Homeschooling Teen

Homeschooling Teen Profile: Susan Wise Bauer
Homeschool Friendly College: The College of William & Mary
Parallels: by Carly
The World Around Us: by Evangeline
Political Column: by Calvin
Anime Reviews: by Xbolt
College Bound Reading List: The Bible
Career-of-the-Month: Chef
Homeschooling High School: Dr. Susan Wise Bauer on Home Education
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.

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 Recycling Symbol





Culinary (KYOO luh ner ee) -- adjective -- relating to cooking or the kitchen

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


"Well, you look about the kind of angel I'd get. Sort of a fallen angel, aren't you? What happened to your wings?" 


(Answer: It's a Wonderful Life)

Merry Christmas! 



Advent, December 1-24

Hanukkah, December 2

Day of the Ninja, December 5

Pearl Harbor Day, December 7 (1941)

Poinsettia Day, December 12

Bill of Rights Day, December 15 (1791)

Wright Brothers Day, December 17 (1903)

Louisiana Purchase Day, December 20 (1803)

Pilgrim Landing Day, December 21 (1620)

Winter Solstice, December 21

Christmas Eve, December 24

Christmas, December 25

Kwanzaa, December 26-January 1

New Year's Eve, December 31

Click here for more December holidays: 

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HST Blogroll 

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College Bound Reading List


Prepare for College: Read the Bible


By Derek Melleby


Students who desire to transition smoothly from high school to college should read and understand the Bible. You probably expect this kind of advice coming from me. In my work with CPYU's College Transition Initiative, I have written and spoken often about the need for students to go to college for biblical reasons. As Christians, the Bible is our authoritative, "life-shaping" story that should dictate the decisions and direction of our lives, especially as it pertains to attending institutions of higher education. A working knowledge of the Bible and a daily practice of devotional Bible reading are essential for this major next step in students' lives. Christian parents and youth workers need to continually instill the value of biblical literacy into youth.


This is not uncommon or surprising advice coming from a confessing Christian who believes the Bible to be the inspired Word of God. What is surprising is that results from a recent study reveal that I am not alone in offering such guidance. In fact, English professors from leading colleges and universities all agree: "Knowledge of the Bible is a deeply important part of a good education."




The above conclusion was drawn from a study conducted by the Bible Literacy Project (BLP), "a non-partisan, non-profit endeavor to encourage and facilitate the academic study of the Bible in public schools." The BLP works under the assumption that "the failure to teach about the Bible leaves students in ignorance and cultural illiteracy." Their belief was remarkably affirmed after asking college professors from leading institutions (i.e. Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Michigan, Virginia, Notre Dame) a series of questions concerning the Bible: How important is Bible literacy to a good education? What advantages do students who are Bible literate have when it comes to approaching English and American literature? What problems have these scholars observed in their students who lack this basic knowledge? What do incoming freshman in college-level English courses need to know about the Bible?


The answers to these questions were astonishing and encouraging. Overwhelmingly, the survey indicated that a lack of basic Bible literacy hampers students' ability to understand both classics and contemporary work. Harvard Professor Robert Kiely explains, "I can only say that if a student doesn't know any Bible literature, he or she will simply not understand whole elements of Shakespeare, Sidney, Spenser, Milton, Pope, Wordsworth ... The Bible has continued to be philosophically influential in Western, Eastern, now African cultures, and so to not know it-whether one is a Jew or Christian-seems to me not to understand world culture ... English and American literature is simply steeped in biblical legends, morality, biblical figures, biblical metaphors, biblical symbols, and so it would be like not learning a certain kind of grammar or vocabulary and trying to speak the language or read the language."


Brown Professor George P. Landow put it this way, "Without such knowledge one reads productions of 19th century culture much in the manner of someone who tries to use a dictionary in which one-third of the words have been removed."


When asked, "What kind of things are easier in your classroom for students who know something about the Bible?" professors responded:


· Being richer, more sophisticated students

· Recognizing literary allusions, references and echoes

· Understanding how characterization in novels and thematic levels in poetry are linked to biblical allusions

· Understanding and recognizing the idea of the Christ figure

· Possessing a solid advantage in understanding Victorian art and literature

· Understanding the parable genre

· Doing literary analysis

· Understanding questions of canonicity and non-biblical literature

· Appreciating the tone of the politics of the 16th and 17th centuries

· Discussing "meaning" and "values" with understanding and insight


This is just a sampling of the informative survey. What is compelling is that most of the professors interviewed were not Christian or Jewish, but were simply stating what they think is obvious: in order to be an educated, responsible citizen in America, one needs to be biblically literate. What's more, a biblically illiterate culture not only gets students bad grades on college English exams, but could ultimately have a negative effect on society as a whole.




The BLP responded to its study by publishing a textbook entitled The Bible and Its Influence and developing curriculum to be used in public schools. Currently, only 8 percent of public schools in America offer an elective course on the Bible. A recent Gallup survey of high school students found that students know the very basics (Adam and Eve, etc.) but not much else. Two-thirds of teens couldn't correctly identify, given four options, a quotation from the Sermon on the Mount, many didn't know what happened on the road to Damascus, and about 10 percent think Moses was one of the Twelve Apostles.


The Bible and Its Influence hopes to remedy this cultural crisis of biblical illiteracy by offering public schools curriculum that is accurate, scholarly and constitutional. The book has been reviewed and endorsed by many leading Christian, Jewish, Muslim and agnostic scholars. It provides a thorough overview of both the Old and the New Testaments. The artwork is beautiful and the layout is user friendly. In addition to covering the major themes of each book of the Bible, The Bible and Its Influence also provides many "sidebar" features including contemporary "cultural connections," important historical figures, timelines and charts, and other examples illustrating the Bible's influence on society.


Last year, the curriculum was piloted and well received by schools in California, Oregon and Washington. Schools in Texas, Alabama and Georgia hope to offer the course this year, and about 300 other school districts are considering the course for the near future.




When the cultural landscape seems to be moving in the direction of getting religion out of the public schools, is it even worthwhile to discuss instituting a course solely on the Bible?


Teaching the Bible in a public school setting certainly has its critics. Offering a course on the Bible raises all kinds of legal questions and has made many school boards apprehensive toward even considering it. There are three main criticisms of the BLP and its textbook.


