Homeschooling Teen



Homeschooling Teen Profile: Shawn Simard


College-Bound: University of Arizona


Poem: The Masterpiece, by Gilgal


Stepping Stones: by Michaela


The World Around Us: by Adrianna


The Razor's Edge: by Madeleine


Laughter, Tears, and Our Teen Years: by



My Crazy, Wacky Life: by Ashley


The Sports Report: by Caela


Libbi's Nonfiction Book Review: Greater, by Steven Furtick


Bookshelf of a (Maybe) Teen Author: The Rescuers, by Cecelia Maria Hilliard


Anime Review: by Xbolt


Game Review: by SuperSearcher


Horse Breed Heaven: by Kayla


Homeschooling High School: Teach Your  

Son To Have Dirty Fingers, by Dr. Ron Johnson


Career-of-the-Month: Law Enforcement Officer


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


And much more!!!

College Bound  

Preparing For College - ACT & SAT Information  

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.   


Sylvan SAT/ACT® Prep can help you prepare.  
Find a participating Sylvan by clicking
or visit
to find a center near you.   

Check out our new and improved website!

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Baby Safety Month 

Better Breakfast Month

Childhood Cancer Month

Children's Good Manners Month

Classical Music Month

Constitution Week (September 17-23)

Ethnic Foods Month

Hispanic Heritage Month

Library Card Sign-up Month

National Beach Clean-up Month

National Five-a-Day Month

National Literacy Month

National Piano Month

National Rice Month

National Chicken Month

National Honey Month

Mushroom Month

School Success Month

Sewing Month

Women of Achievement Month


3 Labor Day

9 Grandparents Day

11 Patriot Day (9-11)

16 Mexican Independence Day

17 U.S. Constitution Anniversary (1787)

17 Rosh Hashanah

19 Talk Like a Pirate Day

22 Autumnal Equinox

26 Yom Kippur


Click here for more September holidays:


 Recycling Symbol


Talk Like a Pirate


2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the worldwide celebration of International "Talk Like a Pirate" Day! It's time to brush up on your pirate vocabulary:


Ye - you
Me - my
Ahoy - hello
Avast - hey
Aye - yes
Blimey - an exclamation of surprise
Booty - loot
Bucko - friend
Cap'n - short for Captain
Davey Jones' Locker - the bottom of the sea
Deadlights - eyes
Doubloon - a Spanish gold coin
Gangway - get out of my way
Grub - food
Landlubber - a non-sailor
Larboard - the left side of the ship (also called port)
Me hearties - typical way for a pirate leader to address his crew
Matey - friend
No quarter given - surrender will not be accepted
Sail ho - I see a ship
Sea dog - an experienced seaman
Shanty - a sea song
Shipshape - well organized, under control
Shiver me timbers - an expression of surprise
Starboard - the right side of the ship


Learn more at


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


Laughter, Tears, and Our Teen Years, by McKennaugh




Last week, we were birthday shopping for my Dad and we wandered into Barnes and Noble in hopes to find a good Dutch Oven (you know, those big cast iron pots to go over the fire) cookbook. Well, Mom and I together in a bookstore is slightly time consuming, because we both love to read and plus Mom takes just a little more time than usual to decide on purchases. Since we were there for little bit of time (like 15 hours) I walked over to the teen fiction section. In front of me were novels on romance (not good, happy, lovey stuff, either), horror, murder and about any other dark subject you can think of. Many of them were bestsellers. People say that you can't judge a book by its cover, but I didn't have to open them to know that I certainly wouldn't want to see what was inside.


That huge shelf of teen books in Barnes and Noble bothered me the whole drive home and I still couldn't stop thinking about it the next day. I was wondering, why us? Why does the world expect teens to go wild for trash that nobody should read?? I know the devil knows that we are the next generation, we are the future, so why would he want us to grow up surrounded by things that make us think about making a difference, raising godly families or having godly relationships? He tries to toss as much stuff into our path to pull us down so we can never become anything for God's kingdom.


The next time you go someplace, look around. There's clothes that, once on, show stuff no one should be able to see; board and video games that promote war and witchcraft; movies that should be PG-200 (or in other words, not watched!) and, of course, those books.


The really sad thing is, adults often think about teens being poorly influenced by peers, but not very often do they think about that influence coming from adults. I really doubt any of the books I saw were by teen authors. And when you see somebody flaunting that new top, well, how many 15-year-olds are fashion designers? How many young adults own a video game company? You get the idea. Adults ask why this generation is so off track, but forget to see that, perhaps, they need to change their ways just as much we need to change ours. Why does everyone think we have a taste for horror, immorality, and cruelty? Why can't we trust those who are older and supposedly wiser to stock the shelves with things that don't poison our minds?


Remember, we don't have to run after the latest trend. Just because those things are out there and labeled for teens, doesn't that mean we have to look at them or buy them. It's about time that we teach the world a lesson or two on who we really are. --McKennaugh


McKennaugh Kelley (

is sixteen years old. She lives in Troy, Pennsylvania with a handful of crazy, creative, but mostly wonderful little brothers.


Our Constitution Rocks - new book by homeschooled teen author!




On September 17, 1787, the founding fathers changed the course of American history - they signed the United States Constitution. This year marks the Constitution's 225th anniversary!


The Constitution has been called miraculous, revolutionary, unprecedented, all that and more. With it, our Founding Fathers created a free nation, a country governed by the people in a way never seen before.


Fourteen-year-old Juliette Turner, the homeschooled daughter of actress and conservative talk radio host Janine Turner, is encouraging her peers to understand the importance of the Constitution and gain a deeper understanding of the document that makes America the greatest nation on earth in her debut book Our Constitution Rocks!


Releasing nationwide on September 4, 2012 from Zonderkidz, a division of Zondervan, Our Constitution Rocks! takes a unique look at America's founding document and makes it relevant to young people. Learn how those guys in wigs came up with some of the best ideas ever - and find out why the Constitution still matters to kids today.


"It's not just an old document written by a bunch of men in powdered wigs and tights," says Juliette. "It is of utmost importance for kids, the future generation of America, to understand the relevancy of our Constitution, the law of the land. It is America's road map and guide and without reverence and a working knowledge of it, we will lose our country."


An informative and easy read for all ages, including parents and teachers, Our Constitution Rocks! simplifies an age-old historical document by translating it into current language. Juliette breaks down the Constitution, clause by clause, and makes it real for a new generation through fun facts, quotes, cartoons, actual debates, great graphics, and cool categories such as:


  • What has it done for me lately?
  • Why should I care?
  • How can I make a difference?
  • Breaking it down
  • The Bottom Line
  • What were they thinking?


Ever since her mother read the Constitution to her on a hammock during spring break, Juliette has been interested in the Constitution and how it affects the future of America. The idea and concept for the book began as a homeschooling assignment where Juliette interpreted ninety essays that had been written by scholars from Constituting America, making them kid-friendly for a younger audience.


Juliette's passion and excitement breathes new life into an old document and explains why the U.S. Constitution remains one of the most important documents in world history. Our Constitution Rocks is a reminder of what it means to have a voice and live free.


The book is endorsed by a number of reputable figures including:

  • Barbara Bush, Former First Lady of the United States
  • Laura Bush, Former First Lady of the United States
  • Penny Nance, President of Concerned Women for America
  • Dr. Larry P. Arnn, President of Hillsdale College
  • Michael Farris, Chancellor of Patrick Henry College and Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association


Author, activist, and student Juliette Turner is the National Youth Director for Constituting America ( and the Founder of PoliKids! Politics for Kids ( Juliette is homeschooled by her mother on a ranch outside of Colleyville, Texas, where she can be found caring for eight dogs and twenty-five heads of longhorn cattle when she isn't busy studying, writing, or speaking at political conventions. For more information about Our ConstitutionRocks!, please check out Juliette's YouTube video:




E-mail Etiquette Tip of the Month


"If a emale is writon with speeling mestakes and gramitckal errors, you mite git the meening, however, the messige is not as affective, or smoothly redable."


Poor writing, as evidenced by the above, is equivalent to someone speaking with spinach stuck between their teeth. Listeners and readers concentrate on the spinach; not what is being said.


Always make your best effort to use proper sentence structure, grammar and spelling in your e-mails.  Take the extra time to make sure you choose the right words to set the tone desired and to relay your true intent.


"I didn't mean it that way" doesn't apply online. If you type it--be sure you mean it!


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




Learn more about  famous homeschoolers at



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Email your ideas to us at

Exciting News!




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Please join us and let's keep in touch!


The Masterpiece


By Gilgal Queen, 15


I am a simple lump of clay

With gravel and impurities 

But Lord, please mold me day to day

And take away the filth.


In the Potter's hands I try to stay

Though sins of life beset me

And though sometimes I go astray,

My Potter won't forget me.


The flames are hot and painful

And just before I crack

The fire dies and with my eyes 

I behold a shining new self.


The love of the Potter is reflected

With each little contour and line

I thank the Lord that He saved me

Worthless, ugly, and blind

And forever I'll know that where'er I go

He will always be mine.

Stepping Stones:  

A Monthly Devotional, by Michaela Popielski


Hey everyone! I can't believe August is over. Most of if not all of you have probably started school. Well, I wish you luck. On to the devotional. I think this month I will talk about fasting. Fasting, as most if not all of us know is not eating but instead using the times we eat to pray and spend time with God. Please note, most of what is written in here in quotations or is written is either from The Bible or from a book called "The Miracles of Fasting" by Dave Williams. This book is amazing. It has answered a ton of questions that I've had about fasting. Fasting never really caught my attention until recently. I had tried it once or twice before and failed horribly. I had so many questions that I really wasn't into it. But more than explaining fasting it went on to list some benefits to fasting:


  • Deliverance of bad habits
  • Revelations from God
  • Weight Loss
  • Speedily answered prayers
  • Constant supply of needs and
  • Better health just to name a few. Nice right?


