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October 1, 2008

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October 1, 2008

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Welcome to Homeschooling Teen Magazine!

October 1, 2008

BY Homeschool Teens… FOR Homeschool Teens!

Homeschooling Teen is the leading online magazine for homeschooled high schoolers and young adult alumni. Much of the content for this monthly e-zine is written by our subscribers, and there are many opportunities for readers to participate – whether it’s submitting book or movie reviews, sending in original short stories and poems, or writing a regular column. Each issue features a profile of a homeschool friendly college as well as a homeschooling teen member, homeschool graduate, or famous homeschooled teen.

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October 1, 2008

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Teresa Scanlan

February 4, 2011

Teresa Scanlan

“Ladies and gentlemen, the 90th anniversary Miss America; your Miss America 2011 is… Miss Nebraska Teresa Scanlan!” The newly-crowned Miss America, 17-year-old Teresa Scanlan of Gering, Nebraska, is a mostly homeschooled Christian who lifted her eyes and hands heavenward in thanksgiving when she was announced as the winner on January 15, 2011. The pageant judges were awed by her confidence, saying she was quite poised for a person so young.

That came as no surprise to Miss Nebraska co-executive director Jay Engel. “Teresa is very, very well-spoken,” Engel observed. “She’s very intelligent and talented, so we knew that she had all the capabilities and characteristics that a Miss America would have.” In fact, Teresa didn’t place in the Teen Pageant two years ago because of the judges’ reservations that she didn’t act enough like a normal teen. “She…was too mature,” Engel admitted.

Teresa Scanlan was born on February 6, 1993. Although she is the youngest Miss America to be crowned in 74 years, she is actually two years older than the very youngest winner. Marian Bergeron was the youngest Miss America in history, winning the title at age 15 in 1933. Others younger than Scanlan were Margaret Gorman in 1921 (the first Miss America) and Mary Campbell in 1922, both 16. Rules now mandate that a winner must be at least 17. The most recent teenager to claim the tiara was Kirsten Haglund, 19, who won the pageant in 2008.

Teresa is of Croatian ancestry. Her maternal grandparents are Frank and Nives Jelich, who immigrated to the United States from the island of Ilovik in Croatia, formerly Yugoslavia. Her parents are Mark and Janie Scanlan. “They really sacrificed a lot to do what they did,” she says of her parents’ decision to homeschool. Teresa is the middle of seven children. Janie Scanlan recalled that when Teresa was a homeschooled third-grader, she always tried to keep up with the schoolwork of her fifth-grade sister.

Already advanced for her age, Scanlan decided as a freshman that she wanted to graduate early. She began attending Gering High School part-time for half of her junior year. She graduated early from Scottsbluff High School in the spring of 2010 after taking a double load of classes throughout high school. While at Scottsbluff High School, she played the lead role in Disney’s High School Musical Onstage. She also participated in choir, show choir, speech, and was named a Salutatorian for the Scottsbluff class of 2010.

Scanlan first started competing in pageants at age 13. A small-town girl (Gering’s population is about 8,000), she beat incredible odds to make it into the Miss America pageant. More than 1,000 pageants lead to Miss America, and over 13,000 contestants compete for the title. Teresa won the title of Miss Nebraska on June 5, 2010, and got to travel around the Cornhusker State participating in various events as part of her duties.

Teresa is a politically minded student who plans to attend Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia, a Christian college popular with homeschoolers. Although she will have to defer enrollment until after her reign as Miss America is over, Teresa will be able to utilize the $50,000 Miss America scholarship to pay for her college education. She wants to study American government and eventually pursue a career in law and politics. “I am very interested in the political process,” Teresa affirms. “I plan to register as an Independent,” she declared, saying that partisanship in Washington is a lingering problem among our elected officials. Her dream goal is to one day become president of the United States.

Perhaps Teresa Scanlan is following in the footsteps of Sarah Palin, a Christian female politician from a small town who was formerly a pageant contestant as well. At age 20, Palin (then Sarah Heath) took second runner-up honors in the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant after winning the Miss Wasilla contest earlier that year. Palin was the youngest person and the first woman to be elected Governor of Alaska. From pageants to politics doesn’t seem like too far a leap. The competitions are certainly as cutthroat as politics – and at times, just as dirty.