The first criticism comes from people concerned with the First Amendment and issues involving the separation of church and state. Many fear that offering a course on the Bible shows favoritism toward the Jewish and Christian religion and should have no place in the public schools. What makes this project and textbook unique is that it has been scrupulously analyzed by legal experts from the right and the left, and there have been no objections. In a USA Today feature, Charles Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, a non-profit institute that promotes constitutional freedoms covered by the First Amendment, remarked, "If you're considering a Bible elective, look at this textbook. They've done a Herculean effort to make it as constitutional as they could." And Haynes has also written, "At long last, here is an answer for the beleaguered districts that want to offer a Bible course, but don't want to get sued."


The second wave of criticism comes from some liberal biblical scholars who argue that The Bible and Its Influence is slanted toward an evangelical, conservative reading of the Bible. They site examples from the textbook that fail to mention disputes concerning the dating and authorship of biblical texts, supposed contradictions in the historical record, and some think that the textbook only paints a positive influence of the Bible in society. A simple glance at the list of contributing scholars and the institutions they represent should put this criticism to rest. While there are conservative evangelicals on the list, the list is diverse representing perspectives from both the left and right. Moreover, Chuck Stetson, founder of the BLP, says the textbook does examine the Bible's negative impact. As an example, he cites a boxed feature that shows the Bible was used "to justify and even encourage anti-Semitism."


Ironically, the third area of criticism comes from some conservative evangelicals. They don't think public school teachers are qualified and that teaching the Bible in public schools could undermine biblical teaching at home and in the church. They also fear that in its desire to be objective and neutral, The Bible and Its Influence shies away from some of the stronger biblical teachings. While the textbook admittedly attempts to be as objective and fair as possible when presenting the biblical story, this textbook should be applauded for its scholarship and accessibility. No textbook will ever be perfect or please everyone, but the very idea that public high school students may come in contact with this material should only excite evangelicals. It is clearly written and often simply lets the biblical text and historical records speak for themselves. As for undermining biblical teaching at home and in the church, two comments need to be made. First, this textbook offers great conversation starters about the Bible. Getting students to engage and interact with the biblical story can only be a good thing. The Word of God can speak for itself and we should be confident that God can and will speak through the text. Second, the depth and scope of this textbook make it an invaluable resource that should be used by parents and churches. There may be some areas in the book that some parents and churches disagree with. That's fine. If nothing else, students will then also be taught the importance of critical thinking.




Given the increasingly biblical illiterate culture and the BLP's recent work, what should our response be? Who needs to know about this project and textbook? Here are four suggestions.


First, college bound students need to be aware of the significance of the Bible historically as well as devotionally. Not only do students need to meditate on and better understand the Bible for discipleship, they also need to realize that to be an educated person and responsible citizen requires biblical literacy. Christian students may have an educational advantage here, but we should never assume that because a student attends church he or she is biblically literate. Students need to be honest about how well they know the Bible before heading off to college.


Second, teachers and administrators should take advantage of this opportunity to be salt and light in public school districts. It can be difficult to be outspoken about Christian convictions in a public school setting, to be sure. It is not always an easy context to navigate faithfulness. But the BLP's scholarly efforts have illustrated the need and provided a valuable resource that teachers and administrators can feel confident about recommending. Christian English teachers have a remarkable opportunity to teach a course on the Bible with a textbook they can trust. Prayerfully consider how you can be used by God in this way.


Third, youth pastors and church leaders should be concerned about the biblical illiteracy of our culture. This is not a problem that is "out there," only affecting "secular" society. Biblical illiteracy is also affecting the church. What are you doing to raise up a biblically literate generation? Do teenagers in your youth groups have a working knowledge of the biblical text? In what areas is your congregation weak and need to improve? Continually asking these kinds of questions, and responding by providing programs and resources can help to ensure a biblical literate congregation.


Fourth, parents need to be made aware of the textbook because of its easy accessibility and proven popularity among students. Many of the schools that have used this curriculum have commented on how engaged students have been with the material. And, let's be honest, communicating the biblical story while vying for teenagers' attention is not easy. This textbook not only puts the biblical story in a language that students can understand, but it also provides suggested activities that are relevant and appealing to teenagers.


In his daily Breakpoint commentary, Chuck Colson has offered helpful advice as well as a good concluding remark, "There is overwhelming evidence of the need for biblical literacy in public education. You need to bring this evidence to the attention of those running your local school boards. You need to help them understand that the goal is not spreading a particular religion but preventing the spread of something far worse: a crippling kind of ignorance."


Source: The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding,  


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How Well Do You Know the Bible?


The results are in from a national survey of religious knowledge, including Bible knowledge, conducted in Spring 2010 by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life. The survey found that, on average, adults could only answer 16 of 32 questions correctly. Atheists, agnostics, and Jews did better than Protestant Christians! Unfortunately, the results of this latest survey are not new. In 1996, George Barna reported that 80 percent of Americans "believe that the Bible includes the statement that 'God helps those who help themselves.'"


Americans revere the Bible - but, by and large, they don't read it. And because they don't read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates....This lack of Bible-reading explains why Americans know so little about the Bible that is the basis of the faith of most of them. For example, eight in ten Americans say they are Christians, but only four in ten know that Jesus, according to the Bible, delivered the Sermon on the Mount.


Fewer than half of all adults can name Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as the four Gospels of the New Testament, while many do not know that Jesus had twelve disciples or that he was born in Bethlehem. In addition, a large majority of Americans believe that the Ten Commandments are still valid rules for living today, but they have a tough time recalling exactly what those rules are.


For the full report on the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, or to take a short 15-question version of the quiz and see how you compare, click here:


Anime Reviews by Xbolt


Last Exile

 Last Exile

Are y'all excited about Christmas?


It's almost winter now. And with winter, comes winter break. And with winter break, comes more time for me to watch anime! So a new season of Xbolt's Anime Reviews starts today. And the first will be... Last Exile.


Last Exile is a very interesting show. The art is very, very good, and the setting is of the "retro-future" type. Future tech, but everything looks like it belongs around World War I. The story is of Claus and Lavie, two Vanship pilots. (Pilot and navigator, actually.)