Jesus said; "When you fast" not "if you fast." This quote/verse hit home for me. I knew you had to fast but in a way I didn't really care. He also said; "Don't be like the hypocrites." Meaning: don't go around broadcasting that you are fasting. ..."For they have received their reward. When they (the people who announce that they are fasting to show off) then they have their reward. But if you don't appear to be fasting then God will reward you. Granted if someone asks you out to lunch or something you can say "No. I am fasting" but if you say it wanting to get attention then that's not the right motivation. You could say instead, so you don't need to worry about trying to sound spiritual: "No thanks. Today is one of my days." This was a big help also. You can get out of temptation without lying. Not a bad plan. I do think that fasting should be done in secret though. If your pastor calls a corporate fast then you could simply agree to do it silently instead of announcing it or if someone from the congregation asks you how you are doing with your fast probably giving a simple answer is fine. Just don't go showing off that you are fasting and you'll probably be good. And if you slip up and do eat something (I've done this also), then just ask God for forgiveness and continue. It is all about our hearts.


Fasting is also a way to humble our selves to Gods will. The first few days are the hardest but after that, it gets easier. I am repeating testimonies from people at my church and from the book listed above. I haven't fasted longer than a day so I am not speaking from experience. Fasting has so many benefits. Some doctors even prescribe fasting as healthy! When you fast, your body cleanses itself of impurities and your complexions will clear up, you'll lose weight, and you will feel so much closer with God. There is so much more I could write on but I am trying to keep this devotional to a reasonable length since school is starting and other commitments are bound to come up. 


Before you decide to go on a fast though, pray about it to God. Again, most of what I have said in here is from the book listed above. I highly recommend it so you can study it for yourself and can read the information I unfortunately had to leave out. -Until next article, Michaela


Sept.1. Isa. 58

Sept.2. Ps. 133-134

Sept.3. Esther 6

Sept.4. Ps.140

Sept.5. Ps.139

Sept.6. Isa. 24

Sept.7 Acts.7: 51-60; Gal.6: 1-5

Sept.8 Gal. 5: 1-6

Sept.9. Esther 7

Sept.10. Ezek. 20: 45-49; Matt.18: 6-9

Sept.11. Luke 14: 7-14

Sept.12. Luke 14: 15-34

Sept.13. John.1: 23-25; Rom. 2:17-24

Sept.14. Isa. 25

Sept.15. 1 Cor.11: 27-34

Sept.16. 1 Cor. 12:1-11

Sept.17. 1 Cor. 12:12-31

Sept.18. Esther 8

Sept.19. 2 Cor. 10:1-6

Sept.20. Isa. 26

Sept.21. Gal. 3:1-9

Sept.22. Gal. 3:10-18

Sept.23. Gal. 3:19-25

Sept.24. Luke 4:1-13

Sept.25. Luke 24:44-53

Sept.26. Matt. 11:20-30

Sept.27. Esther 9

Sept.28. Isa. 27

Sept.29. Ps.100

Sept.30. Ps.88









"It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well." ~Rene Descartes



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


"I'll never forget him, that's for sure. He was tall, broad shoulders, and thin, really thin, like bony. He had this rad chopper, it was all flames and stuff. Oh, and his face was a skull and it was on fire. I know it sounds weird but it looked good on him. I mean, it was an edge look but he totally pulled it off."


(Answer: Ghost Rider)


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



High School
: Helpful Tips


Teach Your Son to Have Dirty Fingers (Sometimes)


By Ronald E. Johnson, C.Ph.D.


Earning a college degree is admirable, but it is sometimes elusive for families who live on limited financial resources. Moreover, a college degree in hand does not guarantee landing a plum job with a high salary and ideal working conditions. By September, the large majority of university graduates in the spring will still be unemployed in a field related to the graduates' major studies. Jobs are not a sure thing for college graduates.  Debt is another issue. College graduates who borrow funds to pay for college expenses face the daunting reality of monthly payments for half a dozen years. The consequence is that college graduates often return home to live with family while taking any jobs available in the home town to pay off school and car debts.


Because I was parentless when I enrolled in the University of Arizona, I made the choice to work at part time jobs rather than borrow to cover expenses. I was lean and hungry many days. In fact, I was so poor that I made arrangement with a local grocery store manager to pick up left-over vegetables and meat scraps so I could piece together supper.  One year, I basically subsisted on horse meat and grocery store scraps. But I stayed out of debt! I worked in a variety of jobs: citrus packing plant, junk yard, and gun store. I even baby sat and did yard maintenance in exchange for a room and two meals a day with a family in which both parents worked. I did what I had to do to graduate without debt. Somehow, I managed to complete a four-year program in three and a half years. By cutting one semester off my college time, I saved a chunk of money!


Another way I cut expenses during college days, was to get my fingers dirty by doing my own auto maintenance and repairs. My dad had taught me to be a "shade tree mechanic" when I was 17 years old. I learned how to change oil, replace spark plugs, fan belts, starters, batteries, and wheel bearings. That skill was like money in the bank. Later, I repaired our washing machines, hot water heaters, and vacuum cleaners. 


Someone wisely stated, "People do not waste dollars; they waste nickels and dimes."  Wise parents take time to help their sons get their fingers dirty with wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, and socket sets. When my two sons were pre-teens, I stopped buying toys, and bought each son a tool box, book shelf, and fishing tackle box. Each birthday and Christmas, the boys were given at least one tool, book, and fishing item. I brought home an old washing machine and lawnmower, and instructed the boys to use their tools to dismantle the washer and mower. Then, I asked the boys to explain how they used each tool. My sons have never been unemployed for extended periods of time. They were equipped mentally and physically to find work. Both have advanced degrees...paid for by honest labor with their hands that were often appropriately and admirably dirty.


Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum publishes a practical elective course, Character and Skills for Home and Careers, that every boy should complete in high school. This high school elective course is designed to build character and introduce teenagers to basic tools and skills involving electricity, plumbing, budgeting, carpentry, mechanics, and life management. Each of the 75 lessons begins with a narrative involving teenage role models who demonstrate character and skills while participating in home, shop or community projects. The authors have crafted the course not only to teach students how to use basic tools, but also to embrace courtesy, honesty, integrity and commitment. For more information, go to


Dr. Johnson welcomes your comments or questions. You may email him at, phone 325-649-0976, P.O. Box 810, Zephyr, Texas 76890.


Career-of-the-Month: Law Enforcement Officer


The goal of law enforcement is to promote public safety and welfare. A law enforcement officer (also called peace officer) is any public-sector employee or agent whose duties involve enforcing laws, collecting evidence, and catching criminals. They may be employed by local, special, State or Federal agencies.


Law enforcement officers include police officers, prison officers, customs officers, immigration officers, constables, bailiffs, probation officers, parole officers, arson investigators, auxiliary officers, state troopers, sheriffs, marshals, and their deputies - basically anyone "sworn, badged, and armable" who can make an arrest, or refer such arrest for a criminal prosecution.


In the majority of states in the U.S., actively-employed state-certified peace officers, regardless of the capacity in which they are employed (private, public, company, security, campus, etc.), have the ability to pursue and apprehend someone suspected of committing a felony outside of their normal jurisdiction. 


In the United States, sheriffs and police officers perform very different functions, although both are considered law enforcement and the two organizations may cooperate. The word "sheriff" derives from the Old English concept of a "shire reeve," a man who looked out for the interests of the King in a shire, or district, of England. Since at least the 1600s in America, the term "sheriff" has been used to refer to a law enforcement officer.


The word "police" comes from the ancient Greek term "polissoos," which referred to a person who was guarding a city. In the late 1600s and early 1700s, men who patrolled a "beat" enforcing local laws began to emerge, and they became known as policemen. One of the first truly organized police forces was the Metropolitan Police in London.


In contrast to a Sheriff, who in most states is elected by the voters of a county, a Chief of Police is usually a municipal employee who owes his or her allegiance to a city or town. But perhaps the most significant division in law enforcement is between police and detectives. Most police officers wear uniforms. However, detectives often work in regular clothes. Many detectives are part of regular police forces, but they usually have separate duties from police officers.


Specialized preventive and detective personnel exist within many law enforcement organizations either for dealing with particular types of crime, such as traffic law enforcement and crash investigation, homicide, or fraud; or for situations requiring specialized skills, such as underwater search, aviation, explosive device disposal ("bomb squad"), and computer crime.


Many larger jurisdictions also employ specially selected and trained quasi-military units armed with military-grade weapons for the purposes of dealing with particularly violent situations beyond the capability of a patrol officer response, including high-risk warrant service, hostage situations, barricaded suspects, and riots. In the United States these units are commonly known as SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) teams.


Although they wear different uniforms, the hiring requirements of all law enforcement officers - which require admission to and completion of academy training - are generally similar. For example, in addition to being a high school graduate, an applicant must have: stamina to sit, stand, or walk for long periods of time; strength to subdue persons; dexterity to fire a handgun; tolerance to work under adverse conditions; and the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work. Law enforcement candidates often have military experience, college training in police science, or a bachelor's degree in law enforcement or another related field such as Criminal Justice or Sociology.


Candidates must take a written exam, submit to a physical exam, and undergo a background check. They may also be required to take a psychological exam and polygraph exam. If the candidate passes all of these tests, he or she is interviewed; and if the interview goes well, the candidate is sent to a training academy. At the academy, the cadet will participate in an academic program which is designed to prepare them for active duty. The trainee will learn how to handle firearms, drive a law enforcement vehicle, and perform other necessary tasks. After graduation, the candidate is accepted into the department where he or she interviewed. An applicant may also attend an academy and then apply into a department, although this tends to be more rare.


Government Special Agent hiring (ATF, DEA, FBI, etc.) is fiercely competitive, with typically less than 5% of qualified applicants being selected. They must possess at minimum a four year bachelor degree and competitive work experience (which is usually four or more years at a local or state police department). Applicants must pass a rigorous background check in order to achieve, at minimum, a top secret clearance.


