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In This Issue


Homeschooling Teen Profile: Julia, Mark, and Steven Erickson

College-Bound: Grand Canyon University

Career-of-the-Month: Nanny

Stepping Stones: by Michaela

The World Around Us: by Adrianna

The Razor's Edge: by Madeleine

Laughter, Tears, and Our Teen Years: by McKennaugh

The Sports Report: by Caela

Libbi's Nonfiction Book Review: Fasting, Student Edition

Bookshelf of a (Maybe) Teen Author: Swipe

Anime Review: by Xbolt

Game Review: by SuperSearcher

Homeschooling High School: Access to International Examinations for High Schoolers

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

Cartoon: "Know Brainz," by Savanna and Devin


And much more!!!


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

Visit Homeschooling Teen Magazine online at www.HomeschoolingTeen.com !


November is...


Aviation History Month

National Adoption Month

American Indian Heritage Month

Creative Child & Adult Month

National Novel Writing Month

International Drum Month

Peanut Butter Lover's Month

National Raisin Bread Month

National Pepper Month

American Diabetes Month

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Good Nutrition Month

Daylight Savings Time Ends (first Sunday in November, except AZ & HI)

National Bible Week (Sunday to Sunday of Thanksgiving week)

National Family Week (Thanksgiving week)

National Game & Puzzle Week (Thanksgiving week)

Thanksgiving - Nov. 22


Click here for more November days:



Be Somebody...Be Yourself 





We want to extend our thoughts and prayers to all those who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. As recovery efforts begin, we want to do our part to help and hope you will too.


There are a number of charities doing a tremendous job helping with recovery efforts. If you are able, please consider making a donation today. Here is a list of organizations that are helping:


Times like this remind us of what's the most important in our lives - the safety of our family and friends. We hope and pray for the safety of you and yours.




For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food,

For love and friends,

For everything Thy goodness sends.


~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)


Thanksgiving blessings to you and your family!










predominate (pre�DOM�i�nate) verb -


1. To have or gain controlling power or influence; prevail: "Good predominates over evil in many literary works."

2. To be of or have greater quantity or importance; preponderate: "French-speaking people predominate in Quebec."


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




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


"When you look at the Roman Empire, the parallels to what is going on in America are absolutely frightening....The question is are we going to go the right path ourselves, or are we going to continue down the wrong path that so many nations have fallen into."


(Answer: Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure)



E-mail Etiquette Tip of the Month


When it comes to your business e-mail a prompt and professional response is what will set you apart from your perceived competitors.


To think the person on the other side is just waiting idly for your response is a poor assumption at best.


Many folks run around to several Web sites with the same inquiry.  Not that I condone doing so, but I see this happen all the time.


Who do you think will get that order or has the best potential to get the business?  Those that respond fast and with the information the visitor wants that's who!


When you do respond to a first time contact, put your best foot forward.  Read their inquiry and respond point by point.  Don't send a template that ignores their specific concerns.  I see that happen every day too!


Don't underestimate the power of perception when it comes to your business e-mail habits.


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



Stepping Stones:  

A Monthly Devotional, by Michaela Popielski


Hello guys. I know I say this every article, but I can not believe it's another month. So crazy. I have to say I didn't have a set plan for a subject in this month devotional. So I went free lance on this one. one Sunday, or a couple Sundays in a row, my pastor taught on The Woman at The Well and how back then Jews and Samaritans didn't have any contact with each other at all and how Jacobs well was common ground since both Jews and Samaritans were descended from Jacob but Samaritans were looked down upon I think because they were from opposing Kingdoms but were all descended from Jacob (Israel).


It got me thinking about how we tend to judge people based on either outside appearance or lineage and push them away due to differences. It is universal. People will look down on you for the stupidest things; i.e., frizzy or straight hair or type of music. Other times it can be accidental. I've been told people though I was mean because I wasn't boy crazy or smiling 24/7. While attitude can be a part of it, it mainly seems like appearances are the most common.


Anyway, an example of this that I can see would probably be the civil rights movement. For centuries we've had this belief that white people are somehow smarter or better than black people. Please don't think of me as racist, I'm not.  But there are some similarities between that and the story of the Samaritan woman. We are all descended from the same people, Noah's sons. Racism is still around unfortunately and the only way to defeat it is trough prayer it seems. Granted we recently got the first black president ever. But there is still racism around waiting to corrupt someone else.


Another example takes place in churches. Some people think that they are better than others and some denominations think that they are the best etc. I am not pointing fingers at any one or any denomination. Everyone's looked down on someone somewhere in their life time. It's human nature. It seems like I am repeating myself but it's the truth. 


The Samaritan woman was surprised that Jesus was talking to her. After all he was Jewish and she was Samaritan. I won't go on farther since we all know the story. The point I want to make is that if we find common ground with someone who we don't know very well or flat out dislike, it can open so many doors. I've learned this recently with a co worker. I could go on and on and on about this but I won't since I will again be repeating myself. So, Do następnego razu ~ Michaela


Nov. 1. Ps.34

Nov. 2. Rom. 1:16-17 / Luke 9:51-56

Nov. 3. John 6:41-59

Nov. 4. Rom. 12:1-8

Nov. 5. Rom. 12:9-21

Nov. 6. 1 Cor. 14:1-19

Nov. 7. 1 Cor. 14:20-25

Nov. 8. Ps. 35

Nov. 9. Ps. 87

Nov. 10. Micah 6: 1-16

Nov. 11. Rom. 5: 1-11

Nov. 12. Micah 7:1-14

Nov. 13. Isa. 31

Nov. 14. Matt. 5:33-37 / Luke 9:23-27

Nov. 15. 2 Cor. 6:1-18

Nov. 16. Num. 18:21-32

Nov. 17. Ps. 45

Nov. 18. Isa. 32:1-8

Nov. 19. Isa. 32:9-20

Nov. 20. Amos 3:1-8

Nov. 21. Amos 5:1-15

Nov. 22. Mark 7:1-23

Nov. 23. 1 Cor. 9:1-18

Nov. 24. 1 Cor.9:19-27

Nov. 25. 1 Cor. 10:1-13

Nov. 26. 1 Cor. 10:14-22

Nov. 27. 1 Cor. 10:23-33

Nov. 28. Isa. 33:1-16

Nov. 29. Isa. 33:17-24

Nov. 30. 1 Tim. 5



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.   



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





"If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living." ~Gail Sheehy  




College Life:Should You Join a Fraternity or Sorority?


One of the most fulfilling aspects of the college experience is the social aspect. Often, you'll make lifelong friends during your four or more years you spend earning your bachelor's degree. One way to have access to a tight knit social group in college is through the Greek system. While not all universities have fraternities and sororities, many do. As your homeschooling education is culminating, like mine did about ten years ago, you should prepare yourself now for all the collegiate decisions you'll have to make once you enter university. Consider the following about Greek life:


1. Fraternities and sororities offer an instant social group. This is perhaps the greatest advantage of joining a Greek organization. After going through the initial rushing and initiation process, you participate in many bonding activities that can afford you instant, incredibly close friends. Girls in my sorority in college I still talk to at least once a week, and we all very regularly get together throughout the year, even though we live in different parts all over the country.


2. The Greek system can be expensive, depending on the fraternity or sorority you join. This is one aspect of the Greek system that often gets overlooked. Depending on the fraternity or sorority you join, you can expect to pay some hefty member dues. When it's rushing time, figure out which organizations are more affordable. One of my friends was in a fraternity that charged $800 a semester on member dues alone!