A Vanship is a mysterious piece of technology. It's essentially a flying tin can. No visible propellers, and little stubby wings. And yet it flies. They must have anti-grav technology in this universe. But no radios, or any means of wireless communication. That why they have Vanship couriers to deliver messages. Each message has a corresponding "danger rating" represented on the seal on the outside of the messages. One star is no danger at all, and ten is "there's a good chance I might never come back from this job" dangerous. Each Vanship has two people in it, a pilot and a navigator, or navi.


Claus Valca and Lavie Head work as one of these courier teams. But what they really love, is Vanship racing. (Which incidentally, operates much like the podraces on Tatooine.) During one of their races, they (literally) run into a Vanship pilot being pursued by a very not-nice flying machine. The pilot, Ralph, is unable to finish his delivery, and entrusts it to Claus and Lavie. Shocked at the seven star danger rating, they take the job anyway. They have to deliver a girl, Alvis, to the Silvana, a flying fortress that is feared by many because of it's impeccable record as "the invincible battleship".


After that, they are thrust into the battle between Anatoray, their country, and Disith. And the war is itself part of an even larger course of events. Many questions are raised in the first few episodes like: "What is this war about?" "Who is this mysterious "Guild" that runs in the background?" and "Why do the Disith wear those strange facemasks?" Some of these questions will be answered by the end of the series, and more will be raised. Unfortunately, not all of them are answered. The ending didn't make a whole lot of sense. It wasn't real bad, but still I had a hard time following it. But even so, I liked this series a lot!

    Visit Xbolt's blog at: 

The World Around Us, by Evangeline


Royal Buzz

      Royal Engagement photo     

Many Britons had been anticipating this and their expectations were finally met when the royal engagement of Prince William of Wales and his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton was announced.


Their wedding will be held in Westminster Abbey in April next year and is to be the biggest royal wedding after Prince William's parents wedding in 30 years. Not only that, what makes this more significant is that Prince William is second in line to the throne and whoever he marries will be the future queen of the Commonwealth realms which includes United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada among others.


While there are many speculations as to the wedding arrangements, a speculation has also arose as to whether Prince William would leapfrog his father, Prince Charles, to the throne, after his marriage. Polls conducted revealed the majority of Brits hope it would be so. After all, it is easy to see why.


Prince William's biological mother is the late Princess Diana of Wales. Known as the "People's Princess", she was well loved by Britons and the world. Her charity work endeared her to the people and she was the world's most photographed women. Despite being adored by the people, the same adoration could not be said to have existed in her marriage relationship with Prince Charles.


After a troubled marriage that was filled with rumors of Prince Charles' extramarital affair with the married Camilla Parker-Bowles, Prince Charles and Princess Diana separated in 1992 and subsequently divorced in 1996.


A year after the divorce, Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris. Even after the divorce, Princess Diana still remained a public icon and an estimated of 2.5 billion people worldwide watched the funeral.


In April 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles in a civil marriage ceremony that was not attended by either his parents or her father. The public was angry as Camilla was often seen as the cause of breakup of the royal marriage, and indirectly also the cause of Princess Diana's death.


Although Britons have more or less accepted the marriage, many still refuse to entertain the idea of Camilla being the future queen. The fact that Prince Charles married a divorcee has also been seen as an obstacle to his road to the throne.


The public was assured that when Prince Charles ascends to the throne, Camilla would not be called 'Queen Camilla', but her title would be 'The Princess Consort'. However, after the announcement of Prince William's engagement, an interview was conducted with Prince Charles and he did not deny the possibility of a 'Queen Camilla'.


Prince Charles' leaving the door open for such a possibility also reveals that he is not going to let go of his claim to the throne easily. Furthermore, royal courtiers have also said that "the Royal Family is expected to maintain the status quo" meaning that the crown will be passed from the Queen to Prince Charles.


So far, the road to the royal wedding has been littered with speculation after speculation, rumor after rumor. While we can only hope for the best in this succession matter, I believe that the main focus should be on the wedding itself. 


A royal wedding does not happen often and Kate Middleton has been viewed as suitable for the Queen's role. Being a commoner though, she has much to learn although there have been much comparisons of her with Princess Diana. Even her engagement ring is the same ring as Princess Diana's!


In conclusion, I think that the succession speculations should be put to rest and Prince William and Kate be given the benefit of peace. The public anxiousness is understandable especially after the events of the past 15 years, but speculation will never help anything and will instead do more harm than good.


Evangeline is a 16-year old homeschooler from Malaysia. She likes reading, writing, editing Wikipedia, listening to music and surfing the net. She is always on the lookout for new posts for her blog:



Career-of-the-Month: Chef

 Turkey Chef

Chefs, head cooks, and food preparation supervisors oversee the daily food service operation of a restaurant or other food service establishment. They may also work in residential care facilities such as nursing homes, in schools and hospitals, for food manufacturers, as well as for private individuals. All of these workers must ensure that sanitation and safety standards are observed and comply with local regulations. Fresh food must be stored and cooked properly, work surfaces and dishes must be clean and sanitary, and staff and customers must be safe from illness or injury.


Chefs and head cooks are the most skilled cooks in the kitchen. They use their creativity and knowledge of food to develop and prepare recipes, determine serving sizes, and plan menus. They are also usually responsible for directing cooks in the kitchen, providing specific guidelines and exacting standards on how to prepare each item. In larger restaurants, different types of chefs may have specialized roles to perform. Executive chefs provide leadership and may supervise several kitchens of a hotel, restaurant or corporate dining operation. A sous chef, or sub chef, is the second-in-command and runs the kitchen in the absence of the head chef. Many chefs earn fame both for themselves and for their kitchens because of the quality and distinctive nature of the food they serve.


Food preparation supervisors typically oversee the kitchen staff in a restaurant or food service facility including fast food, cafeteria, or casual dining restaurants where the menu is fairly standard from day to day. But as a greater number of establishments prepare and serve food, chefs and head cooks can be found in a wider variety of places. For example, grocery and specialty food stores may employ chefs to develop recipes and prepare meals for customers to carry out. Some chefs and head cooks work for individuals as personal chefs or household cooks, to plan and prepare meals in private homes according to the client's tastes or dietary needs. They order groceries and supplies, clean the kitchen, wash dishes and utensils, and serve meals. They may be self-employed or work for a company that provides this service to multiple clients, or they may work full time for one client such as a corporate executive, university president, or diplomat who regularly entertains guests as a part of his official duties.