Law enforcement work is challenging and offers people an opportunity to serve their communities. Law enforcement officers usually work on foot or ride in cars, but a few ride horses, bikes, or motorcycles. Some work in boats on rivers and in harbors. Some law enforcement officers work with dogs. Law enforcement officers must be healthy, strong, and of good character. They take big risks when chasing criminals or when they go to make an arrest. Good training, teamwork, and equipment help keep law enforcement officers safe.


Related Occupations

Auxiliary Officer - A part-time reserve of a regular police force who may be an unpaid volunteer or paid member of the police service with which they are affiliated. Auxiliary officers are often called upon to assist in such things as large scale searches for missing persons, and to provide traffic control or crowd control at major events.


Bailiff - An official in a court of law who looks after jurors and prisoners while keeping order and maintaining security.


Bodyguard - A type of security operative who protects a public, wealthy, or politically important figure from danger. Some high-profile celebrities and CEOs also use bodyguards. Bodyguards often have military, police or security backgrounds as well as training in firearms tactics, unarmed combat, tactical driving, and first aid.


Bounty Hunter - A bounty hunter pursues fugitives for a monetary reward (bounty). Most bounty hunters are employed by bail bondsmen. If a defendant fails to appear in court, the bond agent is allowed by law and/or contractual arrangement to hire a bounty hunter to bring the defendant to the court and recover the money paid out under the bond.


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Agent - Charged with the investigation and prevention of federal offenses involving the unlawful use, manufacture, and possession of firearms and explosives, and illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products.


Bureau of Diplomatic Security Special Agent - Charged with the protection of dignitaries and diplomatic missions.


Constable/Deputy Constable - Depending on the state, may be a fully empowered law enforcement officer or merely an official responsible for serving summonses and subpoenas for people to appear in court.


Customs and Border Protection Officer - The CBP has more sworn, armed law enforcement officers than any other agency in the U.S., to enforce U.S. trade, customs, and immigration regulations.


Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent - The federal law enforcement agency tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the U.S.


Federal Air Marshal - Aviation law enforcement and security.


Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agent - Investigates federal crimes and internal intelligence.


Federal Flight Deck Officer - An eligible flight crew member deputized as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer.


Fire Marshal/Deputy Fire Marshal - An experienced firefighter who is a sworn law enforcement officer charged with enforcing fire codes and investigating the cause of fires and explosions.


Firefighter - Every fire scene is technically a crime scene until deemed otherwise, so there is often overlap between the responsibilities of responding firefighters and police officers such as evidence and scene protection, and specific powers of enforcement and control in fire and emergency situations. As in a typical law enforcement investigation, there will be a fire scene investigator or arson investigator.


Fish and Game Warden - Enforces laws pertaining to the hunting, fishing, and trapping of wild animals.


Jailer/Prison Guard/Corrections Officer/Detention Officer - Responsible for the supervision, safety and security of prisoners in a prison, jail, or other secure custody.


Military Policeman - Each branch of the military maintains its own police force to enforce laws and regulations on their military installations. Military police provide area security, and are also trained in dealing with prisoners of war and other detainees.


Parole Officer - Supervises offenders conditionally released from incarceration.


Park Ranger/Forest Ranger - Law enforcement officers charged with protecting and preserving national parks, forests, and other federally managed areas by enforcing laws and regulations, performing searches and rescues, and helping to direct forest- and fire-control efforts.


Police Officer - Police officers are generally charged with the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of criminals, and the maintenance of public order within the boundaries of a city or town. Police functions include protecting life and property, enforcing criminal law, crime scene investigations, giving out tickets, directing traffic, and crowd control. They sometimes testify in court. The police also perform other public services such as safety education.


Private Detective/Private Investigator - A person hired by an individual or group to undertake investigatory law services. PIs are often former police officers, law enforcement agents, spies, military, bodyguards or security guards. While PIs may investigate criminal matters, most do not have police powers, and as such they have only the powers of citizen's arrest and detainment that any other citizen has.

Private Police/Security Guard - Private security firms in the U.S. employ more security guards, patrol personnel, and detectives than the federal, state and local governments combined, fulfilling many of the beat-patrol functions of public police. Specific types of private police include casino and mall security, and the specialized railroad police. But security guards are not normally law enforcement officers and thus do not have the ability to arrest civilians unless they are also peace officers or have been granted powers to enforce particular laws or regulations, and given authority to detain or apprehend.


Probation Officer - Supervises offenders who have not been incarcerated but whose activities are restricted by a judge.


Sheriff/Deputy Sheriff - A sheriff is the law enforcement officer of a county or state, and he or she swears in deputies who have similar powers. Sheriffs generally patrol outside the boundaries of towns and cities, although a town without a police department may request that a sheriff patrol within city limits.


State Trooper/Highway Patrol Officer - A state law enforcement officer working to patrol the highways.


Texas Ranger - The oldest statewide law enforcement agency, the Texas Rangers began in 1835 as a cross between cowboys and police officers. They rode on horseback and protected settlers from Indian attacks and other dangers. Today, the Rangers are an investigative arm of the Texas Department of Public Safety.


Town Marshal/Deputy Town Marshal - Appointed or elected by some communities as the top criminal law enforcement officer, like a Chief of Police.


U.S. Coast Guard officer - Maritime law enforcement.


U.S. Marshal/Deputy Marshal - Since 1789, the nation's oldest professional civil service unit of federal police has been charged with transporting federal prisoners, apprehending fugitives, and ensuring witness safety.


U.S. Postal Service Police - The Postal Inspection Service has the oldest origin of any federal law enforcement agency in the U.S., tracing its roots back to 1772.


U.S. Secret Service - Federal special agents and uniformed officers protect our nation's leaders, visiting world leaders, national events, and the integrity of the nation's currency.





Libbi's Nonfiction Book Review


Greater by Steven Furtick.

Greater, by Steven Furtick


Do you want a great life? Do you want a great sense of purpose? Anyone could be perfectly happy with a great life. However, why have a GREAT life when you can have a GREATER life? In this lighthearted, truthful and convicting book, Steven Furtick shows what it means to live God's greater life. By using the prophet Elisha's story as an example, he digs deeply, searching for God's vision for your life. He uses his own life stories, as well as those of many Biblical beings, and shows how we can fulfill God's perfect plan for our greater life.


I liked:

  • His stories. I superbly enjoyed his own tales of how God made his life richer, and more blessed.
  • His down to earth-ness. He was so non-judgmental, that was wonderful. I loved how he said that he had lived a lesser loser life too, and not to feel bad if you are stuck in a spiritual rut.
  • His biblical examples. Honestly, I have always known who Elisha was, and about the widow's oil, etc. I never knew what a big deal his story was.

I disliked:

  • I really could not think of anything I hated off the top of my head. I disagreed a little bit with some of the theology in the middle, but it really wasn't enough to make me dislike the book, the chapter, or even the sentence.


Overall, I think this book is a great read for anyone who wants a life so full of God's vision, that you are overflowing. I would recommend this book to everyone, but especially those finishing high-school or college.


This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review. ~Libbi H.


Libbi is a homeschooler who runs the Life is Funner blog at . She likes peacocks, the color pink, hair accessories, and reading biographies.




Bookshelf of a (Maybe) Teen Author, by Emily Russell

  The Rescuers, by Cecelia Maria Hilliard


The Rescuers,

by Cecelia Maria Hilliard


Strangers humiliating the king... a dangerous love triangle... and a whirlwind of secrets... will this year's feast end in tragedy?


The yearly feast is being held in King Clarence's castle this time around, but a gathering of strangers aren't happy with it. This hooded group known only as The Rescuers is determined to convert the king from cruel to kind. Meanwhile, Prince Derrick tries to win over Princess Victoria; Victoria has caught the eye of King Clarence; and the king is sought after by Victoria's sister Jalean. As the secrets of the cast are slowly discovered, sword fights and magic-filled battles determine the fate of all involved.


As usual with most self-published titles, this book could use some professional editing. Typos, misplaced punctuation, awkward wording, and the like were a bit of an eyesore. The dialogue and behavior of the royals left me confused as to whether this was supposed to be a modern-day or medieval tale. However, the story was very unique and well thought out. I enjoyed the unexpected twists and the occasional use of humor and irony.


One thing I especially liked about this book was the author. In fact, that was the whole reason I chose this book. Cecelia Hilliard was only a junior in high school when she published this in 2001. Even when it could use some serious editing, self-publishing your first novel in high school is impressive in my eyes.


I give this book three stars for the storyline and for the guts and hard work - and money, in this case - it took a high schooler to follow a writer's dream. (

I received this book for free through the Dorrance Book Review Team in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.)


Emily Rachelle is a homeschooled sophomore in love with Jesus and the world of words. You can read more book reviews, as well as poetry, opinions, and everyday chatter at her blog, Blog of a (Maybe) Teen Author ( ).





replica[re-pli-ka]-noun: An exact copy or model of something, esp. one on a smaller scale.The word first appeared in 17th-century Italy, taking its meaning from the word replicare, "to reply or repeat," as used in music. In time, it came to mean a copy, often of a work of


"The winner of Venezuela's first gold medal in 44 years charmed London and beyond by wearing his medal on the capital's underground system, posing for photos with passengers and teaching them Venezuelan sports chants. His country's grateful president gave him a replica of the sword used by South American independence hero Simon Bolivar." (Reuters, August 12, 2012)


See if you can find the word "replica" used elsewhere in this issue!


Dear Parents,   


Thank you for taking the time to view Homeschooling Teen Magazine. We hope that you and your homeschooler enjoyed reading with us. That is our goal, after all! It is also our goal to provide homeschooled teens a place of their own, to highlight their accomplishments, talents and thoughts. Here at Homeschooling Teen Magazine, our articles and information are written exclusively by homeschoolers, for homeschoolers. We strive to make this a safe place for your teens to join in and express themselves in accordance with Philippians 4:8. We will never share or sell your information with any third party. Content is a top priority for us and articles will always be age appropriate. Our magazine will only allow sponsorship logos and links that are family friendly. However, the opinions expressed in our magazine are not necessarily those of Homeschooling Teen Magazine and we cannot be held responsible for any information listed or actions from our sponsors. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.