Scanlan’s platform as Miss America is “Eating disorders: A generation at risk.” She now has twelve months to educate children and adults about the signs and risks of eating disorders, as well as how and where to get help for themselves or a loved one. Her passion to combat eating disorders stems from a friend who struggled with bulimia. “Because I was home schooled, I didn’t see the pressures,” Teresa said. But after doing some research about eating disorders for her friend, she discovered how rampant the problem is among young women across the nation.

For the Miss America talent competition, Teresa impressed the judges and the audience with her piano performance of Calvin Jones’ fast-paced “Whitewater Chopped Sticks.” Although she was the only contestant who didn’t dance or sing in the Miss America pageant, in her spare time she does enjoy singing and dancing as well as acting, playing the piano and guitar, composing songs, baking, participating in activities with her local church, and making clothes out of duct tape.

Scanlan didn’t hide her dedication to religion during the pageant, and notes that she wasn’t the only Christian contestant. “Many of the girls who made it very high [in the competition] had a strong faith because that shows…the substance and purpose behind what we’re doing – and that’s why we’re driven,” she shared. “We knew that whatever happened is His plan,” Teresa acknowledged, “and now I’m just so excited to see what He has in store.” Scanlan concludes, “And so every person that I meet I know God has a reason why I’m meeting them. I just want to embrace that as much as I can this year.”

Many people think the new Miss America is too young. But when you hear her speak, she sounds so well-grounded and older than her 17 years. She has a sense of humor, too. When asked if she was dating anyone, Teresa pinched her face into a grimace and quipped, “17-year-old boys? … Enough said.”

Scanlan wrote on her blog, “I am so looking forward to sharing my experiences and travels with you as I begin this wonderful journey and represent this incredible organization during our special anniversary year. I hope to make not only Nebraska, but all of America proud, and will do my utmost to represent the amazing young women of this nation. Thank you for your support and for believing in the young people of our country. Love and Prayers, Teresa.”

You can send Teresa Scanlan a note of congratulations or share your personal story about facing or overcoming an eating disorder by writing to her at: 2720 Applewood Road, Gering, Nebraska 69341. Follow Miss America 2011 on Facebook at www.facebook.com/missamericaorganization and follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MAOTravels


Christendom College

February 4, 2011


Christendom College is a small Catholic coeducational liberal arts college in Front Royal, Virginia, which is located in the Shenandoah Valley. The main campus overlooks the Shenandoah River with scenic views of the neighboring Blue Ridge Mountains. Christendom College is committed to both academic and moral excellence. Rules governing student life include a dress code, under 21 curfew, and no intervisitation between men’s and women’s dormitories. Although there is a strong Catholic emphasis in all aspects of the curriculum and life at Christendom College, non-Catholics are welcome to apply.

Christendom College is institutionally committed to the Magisterium, or “teaching authority,” of the Roman Catholic Church. The college was founded in 1977 by Catholic historian Warren Carroll in response to the devastating blow inflicted on Catholic higher education by the cultural revolution of the 1960s. At a time when other Catholic colleges were no longer following the guiding light of the Catholic faith, Christendom College stepped up and dedicated itself to the restoration of a truly Catholic culture.

The stated mission of Christendom College is “to restore all things in Christ.” The college’s vision statement reads in part: “The only rightful purpose of education is to learn the truth and to live by it. The purpose of Catholic education is therefore to learn and to live by the truth revealed by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….Only an education which integrates the truths of the Catholic Faith throughout the curriculum is a fully Catholic education.”

With the vision of providing “a liberal arts education that would fully integrate natural and revealed truth,” Christendom has a core curriculum of carefully selected subjects required for all of its students. The undergraduate curriculum consists of three years of study in Theology, three years in Philosophy, two years in English Language and Literature, two years in Classical or Modern Language, two years in History, one year in Political Science and Economics, and one year in Mathematics and Natural Science.

Christendom offers degrees in Classical and Early Christian Studies, English Language and Literature, French Language and Literature, History, Philosophy, Political Science and Economics, and Theology. Every junior has the option of spending a semester in Rome, living just outside the Vatican and across from St. Peter’s Basilica. Students study Moral Theology or Apologetics, Art and Architecture, Italian, and Roman Perspectives while in Rome.

Christendom College does not participate in any Title IV Federal Student Financial Assistance Programs which includes federal student loans. This was a prudential decision made by Christendom College to protect its freedom to teach the Catholic Faith without hindrance. However, the College has developed its own institutional financial assistance program that is competitive with colleges who do accept federal financial aid. The College is also an active participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program for Veterans.