Related Occupations:


Food preparation worker

Food processing worker

Food service manager




By Carly Anspaugh, 16


Cha Jing

 Caffeine graph

As the frigid winter wind whips your scarf around your face and your hat off your head you make a desperate dash into the nearest coffee shop. As you enter, each of your five senses are stirred to action. Your eyes have to quickly adjust to the bright and vibrant ambience and your nose is assaulted with mouth-watering aromas. You can immediately feel the waves of heat radiating from the massive, stone fireplace situated in the middle of the crowded room. Taking a deep breath and relaxing your tensed, shivering muscles you glance at the brightly shining Christmas tree and the inviting leather sofas. A large group of tourists are lounging in the nook near the back. You place your order with an artsy looking barista and meander over to the cozy window seat.


For years, coffee has been the indisputable main source of caffeine to be consumed in beverage form. On average, 90% of adults 18 and older have caffeine at least once daily. Why does it have such a massive appeal?


In Europe, caffeine was first discovered and named by a German scientist named Friedrich Ferdinand Runge, in 1819. But, the vital sensation caused by caffeine was noted and valued long before Mr. Runge entered. Ever since the Stone Age, which, due to the information you are about to read, in my opinion, should be considered the Golden Age, people have sucked, chewed, swallowed and eaten caffeine. They noticed that certain barks, berries or beans would give them that "holy smokes, I've just been hit by lightning" sensation. 


Over and down to the south a little, on the Dark Continent, the true coffee bean was discovered by a shepherd in Ethiopia, the coffee plants only natural habitat. He noticed that whenever he grazed his sheep in certain fields they would be particularly frisky and perky. He tried it himself and well, needless to say, got the whole planet hooked on a bad habit. 


For you delicate people who don't prefer hair on your chest, there is always the lighter option of tea. This leaf still has caffeine in it but significantly less, depending on your flavor selection. Although more commonly associated with the British "tea and crumpets" tea was first harvested in Asia and imported to Britain in the 1660's. A Chinese man named Lu Yu was so taken with tea, that he wrote an entire 10-chapter book on tea, called Cha Jing, between 760 and 780 CE.


For the thermophobic among us who still need the power of caffeine there are always energy drinks. These fizzy, sugar infused drinks are not only rising but overtaking coffee in the caffeinated beverage realm. The leading offender, Ammo, has a repulsive 570mg of caffeine per 100ml. Ammo actually suggests consumers dilute their product due the extreme potency.


Today, the 90% of adults that consume caffeinated beverages a day is on the decline, with the average intake being 227mg a day now 193mg a day.


So, enjoy this Christmas with whatever type of caffeinated beverage you choose, whether you go with tea, hot chocolate, or Monster. 


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.


The 111th Christmas Bird Count: Citizen Science in Action


Since the Christmas Bird Count began over a century ago, it has relied on the dedication and commitment of volunteer citizen scientists. In other words, it all starts with you!


From December 14 through January 5 every year, tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas take part in an adventure that has become a tradition among generations. Families and students, birders and scientists armed with binoculars, bird guides and checklists go out on an annual mission - often before dawn. For over one hundred years, the desire to both make a difference and to experience the beauty of nature has driven dedicated people to leave the comfort of a warm house during the holiday season.


Each of the citizen scientists who braves snow, wind, or rain to take part in the Christmas Bird Count makes an enormous contribution to conservation. Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations - and to help guide conservation action. This year's count will help scientists understand the impact of the Gulf oil spill on vulnerable species.


From feeder-watchers and field observers to count compilers and regional editors, everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count does it for love of birds and the excitement of friendly competition - and with the knowledge that their efforts are making a difference for science and bird conservation.


There is a specific methodology to the CBC, but anyone can participate. Your local count will occur on a particular day between the dates of December 14 and January 5. If you have more than one local count, they will probably be conducted on different dates within the CBC season. You can pick the most convenient date, or participate in more than one count.


The count takes place within "Count Circles," which focus on specific geographical areas. Each circle is led by a Count Compiler. Therefore, if you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher. There is a $5 fee to participate in the CBC for all field participants aged 19 or older.


In addition, if your home is within the boundaries of a Count Circle, then you can stay home and report the birds that visit your feeder once you have arranged to do so with the Count Compiler. Either way, your first step is to locate and contact the local Count Compiler. For more information and to find a CBC near you, see

  • Parent's Column
    Dear Parents,   
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    Copyright 2010 Homeschooling Teen Magazine