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Copyright 2012 - Homeschooling Teen Magazine




September 2012


Welcome... Homeschooling Teen is a free e-zine for homeschooled high schoolers and young adult alumni. Published once a month, much of the content is written by our 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 other articles of interest. Additionally, in each issue we feature a profile of a Homeschooling Teen and a Homeschool Friendly College. Write to us at 

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Homeschooling Teen Profile: Shawn Simard


Shawn Simard


Shawn Simard of New River, Arizona, completed twelve years of education without ever stepping into a brick-and-mortar school for any course. After being homeschooled exclusively in elementary and middle school, he enrolled in the Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA) for high school. His family turned to an online curriculum at that time because they decided additional mentorship was needed for math and science, and it would provide an opportunity for Shawn to acquire computer science experience. Although not strictly homeschooling in the traditional sense, he continued to do all of his work at home under the watchful eyes of his parents.


The Arizona State Board of Education's graduation requirements for 2012 were 20 credits, and AZVA's requirements were 22 credits. Shawn earned 5.5 credits above the state requirements and 4 credits above theonline school requirements. His total of 26 credits included: 4 credits in English Literature, 4 credits in Mathematics, 4 credits in Social Studies/History, 3 credits in Science, 2 credits in French, 1 credit in Fine Arts, 1.5 credits in counseling, and 6.5 credits in electives - of which 1 credit was in work study, 1 credit in Physical Education, 0.5 credit in Audio Engineering, and 4 credits in Computer Science. Shawn graduated in May 2012 with a 3.978 GPA. He was on the academic honor roll each semester, as well as a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and the Grand Canyon State Chapter of the National Honor Society.


Shawn has been performing community service work ever since he was 6 years old, much of it as a member of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). When he was a Tiger Cub Scout in the first grade, Shawn sorted out all of his educational toys, puzzles, books, games, posters, etc., and decided which ones he did not need anymore. He chose to give these items to a local charter school, the Stepping Stones Academy, because they were in need of donations for their new preschool program. This was the first time that Shawn had ever parted with any of his belongings. Shawn's generosity as a homeschooler donating to a charter school for his community service patch was a nice bridging of the homeschool and public school communities in connection with the scouting community.


Shawn Eagle, 2008  


After starting with the Boy Scouts as a Tiger Cub in 2000, over the years Shawn earned a total of 33 merit badges. He received his Arrow of Light in March 2005 and in 2007 he was inducted into the Order of the Arrow. He also won additional special awards for a 50-mile hike, World Conservation, Philmont Duty to God, Summer Camp 2005 and 2007. He was a crew leader for Philmont Expedition 2008, and at other times he served as Troop Guide, Assistant Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, Staff Counselor in Training, and Librarian. For his Eagle Scout project, Shawn erected a horse panel fence with a gate across a 229 foot x 130 foot enclosed paddock which made two enclosed paddocks for Dreamchaser PMU Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc., a 501c(3), non-profit charity. After becoming an Eagle Scout in May 2008 he went on to earn the Bronze, Gold, and Silver Palms. Since Shawn turned 18 in September 2011 he has been an adult leader in his troop and serves as their webmaster. This year he also worked as Assistant Director of Muzzleloading for the BSA Grand Canyon Council's Camp Geronimo summer camp. Shawn looks forward to the camp every year and he works hard to establish a good reputation in hopes of maybe one day becoming a camp director.


Shawn Karate   


In addition to his scouting activities, Shawn has been a member of the American Taekwondo Association (ATA) since 2003. He completed ATA's Junior Leadership Program in May 2004 and the Certified Instructor Trainee Program in November 2006. In October 2008 he served as a 2nd Level Certified Instructor Trainee (Specialty Instructor), and in April 2011 he served as a 2ndLevel Judge. He earned a 4th Degree Black Belt from ATA in March 2012. Shawn plans to test for the International Instructor Rank with ATA when the testing is offered in January or February 2013. He met the minimal teaching requirements back in 2010 but had to wait for the age requirement in order to make it official. In the meantime, he has been teaching taekwondo classes since Spring 2005 and is a regular instructor on Saturdays except during the

summertime when he is a BSA camp instructor. He plans to stay active with both ATA and BSA through college.


Shawn studied piano from 2000-2005 and before that he took horseback riding lessons from 1999-2001. He was a weekly participant in a homeschool PE class from 2000-2009 and earned the Presidential Physical Fitness award. Shawn's hobbies include archery, rifle/shotgun shooting, and woodworking. Shawn started archery at age 6 and began shooting at age 8 or 9, so he found it easy to complete the requirements for the BSA Archery Merit Badge and Rifle Gun Merit Badge in 2005, as well as the Shotgun Merit Badge in 2007. While he prefers target shooting with his shotgun, in 2008 Shawn also completed a 40-hour Hunter Safety Course for safe gun handling information. Shawn learned woodworking from his father and started making things when he was 7 years old. He has several wooden weapons, a few replica weapons, and in 2009 he designed and made a wooden sword from The Lord of the Rings movie as a birthday gift for a friend. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy are Shawn's all-time favorite book and movie. He has almost every one of the figurines from The Lord of the Rings.


Since he enjoys camping and the outdoors, Shawn was originally thinking about being a forest ranger or pursuing a career in a related field, but he also likes working on computers and is interested in game design. Presently, Shawn is enrolled in the Computer Science program at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona, where he is hoping to take most of his lower level courses online. He will receive an Associate in Arts degree, and then through a direct transfer to Arizona State University, he will obtain a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a future plan to become a computer game designer. Shawn already knows the basics of Blender, Python, HTML, C++, CAD, and Multimedia Fusion 2. He is proficient in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, as well as OpenOffice Writer and Presentation. He has some knowledge of Microsoft Excel and OpenOffice Spreadsheet, and he is also familiar with the Ubuntu Linux operating system as well as Windows 2000, XP, and 7.


Throughout his life Shawn has been self-motivated, community-minded, responsible and dedicated. His varied interests in scouting, taekwondo, and other areas show that he is a well-rounded person with positive character traits. The fact that less than 5% of people who join the Boy Scouts will ever attain the rank of Eagle Scout means that this is a great achievement in itself. He continues to be a good role model to the rest of the troop, in particular to the younger scouts. Success in college and in life is not simply based on your grades; you truly are the sum-total of your experiences. Shawn Simard definitely has what it takes to be a leader and invaluable member of the community, with a bright future ahead of him!


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The Razor's Edge,by Madeleine Richey


Kiss Me Deadly: Or What a Relationship Should and Shouldn't Be


In this day and age it seems that everyone is obsessed with dating. Everyone wants that perfect relationship, like Bella and Edward. Everyone wants that special someone. What I'd like to call your attention to is the fact that most people don't marry their high school sweetheart. The majority of the married people you meet probably didn't even know each other in their teens. So why do we have to date in our teens? Why do we even bother?


I looked around at the teen couples I see, and what I've found is most common is obsession. These couples are totally immersed in their relationship; in each other. Every waking moment is spent in each other's company, or e-mailing, texting, IM over Facebook, and thinking in general of the other person. And that's not healthy. It leaves friends and family in the dust and leaves them totally dependent on each other in a way that is damaging.


We need relationships with other people. We need the support our family and friends give us, and we need a life outside of one person. As mentioned before, most people never marry the person, or any of the people, they dated in high school. So what happens when that relationship falls through if you have based your whole life around one person?


I was at a loss this month for what to write. I'd started at a blank page for half an hour and was still without a single idea, so I texted a friend and asked for some help. Teen relationships was his idea; in particular, how to know if it's love. I think that's a great place to start before we go into all the dangers teen dating brings. The whole reason we date is to find love, right? So how do we know when it's love?


Personally, I have my own ideas, but I'm sure many of you think differently than me. My idea of love is that there is no true love. True love only exists in fairy tales-there is no love at first sight and no happily ever after. A relationship is something that constantly needs to be worked at. You don't just get married and have a happily ever after. There will be ups and downs and you have to weather them together. But I think that there is such a thing as love, just not the true love they tell of in fairy tales.


Maybe one of the things we should ask ourselves before dating someone, or pursuing a more meaningful relationship, is can I live with this person? If you get married or live under the same roof in close proximity to each other, you will eat, drink, and sleep together. You will get up in the morning, use the bathroom, brush your teeth, and occasionally get sick; remember that lovely episode of food poisoning you would kill your parents if they ever told anyone about? That kind of sick. You'll get irritable and fight; sometimes even yell at each other. There will be times all you want is a little distance-or a lot of distance-between you and the person you thought you wanted to spend the rest of your life with.


That's not to say that you can't spend the rest of your lives together. But that's life. It's not the romantic view you get from movies and books. Can you live with this person? Can you brush your teeth with them in the morning, eat every meal with them, sleep beside them? You're going to live with this person; there's no romance in day to day life.


I asked the friend who suggested this article for his opinion on what I should include. His input was that love is not something you find upon first sight. It sneaks up on you as you foster a relationship with someone until you find it is there. I agree with him. Love is something you have to work at; you have to get to know someone and learn to love them, learning and changing alongside them as we strive to be better people. That is what a marriage should be; two people who love each other trying to make each other better. What use is the marriage if it does not help the two people involved become better?


So that being said, maybe we should look amongst our friends for examples of the kind of person with whom we should look for a meaningful relationship. We know that our friendship is the down to earth stuff-not romantic or right out of a storybook-but we love them all the same.


But on a different note; what shouldn't a relationship be?


Having read Twilight, I know that Bella and Edward's relationship is not what I want for myself or for anyone I know-even anyone else in the world.


