balance between the comedy and drama in the story. I can only name one thing I would have changed if I were writing it. Other than that one point, I was left completely satisfied with the show, right up through the end credits. Surprisingly, among the story-driven animes I've watched, it's rare that the ending leaves you completely satisfied. Many of the endings were a bit of a letdown after a great series. (Actually, that applies to a lot of other things, too. Not just anime. Still a bummer, though.)


Find more anime reviews at Xbolt's blog: 

Homeschooling High School: Helpful Tips


Becoming a Confident Communicator


By Jana Kornfeld


My brother used to fuel planes at a local airport. He informed me that he can spot a homeschooler a runway's length away simply by how they communicate.


Ah-ha! I thought smugly, expecting my brother to tell me that our fellow homeschoolers were far superior communicators than the rest of his coworkers. That they used big words and sounded really smart. And that they could actually spell.


I was surprised and dismayed when my brother told me that wasn't necessarily always true.


But a limited vocabulary and misspelled words weren't the thing that would clue my brother in to the fact he was talking to a former homeschooler.


Instead, it was the lack of confidence the homeschoolers displayed in their communication. Confidence was the thing my fellow homeschoolers seemed to lack the most once they got out into the real world.


I couldn't believe my brother's observation until I considered my own experience. Growing up as a homeschool student, I was extremely shy. I hated doing anything outside my comfort zone - which was at home with my family. As a result I always felt that I would never measure up to the real world's standards of communication because I didn't feel confident enough in myself.


Most homeschoolers are familiar with the accusation that teaching children in a protective bubble-wrap environment does not adequately prepare them for real-life social interaction. In fact, when people ask homeschoolers, "What about socialization?" what they usually really mean is, "How will you ever learn to communicate with confidence in the real world?"


The answer for homeschoolers is the same as for any other student under all other methods of schooling. The answer is simply, don't accept a label.


A lack-of-confidence-label can't be blamed on whether a child was homeschooled or not. It can't be blamed on natural shyness either. Confidence isn't something we're born with or without. It's something that can be learned - and taught.


I must admit that it wasn't until after I graduated from high school that I decided that I wouldn't accept a label. But when I did, I decided I wouldn't make excuses based on how I was raised or my method of schooling. I made a choice to become an effective communicator. It wasn't easy. It was hard work and often took me outside my comfort zone, learning to write and speak well. But by the time I made it to college two years later, I realized that my hard work had paid off. Any doubt that I was more than adequately prepared academically and socially vanished.


It wasn't my fellow students' grammatical mistakes and misspellings that appalled me. It was my professors'. One couldn't spell; another never capitalized anything properly. Still another couldn't seem to put two thoughts together when I respectfully questioned his worldview on an issue.


I came away with my college degree feeling both elated and cheated. I felt elated that I wasn't a socially-challenged homeschool kid like I had always thought. I felt cheated because the world's standards were so much lower than mine that it had almost been too easy. 


I tell this story neither as an opportunity to gloat or an excuse to lower our standards. As homeschoolers, and even more importantly as Christians, I believe it is very important that we learn to use God's gift of communication to influence others toward the truth. After all - His standard is the only one worth aiming for. Just imagine how much we could change the world if we aim for that standard rather than the rest of the world!


My decision to coach other homeschool students in developing their communication skills was born out of this passion. As a writing coach, one of my greatest joys is not when one of my students spells everything right or comes up with an amazing plot (although I love that too!) It's when they catch the vision for this greater purpose of using their writing to communicate truth to a groping world.


Men and women throughout history have changed the course of history with a pen. John Bunyan was thrown into jail for preaching. While he was there, he wrote Pilgrim's Progress, and Christians haven't seen their spiritual walk in quite the same way since. When the pioneers went west, their only reading material was often just a Bible - and John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.


Harriet Beecher Stowe lived during the time before the American Civil War. This woman took up the challenge from her friend, "Harriet, if I could use a pen as you can, I would write something that would make this whole nation feel what an awful thing slavery is." And Harriet did write something that affected an entire nation - the book Uncle Tom's Cabin. This book influenced so many people against slavery that when Abraham Lincoln met Harriet, he is reported to have said, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war!"


These are just two people in history who have turned the course of a generation and even a nation because they were effective communicators. I believe that we can too. When we realize that we don't have to be perfect in order to fulfill our God-given purpose in life, that's real confidence. And once we understand that, we'll not only be confident as individuals, but also as confident communicators. And beyond that . . . we'll be world changers.


Copyright © 2010 by Jana Kornfeld


Jana Kornfeld is a homeschool and college graduate who enjoys writing on a variety of subjects. She coaches homeschool students in general, creative, and essay writing skills at


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