    December 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   

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    Homeschooling Teen Profile: Susan Wise Bauer
     Susan Wise Bauer
    Susan Wise Bauer (born in 1968) is not a homeschooling teen - but she used to be; and now she homeschools four children of her own (including teens)! Many homeschoolers have read her history series The Story of the World as well as The Well-Trained Mind, which Bauer co-authored with her mother Jessie Wise. She has also written several other books including The Complete Writer series on teaching writing.
    Susan grew up in Virginia and was homeschooled along with her brother and sister in the 1970s - the "dark ages" of home education. Bauer recalls, "My mother had taught in both private and public she was an experienced teacher. But she would be the first to tell you that her teacher training didn't help her be a better homeschooler; she says that her education classes mostly taught her how to manage classrooms. So when she began homeschooling, she was starting from scratch - like many homeschool parents."
    Susan's pioneering parents taught her at home for most of elementary and middle school, and all of high school. "I remember my parents giving us the option to go back to school at several points, but we never took it," Bauer explains. "I counted up the number of hours that I would spend on buses, standing in line, doing homework, and so on, and decided I'd be better off at home."
    Bauer learned Latin at age ten. In high school, she worked as a professional musician and wrote three (unpublished) novels before she turned sixteen. She also toured with a travelling drama group, galloped racehorses at a Virginia racetrack, taught horseback riding, worked in ghostwriting and newspaper ad sales, learned enough Korean to teach a Korean four-year-old Sunday school, and served as librarian / reading tutor for the Rita Welsh Adult Literacy Center in Williamsburg.
    At age seventeen, Susan entered college as a Presidential Scholar and National Merit finalist. Three years later, she received her B.A. from Liberty University with a major in English, a minor in Greek, and a summer spent studying 20th-century theology as a visiting student at Oxford. In 1991, Bauer earned a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where she added Hebrew and Aramaic to her languages.
    Bauer has been a member of the English faculty at The College of William & Mary in Virginia since 1994, where she teaches writing and American literature. In 1996, Bauer completed the M.A. in English Language and Literature at William & Mary; her concentrations were in translation theory, 17th-century devotional poetry, and Psalm paraphrase in the Tudor period. In 2007, she received her Ph.D. in American Studies from William & Mary, with a concentration in the history of American religion.
    Dr. Bauer continues to serve as editor-in-chief of Peace Hill Press, her family's publishing company that produces history and literature resources for parents and teachers who are educating students in the classical tradition. According to Bauer, history and literature go hand-in-hand. "I tend to teach literature historically - in chronological order, with attention to the world events taking place during the writer's lifetime....History is endlessly fascinating....In order to understand any field of endeavor - science, literature, government, mathematics - we also need to understand how we arrived at our present state of knowledge. And the only way to do that is to study history."
    Bauer's husband, Peter, is minister of the nondenominational Peace Hill Christian Fellowship, which serves the rural community of Charles City as well as students from William & Mary. The Bauer family lives on a farm with dogs, cats, horses, and chickens. "Peace Hill is the farm my mother inherited....It's one of the original names on colonial-era maps of Charles City County; our farm sits on the hill where a peace treaty was signed between the Native American residents and the colonial settlers."
    Susan and her husband share in the task of homeschooling three sons and a daughter, with additional help from Susan's mom. "Now that I have children of my own, I homeschool because it seems the natural way to live. People ask me, 'Isn't it hard to have them home all day?' Frankly, I can't imagine laboring under the restrictions of a school schedule. Always meeting the bus, only taking holidays when the school allows it - that seems like a much harder schedule to me." (Her oldest has since graduated from high school and started college this fall.)
    "I'm convinced my children flourish with one-on-one attention to their individual strengths and weaknesses. I'm sure there are some subjects that a school would teach more thoroughly than I do. But I don't think any school could duplicate the flexibility and creativity of home education. I love giving my children the opportunity to investigate areas that pique their interest, and I know that if they were in school their time would be far too limited to pursue their curiosities."
 - Susan Wise Bauer's curriculum vitae (Latin for "course of life"), a summary of academic and professional history and achievements.
 - Follow Susan Wise Bauer on Twitter. (Nov 19th: "DS17 is now a licensed driver. Lock up your, um, selves.")

    A "Call to Pens" Short Story Contest


    This fall, Patrick Henry College is pleased to announce the continuation of A Call to Pens, a national short story competition hosted by the college and now entering its third year. The contest is open to students ages twelve to eighteen, who will submit works of original fiction in accordance with the guidelines of two separate age divisions. Our hope is to encourage young writers to cultivate their artistic skills, learn to effectively speak to the culture, and develop a greater appreciation for the marriage of truth and beauty in Jesus Christ.


    In 1 Corinthians 10:31, the apostle Paul exhorts us to "do everything for the glory of God," whether "you eat or drink or whatever you do." Creativity is a gift from God, one of those essential characteristics that make us human and can have an immense impact on the way people think and feel. If we wish to glorify God and influence the culture by writing fiction, whether as a hobby or as a life-long career, we need to study our craft and think wisely about our creative choices. The purpose of the blog is to give practical advice about writing, but also to share valuable resources, encourage interaction between fellow writers, and provoke discussion about what it means to be a Christian writer.


    Cash prizes will be awarded to the top four contestants in each division; all proceeds from the contest will be donated to Patrick Henry College's Annual Scholarship Fund. The entry deadline is December 31, 2010. Visit for more information about prizes, rules and guidelines, and other important details. New this year is the Call to Pens blog:

    Season of Wonder


    Christmas has always been a time of wonder and mystery. Scholars still debate on whether the Star of Bethlehem that marked the advent of Christ was a supernatural light or a real astronomical event. Even today, the month of December brings plenty of astronomical gifts.


    Planets - As usual, Venus is the really bright "star" in the southeast before sunrise. Throughout December, Jupiter is well-positioned for evening viewing. You can't miss it - just look for the big bright "star" in the southeast after sunset. The giant planet is always an awesome sight through a telescope, and even modest backyard telescopes will reveal Jupiter's atmospheric bands, which appear as faint rows of pink and cream. Jupiter's four largest moons may be visible with binoculars.


    Meteors - One of the most reliable annual meteor showers takes place in mid-December. Astronomers expect the peak of the Geminid meteor shower to occur about 4 a.m. on December 14. But you're likely to see some Geminids anytime after dusk on the 13th through dawn on the 14th. You may even spot a few the evening of the 14th. The Geminids appear to radiate out of the constellation Gemini, which in December rises a couple of hours after sunset and is high in the west-northwest before sunrise. If you can brave the cold, you may see 30 to 60 meteors an hour. Dress warmly, make some hot chocolate, lie back on a reclining chair and enjoy the show. Viewing meteor showers can be a fun activity for families and friends.


    Lunar Eclipse - One of the best lunar eclipses in several years (at least for observers in North America) starts about 11 p.m. on December 20 and ends about 3:30 a.m. on December 21. During its totality, which will last from 12:41 a.m. to 1:53 a.m. on December 21, the moon's color may appear brick red, orange or brown, depending on atmospheric conditions. Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses can be safely viewed through a telescope or binoculars. It's amazing to watch the dark line of Earth's shadow creeping across feature after feature on the lunar surface. Even without any special equipment, a lunar eclipse is quite striking to the naked eye.


    Solstice - Winter officially arrives on December 21. The Winter Solstice occurs exactly when the Earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun, and it's also the date on which the Sun's noontime height is at its lowest in the Northern Hemisphere. So the exact time of the solstice varies from place to place.


    NASA Anniversary - The crew of Apollo 8 was orbiting the moon on December 24, 1968. Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders devoted their live television transmission that evening to showing the first pictures of the Earth and Moon ever seen from space. Looking back from more than 200,000 miles away, the crew of Apollo 8 saw Earth floating "like a Christmas tree ornament lit up in space, fragile-looking." Lovell said, "The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth."