"I can't live without you," are dangerous words. There are real life relationships like that. But they don't end like you'd think they would. In my research I encountered far too many true stories about women who thought they'd met the perfect man when he told them that he couldn't live without them. But as time progressed they found that he was far from perfect; even more than that, he was dangerous. He wanted pictures of her bed to be sure that she had slept in it last night; forbade her to speak to other men; followed her everywhere; became a nightmare.


Those women fell into abusive relationships. They became the objects of sudden, unprovoked attacks. They were beaten and emotionally abused. And when they tried to walk away, they met death threats. Some were even killed in their attempt to regain their freedom.


If he says "I can't live without you," and means it, the time to run is now, not later. If anyone says it and is earnest, perhaps they are not the person you are searching for. Maybe we should wait a few years before dating? The purpose of dating used to be to find a partner for life, but now it has become just a passing fancy. You can date someone for a few months, weeks, days even, and when the passion goes flat, you are free to walk away. If your intent in dating is to find a life partner or a meaningful relationship, perhaps it would be best to wait. A relationship takes commitment; if both people don't give it their all, then both are cheated and neither gets what they deserve. But giving it your all doesn't mean your whole life has to revolve around one person. You matter too; have respect for yourself and the other people in your life, and live a well-balanced life with love and time for everyone.


May you be blessed with deep, enduring friendships, and one day, if you so desire, a lasting, meaningful relationship.


Madeleine, 16, says: "I want to help people and I want to tell stories, especially the stories of people who don't have a voice of their own. Some of them have faces we recognize-the faces of family and friends, maybe even the face we see when we look in the mirror. I want to share with you the information I have about all these things, so that maybe you can recognize them and walk away from danger or help out a friend who doesn't see it or saw it too late."


Ashley's Column


Ashley's Column


My hilarious tales of my hilarious life!


Bathroom Blues


There's a place in West Virginia called a holler. It's the small, gulch like area, where everyone's house is between two large mountains. A place where each house has a creek in the front yard and a mountain in the back. The houses are all squished together and have interestin' hillbillies livin' inside.


This is the setting where almost all of my Dad's large family lives.We didn't usually go to my Granny's church, but when we did, I spent the time in the small, two-room nursery. I was about five or six years old when this event takes place.


I went into the room, which had tall, wooden walls, and only a few toys. I sat down and colored my time away, until snack time. We ate oily, crunchy, salty chips, something I had been raised on.


After I finished, and had slick, oily hands, I felt the call of nature.I hurried down the hall, past the doublewide doorway to the sanctuary, through the tall, wooden door, into the white bathroom.


When I was finished, I washed and quickly dried my hands, and went to leave. I turned the round, golden doorknob. My hands slipped. I tried again, pulling and turning. I started to panic, and franticly tried again. I stopped for a moment, looked around, and spotted my escape, a sole, high up window.


(The window led down to a rocky creek, far below, but I was prepared to jump.)


I decided I had better try again first. This time I added panicked pounding and kicking! I was sure I'd be trapped forever, or I'd have to use the window! I was even desperate enough to try to get out through the toilet!


Thankfully, I didn't have to do either. I kept banging and yelling, when finally, the door popped open. Before me stood adults from the service I had interrupted, looking at the door and myself quizzically.


I ran to my parents, who had come to the door, and my terrifying ordeal was over. Finally I had to return to the nursery, where I sat down and colored, trying to calm myself down.


I did learn a lesson; always dry your hands twice, especially during a Church service!


(After this event, I've always been claustrophobic, and never close the door all the way!)


My Guardian Angel


The Fall From Above


This event actually happened just a couple of weeks ago! Have you ever watched one of those shows, where something happens, and in slow motion, things are falling toward a person falling? Well, I've experienced that! I've been a fan of Star Wars for a long time, and recently have become a Hunger Games fanatic. I have many Star Wars collectibles, so decided to hang a Hunger Games poster.


I stood on a chair, leaning over my dresser, trying to put up my poster. As I did, the cushion on the chair slipped out from under my feet. I fell forward onto all my collectibles on my dresser! Then, like in a movie, I flopped back, falling backwards. It seemed like it was all in slow motion. My things were flying down, falling with me. I hit the floor inches away from my bedpost. Amazingly, I got up with just bruised ribs and a bruised foot. I could have hit my head on my bed, and been in real pain! Guardian Angels must be in my life, or else, I'd have lost it by now!


Singing Freak Out!


I'm a singer in my youth praise band at church. I've only been part of it for a couple of months, so haven't figured out how everything works yet. Last night, at our Bible Study, we were coming to the bridge of the second song, where I have to sing solo! Almost as soon as the part came, I looked down, and the cable attached to my microphone, had popped out! I looked over at the leader of the band, who was already playing the chords for the bridge! His wife started to sing while I tried to figure it out. I looked at it, and told myself, "Ok Ashley, figure this out!" Amazingly, I got it! I joined back in and sang it. Unfortunately, I almost burst out laughing when singing! Focus, focus!


We finished the song, and it was the most embarrassing band moment I've ever had! Thankfully, there were only seven people there other than the band members. Another proof, that God must be looking out for my goofs!


Ashley Cline is a 16-year-old junior in Virginia. She enjoys cross-stitching, reading, writing, and hanging with friends. She's a strong Pro-Life activist and orphan lover. All these stories are true, and very wacky. If you'd like to hear more, or leave a comment, please email her at  .

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




The Sports Report, by Caela


The 2012 London Olympic Games


The Opening Ceremony: The opening ceremony was one to remember for years to come. London did a great job. The ceremony started with the history of England. Farming was first, the industrial revelation was second, and then the technology/modern era was last. The modern era included music by British singers from the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, and music of today. Then the entrance of the Queen came. It started in Buckingham Palace with the current James Bond (Daniel Craig) escorting the Queen to a helicopter that is to take them to the Olympic Stadium. Once the helicopter was above the Stadium the Queen and James Bond parachuted out of the helicopter. The real Queen didn't actually jump, someone did it for her so no one freak out. The ceremony also included demonstrations of some of Britain's best selling fairytales, nightmares and books; such as Harry Potter, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, and many others. It started with the Nightmares like demons, ghouls, Cruela De Vil, Captain Hook, and Voldermort from Harry Potter. Then Peter Pan and Mary Poppins came to the rescue to chase the nightmares away. After that the March of Nations started with Greece leading, then all the countries alphabetical; the last country was Great Britain because they were the hosting country. As each country came out they each had one of their athletes carry their respected flag. Alongside each flag bearer was two girls, one with the name of the country, and the other with a copper petal that has that countries name engraved on it. Each of the 205 petals went on 205 steel poles that were lying down near the ground. The Olympic torch was delivered to the Olympic stadium by David Beckham. David handed it to British Olympic hero Steve Redgrave. He gave it to seven of Britain's teenager Olympians, who got to ignite the copper petals. As the each petal caught fire they started to lift together to make one big cauldron. When they came together the crowd went wild because the 2012 Olympic Games had officially started.


The Games: In first place was the United States with 104 metals overall. China was in second place with 88 metals overall. Russia was in third place with 82 metals overall. Great Britain was in fourth place with 65 metals overall. Germany was in fifth place with 44 metals overall. Japan was in sixth place with 38 metals overall. Australia was in seventh place with 35 metals overall. France was in eighth place with 34 metals overall. South Korea and Italy were in ninth place with 28 metals overall. The Netherlands and Ukraine were in 11th place with 20 metals overall. Canada was in 13th place with 18 metals overall. Hungary, Spain, and Brazil were in 14th place with 17 metals overall. Cuba was in 17th place with 14 metals overall. Kazakhstan and New Zealand were in 18th place with 13 metals overall. Islamic Republic of Iran, Jamaica, and Belarus were in 20th place with 12 metals overall. Kenya was in 21st place with 11 metals overall. Czech Republic, Poland, and Azerbaijan were 22nd place with 10 metals overall. Romania, and Denmark were 25th place with 9 metals overall. Sweden and Colombia were 27th place with 8 metals overall. Ethiopia, Georgia, and Mexico were in 29th place with 7 metals overall. North Korea, South Korea, Croatia, and India were in 32nd place with 6 metals overall. Turkey, Lithuania, Ireland, and Mongolia were in 36th place with 5 metals overall. Switzerland, Norway, Slovenia, Serbia, Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Uzbekistan, and Slovakia were in 40th place with 4 metals overall. Tunisia, Thailand, Armenia, Belgium, and Finland were in 48th place with 3 metals overall. Dominican Republic, Latvia, Egypt, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Estonia, Malaysia, Bulgaria, Puerto Rico, Indonesia, Moldova, Qatar, Singapore, and Greece were in 53rd place with 2 metals over all. Algeria, Bahamas, Grenada, Uganda, Venezuela, Portugal, Montenegro, Botswana, Cyprus, Guatemala, Gabon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Hong Kong were in 66th place with 1 metal over all.


The Closing Ceremony: The Closing Ceremony started with what was called Rush Hour showing us a day in the life of London. Next the Street Party started and it featured the following: Madness performed Our House, Pet Shop Boys performed West End Girls and One Direction performed What Makes You Beautiful. The next segment was called One Day Like This which is when all the athletes and flags come in as one big group also known as the Parade of Athletes. Here Comes the Sun segment is where we recognize the Marathon winner. A Symphony of British Music segment was next. Queen sang Bohemian Rhapsody. Then a sculpture of John Lennon was made as the Choirs of Liverpool and Imagine sang. George Michael was next and he sang Freedom 90 and White Light. For the fashion segment nine trucks drove out with pictures of Britain's best models. Then Annie Lennox came out on a wooden boat singing Little Bird. Ed Sheeran, Richard Jones, Nick Manson, and mike Rutherford performed Wish You Were Here, Russell Brand came in on a bus singing I Am the Walrus, after that Fatboy Slim played Right Here Right Now and the Rockafeller Shank. Then three Rolls-Royce entered the stadium. In the first car was Jessie J who sang Price Tag, the second car had Tinie Tempah who sang Written in the Stars, and in the third car was Tiao Cruz who sang Dynamite. Then all three singers came together to sing the Bee Gee's You Should Be Dancing. After that the Spice Girls sang Wannabe and Spice up Your Life. Then Beady Eye performed Wonderwall and Mr. Blue Sky. Eirk Idel came out next and sang Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Then Brian May and Roger Taylor appeared and sang We Will Rock You joined by Jessie J. The Handover Segment is where London passes the torch to the next city who will host the next Olympics so in this case the torch was passed to Rio de Janerio. The Closing of the Games is where the President of the Olympics thanks London for a great games and said see you in 2016 at Rio de Janerio. Then the copper petals came apart as Robbie Williams sang Rule the World, once the song was over the flame extinguished. The last act of the night was the Who performing Baba O' Riley, See Me, Feel Me, and My Generation. That ended the 2012 Summer Olympics.