3. Steer clear of organizations that force members to do things that make you uncomfortable. You've heard the horror stories of hazing rituals gone wrong. While I think, for the most part, these are fairly isolated instances, don't ever join an organization that encourages or forces its members to partake in activities that are dangerous or illegal. Of course, you'll likely encounter alcohol, but be aware that if you join the right Greek organization, you'll never be peer pressured into drinking. I didn't touch one drop of alcohol in college, and all my sorority sisters respected that. The Greek system is supposed to be fun, and for the most part, it is. Steer clear of the bad apples.


4. The Greek system often encourages volunteerism, which can be incredibly rewarding. Aside from the social aspect of the Greek system, there's the wider community aspect that I really enjoyed as well. Most fraternities and sororities will go out into their respective communities and volunteer in various capacities. If you join a religiously affiliated Greek organization, fraternities and sororities can also help you stay in touch with your faith. These were some of the most rewarding moments during my undergraduate career.


To go Greek or not go Greek is a tough question. It's not absolutely essential to enjoying your time in college, so even if the Greek system predominates at your school, don't feel obliged to join it. At the same time, it can truly enhance your experience.


What do you think about Greek organizations? Are you considering joining a fraternity or sorority? Why or why not, and what are your concerns? Chime in below!


Aniya Wells is a freelance blogger who loves writing about education, new technology, lifestyle and health. As an education writer, she works to provide helpful information on the best colleges and college experiences. Read more of her writing on www.onlinedegreeprograms.com.




Laughter, Tears, and Our Teen Years, by McKennaugh


Best Friends Forever


A few years ago, I invited a friend to come to my house for a sleepover. She came, and we had a good time goofing off, laughing, and joking around. My brothers wanted to be with us, too, but I asked them to leave us alone-we wanted "girl time". Unfortunately, this friend of mine didn't think highly of her little brother. She made rude comments about him and complained about what a terrible bother he was. I, though I'm ashamed to admit it, started thinking, Yeah, brothers are a bother. Yeah, they're no fun. They're annoying. My mom saw the change in my attitude towards them that night. The next morning, after my friend left, she tearfully confronted me and pointed out how wrong I had treated them. She opened my eyes to what I had done. I realized that, in order to please a friend, I had been a traitor to my BEST friends. My brothers. I vowed in my heart to never again let someone turn my feelings against the people I really loved.


When my brothers and I were little, we spent every minute together. I used to kneel on the floor with Brennan and play matchboxes with him for hours. I remember thinking that it wasn't any fair when he got matchboxes from someone for Christmas and I didn't. So what if I was a girl? We did everything together and I liked cars just as much as he did. I grew out of matchboxes long before he did, but that didn't matter. Nevin, Brennan, and I still made cakes out of mud and pretended in my treehouse. We still hid in the woods and made strange drawings. Mom would ask, "What's that that you drew?" ("Mo-o-om! It's a person, of course!!")


Things change as you grow up. I don't always like the same things that they like anymore. But there's one thing that I hope will never change. Our love for each other. If you ask me, I'll tell you they're the best brothers ever. Sometimes, yes, siblings get on my nerves. There is only so many times they can circle me yelling, "blaaah booop goop zoom wheeeel wapppa wapppa!!" before I blow up at them.


And, I guess, there's only so many times that I can talk to them about what I'm writing, what I want to write and what I want them to write, before they run away from me. We have different interests now. They like to work with wood; I like to write novels. Brennan's a great cook; I slop together noodles or brownies. Nevin likes to make paper airplanes; I like to draw. I want to play Uno; they want to play Camp. There are still things that we enjoy doing together, just not as many as when we were little. But, no matter what, I always want to be their best friend.


Sure, sometimes being a big sister is tough. (I'm sure they would say that being my little brothers is tough, too.) Yesterday, I went to the YMCA with part of my family and Dad was participating in a class there. I wanted to work out, too, but four-year-old Tivon needed somebody to take care of him. So I took him to the play area for kids. There wasn't much to do in there, so we got out basketballs and bounced them around. Tivon loved that. Finally, I decided that I was going to try out the equipment, anyway. I took all three little brothers into the workout room. Brennan (age 12) and Nevin (age nine) were old enough to take care of themselves. However, you have a slight problem when the four-year-old takes if upon himself to try out the treadmill. I spent my workout time restraining a laughing little guy from falling on his face.


We headed back over to the playroom. "Go potty," Tivon told me. So I dash out of the YMCA to our car where he can use his portable travel potty. He seems to enjoy taking a loooong time.


At last we get back inside. It's almost time to go. Nevin runs up to me with his tongue hanging down to his chin. "I'm thirsty," he pleads.


"Nevin, please, can you wait?"


"No. Just give me the keys to the car and I'll go."


I can't let a nine-year-old walk out to the car alone. Besides, it's dark out. I have no choice but to go with him.


Tivon is following me with a hula hoop. He's shrieking with laughter. As I reach the door with Nevin, Tiv tries to run outside too. "Don't let him get out, Brennan," I yell. For one thing, I don't need a little boy to keep track of in the dark, and, for another thing, he's not allowed to bring the hula hoop outside, since it belongs to the YMCA. Getting the hoop out of his hands would be like stealing a hunk of meat from a wolf. Brennan drags him away from the door. Tivon is screaming now and not with laughter, either.


I rush Nevin to the car. Turns out that he didn't only want to get a drink, but also wanted to change his outfit. As we come inside, my Dad's done with the class. He glances at me and says, "You look all frazzled. Have you been running?"


"No," I say. Unless you count running back and forth from the car, the playroom, the gym, and the workout room.


As we pulled out of the parking lot Dad said, "It sure is dark out tonight."


I almost said, "Sure is," when I realized that he was hinting at the fact I didn't turn the headlights on. Occasionally, sisters have bad days.


But I still don't regret hanging out with my brothers last night.


Yeah, whenever I upset the four-year-old he runs after me, trying to hit me while yelling, "Spank Kenna! Kenna bein' BAAAAAD!"   


Yeah, a few days ago the twelve-year-old pinned me down on the trampoline while the nine-year-old tried to force-feed me leaves.


But that's okay. They're my best friends...and despite the fact I'd get to write this column in a nice quiet room, despite the fact I'd get to work out at the YMCA, despite the fact we have to divide the last orange into a zillion pieces because we must always share, I'd never, ever want to be an only child.


I am so glad my mother took me aside that day to tell me how important siblings are. No matter what, never betray them. Friends will leave you. However, if you really care about your siblings and establish a relationship with them, your brothers and sisters will be your best friends forever.


McKennaugh Kelley ([email protected]) is sixteen years old. She lives in Troy, Pennsylvania with a handful of crazy, creative, but mostly wonderful little brothers.


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

[email protected]  






The Razor's Edge,by Madeleine Richey


This month I wrote about synthetic drugs (designer drugs). Up until recently they were legal, and there are still some that are, though the fight to outlaw them has been picking up in recent years. The trend started about 10 or 15 years ago in an attempt to manufacture a high inducing drug that was not illicit and wouldn't result in hefty fines or jail time if you were caught in possession of it....[However], just because something is legal and you can buy it on the internet, does not make it safe to use. Drugs are a bad idea, but I don't think teens will stop using them until we know exactly what they do and WHY they are bad for us. ~Madeleine


Synthetic Drugs: 2C-E

In the war we are waging against drugs, what I find to be rarely mentioned are synthetic drugs. Synthetic drugs (yes, synthetic as in fake, not real) can do the same amount of damage if not more as any other drug you might call 'real.'