    It's estimated that at least one billion people around the world watched the historic Christmas Eve broadcast or listened on the radio. The astronauts ended their broadcast by taking turns reading the first ten verses in the Book of Genesis:


    William A. Anders: "We are now approaching lunar sunrise. And, for all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 have a message that we would like to send to you. 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.'"


    James A. Lovell, Jr.: "And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."


    Frank Borman: "And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called the Seas: and God saw that it was good."


    Commander Borman ended with this benediction: "And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close, with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good earth."

    Homeschooling High School: Helpful Tips
    Dr. Susan Wise Bauer on Home Education
    Dr. Susan Wise Bauer is the best-selling author of The Story of the World series, The Well-Educated Mind, The History of the Ancient World, The History of the Medieval World, The Complete Writer series, and co-author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. She is a professor at The College of William & Mary in Virginia, where she teaches writing and literature. Dr. Bauer is also a homeschool mom and a pastor's wife, so she obviously leads a very busy life. How does she do it all?
    Well, for one thing she and her husband are both involved in homeschooling their children, and each of them is fortunate to have a flexible work schedule. So they take turns working on certain days of the week, or one can work in the morning and then the other goes to work in the afternoon. In addition, Bauer's mother, a veteran home educator, is available to help homeschool her grandchildren. Dr. Bauer herself explains how she gets everything done:
    "I have a lot of help. My husband has a flexible schedule and does a good part of the home schooling; we divide our work and family responsibilities between us. We both parent, we both work, I do the cooking and he does the grocery shopping. My mother has taught all of the children how to read and continues to work with the younger two. My father manages the farm and is the CEO of the publishing company-I handle the creative end, and he handles the business end. Plus my mother and I share a housekeeper, and I have a personal assistant who comes in once a week to get me organized and do all the random things (from dry cleaning to library runs) that I haven't gotten around to.... I have a master family calendar that I keep both in a Daytimer and on my iCal-the iCal also has all my work deadlines on it....I'm still active in my church community, but I've limited my involvement to one major volunteer role and I'm getting more ruthless about declining every other opportunity....No working wife and mother does it all-she hires help, or else decides what to leave undone."
    It's interesting to note that the first edition of The Well-Trained Mind pushes a lot of structure, pretty much a school-at-home approach. But the second edition encourages a more flexible approach. When it came right down to it, even the Bauer family's homeschooling days weren't always that structured. But Dr. Bauer offers some good advice:
    "Every day, we do 15 minutes of grammar, half an hour of Latin, a couple of pages of math, a chapter of history ... and even if it doesn't go well, if I'm interrupted, if the children seem to have forgotten everything they've learned in the past year or so, if nothing productive seems to have happened ... well, I've still added something to their education, and I'll build on it the next day, and the day after that. We'll look back in two years and see how far we've come, even if we don't seem to be creeping very far forward day by day. Home education is a 12-year process (more or less). Sometimes forward progress is only visible at a distance. But it is there. So I've learned not to be discouraged by the days when nothing seems to be happening; I just keep on plugging forward."

    Fun Facts About Christmas


    For the first 300 years after Jesus was born, Christians did not celebrate any birthdays. Birthday festivals were for the gods that were invented by people - or for people who liked to think they were gods, such as the pharaohs or kings.


    By the fourth century, church leaders decided that it was important to rejoice in the miracle of God sending his Son into the world as a baby. They picked December 25 as the day to celebrate because it was the time of year when everyone else was having festivals for their sun gods.


    Christians backed up their use of the pagan sun and light festival days with Bible verses. The Messiah is described as "the Sun of righteousness" (Malachi 4:2), and Jesus calls himself "the light of the world" (John 8:12).


    The Bible doesn't say exactly when Jesus was born. Clues in Luke's story might actually lead to a different time of year for Jesus' birth. Luke says the shepherds were in the fields at night, watching over their sheep. That would have been unusual for the wintertime. Normally shepherds only stayed in the fields at night during lambing season. Lambs were born in the springtime.


    December 25 was originally called the Feast Day of the Nativity, not Christmas.


    Most authorities agree that the birthplace of the Christmas carol is Italy where, in the 13th century, St. Francis of Assisi promoted the idea of singing during the Christmas season.


    St. Francis of Assisi is also credited with being the originator of the Christmas crèche. The image of the baby lying in a manger surrounded by animals was promoted by Francis and his followers.


    Many Protestant reformers rejected the celebration of Christmas, because it was a holiday invented by man and not prescribed in the Bible.


    The Pilgrims and the Puritans did not celebrate Christmas. In Massachusetts, anyone who missed school or work on December 25th was subject to a fine. This law lasted until the 1830s.


    The Victorians invented the concept of the white Christmas while reviving the holiday as a secular festival full of sentimentality, good cheer, Santa Claus, and jingle bells.



    E-mail Etiquette Tip of the Month


    Never assume what someone means in an e-mail.


    If you are not sure about their intentions or are unclear about their tone, ask for clarification.


    Many times folks simply do not realize how they are perceived or the tone they are setting.  I've had many a very nice person come off as terse in their e-mails with no intention or realization they are doing so.


    By taking the time to ask for clarification, you can avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and will probably be pleasantly surprised that the intent was not what you initially perceived.


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

    Colleges Now Required to Determine "Validity" of High School Diplomas


    First, the bad news:  The U.S. Department of Education has promulgated a new regulation that requires colleges that receive federal funds to adopt procedures to determine the validity of a student's high school diploma when the student applies for Federal Student Aid (FSA).


    Now, the good news:  This new rule does not apply to homeschoolers. But homeschoolers need to be careful to check "homeschooled" when filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to avoid delays in the processing of their application.


    The federal Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, makes federal aid available to participating colleges and participating students. The U.S. Department of Education has the authority to promulgate rules to implement the Act. Title IV and its implementing regulations require participating colleges and students to meet certain requirements to be eligible for federal aid.


    A student who wishes to apply for Federal Student Aid must have a high school diploma, GED, pass an "ability-to-benefit test" or must have "completed a secondary education in a home school setting that qualifies as an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements under State law."


    According to the DOE, "Though homeschooled students are not considered to have a high school diploma or equivalent, they are eligible to receive FSA funds if their secondary school education was in a homeschool that state law treats as a home or a private school." The reasons for the DOE's distinction between "high school diploma" and "homeschooled" are complicated and not entirely satisfactory, but this distinction is not new. In part, it is intended to accommodate homeschoolers who wish to receive Federal Student Aid without requiring the student to obtain a GED or take the ability-to-benefit test.