The 94th PGA Championship


The fourth and final major of the year was the PGA Championship. Rory McIlroy won the PGA Championship by eight shots over David Lynn of England. For this tournament we will follow Rory McIlroy, Tiger Wood, David Lynn, and reigning champ Keegan Bradley. Here is some information on Rory McIlroy. Rory is 23 years old. He is an only child. His parent's names are Gerry and Rosie. His dad introduced him to golf when he was just two years old and he fell in love with it and has not stopped since. He currently is dating tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. Rory has six professional wins including this one. His first win was the Dubai Desert Classic at age 19. His second win was the Quail Hollow Championship at age 20 two days before his 21st birthday. His third, fourth, and fifth wins were the 2011 US Open, 2011 UBS Hong Kong Open, and  the 2012 Honda Classic all at age 22. His sixth and most recent win was the 2012 PGA Championship at age 23. He is the fourth youngest golfer to win two majors at the age of 23 years, 3 months, and 8 days even beating Tiger Woods by four months.


First Round: Rory McIlroy shot a 67 -5 under par one off the lead. Tiger Woods shot a 69 -3 under par three off the lead. David Lynn shot a 73 +1 over par seven off the lead. Keegan Bradley shot 68 -4 under par two off the lead. The leader was Carl Patterson who shot a 66 -6 under par.


Second Round: Rory McIlroy shot a 75 +3 over par to go to 2 under par two off the lead. Tiger Woods shot a 71 -1 under par to go to -4 under par to be tied for the lead. David Lynn shot a 74 2 over par to go to 3 over par 7 off the lead. Keegan Bradley shot a 77 5 over par to go to 1 over par 5 shots of the lead. The leaders were Carl Patterson, Tiger Woods, and Vijay Singh at 4 under par.

Third Round: Rory McIlroy shot a 67 5 under par to go to 7 under par. Tiger Woods shot 74 2 over par to go to 2 under par five off the lead.  David Lynn shot 68 4 under par to go to 1 under par to go to 1 under par 6 off the lead. Keegan Bradley shot 71 1 under par to go to even par 7 off the lead. The leader after round three was Rory McIlroy.

Fourth Round: Rory McIlroy shot a 66 6 under par to go to 13 under par for the tournament. Tiger Woods shot a 72 even par to stay at 2 under par for the tournament, 11 off the lead. David Lynn shot a 68 4 under par to go to 5 under par for the tournament, 8 off the lead. Keegan Bradley shot a 68 4 under par to go to 4 under par for the tournament, 9 off the lead. Rory McIlroy won the PGA by eight shots which is the biggest margin of shots to win the PGA breaking the record previously owned by Jack Nicklaus. Rory also won both his majors, the US Open and the PGA, by eight shots for a total of 16 shots. With this win Rory became World Number One. Congratulations to Rory McIlroy on his second major and becoming world number one. Good Luck for the rest of the year and the Majors next year.


Sports Events in September


MLB: There will be 408 baseball games in the month of September.


NFL: There will be 63 football games in the month of September. In week 1 there will be 16 games between Sep 5 and Sep 10. In week 2 there will be 16 games between Sep 13 and Sep 17. In week 3 there will be 16 games between Sep 20 and Sep 24. In week 4 there will be 15 games between Sep 27 and Oct 1, the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburg Steelers have a bye week.


Men's Tennis: The US Open is from Aug 27 to Sep 9. The APT Tour Open de Moselle and the APT Tour St. Petersburg Open are from Sep 17 to Sep 23. The APT PTT Thailand Open and the APT Malaysian Open are from Sep 24 to Sep 30.


Women's Tennis: The US Open is from Aug 27 to Sep 9. The WTA Bell Challenge is from Sep 10 to Sep 15. The WTA Tour Tashkent Open is from Sep 10 to Sep 16. The WTA Guangzhou International Women's Open is from Sep 17 to Sep 22. The WTA Hasol Korea Open is from Sep 17 to Sep 23. The WTA Tour Toray Pan Pacific Open is from Sep 23 to Sep 29. The WTA Tour China Open is from Sep 29 to Oct 7.


PGA Golf Tour: The Deutsche Bank Championship is from Aug 31 to Sep 9. The BMW Championship is from Sep 6 to Sep 9. The Tour Championship by Coca-Cola is from Sep 20 to Sep 23. The Ryder Cup is from Sep 28 to Sep 30.


European Golf Tour: The Omega European Masters is From Aug 30 to Sep 2. The KLM Open is from Sep 6 to Sep 9. The BMW Italian Open presented by CartaSi Sep 13 to Sep 16. The 2012 Ryder Cup is from Sep 28 to Sep 30.


Ladies PGA Golf Tour: The Kingsmill Championship is from Sep 6 to Sep 9. The RICOH Women's British Open is from Sep 13 to Sep 16. The Navistar LPGA Classic is from Sep 20 to Sep 23.


Caela's byline: I am the oldest of six children. I am a Christian. I love watching movies, playing on my computer, and I love watching sports. I want to go to Syracuse University, and eventually become a sports journalist. My favorite sports are hockey, football (soccer), and golf.


College Bound:

Homeschool Friendly Colleges




The University of Arizona (UA or U of A) is a land-grant and space-grant public institution of higher education and research located about one mile northeast of downtown Tucson, Arizona. The UA offers 334 fields of study leading to bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional degrees. The university maintains a complete list of colleges and schools at A degree search tool is available online at UA faculty and programs are among the nation's best in such diverse areas as applied mathematics, analytical chemistry, engineering, entrepreneurship, dance, philosophy, Middle Eastern Studies, landscape architecture, photography, geosciences, astronomy, optics, pharmacy, and medicine. 


UA was the first university in Arizona, founded in 1885 by the Arizona Territorial Legislature 27 years before the Arizona Territory achieved statehood. (Arizona State University was also chartered in 1885, but it was originally established as Arizona's normal school - a teacher's college, not a university). Because there were no high schools in Arizona Territory, the UA maintained separate preparatory classes for its first 23 years of operation.


UA classes initially began in 1891 with 32 students in the Old Main building. Located at the heart of campus, Old Main is a treasured historic icon that is still in use to this day (although it's currently undergoing renovation and preservation). Today, total UA enrollment is nearly 40,000 students on a campus of 380 acres.


There are 179 buildings on the main campus, the oldest of which are located near Old Main. Most of the early buildings, including Centennial Hall (originally called The Auditorium) and the Arizona State Museum buildings (one of them the 1927 library), were designed by Roy Place, a prominent Tucson architect. It was his use of red brick that set the tone for the design of all UA buildings, even those built in recent decades. A grassy expanse called The Mall stretches from Old Main to the eastern border of campus. Just outside UA's Main Gate are many retail shops dating from the 1920s.


UA's new Student Union Memorial Center, opened in 2003, is the largest student union in the U.S. not affiliated with a hotel. The $60 million student union has 405,000 square feet of space on four levels - including a computer lab, game room, lounges, meeting rooms, grand ballroom, U.S. Post Office, Fast Copy/FedEx, Wells Fargo bank, U-Mart convenience store, food court (with such national restaurant chains as Burger King, Chick-Fil-A, Panda Express, and Papa John's Pizza), and a two-story bookstore. The UA bookstore carries a variety of merchandise including textbooks, school supplies, apparel, gifts, fiction/nonfiction titles, bestsellers, children's/young adult books, technology, and more. The bookstore also has a Clinique cosmetics counter, a Staples office supplies outlet, and a Starbucks.


The Student Union building was designed in memory of the USS Arizona. The clock tower houses a bell rescued from the battleship after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The bell is rung seven times on the third Wednesday of every month at 12:07 pm - symbolic of the ship's sinking on December 7, 1941. The Rotunda, a spiraling stairway reaching three stories upwards, features four giant relief sculptures, each honoring a branch of the military. Water trickles from a pool down two giant anchor chains to the lower level where plaques list the individual names of UA students and alumni lost in World War II, Vietnam, and the Korean War. (An older memorial dating back to 1919 can be found at the west entrance of Old Main, where the Berger Memorial Fountain honors UA students who lost their lives in World War I.)


UA is classified as a Carnegie Foundation "RU/VH" (very high research activity university), formerly "Research 1" university. The National Science Foundation ranks UA 16th among public universities, and 26th among all universities nationwide in research funding. UA is the only university from the state of Arizona to join the prestigious Association of American Universities, an organization of premier public and private research institutions. Membership in AAU is by invitation only, in recognition of a high quality of academic research.


UA's medical research focuses on some of the most pressing concerns of mankind: cancer, neurological disorders, heart disease, and diabetes. The UA College of Medicine, the only MD-granting medical school in the state, is home to the first Medical Simulation Laboratory in Arizona. The University Medical Center, a facility consistently ranked among America's Best Hospitalsby U.S. News & World Report, has a long history of pioneering medical achievements including the world's first artificial wrist (1974), Arizona's First Heart Transplant (1979), and Arizona's First Double-Lung Transplant (1993). More recently, UA physician researchers developed the Continuous Chest Compression CPR method (2003).