2C-E is a Synthetic Drug (also known as a Designer Drug). I thought it deserved special attention when I stumbled across an article about a party last year in which eleven teens overdosed on the designer drug, and one died as a result. Maybe you heard of it-it's called the Blaine party.

17 March, 2011-In Blaine, Minnesota, 21-year-old Timothy Lamere bought the synthetic drug 2C-E, and provided it to friends (most still in their teens) at a party held in his house. At 1:00 AM police received a 911 call when one of the teens started to suffer horrible side effects from the overdose. All the victims were between the ages of 16 and 21. Some teens had fled the party. In total, eleven partygoers overdosed on 2C-E. 19-year-old Trevor Robinson was taken to the hospital along with ten others, and died only hours later from overdose. He left behind a five-month-old son, and friends who will suffer from the memories of that night until the day they die. Timothy Lamere was sentenced to nearly ten years in prison.

Synthetic drugs have been a legal alternative to other drugs for years. They were considered to be safer, and more importantly, you could buy them off the internet. What people don't know, is that they are entirely different.

The teens at the Blaine party told police that they added 2C-E to drinks, and snorted it like cocaine. They had no idea how much was a lethal dose. And that was how Trevor Robinson died. Typically, when snorting cocaine you would insufflate (inhale) about 100-200 mg at, let's call it 'street purity.' (The problem with cocaine and other illicit drugs is that since they are illegal, they aren't regulated and you never know how pure they are, and therefore what's in them.) A heavy dosage of 2C-E when snorted is about 10 mg. When Trevor Robinson and his friends decided to snort 2C-E like cocaine, they were ingesting 10 or more times the suggested dosage.

The bottom line? No two drugs are alike. Never assume anything. Don't take anything without knowing what it is, what is in it, and how much is considered 'lethal.' If they'd known that 2C-E was ten times as powerful as your average dose of cocaine, their tragedy might have been avoided. Better yet, don't do drugs at all. As a local sheriff my mother encountered said, "If you have teenagers who you even think are on the verge of trying synthetic drugs, it would be better for them if you beat them with a stick!" He had recently retired from working at the county jail, and was speaking in reference to the many times crazed synthetic addicts had been brought in.

A psychedelic drug, 2C-E (2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethylphenethylamine) is part of the 2C family. The effects of the average dose last anywhere between 6 and 10 hours, taking about 20-90 minutes to kick in. 2C-E is now a Schedule I controlled substance. It is illegal to buy, sell, or posses in the U.S.A. without a DEA license.

Here is the link to a video where survivors of the Blaine party tell their story. It's worth the watch. http://www.startribune.com/video/135710538.html#/135710538/video/1/

For help with a drug overdose, call 911.

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." Visit her blog at http://yourstorydieswithyou.blogspot.com    


The World Around Us,by Adrianna Kuzma


Contraceptive Use in China Appears to Be Affecting Water Supply and Fish


In May of this year, an expert in heavy metal pollution in water and a former researcher at the University of Hawaii named Liangjie Dong reported in the Journal of Environmental Sciences, that China has high levels of estrogen disrupting compounds or EDC in its drinking water (Wencong). An artificial hormone known as progestins mimics the human progesterone, either alone or combined with estrogen. When used in contraceptive pills, these synthetic hormones make their way into the water supply. The study used 23 water samples from 6 river sources, finding all of them contaminated at higher levels than rivers in the United States, Europe, Australia, and South Korea (Liang and Pansey). 


The World Around Us  


Lu, Mount. "Tap Water Containing Contraceptives How Negligible?" China Business Network.  18 May 2012. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.


The pills Chinese women take go through their digestive systems and out through the sanitation system where they affect water supply and marine life. Conventional water cleaning processes fail to catch the micro medicine EDC that is in the water. However, Tom Chan, who is the Chief engineer of the Shanghai Water Authority Water Supply Management Division, stated that the test was done using untreated river water, that only small or trace amounts were found, and that the water purification process reduces levels of EDC ("Experts").  Nonetheless, others have noted that current water treatment methods in China are inadequate to stop the EDCs from getting into the drinking supply (Liang and Pansey). Compared to other countries, women in China consume a lot of contraceptive pills, with 70 percent of all women in China use contraception in contrast to only 2 percent in Cameroon (Hayes). Taking pills to stop from becoming pregnant is part of China's efforts of population control.


The World Around Us  


Oas, Rebecca.  "What the Pill Is Doing to Our Water Supply." Catholic Lane." 18 May 2012.  Web. 25 Oct. 2012.


There are concerns both within China and among those who buy fish from China, that the EDCs stay in the water and affect the marine population. The pills go into the local river systems where the fish are located.  Marine mammals are most affected by the medicine that is in the water because they are swimming in it. The EDC affects the female marine mammals the most because it makes them produce more females than males and sometimes the males turn into females.


The World Around Us  


Fyfe, Melissa and Royce Millar "Alarm at Antibiotics in Fish Imports." Live Skinny. 30 May 2012.  Web. 25 Oct. 2012. 


While it is unclear what the long term effects of these birth control pills will be, changes noted in lower life forms is always reason for concern. Even a liberal online magazine like Mother Nature Network has seemingly advocated trying alternatives to taking pills including abstinence, especially in light of the potential effects on the environment (Early). So, it is interesting to notice that this is one subject where conservatives and liberals should be able to reach agreement.


For a complete list of Works Cited, see: http://www.homeschoolingteen.com/2012/11/contraceptive-use-in-china-appears-to-be-affecting-water-supply-and-fish/


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.




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




Career-of-the-Month: What it Takes to Be a Nanny


A very common job for responsible teenagers is being a nanny for a family because of its easy schedule and good pay. Though it can be a difficult job at times it can be rewarding with many great benefits. Here is the info you need to know before you become a nanny:


Job duties: Being a nanny is more than just being a babysitter on a Saturday night for a family. Working for a family as a nanny means that you become part of their family. Typically a nanny works daily in the family's home, with or without the parents being home. Your tasks include everything that the child needs throughout the day, from waking them up, getting them dressed, meals, playing, taking them to activities and teaching them basic skills. Depending on the family, your nanny duty can include chores around the home and sometimes errands like grocery shopping. Your job as a nanny is to guide and uphold the family practices and values they want in their children's life. You are there to aid and help them through their child's growth.


What families look for: Families want a nanny that is first and foremost, responsible. This means never being late and always doing the right thing when it comes to working with the children. A good nanny needs to be a leader with a creative mind. You are there to enhance the children's life and a creative mind helps this. Patience is more than a virtue it is a nanny's must have personality trait; working with kids can get frustrating at times. Most families are looking for those that have experience but are willing to work with those who do not but have the passion to nanny.


Benefits: Being a nanny has a lot of benefits, most of all its fun and rewarding! Having the ability to not only help a family out but to help mold and become part of a child's life is an amazing feeling. Your days are spent with youthful and silly minds; it's hard not to smile. Of course there will be demanding and difficult days but that comes with any job. You will learn a lot from being a nanny that you can apply to other aspects of your life like responsibility, leadership and patience.


How to find a nanny job: There are different ways you can find the right nannying job for you. You can start asking around to families that you know that already have a nanny. Word of mouth is the cheapest and easier way to find the family. You could also try going online and working with reliable nanny matching sites. These sites connect you to the families that are in need and from there you and the family work on seeing if it is the right fit.


Being a nanny is not for everyone, it's for those who are serious and devoted to helping children. To figure out if it is the right job for you, speak with your parents, other nannies and make the decision. It's a wonderful experience that no one should miss out on!