Successful applicants to Christendom College must show promise of being able to do serious intellectual work at the college level. Admission is determined by a variety of indicators including, but not limited to, high school grades, SAT or ACT scores, essays, and letters of recommendation. The normal scores that the Admissions Committee is looking for in order to accept a student are: SAT 1650 or higher (all three sections combined) and ACT 24 or higher. The Admissions Committee uses these numbers as standards but treats each applicant individually and takes many other factors into consideration before making a final determination.


Applicants will write essays on topics like the following: 1. Why do you want to attend Christendom College? State what you hope to gain from your experience at Christendom; what you hope to add to the College community; and what attracts you to the College. (500 word minimum.) 2. Describe your life within your family. Do you have brothers and sisters? What interests do you share? Have you discussed your plans for college with your family? If so, what do they think? (250 word minimum.) 3. Describe some person or experience who/which has had a deep impact on your life. Explain its value to you. (250 word minimum.) Essays are judged on content, grammar, spelling, and style.

Homeschoolers are encouraged to apply, and homeschool applicants follow all of the same admission procedures as other students. Your mother or father may fill out the academic letter of recommendation if they have been your teachers. Or have a teacher who has instructed you submit an academic letter of recommendation. Ask your parish priest, an employer or counselor to submit a personal letter of recommendation.

Christendom College recognizes accredited Catholic homeschooling programs such as Kolbe Academy, Mother of Divine Grace, Our Lady of the Rosary, and Seton Home Study. Homeschooled students who are not enrolled in one of the approved homeschool programs should provide documentation of completed course work. Homeschool transcript forms to be filled in are available from the college and may be downloaded at: http://www.christendom.edu/images/pdfs/homeschool%20transcript.pdf

Christendom does not require that a particular core curriculum be completed prior to applying for the college, nor does Christendom require a student to have graduated from high school or to have earned a GED. However, the following high school courses are recommended for students preparing to attend Christendom College: English/Literature (4 years) – Grammar and Composition, World Literature, American Literature, British Literature. History and related studies (3 years) – World History, American History and Government, Geography. Language (2 years of same language) – Classical or Modern Language. Mathematics (2 years) – Algebra I and II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Pre-calculus/Calculus. Science (2 years) – Biology, Chemistry, Physics. (Plus one additional year of either math or science.)

According to Thomas McFadden, Director of Admissions, “Homeschoolers do very well at Christendom College. Each year approximately 50% of the incoming class comes to us from a homeschool background, although many more have been homeschooled at one point in their elementary or secondary education. One of the things we have noticed about our homeschooled students is their incredible ability to read voraciously and also to comprehend what they have read. I think this is something particular to the homeschooled student because they tend to have a little extra time during their week to read for pleasure. This ability to read quickly and comprehend what they have read comes in very handy at Christendom. In all of our classes at Christendom, we require lots of in-class reading, [and] also out-of-class reading.”

McFadden adds, “Many parents have made the choice to homeschool their children because they are not too happy with today’s culture and they want to keep some of the bad aspects of today’s culture out of their children’s lives. At Christendom, the college seeks to help parents in their roles of primary educators and works hard to not only keep bad things out of the campus culture, but to provide a good Catholic culture in its place. In fact, at Christendom, one of the slogans used to advertise the school is, ‘Catholicism is the air that we breathe.’ It doesn’t really get much more Catholic than that!”

Learn more about Christendom College at http://www.christendom.edu


Hillsdale College

January 11, 2011

Hillsdale College“Pursuing Truth and Defending Liberty Since 1844”

Hillsdale is America’s premier college that teaches students and educates citizens about the blessings of liberty and about our nation’s founding principles. Hillsdale’s educational mission rests upon two principles: academic excellence and institutional independence. Hillsdale College provides students with a well-rounded traditional liberal arts education that covers an important body of knowledge and timeless truths about the human condition. But unlike other liberal arts colleges, Hillsdale emphasizes what liberty means and the moral conditions of its preservation. Hillsdale College carries out its mission both in the classroom and nationwide through its extensive outreach programs.

Hillsdale was established in 1844 by Freewill Baptists, although the college has been officially non-denominational since its inception. Hillsdale’s founders were determined to uphold the principles of civil and religious liberty articulated by the Founding Fathers of America who declared that “all men are created equal.” Hillsdale was the first American college to prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, or religion in its charter. Black students were admitted from the beginning, and Hillsdale was the second college in the nation to grant four-year liberal arts degrees to women. Hillsdale College continues to value the merit of each unique individual rather than succumbing to the dehumanizing trends of “social justice” and “multicultural diversity,” which judge people not as individuals but as members of a group competing against other groups in divisive power struggles.