The UA is awarded more NASA grants for space exploration than any other university nationally. Students and faculty in the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory have actively shaped Mars missions, and the instantly famous image of the Curiosity Rover's descent on August 5, 2012, was taken by a UA-operated camera. UA is also a member of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy. This consortium of institutions operates observatories and telescopes, notably Kitt Peak National Observatory located just outside of Tucson, and Mount Graham Observatory near Safford, Arizona.


UA's Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory (SOML) has pioneered new techniques of large mirror production, and researchers in the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at UA are working on the world's most advanced telescope. Known as the Giant Magellan Telescope, the instrument will produce images ten times sharper than those from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Telescope. The mirrors of the Giant Magellan Telescope will be built on the UA campus and transported to a mountaintop site in the Chilean Andes where the telescope will be constructed.The telescope is set to be completed in 2016.


The UA manages Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, Arizona's oldest and largest botanical garden. In addition, much of the main UA campus has been designated an arboretum. Plants from around the world are labeled along a self-guided plant walk. Two herbaria are also located on the campus, along with a controlled environment agricultural greenhouse laboratory. In June 2011, the UA assumed full ownership of Biosphere 2, which had been privately constructed for an early 1990s experiment to test the feasibility of self-sustaining space-colonization technology. The scientific research facility contains a rainforest, ocean, and four other biomes in a 3.14-acre living laboratory.


The UA campus features several world-class museums. The UA Mineral Museum (est. 1892) houses one of the best mineral and meteorite collections in the world with over 26,000 specimens. The Arizona State Museum (est. 1893) is the oldest anthropology museum in the region, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and the world's largest collection of Southwest American Indian pottery and basketry. The Museum of Art exhibits European and American art from the Renaissance to the present. The Pharmacy Museum displays over 60,000 artifacts from historic Arizona pharmacies. The UA Poetry Center is the nation's largest "open shelf" collection of contemporary poetry. The Center for Creative Photography contains key collections of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and other great 20th century photographers. UA's Flandrau Science Center offers free, public astronomy programs in southern Arizona's only Planetarium Theater.


The UA is home to more than 500 philanthropic, multi-cultural, social, athletic, academic, and student clubs and campus organizations as well as over 40 fraternity and sorority chapters, of which approximately 10% of UA students are members. In addition, the UA's performing arts center presents outstanding student performances in music, dance and theater. Sierra magazine listed the UA at 24th place in its "cool schools" ranking based on the overall availability and type of co-curricular activities, education quality, research activities, dining options, carpooling, alternative transportation, energy efficiency, and other sustainability measures.


U.S. News ranks the UA among America's Best Colleges, and the Princeton Review lists the UA as one of "The Best Western Colleges." While nearly 72% of students are from Arizona, UA students hail from all states in the U.S. The UA also has over 2,200 international students representing 122 countries, comprising approximately 6% of the total enrollment at UA. UA students have been selected as Truman, Rhodes, Goldwater, and Fulbright Scholars. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, UA is among the top 25 producers of Fulbright awards in the U.S.


The UA Honors College provides over 3,000 students with a smaller community feel, like that of a liberal arts college within a larger research institution. Each honors student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 and complete 30 credit hours of honors credit by graduation. To complete these credit hours, students may take courses specifically designated as honors at the UA or may turn a regular course into an honors course through the use of an honors contract. In addition, they must collaborate with a faculty member and write an honors thesis before graduating with honors.


Although UA is considered a "selective" university by U.S. News and World Report, UA has always considered homeschool applicants as attractive candidates for admission. According to the Arizona Daily Wildcat (May 3, 2004), UA President Peter Likins argued against implementing a minimum SAT requirement for homeschoolers. He noted that homeschoolers are already admitted at extremely high rates, citing the previous year when the university admitted 20 of its 24 homeschooled applicants - well above normal admission percentages. "Send them our way," the President declared. "We love our homeschoolers." Homeschooled students are considered on the basis of a course transcript/portfolio, SAT/ACT scores, and other factors such as leadership, service, work history, extracurricular activities, unique life experiences and personal achievements.


For over 125 years, the UA has been extending continuing education resources to non-traditional students in the state and beyond. The UA offers correspondence learning for nearly 147 undergraduate and graduate courses through their Outreach College program. For high-school age students who are homeschooling, the UA offers more than 120 high school courses. UA reaches out to homeschoolers, saying: "We have the courses you need. Your child can receive a quality education with homeschooling. Many parents have watched their children thrive with homeschooling and say the one-on-one interaction builds self-esteem." Anyone may enroll in UA self-paced open-entry high school courses, no transcripts necessary. You receive nine months to complete each course. All tests are proctored, but if you live outside Arizona, there are procedures you can follow to take your tests in a proctored environment. Click here for a list of outreach courses:


Additional References:





Horse Breed Heaven  

By Kayla Bignall 


Hi there horse fans! This month we will be discussing the American Quarter Horse.




The American Quarter Horse


American Quarter Horses originated in the 1600s along the New England coast. They have a mix of Arabian, Turk, Thoroughbred, and English Horse Breed ancestry. These horses are very versatile. They are calm for trails, have strong hindquarters for reining, good cow instincts for cattle roping and other rodeo activities, good speed and stamina for barrel racing, and they are able to do virtually anything. The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) originally only accepted 17 colors for quarter horses; sorrel, bay, black, brown, chestnut, dun, buckskin, red dun, grullo, palomino, grew, red roan, blue roan, bay roan, cremello, pearlino, and white. Now, all colors are accepted if the horse has DNA testing to prove both parents are registered Quarter Horses. The American Quarter Horse ranges in size from about 14 hands to around 17 hands high. The added height comes from the introduction of the Thoroughbred into the bloodlines. The American Quarter Horse's weight can vary depending on its use. The average weight is around 1100 pounds. These horses are very well tempered. They are intelligent, docile, agile, and strong. They are handled very easily. American Quarter Horses can live a long time. They usually live up to around 20 but can live as long as 40 years. It doesn't seem that long but for a horse it is. That is all I have for you today. All in all, I would say the American Quarter Horse is diversely versatile. I believe, based on what I have learned, that they would make an excellent horse for a beginner or first time rider. Happy Trails!


Information found at


If you have any questions or comments regarding horses, please contact me at


Kayla is 14 years old and lives in Columbiaville, MI. She has a younger sister; two dogs, Macy and Emmy; fourteen chickens; and a Morgan horse named Babylon Dark Jezebel1 (we call her DJ)! 


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

The World Around Us,

by Adrianna Kuzma


Tap Dance


From Municipal Source to "Pristine" Bottled Stream: Which Bottled Water Do You Buy? 


On a hot summer day, a bottle of cold water tastes gloriously refreshing, but have you ever looked into what bottled water actually contains? When looking at a label on a bottle of water, you might think it comes from a natural spring. In reality, about 25 % of bottled water comes from municipal taps (private). Ad agencies tap dance around four problems with bottled water: the quality, the plastic bottle, the transportation, and the disposal issue.




Teens examine the label of a water bottle. In some cases, the label will specify that the water derives from a city or municipal source. "Coke's Dasani: Pure Water or Pure Hype?" Yahoo Daily News. 4 March 2004.


The first problem is the quality. As noted, the label often includes misleading phrases such as "natural spring water." With images of glistening crystal clear mountain streams, the bottled water companies advertise the purity of their water as if it is more pure and safer than tap water. This has been called a scam and "modern day snake oil" (Scott).   Others point out that bottled water, which falls under the Food and Drug Administration, is not as frequently or fully regulated as municipal water. In a four year 1000 bottle study of bacterial and other contaminants, the Natural Resource Defense Council found that "While most bottled water apparently is of good quality, publicly available monitoring data are scarce. The underfunded and haphazard patchwork of regulatory programs has found numerous cases where bottled water has been contaminated at levels above state or federal standards. In some cases bottled water has been recalled" (Olson). Clearly, these companies achieve their growing sales based on their message that bottled water is cleaner, purer and safer than tap water. 


An overview of advertising methods used to sell this message as well as the path of a bottle of water from production to consumption is seen in a short You Tube video: . The film titled "The Story of Bottled Water" explains that the bottled water industry has used sophisticated advertising campaigns and a false promise of purity to sell water at highly inflated prices. Ironically, as the video shows, this packaging of their supposedly environmentally cleaner and safer water is achieved at the expense of our environment.


What the water bottle companies do to the tap water they receive is strip it of the chlorine and fluoride. For the tap water, hydrologists put in chlorine to prevent pathogens from growing in the water when it goes through the hundreds of miles of pipes to arrive at a person's house. They also add fluoride to prevent cavities (a fact parents of small children need to consider). The bottled water companies strip the tap water of these important chemicals then put the water into plastic bottles.


water bottles  


A common sight is a trash can overflowing with water bottles.  Theen, Andrew. "Ivy Colleges Shunning Bottled Water Jab At $22 Billion Industry." Bloomberg. 7 March 2012 


The second problem is the plastic bottle itself. Processing the bottles takes the equivalent of 17 million barrels of crude oil every year (Didier). According to this same National Geographic source, this amount of crude oil could power the engines of 1 million vehicles annually (Didier). With the ongoing gas shortage, we should be reserving petroleum for transportation, but this oil is used for water bottles and tossed out. That is why it is so crucial that the bottle is put into a recycle bin instead of the trash. However, that rarely happens. Bottle water is a convenience purchase; lacking a recycling bin, consumers usually toss the bottles in trash bins, and they end up in landfills.  




This illustration highlights the many problems with bottled water, from depleting limited oil reserves, to polluting the environment, to falsely claiming superiority to tap water.  "We Really Need to Think Before We Drink: More Reasons To NOT Use Bottled Water." Multipure. 31 July 2012 


The third problem is transporting and storing water bottles. To get bottled water from its source to the bottling plant to a distributor and store (not to mention landfill or recycling center) all consumes additional petroleum, and this is problematic for our already overburdened environment by producing greenhouse gases. Keep in mind that just one gallon of diesel (or gasoline) releases an astounding 20-22 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere ("Pocket"). So, in addition to the crude oil used to manufacture the plastic bottles, the distribution and transport of the bottles consumes shrinking gasoline resources. 