Author Byline: Kelsey is the editor in chief for www.findananny.net. She loves to write articles and ideas that parents and nannies would be interested in hearing. She helps society on giving information about nannies through nanny services. She is a professional writer and loves writing on anything.




Libbi's Nonfiction Book Review

  Libbi's Nonfiction Book Review

Fasting: Student Edition, by Jentezen Franklin


Do you want to supercharge your relationship with God, and make your spiritual life come alive? Then Jentezen Franklin's Fasting: Student edition is the book for you. With helpful, and biblical insights, Jentezen makes this book a spiritual (and physical) renovator. Fasting is often overlooked, or, more honestly, ignored. No one likes to even think about fasting, and only a small remnant care to actually do this sacred practice. Looking through scriptures, however, we are able to see the importance of fasting. Not as a way of dieting, not Pharisaical tradition, but as a way to draw closer to God while denying your flesh.


I liked:

�      The personal stories. Jentezen Franklin did a great job of including his own personal stories within the book, and he also included examples to help whoever reads in.

�      The easy-to-read feel. Now, this is not an "I Can Read It" book, but it is certainly easier to read than any other book on fasting I have seen. A perfect gift for a high school graduate, college graduate, etc.

�      The shape and size. Now, this has nothing to do with the content, but the way the book was shaped and sized made me want to read it.

�      The biblical value. It really went back to scripture often, which is important to me.

I disliked: Nothing. It was a great read.


Overall: This was a great book, perfect for any student, young or not-so-young. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to revolutionize your walk with God.


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


Libbi is a homeschooler who runs the Life is Funner blog at http://lifeisfunner.blogspot.com . She likes peacocks, the color pink, hair accessories, and reading biographies.


Send your book reviews to: [email protected] 




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

  Swipe, by Evan Angler


Swipe, by Evan Angler   

Logan is just months away from getting Marked - from becoming a free adult. But his sister left for her Mark five years ago and never returned... and Logan swears he's being watched.


This book is awesome. It's set in future North America (dystopian? yes, please!), where all citizens of the American Union can receive the Mark on their thirteenth birthday. Pledging to receive the Mark isn't required, but it's the only way to go to the movies, buy groceries, or do any other adult activity - so everybody does. Everybody except the Markless, who are dreaded and dangerous criminals.

But to Logan, the Mark creates a mixed reaction. On the one hand, he knows it's supposed to be the right thing to do. On the other hand, he is one of the few children who know that Flunkees - those who die during their Pledge - are real. His sister Flunked her Pledge five years ago. Then there's the matter of his paranoia; nobody believes him, but he knows he's been watched since her death. Things only get worse when a new girl comes to town and Logan becomes involved in a conflict of international proportions.

I love futuristic novels, and this one didn't disappoint. It's a fast read that holds your attention and keeps you turning pages. The plot was great, and the characters were realistic. I especially liked the parts where Logan and the new girl brushed with the Markless - although I won't say anything else. No spoilers here. :)

My only complaint would be the intended audience. The book is marketed to kids age 7-10; but, with the setting, characters, and events combined, I would be more inclined to recommend Swipe for kids ages 9-13. There's some romantic elements and complicated world building, although not enough to make this YA fiction. If you're a teenager who's not opposed to reading younger characters (like I am), then you're sure to enjoy it, too. I've already read (and love!) the sequel, Sneak, which released this September.

While I originally chose this book just for reviewing purposes, my brothers and I recently started a family book club and chose Swipe for our first book. There are no discussion guides available at the moment. So I wrote my own! The author himself has read and loves my questions; if you'd like to use the discussion guide yourself, just email me at [email protected]. I'd post it here, but it contains some spoilers.

All in all, I give this book 4.5 stars and look forward to more from Evan Angler. I received this book for free through BookSneeze in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.


Emily Rachelle is a homeschooled junior 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.



Game Review

  Good Old Games: The Best Games in History



Good Old Games: The Best Games in History


GOG.com (formerly Good Old Games) is a computer game reseller owned by Polish game publisher CD Projekt and headquartered in the Mediterranean island country of Cyprus. Their customer base is 50% American and 50% from the rest of the world.


The company offers legacy games at bargain prices for both PC and Mac, repackaging older titles so that they can be played on modern operating systems. The games are purchased and downloaded online, and they are DRM-free which will appeal to users who despise the hassles of copy protection. Likewise, the user doesn't have to install special client software to download or run the games, although an optional download manager is available. In order to ensure compatibility with newer versions of Microsoft Windows, some of the older games are pre-patched or bundled with Open Source emulation and compatibility software.


GOG.com managing director Guillaume Rambourg told IndustryGamers, "What's most interesting about our audience is that they are not entirely older gamers. The bell curve of the average age of a GOG.com user has two peaks, actually. One around 18 years old, and another in the late twenties. That means that we're not only selling to gamers who love these games from their gaming past, but we're also serving as a platform for younger gamers to discover classic games that have made the industry what it is."


Despite the name, some of the games sold by GOG.com aren't really that old. Part of their plan is to stock newer games that never really had a chance to shine when they first came out. Still, the site's biggest draw is its large collection of classic games. Game categories include: Action, Adventure, Indie, Racing & Sports, Role-Playing, Shooter, Simulation, and Strategy. The prices of older games typically range from about $5 to $10. Newer games range from $10 to $30.


A limited selection of games are available for free, so you can test GOG.com without any costs or commitment. One of these is Teen Agent, a point-and-click adventure game from Polish developer and CD Projekt family member, Metropolis Software. In this game, the player controls teenage boy Mark Hopper who wants to be a secret agent. Originally released for Amiga and DOS in 1994, it's a short but funny and surprisingly entertaining game, although some of the puzzles can be frustrating. The music is catchy and you can get a free fan tribute remix album at http://teenagent.ocremix.org.


Unlike "abandonware" sites that offer cracked copies of obsolete games for grey-market downloading, GOG.com tracks down the rights holders and has forged relationships with most major publishers to offer the titles for sale legally. GOG.com also supplies high-quality scans of the games' original documentation including downloadable manuals, maps, and additional items where possible. Bonus extras may include the game's soundtrack, wallpapers, avatars, and other material relating to the game. GOG.com also provides full customer support for all purchases.


Guillaume Rambourg stated in an interview at Rock Paper Shotgun, "We provide a lot of value in our games that goes beyond just the price. This is one of the key ways we fight against piracy, after all: providing gamers with more value than a pirate does. We actually generate more than half of our revenue from full-price sales, simply because we keep our prices reasonable in the first place." Still, GOG.com does hold special promotional offers on a regular basis. The types of promotions vary from discounts on bundled products, to thematic competitions like riddles, "guess a game from a picture" contests, or "best time on a specific level."


GOG.com has signed deals with a number of publishers including: Activision, Atari, Cyan Worlds, Electronic Arts, Interplay, Sierra Online, Ubisoft, and many more. As of November 1, 2012, there are 473 games available on GOG.com. These include some of the biggest names in gaming history, including: Baldur's Gate, Deus Ex, Duke Nukem 3D, Fallout, Far Cry, Medal of Honor, Myst, Riven, SimCity, The 7th Guest, Unreal, and the Zork Anthology. GOG.com also has quite a few of my personal but perhaps lesser-known favorites: MDK, MDK2, Trine, Psychonauts, and Back to the Future. More games are released on the GOG.com site regularly, including over 60 games for Mac owners to play and enjoy - many of which are available on Mac OS for the very first time.