The concepts of individual liberty, personal responsibility, free market economics, and limited government under the Constitution are no longer taught at many American colleges, so most students graduate with little or no understanding of what makes America unique, free, and prosperous. Today’s college professors often openly denigrate America, teaching students to distrust free markets, fear religion, and be ashamed of patriotism. In contrast, Hillsdale is dedicated to training a new generation of leaders for America who understand the Constitution of the United States, and who will uphold and defend the principles of liberty upon which America was founded. Every Hillsdale student comes to understand how the Constitution is responsible for America becoming a beacon of liberty and prosperity for the world – what President Reagan liked to call “a shining city on a hill.”

Hillsdale’s mission statement reads: “The College considers itself a trustee of modern man’s intellectual and spiritual inheritance from the Judeo-Christian faith and Greco-Roman culture, a heritage finding its clearest expression in the American experiment of self-government under law.” Hillsdale explains why America is exceptional in human history and teaches its students that: 1.) The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution are the greatest charters of liberty ever written, and are responsible for America quickly becoming the freest, most prosperous nation in human history. 2.) The free enterprise system is essential to American freedom and prosperity. 3.) The United States is a great nation – but a nation that is in danger because our national leaders have so little understanding of the principles of liberty and limited government that are the reason for its greatness. 4.) Faith in God, far from undermining liberty as the ACLU would claim, actually supports liberty. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “…can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?”

Hillsdale is a world-class college that can compete credibly with Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and other prominent institutions of higher learning for the best professors and students. Hillsdale consistently ranks highly in U.S. News & World Report, while Forbes magazine ranks Hillsdale as one of the “Top 100 Colleges in America” today – ahead of three Ivy League colleges. Hillsdale’s tuition is less than half the tuition at many equally prestigious schools, so Hillsdale is also listed among the Princeton Review’s fifty “best value” private colleges – even though Hillsdale does not permit its students to bring federal financial aid to campus. Unlike nearly every other college and university in the country, Hillsdale does not accept any federal or state taxpayer subsidies – not even in the form of student grants and loans. The college does this because they don’t want the government dictating who they must hire, who they must admit for enrollment, or what they are allowed to teach.

Hillsdale has built a national reputation on its principled refusal of government funding, ever since the 1970’s when the college refused to alter its admissions policies for the sake of affirmative action. But Hillsdale does not want expense to be a barrier for any qualified student to attend, so the college offers competitive privately-funded financial aid packages. Need-based, athletic, fine arts, and academic awards are available. Scholarships include the William and Berniece Grewcock Scholarship for students who graduate from Nebraska Christian or parochial high schools or homeschoolers from Nebraska. Recipients of this scholarship must meet Hillsdale admissions standards, be of sound moral character and of proven leadership ability, maintain a minimum 3.0 grade-point average, agree to community/campus service requirements and participate in campus Christian organizations.

More than 1,400 students – including about 90 homeschoolers – attend Hillsdale from 45 states, the District of Columbia, and eight foreign countries. The incoming freshman class averages a high school grade-point average of 3.73, a composite ACT score of 29, and a combined SAT score of 1970. In addition, 50% of incoming freshmen rank in the top 10% of their high school graduating class. Hillsdale is highly selective; only one applicant is accepted for every two applications received. The Office of Admissions considers the following: GPA, SAT/ACT scores, official academic transcripts, extra-curricular involvement (leadership and volunteerism are important), interview, essays, and letters of recommendation. Admission requirements for homeschoolers are the same as regular applicants, but their recommendations do not have to come from teachers, and a parent is asked to write a letter about the student’s education.

Jeffrey Lantis, Director of Admissions, says, “We tend to look very favorably upon homeschoolers applying to our college. Homeschoolers are consistently among our top students.” He offers the following advice for homeschool students interested in attending Hillsdale: “We look to extracurricular activities, and community involvement to see leadership development in our applicants. Volunteer work in outreach organizations, employment, community music groups, and sports teams all provide the opportunity for homeschooled students to show us the leadership skills they’ve gained.” While Lantis finds homeschoolers to be strong students and good campus leaders, this admissions director has noticed that handling peer pressure is a weakness among homeschoolers at Hillsdale.