    All students seeking Federal Student Aid must fill out the FAFSA. Before the new regulation went into effect, students were able to self-certify on the FAFSA that they either had a high school diploma or were homeschooled by simply checking the appropriate box. In 2009, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted an audit of student-loan defaults. It discovered several areas of concern, including so-called "diploma mills" that were wrongly issuing high school diplomas to ineligible students who later defaulted on their federally guaranteed student loans at a higher rate than others.


    In response to this GAO audit, the new regulation, when fully implemented in 2011, will require participating colleges to have procedures in place to ensure that when a student checks "high school diploma" on the FAFSA that it is a "valid" high school. Additionally, the FAFSA will be changed so that if a student checks high school diploma he will have to give the name and location of the high school.


    To assist colleges, the USDOE will be compiling a list of "valid" high schools. If a student checks high school diploma, and the school he names is not on the DOE's list, the college will red-flag that FAFSA and will investigate whether the issuing high school is legitimate or a so-called diploma mill.


    Homeschoolers, however, will be able to continue self-certifying that they completed secondary education in a homeschool setting. That is true whether they operate as a "home" school or private school under state law. But if a homeschooled student checks "high school diploma" and then identifies "Smith's Home School Academy" as the issuing school the college will most likely audit the FAFSA, causing considerable delay. To be clear, even if your homeschool is considered to be a private school under your state's laws, you should check "homeschooled" on the FAFSA if you want Federal Student Aid.


    SOURCE: HSLDA (11/2/2010)

    Calvin's Political Column


    The Five Pillars of American Restoration Pt. 2: Family


    By Calvin Lyman


    Continuing on the same thread of American Restoration, I present to you the second establishment of my five part solution to America's problems. This second "pillar" of American Restoration as it were, is the re-birthing of traditional family values in the home.


    It has been made strongly apparent to me that one cannot restore America to former greatness without first dealing with the root of the problem in American society. In my last posting, I suggested that a nation without God is a nation without order (Proverbs 29:18). Today I am going to continue by suggesting to you that also integral to our nation's success is the establishment of the traditional family. I believe that this establishment has been torn down immensely in our culture today, and I propose that if we restore this establishment, along with the other pillars or restoration, we will continue to be the land of liberty.


    The God ordained family structure is as follows:


    First, there is marriage. Marriage is reserved for one man and one woman. This is God ordained as according to the scriptures. After marriage, it is the man's job to provide for the family (This does not imply male superiority, but rather distinction in gender roles). 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife' (Mark 10:7, English Standard Version). The parents are responsible for their kid's education, and it is their duty to ensure that their children are brought up to be faithful to God, as well as members of the civil society. It is certainly not the role of government, or any other institution, to do the child raising for the parents.


    Here is the dilemma we find ourselves in:


    In this day and age, all of the above principles have been majorly in society. The traditional family has been widely distorted into something that can no longer build a civil society. What I mean is this: When the God ordained, traditional family is in motion, the whole unit contributes to society. The children are raised to be members of God's church, as well as upstanding members of society. Society is strengthened. However, when God's purpose for the family is distorted, society ceases to be benefited by the family unit. Children are raised by either the Department of Education, day cares, etc. In the fourth pillar of restoration: reclaiming future generations, I will say more on the issue of education. For now, I would like to continue by giving a defense for the institution of marriage:


    Marriage is where the family begins, thus it is important that a defense for it's benefit's to society be given. I also want to stress that marriage is God ordained, and that he holds it in high regard.

    To the first point, let it be known that marriage is beneficial to society, and statistical evidence proves it to be so. In preparing this piece, I read sections of a report by the IWF (Independent Woman's Foundation) on the subject of marriage and its importance to a society's function. In this report statistical evidence was given supporting the notion that the state of disarray in which the institution of marriage finds itself in is co-relational to our society's problems. The report made mention to the fact that:


    · The U.S. Census Bureau reports that for 1996, the percentage of poor children in married-couple families was 9.2 percent for white children, 13.8 percent for black children, and 29.4 percent for Hispanic children.

    · For the same year, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that in female-headed households, the percentage of poor white children is 43.1 percent, the percentage of poor black children, 58.2 percent, and the percentage of poor Hispanic children, 67.4 percent.


    The report also pointed out that woman are safer in a marital environment than in cohabitation, an alternative support system that our society today is overwhelmingly resorting to:


    · All violent crimes against women by their intimate partners between 1979-1987, about 65 percent were committed by either a boyfriend or ex-husband, while only 9 percent were committed by husbands.

    · The Family Violence Research Program at the University of New Hampshire reports that overall rates of violence for cohabiting couples was twice as high and the overall rate for "severe" violence was nearly five times as high for cohabiting couples when compared with married couples.


    If you would like to further explore this subject, I would refer you to the full report by the IWF:


    As for the second point in my argument: that God holds marriage in high regard. I will consult the scriptures to show you that this is so.


    Many Bible verses speak on the topic of marriage. I will list a few of these that pertain directly to our study:


    "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous." -Hebrews 13:4


    "Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun." -Ecclesiastes 9:9


    "And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" -Genesis 1:26-28 (God speaking to Adam and Eve)


    As is shown in the verses above, God does care about marriage. He established it in the beginning, and he has told all of his children (for everyone is a child of God) to honor it.




    Traditional family values, namely heterosexual marriage and parental accountability for the raising of children, are critical to our society's structure. The current deterioration of these values is concurrent with our society's problems. If we are to restore our country to former greatness, we must restore traditional family values nationwide.


    Thank you for reading and please stay tuned for the next installment of this series on the Five Pillars of American Restoration: The Renewing of a National Pursuit of Truth.


    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.



    College Bound: Homeschool Friendly Colleges


    The College of William & Mary

     The College of William & Mary

    A fourth-grade field trip for many...a four-year adventure for the select few!


    The College of William & Mary (also known as William & Mary, or W&M) is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia. It's the second-oldest college in America after Harvard University. The royal charter for William & Mary was issued by King William III and Queen Mary II on February 8, 1693, for a "perpetual College of Divinity, Philosophy, Languages, and other good Arts and Sciences" to be founded in the Virginia Colony.