GOG.com does an excellent job of filling a long-unfulfilled niche role as a back-catalog distributor for gaming software, and they even have some recent titles that you may have missed. Some of these games are not available through any other online distribution channel. The site also features an extensive community component that allows players to rate, review and discuss their favorite games, as well as insightful articles from respected game journalists. If you haven't already checked it out, then head straight over to www.GOG.com, create an account and start your exploration of the best that gaming has to offer.


Looking for remakes of classic 80's arcade or platform games like Asteroids, Pac-Man, Centipede, Donkey Kong, Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Space Invaders, Tetris, or even Pong? Try http://www.tripletsandus.com/80s/80s_games/arcade.htm and http://www.classic-retro-games.com



Anime Review, by Xbolt


Cromartie High School


Cromartie High School


Cromartie High is just about he best darn comedic show I've ever seen. Everything in this show seems geared specifically towards me. Rampant randomness, deadpan humor, general awesomeness. The over-the-top dramatic art style only serves to increase its power level.


Takashi Kamiyama has just enrolled in high school. Not just any high school, Cromartie High School. Cromartie is famous for being full of delinquent tough guys. But Takashi, being rather normal, is seen as the toughest guy of all, because only an extremely tough rabbit would lie down in a den of lions.


Shinjiro Hayashida is the first friend that Takashi makes at Cromartie. He has a purple mohawk.


Akira Maeda claims he has never lost a fight, and says he even won a 5-on-1 fight. Everyone ignores him because he lacks a nickname.


Freddie is a suspenders-wearing awesome guy who never talks. He rides to school on a horse.


Gorilla is a... gorilla... who goes to Cromartie. He is smarter than the rest of the guys, and is an excellent sushi chef.


Shinichi Mechazawa is suspected to be a robot. However, nobody besides Takahi and Shinjiro notice, including Mechazawa himself.


HE ATE MY PENCIL! - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kS_bEEW0PsE


This was the very first thing I ever saw from Cromartie High. After I saw this, I immediately said, "I. MUST. WATCH. THIS. ANIME." So I did.


Visit Xbolt's blog: http://blog.xboltz.net     




Homeschooling High School:

Access to International Examinations for High Schoolers


By Samantha Eddis, Ph.D.


Home schoolers are not a monolithic group. Instead, they are as varied in their perspectives, pedagogies, and educational desires as the families they represent. I know this, as I have mixed with plenty of home schoolers while home educating my four children over the last twelve years. However, for the purpose of this article, I am going to target one section of our population- those home schoolers who want to access widely recognizable, accredited qualifications (such as SATs, ACTs or other options). In fact, I specifically want to mention one of the 'other options' that I have used since 2007, and will continue to use for all four of my children, and for the students that I also tutor:


High School Option for Home Schoolers - Cambridge International Examinations (CIE)


Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) is part of an internationally accredited qualification program, available in selected schools throughout the USA, as well as in many other countries, and available to home schoolers who want accredited qualifications to complete their high school years.


CIE is offered in a wide variety of subjects, at the lower level of IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) or the higher AS or A Level (Advanced Subsidiary or Advanced Level). To think about these levels in terms of traditional high school, IGCSEs are generally completed by the end of 10th Grade but they are equivalent to completing high school matriculation requirements. This is at the end of 10th Grade. The AS and A Level subjects are then taken and completed by the end of 12th grade.


In many colleges and universities, depending on the subjects taken, college credit is given for good passes at AS and A Level. If you want to know more about which colleges and universities accept the CIE program and the range and level of exams needed for application purposes, please visit http://recognition.cie.org.uk and input your state or the college/university. Some universities, like ASU in Arizona, will give up to 8 credits for AS and A Levels, while others (many of them in Florida), will give up to 45 credits. So, it may be worth looking at the end goal (college or university) before embarking on IGCSEs and A Levels, so that you can maximise your opportunities at college or university. 


Where is CIE offered?


CIE is an international program, created by the Cambridge Assessment Group, a department of the University Of Cambridge, United Kingdom. However, over 150,000 students in schools or home educating around the world take CIE subjects every year. In the USA, the CIE program is relatively new, though, it has been used in selected Florida schools since 1995. There are more CIE schools registering every year in the USA, including my state, Arizona. As home schoolers, we can access CIE subjects from anywhere, as all the curriculum specifications/syllabuses, resources lists, and plenty of free resources are available online. Textbooks can be bought online or usually ordered from the large bookstores. The only snag to taking CIE subjects is finding a Registered Examination Center to take the exams (see below for more details).


How does the CIE program develop students?


I am a huge fan of the CIE program, for several reasons. I used a similar program as a student in school; and, as a teacher, I have used a similar program in schools (in London and Hong Kong). CIE also enables the student greater flexibility, I feel, to choose subjects that they will enjoy, and gives them the opportunity to see exactly what is covered in each subject through the syllabus.


In addition, there is a greater emphasis on articulating knowledge and skill sets gained through essays, or short answer responses on the final examinations. I believe that, if a student really knows his or her material, it is possible to consistently illustrate this comprehension throughout the course and in the examinations. So, each CIE subject has been carefully crafted to develop:

1        Higher order thinking skills;

2        oral, writing and problem solving skills;

3        investigative and research skills;

4        independent learning and group work;

5        the ability to use initiative; and

6        an understanding of international perspectives.


Students who successfully take on CIE subjects are able to become independent learners and achieve a high quality of work of which they can be proud. Successful students can easily segue from IGCSEs into AP classes, A Levels or college classes, as they have already developed the skills that will guide them through these more demanding educational levels.


What subjects are offered with the CIE program?


Are you ready? There are about 50 subjects to choose from (check each syllabus carefully to make sure it is available for 'private candidates' as that is the term home schoolers use with CIE - though this is only necessary if you plan on taking the exams and want a qualification). The subjects include Mathematics, English Language and Literature, Sciences (either combined or separated into Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Foreign Languages, Humanities and Social Sciences such as Geography, History, Sociology, Psychology, and Global Perspectives, as well as other subjects like Accounting, Business Studies, Travel and Tourism. For more details, please go to http://eddistutorial.com/igcses.html and http://eddistutorial.com/asa-levels.html or visit the Cambridge website at  www.cie.org.uk   


If you do not want to do the subjects as an examination, you can still download the syllabuses from the CIE website at www.cie.org.uk and use it as a program for learning. All the preparation work has been done for you, and there will always be plenty of resources on the Internet or from textbooks to help you cover the whole syllabus. [For my children, I want them to have qualifications at the end of the day so that they have third-party recognition for their hard work - I know they are great students, but they appreciate having their work assessed by an examination board].


A personal case study with CIE


My eldest child did not want to do virtual high school, and she did not want to go into the local high school after her years of home education. So we started with the CIE program, even though it was not available in any Arizona school (which meant no local center for examinations), and there was no one else that we knew that was trying this approach.


When my daughter started the CIE program in seven subjects, she was twelve years old. Finding textbooks to cover the syllabus was easy enough (CIE syllabuses are freely available online, and getting the books were not too hard). What was harder was the time spent accessing the Internet for 'teaching support' - study guides, lesson plans, free resources, free games on subject material, and so on. I worked hard to find resources for my daughter and the benefit of my extensive and continuing research for 'teacher support' is a website dedicated to IGCSEs, AS and A Levels that has plenty of information and the free resources that I have found. [Please visit the website at www.eddistutorial.com ]


My daughter was able to take her IGCSEs when she was fourteen (two years is the usual time span to take IGCSEs) - but we first had to find a Registered Examination Center for her. Remember, as home schoolers, this is the only snag that we run into, but it is possible to find the center and never have a problem. Sometimes, as in our case, you can go to a different center if one becomes available closer to your home (though you can only change centers after completion of an examination session). My daughter took her AS and A Levels at a Center in Florida, and by the age of 17 had three university offers. My son will be taking his A levels in Arizona as we finally have some centers that are willing to accept home schoolers for their CIE exams.