When a shipment of bottled water comes to a store, the patrons expect clean water. As the truck is driving under the hot summer sun, inside the truck the heat from the sun is warming the water, allowing the growth of pathogens inside the bottle. After arriving at a convenience store, the bottles may be stored for display in the front window, further heating the water in the bottles. According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, "One study found that water that had been stored for 10 weeks in plastic and in glass bottles contained phthalates, suggesting that the chemicals could be coming from the plastic cap or liner" (Olson, ). The kind of testing and reporting frequency required of municipalities providing water-not to mention penalties for not meeting standards-- are absent for bottled water.




Heat can affect the quality of bottled water. "Nine Reasons To Ditch The Bottle Once And For All."  EcoSalon  7 July  2010 


Once purchased, the bottle might be tossed in the back of a car, furthering the heat exposure. What people do not realize is that pathogens could grow in the water, with the potential to infect someone. Whereas a city must test for coliform bacteria a minimum of one hundred times a month, bottled water plants test once a week (Olson). So, while bottled water companies have successfully manufactured the demand for their product as preferable to tap water, in reality it is more likely that your next drink of bottled water could be much less safe than turning on your tap.


The fourth problem involves disposal. As soon as the water is consumed, the bottle is thrown into the trash. The bottle should go in the recycle bin instead of the trash. If the bottle is thrown into the garbage, it takes a long journey to a landfill, where the plastic bottles take up a lot of space. Moreover, the plastic does not biodegrade into soil.


For an interesting comparison, see Doug James' Twenty First Century Waterfall: - a computer animation comparing the US rate of plastic water bottle recycling (approx. 100 bottles/second) to the non-recycled rate (approx. 845 bottles/second; see image) for 2005.




This bar graph shows that most plastic bottles are thrown away rather than recycled (the type of ultra-clear plastic bottle used for bottled water is commonly abbreviated as PET, which stands for poly(ethylene terephthalate). "Recycling Rates Are Kicking Our Cans." Grinning Planet. 18 Aug. 1995. 


Or the bottle is put on to a barge which is then shipped all the way to India and dumped into their backyard. If it entirely misses the trash, the plastic bottle might fall into a ditch. Rain water then washes it down the drain where it gets carried to a river and is eventually washed out into the ocean. Gradually, the bottle collapses from the waves, breaking down the plastic into bits. Mistaking these broken bits for food, small fish ingest the plastic.  Scientists have found large islands of plastic, and fish have died from ingesting little pieces of plastic.




Bits of plastic found inside a fish. Claire Le Guern Lytle "When the Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide." Plastic Pollution. Coastal Care. Web. 20 Aug. 2012. 


Teens can see through the tap dance of the bottled water sales campaign that sidesteps issues such as the overabundance of plastic bottle trash and an increasing carbon emission caused by the manufacture and sale bottled water. Because we see through advertising gimmicks, homeschooling teens can lead the way by taking along-- and showing off-- refillable water bottles at sporting events, picnics, or other all-day events.   Several studies find that homeschool teens show leadership and involvement in community service (ctd. In Ray).  Homeschooling teens can lead the way because we are often no stranger to community involvement, and our efforts can demonstrate the ethic of environmental stewardship.


Bottled water is essential in an emergency situation such as Katrina, Haiti, or a tsunami.  In daily life, however, there is less justification for routinely buying bottled water. Moreover, bottled water is not automatically better than tap. Occasionally purchasing bottled water is understandable. For example, bottled water may be necessary if a person forgot to bring water with them on a trip or a long hike where water fountains are not available. There are legitimate reasons to drink bottled water regularly, such as when a person's immune system is compromised, and they need to avoid chlorine or fluoride. However, this is not the case for most of those who routinely consume bottled water in place of tap. The amount of bottled water consumed in the United States suggests there's a need to get off the bottle. A good way to avoid falling for the song and tap dance of modern ad campaigns-- and routinely purchasing bottled water-- is to buy your own container and fill it--from the tap.


For a complete list of Works Cited, see: 


About the Author: Adrianna is a homeschooler from Indiana. She loves to sew and has made Regency ball gowns as well as fleece pet beds. She plays the cello, loves cats, and is passionate about caring for the planet. She recently produced a video on bottled water that won a national award.



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Anime Review, by Xbolt


Valkyria Chronicles  


Valkyria Chronicles


Valkyria Chronicles is based on a video game of the same name. As I have never played it, I cannot say how closely the anime follows the game's plot. But no matter.


Valkyria Chronicles is set in the year 1935, on the continent of Europa. (The technology is also equivalent to our real world technology from 1935. Well, for the most part.) Two powers control most of the territory. The Imperial Alliance in the east, and the Atlantic Federation in the west. The economies of both depend on a special mineral, Ragnite. It is getting scarce, so the Empire decides to declare war on the Federation, setting off the Second European War. Gaining the upper hand, the Empire decides to invade the neutral Principality of Gallia, in order to steal their Ragnite. Jerks.


When the Empire invades the small border town of Bruhl, Welkin Gunther, son of the great General Belgen Gunther of the First European War, fights alongside Alicia Melchiott, captain of the town watch. Together, and with Welkin's sister Isara, they escape the city in General Guther's old tank prototype, the Edelweiss. Upon reaching the capitol, they join the ranks of Gallia's militia. Welkin is assigned to be a squad commander, and Alicia is his assistant.


But enough of the story. Let's talk about the characters.


Before the war, Welkin was studying to be a biologist at a university. And so after becoming the commander of Squad 7, he can use the environment a bit more to his advantage. And he really thinks outside the box when coming up with his battle plans.

Alicia was a baker. And she wants nothing more than to put an end to the war quickly, and then return to baking. She is constantly reliable, and loves helping others.


Isara is Welkin's adopted sister. She is an exceptionally gifted mechanic, and always keeps Edelweiss in tip-top shape. She has also faced a lot of prejudice, as she is a Darcsen. The Darcsens are a race of people who are very often discriminated against, because of their ancestors' role in the near-destruction of the continent two millennia before. Despite that, she is proud of her heritage, and hopes to someday have a world where Darcsens are treated equally.


Bridgette "Rosie" Stark is the signature shock trooper of Squad 7. A tad overbearing at times, she is nevertheless a capable commander at the front lines. She is one of the people who are prejudiced against Darcsens, so she doesn't like Isara.


Largo Potter is a gruff old veteran from the First European war. He serves as the team's primary anti-tank guy. Not trusting in Welkin at first due to Welkin's lack of experience on the field, Largo nevertheless becomes one of Welkin's most loyal men after he proved himself capable of commanding.

Feladio Landzaat is one of Welkin's college friends. He had been studying to become an archaeologist, but is now the leader of Squad 1.


But my favorite character actually lies among the Imperials. General Radi Jaeger. He is a very honorable man, putting an emphasis on chivalry in battle, and respecting those who do the same. He's also a bit of a joker. That comes as a welcome relief after all the stuck up, arrogant jerks that are a lot of the other generals... On both sides.


Watch Valkyria Chronicles episodes online for free at


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Game Review, by SuperSearcher


Bastion Boxart  




Bastion was created by a team of seven people working out of a house in San Jose. It's the first and only game created so far by the company, Supergiant Games. The team developed the game over almost two years, starting in September 2009, and funded it themselves. After a good showing at the March 2011 Game Developers Conference, Warner Bros. signed on to publish and distribute the game. Bastion is available for a variety of platforms.


Bastion is a third-person single-player fantasy adventure game where you play an unnamed character, nicknamed "The Kid." The planet you're living on was destroyed by "The Calamity." You wake up on a floating piece of debris. After wandering around for a brief amount of time, you meet up with fellow survivors on "The Bastion," a partially ruined ship. You must gather supplies to repair it to working condition. Along the way, you pick up various weapons from a machete to a rocket launcher, to help you fight strange enemy creatures. There's more to the game than this, but I don't want to give away the story.


Bastion is an eye-catching game with hand-painted artwork by Jen Zee. The soft watercolor-style backgrounds are a striking contrast to the way most post-apocalyptic worlds are represented. The artist appears to have been influenced by Japanese landscape paintings. The main action takes place on colorful platforms that float and move in the sky above the scenery, providing an almost 3-D feel. Don't get too close to the edge!


During the whole game, you listen to a narration by one of the other survivors, known as "The Stranger." The Sam Elliot-esque voiceover provides background details without needing to read long text or wait through cut-scenes. Besides the narrator, you listen to one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard in a game. What's even more amazing is that all of the sounds, narration, and music were entirely recorded in a CLOSET.


Bastion's fantastic soundtrack was produced by songwriter and composer Darren Korb. He describes the musical style as being a kind of "acoustic frontier trip-hop," though "spaghetti westerns" comes to mind as well. It also contains hints of Middle-Eastern and Indian tunes, as well as some original vocals, the lyrics of which are based on the game's deep backstory. All of this adds to the unique atmosphere of the game. A soundtrack album is available, too.


The developers poured their hearts and talents into this game and it shows. Bastion has won many nominations and awards since its release. At the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards, Bastion won the Best Original Score and Best Downloadable Game awards, and "Build That Wall (Zia's Theme)" won the Best Song in a Game award. At the 2012 Game Developers Conference awards, Bastion won the Best Downloadable Game award and Supergiant Games won the Best Debut award.


Supergiant Games is a small developer with big ambitions: to make games that spark your imagination like the games you played a kid. On their first anniversary, the game developers stated: "We never could have expected this kind of success for our first game and love having such a high standard to live up to with whatever we do next." If you want to try a uniquely different gaming experience, buy Bastion.