    William & Mary is famous for its firsts:

    - the first American institution with a Royal Charter.

    - the nation's first collegiate secret society (the F.H.C. Society, founded in 1750).

    - the first Greek-letter fraternity (Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1776, the oldest honor society for the liberal arts and sciences).

    - the first law school in America (established in 1779 at the urging of alumnus Thomas Jefferson, then governor of Virginia).

    - the first school of higher education in the United States to install an honor code of conduct for students (also established by Thomas Jefferson in 1779).


    The Sir Christopher Wren Building, a National Historic Landmark, is the oldest college building in continuous use in the United States. The Wren Building was constructed on the W&M campus between 1695 and 1700 before Williamsburg was founded, when the capital of the colony of Virginia was still located at Jamestown. Two other buildings around the Wren Building - the Brafferton (built in 1723 and originally housing the Indian School, a school of higher education for young Indian men), and the President's House (built in 1732) - complete a triangle known as the "Ancient Campus."


    W&M has been called "the Alma Mater of a Nation" because of its close ties to America's founding fathers. A 17-year-old George Washington received his surveyor's license from the college. Thomas Jefferson (class of 1762) received his undergraduate education there, as did U.S. presidents James Monroe (class of 1776) and John Tyler (class of 1807). Distinguished alumni include other key figures important to the development of the nation, including U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall (class of 1780), and sixteen signers of the Declaration of Independence. George Wythe, one of the signers and a distinguished jurist, became America's first professor of law at W&M.


    After the Civil War started, enlistments in the Confederate Army depleted W&M's student body. On May 10, 1861, the faculty voted to close the college for the duration of the conflict. The buildings were put into use as a Confederate barracks and hospital, and later as a Union hospital when those forces took over Williamsburg. Four years after the war ended, the college re-opened but had to close again in 1882 due to lack of funds. In 1888, W&M was able to permanently resume operations when the Commonwealth of Virginia passed an act to support the college as a state teacher-training institution.


    Since then, the second oldest college in the nation has also become a cutting-edge research university. W&M's prime location - close to Colonial Williamsburg, the NASA Langley Research Lab, and the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility - plus its extensive on-campus facilities, libraries, museums, and special collections make W&M a national research destination.


    The Center for Gifted Education at W&M was established in 1988. The Center provides services to educators, policy makers, graduate students, researchers, parents, and students to support the needs of gifted and talented individuals. W&M curriculum has been used by a number of homeschool families. This requires some revision on the part of the parent, because the units do emphasize small and large group interaction among students, but the units are definitely usable in a homeschool setting - especially the language arts and social studies units. Within the curriculum units, specific teaching models are used to strengthen students' critical thinking skills. For more information about this curriculum, see:  


    Homeschoolers will appreciate the fact that W&M maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio of 11-to-1 (the second lowest among U.S. public universities), thereby providing a small college environment and fostering better student-professor interaction. The 2011 U.S. News and World Report college rankings placed W&M 5th in the nation for "Best Undergraduate Teaching." Of all undergraduate classes at W&M, 86% contain 40 or fewer students, and 99% of all undergraduate classes are taught by professors (not teaching assistants).


    W&M's four-year, full-time undergraduate program comprises most of the institution's enrollment. With over 40 different majors - from art to mathematics to linguistics to neuroscience - there is something for everyone. Most students graduate from W&M with a B.A. or B.S. degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences. You can also choose from programs in the schools of Business and Education, or even design your own major. The interdisciplinary majors of Global Studies, Environmental Studies, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies were originally dreamed up by students. Graduate programs include law, business, public policy, education, marine science, and American colonial history.


    W&M and The University of St. Andrews, the oldest university in Scotland, have recently joined forces. Beginning in the fall of 2011, students will be able to complete two years at each institution and earn a single diploma - a Bachelor of Arts, International Honours - with the insignias of both institutions, one of the few programs of its kind in the world. W&M also offers undergraduates a dual degree program in engineering with Columbia University.


    Admission to W&M is considered "most selective" according to U.S. News and World Report. Only about 35% of applicants are admitted, with 79% of enrolling students having graduated in the top tenth of their high school class and 77.6% with a high school GPA above 3.75. The average range of incoming SAT scores is 630-730 for reading, 620-710 for math, and 610-720 for writing.


    Although W&M is highly selective, it is also public, offering a superior education without the sticker shock. In fact, W&M is considered one of the few "Public Ivies" in the nation, providing an Ivy League collegiate experience at a public school price. W&M ranked as the #3 "best value" among America's public universities in the 2007 issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine. W&M's undergraduate program ranks #4 and #6 respectively among American public universities, according to the 2010 Forbes and 2011 U.S. News & World Report rankings.


    W&M is happy to accept applications from homeschool students, which are subject to the same review as students applying from a traditional high school. The admissions committee understands that each homeschool program is different, and an "official" high school transcript is not necessary. However, admissions staff will be looking for students who take challenging courses such as calculus, physics, and composition at a local community college. They also like to see students taking 4 high school years (4 college semesters) of a single foreign language. Although not required, the admission committee recommends taking SAT II subject tests to demonstrate proficiency in some of the core academic subject areas (Math, Science, English, etc.). Finally, all homeschooled students must complete the "Common Application's Home School Supplement," in which the parent or homeschool supervisor has to describe their homeschooling philosophy and state why homeschooling was chosen for the applicant. For more information, go to and click on Admission, then Undergraduate Admission, then Homeschool Applicants.


    W&M has a number of traditions, including the Yule Log Ceremony. Right before students take off for Winter Break, the whole student body squeezes into the Wren Courtyard where festive "cressets" (wood-burning torches) warm the crowd. The students are treated to student speeches explaining international holiday traditions as well as live carols sung by the Gentlemen of the College and the William & Mary Choir. The college president dressed as Santa Claus reads a rendition of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and the Vice-President of Student Affairs reads "Twas the Night Before Finals." Afterward, students pile into the Great Hall to toss ceremonial sprigs of holly into the Yule log fire for good luck. Then it's hot cider and cookies for everybody. A Christmas tree on the Wren Building porch is adorned with paper doves bearing messages of peace that students have inscribed on them.


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