How can you find out more?


Cambridge International Examinations are available for home schoolers, for the pure enjoyment of learning about a subject, or to complete final examinations in a Registered Examination Center. To find out more about the subjects available and about the Registered Examination Centers, please go to www.eddistutorial.com and have a look through the website. There is a lot of material to go through, especially if you are new to this high school curriculum. However, it is an option that may be worth exploring as a good fit for your family.


If you live in Arizona, and your home schooling group would like me to give a presentation and Q&A on the CIE program, please contact me via my website and I will see what can be arranged.


Ultimately, the reason I wrote this article was to share what I have been doing for the last five years. I feel as I have been holding onto a secret that other home schoolers should know about - and I would like to help others be successful in their home schooling lives. I am happy to respond to any questions that you might have about the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) program, so please contact me at [email protected]


Samantha Eddis, PhD has been teaching and tutoring for over 30 years, and has been home educating for over twelve years. As a desire to give information back to the home educating community about accessing qualifications at high school level, she created her website earlier this year at www.eddistutorial.com. She is currently developing teaching materials that are specific to the CIE curriculum subjects that she has taught, working on updating the website with more resources and links, tutoring and preparing her son for AS and A Level examinations.





/know brainz/


By Devin and Savannah Hicks


/know brainz/


"I have to be honest with you, George... I am a bit disappointed with our 'dragon.'"


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: [email protected]   

The Sports Report, by Caela


The NHL Lockout

The NHL lockout started because the owners were going to reduce the revenue that the players get per year. They were going to go from 57% to 46% revenue per year. So on September 15th the lockout began four days later on September 19th the NHL canceled all the preseason games in the month of September. Eight days later on September 27th the NHL canceled the rest of the preseason games which lost $100 million dollars in revenue. On October 11th the regular season was scheduled to start but on October 4th the NHL canceled 82 games until October 24th. Two weeks later on October 19th 53 more games were canceled through November 1st.  On October 26th all games in the month of November were canceled until December 1st for a total of 191 games canceled so far. With this announcement that makes it 326 games canceled along with that the Hall of Fame game between the New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs on November 9th and the Thanksgiving Showdown on Black Friday were among the games canceled in November all because of this lockout. By October 16th the owners came out with their first proposal of a 50-50 split in revenue.  The players would decline it and make three counterproposals on October 18th two days later. Even though the lockout is unfortunate for some of the players that just want to play hockey they are able to go and play in Europe hockey leagues to help keep them healthy, fit and their game sharp. Here are some of the players that are playing in Europe: Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, Ilay Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburg Penguins, and Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals are going back to their native Russia. Here are some other players going to Europe: Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, Rick Nash of the New York Rangers, Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators, Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks, and Henrik Zetterberg of the Detroit Red Wings are all going to Switzerland.  These are just some of the 140 NHL players that have joined European hockey teams. Well let's hope the lockout ends before there is no season and there will be a great 2013-2014 season.


The 2012 MLB Postseason (Playoffs)

The postseason started on October 5th with the wild card games. The first wild card game was the National League Wild Card game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves. The Cardinals won 6-3 to move on to the next series. The second wild card game was the American League Wild Card game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers.  The Baltimore Orioles won 5-1 to move on to the next series. The two National League Division Series (NLDS) were between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals; the other series was between the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants. In the first series the Nationals won games 1and 4; but the Cardinals won games 2, 3 and 5 to win and move on to the next series. In the second series the Reds won games 1 and 2; but the Giants won games 3, 4 and 5 to win and move on to the next series. The two American League Division Series (ALDS) were between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles; the other was between the Oakland A's and the Detroit Tigers. In the first series the Orioles won games 2 and 4; but the Yankees won games 1, 3 and 5 to win and move on to the next series. The A's won games 3 and 4; but the Tigers won games 1, 2 and 5 to win and move on to the next series. The National League Championship Series (NLCS) was between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants. The Cardinals won games 1, 3 and 4; but the Giants won games 2, 5, 6, and 7 to win and go to the World Series. The American League Championship Series (ALCS) was between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees. The Tigers won games 1, 2, 3, and 4 to sweep the Yankees and to go to the World Series. The World Series is between the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants. The Giants won game one 9-2 to take the lead in the series. Game two went the Giants, they won 2-0 to take a 2-0 series lead. The Giants won game three 2-0 to take a 3-0 series lead. Well the San Francisco Giants beat the Detroit Tigers 4-3 in the tenth inning to sweep the Tigers for the 2012 World Series. This is their second World Series in two years also their seventh in Giants history. Congrats to the Giants on an incredible win and very impressive baseball both on offense and defense. Enjoy the winter and the holidays see you in May for the 2013 season.


Sport Events in November

NFL: In week 9 there are 14 games and the New England Patriots, the New York Jets, the San Francisco 49ers, and the St. Louis Rams have a bye week. In week 10 there are 14 games and the Arizona Cardinals, the Cleveland Browns, the Green Bay Packers, and the Washington Redskins have a bye week. In week 11 there are 14 games and the Minnesota Vikings, the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Tennessee Titians have a bye week. In week 12 there are 16 games no teams have a bye week. The first game of week 13 is on November 29th between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons.

NHL: Not sure when games are going to start because the lockout is still going on.

Men's Tennis: The ATP BNP Paribas Masters is from Oct 29th to Nov 4th. The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is from Nov 4th to Nov 11th and that is the last tournament till 2013.

Women's Tennis: The last tournament in women's tennis is the WTA Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions which is from Oct 30th to Nov 3rd.

PGA Golf Tour: The World Golf Championships- HSBC Champions is from Nov 1st to Nov 4th. The Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic is from Nov 8th to Nov 11th. The Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge is from Nov 12th to Nov 13th and the Tyco Golf Skills Challenge is from Nov 12th to Nov 14th. The World Challenge presented by Northwestern Mutual is from Nov 29th to Dec 2nd. The PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament is from Nov 28th to Dec 3rd.

European Golf Tour: the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions is from Nov 1st to Nov 4th. The Barclays Singapore Open is from Nov 8th to Nov 11th. The HSBC Hong Kong Open and the SA Open Championship are form Nov 15th to Nov 18th. The DP world Tour Championship Dubai is from Nov 22nd to Nov 25th and is the last tournament of the European Tour.

Ladies PGA Golf Tour: The Mizuno Classic is from Nov 2nd to Nov 4th. The Lorena Ochoa Invitational presented by Banamex and Jalisco is from Nov 8th to Nov 11th. The CME Group Titleholders is from Nov 15th to Nov 18th.


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.


Homeschooling Teen Profile:

The Ericksons: Jewels by Julia... and Warfare by Duct Tape


Julia, Mark, and Steven Erickson are three homeschooled siblings who live in a log cabin with a big garden in rural Georgia, and they are all very creative. Hint: their favorite store is Hobby Lobby. ;) The boys like building things with duct tape and LEGOs, while their older sister loves to make unique jewelry creations that shine.



Julia, 21, is a homeschool graduate who has a passion for colors and sparkle. Swarovski crystals, pearls, silver, and floral cabochons are some of her favorite materials. She also loves mirrors, chandeliers, and art glass like lampwork beads, cane glass, and milefiori. She started her business, Jewels by Julia, when she was only 14 years old. "I'm a jewelry designer. That is, when I'm not being a photographer, graphic designer, writer, blogger, reader, crocheter, dancer, or singer. :) I have many hobbies. Jewelry-making just happens to be one of my first. I've been creating beaded jewelry since I was six years old."


Julia specializes in fine glass jewelry, "each piece as unique as a personality." Among her custom jewelry designs are bridal jewelry and other specialty projects. Each of her handcrafted jewelry designs is completely original and never made twice. She loves being challenged to create ever better jewelry designs, saying "Beads and crystals and silver are so much fun to combine into stunning, wearable designs."

The artistic young woman also enjoys sharing her talents with others. She has produced a series of e-books that teach anyone how to create their own handmade jewelry with professional techniques. The e-books contain detailed step-by-step instructions, high quality photos, tips on what tools to use and where to find materials. (Visit the contact page of Julia's website to get a lovely little mini e-book: "How to Make a Pearl and Ribbon Necklace"! You can make it with simple materials easily found at a craft store.)


Julia was homeschooled all the way and continues to live at home with her parents and brothers. She says, "I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for giving me a wonderful family, with a loving, gentle Dad, a talented, amazing Mom, and two younger brothers ages 16 and 18 who are constantly astounding me with the ingenious things they do with LEGOs and duct tape."


Julia adds, "I love the Lord with all my heart....All my inspiration and creativity comes from Him." She would one day like to be a Proverbs 31 wife to a loving husband and a stay-at-home mother "to as many children as God blesses me with." (She would like to have nine kids!) A Jane Austen fan, someday she would also like to publish a novel of her own. In the meantime, Julia does the web design for her dad's landscaping company, her brothers' business - Warfare by Duct Tape (historically-based weapons - swords, shields, helmets - made with duct tape), and her brothers' LEGO blog - iBrick.


Julia booth  


Every May, you can find a beautiful Jewels by Julia booth at the GHEA (Georgia Home Educators Association) Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. This is Julia's main jewelry event, but occasionally she sells at other homeschool conventions, craft fairs and shows. She also has a jewelry display at a shop called "Rescue Me," which sells repurposed, vintage and handmade items.


Visit Julia's website: http://www.jewelsbyjuliashop.com

Read Julia's blog: http://jewelsbyjulia.wordpress.com

Check out Julia's Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheJewelsbyJuliaShop

See her Shining Star interview: http://shiningstarsmagazine.com/2012/03/stay-at-home-daughter-interview-with-julia-erickson/

Julia's other blog can be seen here: http://jewelsbyjulia-lauren.blogspot.com (no longer updated but it's still good)




Mark and Steven are two 18 and 16-year-old homeschooled brothers who love world history, have a passion for LEGO, and just like their older sister Julia they have very creative ideas. From an early age, they enjoyed various types of imaginative play, including the design and building of outstanding LEGO cities and other set-ups.


Their favorite pastime is heading outdoors, building forts, and battling with their own custom-made duct tape weapons. After experimenting with wooden swords, they realized the advantages of PVC pipe, cardboard, plastic bucket lids, foam, and of course duct tape. These materials are safer and more fun to use, plus they stand up to hours of history reenactment. The two brothers decided that this great idea needed to be shared with the world... and Warfare by Duct Tape was born!


Julia was preparing to sell her handmade fine glass jewelry at the 2010 GHEA (Georgia Home Educators Association) convention when the family discovered that the boys could join in on the fun and sell duct tape weapons in the same booth. This provided something for every customer who stopped by, whether boy or girl. Before the show, the boys' mother had a brilliant idea. Why not write up an e-book with patterns and instructions to make the weapons?


Thus, the BATTLE BOOK sprung into existence, followed by The Greco-Roman Book, The Barbarian Book, The Knight Book, the Armor of God Book, and the Armored Glove Book. Mark designed an ingenious Gauntlet Glove made entirely out of duct tape, cardboard, and plastic drinking cups, of all things, and he wrote down the complicated instructions on how to fashion your own.


The Warfare by Duct Tape e-books feature detailed step-by-step instructions, patterns based on historical styles, full-color pictures, as well as information about the thrilling game of duct tape warfare. Chivalry, rules of the game and even ransom money are discussed along with battle strategies. (Scroll down to the bottom of their home page and download a free Throwing Axe booklet!) The e-books are also available on CD.


The brothers, who have been building with LEGO ever since they were young, are now TFOLs (Teen Fans of LEGO). Their favorite theme, of course, is LEGO Castle. Just recently they have become active in the online LEGO community. They just started a blog in which they tell how to create some of their own designs, and also write about other builders' MOCs. ("MOC" standing for "My Own Creation.")  


Mark has also been competing in an online LEGO event called the "MocOlympics." So far he's made it to Round 4... which is no small achievement. In the round 3 match-up, he actually eliminated the builder who won the MocOlympics last year. Check out his entry page on MOCPages, a LEGO builders site, where he's uploaded pictures of his entry, "Assault on the Underworld": http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/345099

Warfare by Duct Tape website: http://warfarebyducttape.com

Warfare by Duct Tape's YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/WarfarebyDuctTape   

iBrick blog: http://inspiredbrick.blogspot.com

Mark of Falworth's Flickr Page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mark-of-falworth/

Brother Steven's Flickr Page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/76437548@N04/




Grand Canyon University




Grand Canyon University (GCU) is a non-denominational Christian university in Phoenix, Arizona, that is popular with homeschoolers. GCU welcomes applications from homeschool students who are at least 16 years of age. Dual enrollment allows students to earn college credits while still in high school and get a head start on their college degree. GCU offers classes in a convenient online learning format as well as a traditional campus environment, or courses can be completed using a combination of both - all at a cost that is as affordable or more affordable than attending a state university. GCU students can take advantage of numerous financing options including scholarships for academic achievement.


Despite its name, GCU is located about four hours away from the national park. Originally founded in 1949, GCU has grown along with the city of Phoenix to become one of the nation's leading private universities. GCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and is consistently ranked among the top colleges offering online courses by noteworthy sources including: Fortune Small Business, Technology & Learning Magazine, Fox.com, Online Education Database (OEDb), and more. GCUhas also been cited as one of G.I. Jobs Magazine's Military Friendly Schools for both 2012 and 2013, recognizing its commitment to military students.


As the premier private university in Arizona, GCU emphasizes personalized attention for both traditional undergraduate students as well as working professionals. GCU has small class sizes with an average of 17 students per class, as well as dedicated full-time faculty who care about the success of their students. Students can get to know their professors and work directly with them on various projects. Individual achievements are also encouraged, giving each student the opportunity to shine in his or her field. The GCU campus has been described by students as a home away from home and an enjoyable place to learn and grow.


GCU offers approximately 100 bachelor's, master's and doctoral degreesin liberal arts, nursing and health science, performing arts and production, teaching, and business through its seven colleges: the Ken Blanchard College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Nursing, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Fine Arts and Production, the College of Christian Studies, and the College of Doctoral Studies. GCU also offers an Executive MBA program.


For undergraduate and graduate students, 4-credit classes allow them to complete their degree program in less time. Many of the undergraduate degree tracks are broad but let students emphasize a certain area. For example, biology majors can complete their degrees with an emphasis in Pre-Medicine, Pre-Pharmacy, or Pre-Physician Assistant; while art design majors can choose to emphasize in animation, screenwriting, web design, or film production.


The College of Arts and Sciences has the largest number of faculty members of any college at GCU and provides course offerings ranging from Robert Frost to Molecular Genetics. The College of Arts and Sciences represents what is commonly called the "core education." Core classes are courses that are required for all degree programs and support GCU's stated mission and vision of student development: "GCU prepares learners to become global citizens, critical thinkers, effective communicators, and responsible leaders by providing an academically challenging, values-based curriculum from the context of our Christian heritage."


As a Christian university, GCU encourages students to apply Christian values and ethics to their studies and to the workplace. GCU offers several Christian studies degrees meant to equip learners to lead as Christians in their areas of influence, be they secular, religious, professional or personal. Along with Christian values, GCU's curriculum embraces quality academic programs and clinical rigor to prepare students to be skilled, caring professionals. There are four pillars that GCU lives by: Academic Advancement, Christian Camaraderie, Extracurricular Excellence, Wellness and Well-Being. In addition, GCU is a university that gives back to the community.  




Grand Canyon University was established by Arizona Southern Baptists as a nonprofit liberal arts college in 1949, to enable local Baptists an opportunity to obtain bachelor's or master's degrees without having to go out of state. Then known as Grand Canyon College, its first campus was located in an abandoned armory building in Prescott, Arizona. Two years later, the school relocated to the present campus in Phoenix. Grand Canyon College became Grand Canyon University in 1989, the first Christian university in Arizona.


Best known for its education, nursing and health sciences programs, GCU faculty, staff and administration developed a strong reputation for helping students to find their purpose and achieve their potential. The college has produced some of the most effective teachers, nurses, health care professionals and fine-arts students in the Southwest, as well as basketball and baseball players who have gone on to compete at the professional level.


In the early 2000s, GCU was struggling with maintaining its operations and the quality of its academic programs in light of dwindling financial support. In 2004, GCU transitioned out of non-profit status, implementing new business practices to turn itself around. In 2008, Grand Canyon University Inc. went public with stock traded on the NASDAQ exchange, making it the first for-profit Christian college in the United States. Today, this smaller, more intimate Arizona university boasts an engaging atmosphere with many amenities and facilities like those found at larger universities.




The student population at GCU is growing steadily, and the university has been expanding its campus over the past few years with millions of dollars spent on new facilities which include an aquatics center with an Olympic-sized heated pool, two new dorm buildings, updated classroom buildings, and a new 55,000-square-foot state-of-the-art fitness and recreation center. The latest dining hall on campus, Thunder Alley, features a cafe, convenience store, various fast food venues, an assortment of games and big-screen televisions, as well as a six-lane bowling alley and an intimate venue for up-close live concerts. The 5,000-seat GCU Arena, which opened in September 2011, is home to GCU's men's and women's basketball teams. The arena also hosts concerts, conferences, theatrical productions and other events.


GCU's massive expansion project has also provided for updated classroom buildings including a new 125-classroom facility. In the Fall of 2010, a 23,000-square-foot classroom building housing 19 classrooms along with administrative staff for the College of Education was completed. In October 2011 GCU broke ground on a new College of Arts and Science building, and in August 2012 the four-story, 73,000-square-foot classroom building and lab facility was completed. It includes forensic chemistry labs as well as a prayer chapel.


GCU has also extensively expanded its student housing. In addition to Hegel Hall, which opened in 2003 and houses over 400 students, Canyon Hall opened in 2010 and houses nearly 550 students, Prescott Hall opened in 2011 and can house up to 500 students, and Camelback and Sedona halls opened in the fall of 2012 and can each house over 600 students. GCU also offers apartment-style living in the North Rim Apartments, which were remodeled in 2011. GCU provides campus safety and security services such as 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, and controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc). By the way, alcohol is not permitted for students at GCU.


In 2010 a GCU satellite campus was opened in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for pre-licensure nursing students in partnership with the Presbyterian Health System. In September 2012, GCU was offered a free 217-acre historical boarding school campus in Northfield, Massachusetts, established in 1879 by famed evangelist Dwight L. Moody and worth at least $150 million, currently owned by the Green family of Hobby Lobby Inc. However, a month later GCU backed out of the deal citing unanticipated costs in tens of millions of dollars compounded by significant resistance from the town.


Student Life


GCU is home to nearly 6,800 traditional students who live and commute to the 100-acre Phoenix campus, which provides the perfect oasis for learning and having fun. (Total enrollment is approximately 40,000, with 95 percent online; in contrast, Arizona State University has over 72,000 students, with nearly 60,000 students enrolled in at least one class on the ASU campus.) At the heart of the GCU campus lies a brick-lined promenade that connects students from their dorms to classrooms, the newly-renovated Student Union, Fleming Library, and weekly chapel services where staff, faculty and students come together to worship.


GCU is home to an array of diverse student-run clubs and organizations that range from those which are academically-focused, to professional organizations, to recreation and leisure, and everything in between, including student government and publications. The Office of Student Life and the Office of Spiritual Life help organize and develop programs and events that not only provide a refreshing break from studies, but aid in the development of leadership skills. The Spiritual Life and Student Life teams also coordinate fun activities such as concerts, barbeques, dances, pizza parties, movies on the lawn, and even skiing excursions. 


For those who love sports, GCU offers a broad range of intramural as well as intercollegiate sports. GCU is part of the NCAA II athletic conference and offers 21 NCAA Division II athletic teams including baseball, basketball, softball, volleyball, soccer, and wrestling. A 55,000-square-foot Student Recreation Center opened in the fall of 2010 that features three basketball courts, a modern athletic training facility, and a fully equipped fitness center for all campus residents. A full schedule of fitness classes is offered daily in the Student Recreation Center. GCU's state-of-the-art health care center gives both nursing and athletic training majors the perfect place to develop their care-giving skills.


As an interdenominational Christian university, GCU has a legacy of guiding students to become socially responsible, compassionate servant leaders by serving fellow students and the surrounding community. GCU offers a wide variety of volunteer programs and service projects for students, faculty and staff to participate in, such as canned food and toy drives. Annual events such as the Memorial Day "Salute Our Troops" celebration, the neighborhood Fall Festival, Christmas tree distribution, and the Run to Fight Children's Cancer are the cornerstones of GCU's community outreach efforts. Staff and students also look for new opportunities to serve as needs arise by providing support to those affected by natural disasters across the country and around the world.




GCU is committed to reaching out to homeschoolers, as the faculty and admissions personnel recognize the merits of homeschooled students. At GCU, a homeschooler is classified as a student who possesses homeschool transcripts from a state that recognizes homeschooling as a valid secondary school option. Applicants who cannot provide official copies of their secondary transcripts from an accredited high school or homeschool program, do not have a GED, and do not have any post-secondary transferable credits may be admitted based on Self-Certification of completion of High School Diploma. In some cases, an enrollment officer may request an admission interview to determine evidence of maturity and readiness for college level work. 


GCU recommends a certain level of academic preparation to provide a solid foundation for undergraduate success. Thus, it is usually necessary that the student satisfactorily complete basic competency requirements. These may be net by a combination of high school courses, college courses, or test scores demonstrating the equivalent of English: 4 years (composition/literature-based); Mathematics: 3 years (2 years of algebra and one higher math); Lab Science: 2 years (one year each of biology, chemistry, earth science, or physics); Social Science: 2 years (one year of American History and one year of either European history, world history, sociology, geography, government, psychology, or anthropology). New freshmen with a deficiency in no more than two competency areas or who otherwise do not meet the enrollment standards may be admitted to GCU with specifications. For more information about GCU, visit www.gcu.edu



Parent's Column


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