Located in rural southern Michiganat the bottom of the mitten near where the Ohio and Indiana borders meet, the 200-acre Hillsdale campus contains both historic and modern buildings. Facilities include multiple instructional and office buildings, subject-specific computer labs, thirteen residence halls, six fraternity and sorority houses, a state-of-the-art health education and sports complex, a music hall, arts center, and an arboretum. Adjacent to the campus is Hillsdale Academy, a private K-12 liberal arts school that emulates a one-room schoolhouse education. Their comprehensive downloadable Reference Guide is used in hundreds of schools and homeschools throughout the country.

Hillsdale College employs 116 full-time faculty members and maintains an ideal student-to-faculty ratio of 10-to-1. Hillsdale offers a variety of liberal arts majors including 34 traditional majors and eight interdisciplinary majors, as well as nine pre-professional programs, a teacher education program, and a journalism certificate program. Its maintenance of a classical core curriculum exemplifies the traditional liberal arts program. All students, regardless of major, are required to take courses in humanities, natural science, and social science during their first two years. A broad perspective is also encouraged through community volunteerism and opportunities for off-campus internships, overseas study programs, and adjunct seminars.

Hillsdale boasts one of the largest and most distinguished lecture programs in the country. Hillsdale’s Center for Constructive Alternatives (CCA) has sponsored more than 1,100 speakers since 1971, including conservative luminaries such as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Walter Williams. Students are required to attend two hours of CCA seminars in order to graduate. In addition, there are Mises Lectures in free-market economics, National Leadership Seminars, and seminars at the Charles R. and Kathleen K. Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence. Launched in June of 2001, the Center for Teacher Excellence expands the reach of Hillsdale’s message of classical curricula for the advancement of liberty to a nationwide audience of teachers. Over 1,000 public, private and homeschool teachers from 38 states have participated in the seminar series in American civics education.

Hillsdale’s new 16,000-square-foot Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C. officially opened in December 2010. The renovated building, which dates to 1892, is located just a few minutes’ walk from the Supreme Court building, Senate office buildings, and Union Station. It will serve as a headquarters for Hillsdale students who are serving as interns in government, the media, and think-tanks on Capital Hill. Additionally, the Kirby Center will hold educational programs and provide research on the Constitution and America’s founding principles for elected officials and other policymakers. Besides educating our leaders to have a greater appreciation for America’s heritage of liberty and limited government, the Center will educate American citizens on the vital importance of the Constitution.

Hillsdale College is also making its educational programs on liberty available to millions of Americans via “Constitution Town Hall” webcasts on the internet. More than 50,000 citizens from all fifty states have viewed “Reviving the Constitution,” Hillsdale’s first-ever online town hall which was originally held on January 30, 2010. The entire program of “Reviving the Constitution” is available for free online, courtesy of the Kirby Center. It features almost five hours of instructive content, including presentations on the Constitution, its framework for the protection of our liberties, and the assault waged upon that framework by the Progressive movement. This resource is also available as a two-disc DVD set for viewing at home, in classrooms, or with church groups and civic associations. The DVD is available for online purchase exclusively from the Hillsdale College bookstore.

Hillsdale’s flagship publication IMPRIMIS (Latin for “in the first place”) dates back to 1972 and has a current circulation of 1.9 million. Subscriptions are available to anyone free of charge. This always timely, always informative monthly digest of speeches delivered by conservative leaders from a variety of fields features commentary and analysis on national and international events concerning cultural, economic, political and educational issues of enduring significance. In early 2011 the Kirby Center will publish “The U.S. Constitution: A Reader,” a collection of more than 100 primary source documents relating to America’s founding, the Civil War, Progressivism, and American government today. “The Constitution is not just the domain of judges and lawyers,” states Kirby Center Director Dr. David J. Bobb. “It’s the responsibility of all Americans to understand and uphold it, and our aim…is to help equip citizens to do so.”

For more information about all that Hillsdale has to offer, visit the following websites:

Hillsdale College – http://www.hillsdale.edu

Hillsdale Academy – http://www.hillsdale.edu/academy/academics/curriculum.asp

Center for Teacher Excellence – http://www.hillsdale.edu/seminars/oncampus/cte/default.asp

Kirby Center – http://www.hillsdale.edu/KirbyCenter

Constitution Town Hall – http://www.constitutiontownhall.com

IMPRIMIS – http://hillsdaleoffer.com


Jaime Herrera Beutler

January 11, 2011

 Jaime Herrera


The 112th Congress that began on January 5, 2011, includes a huge class of freshman. Few of the incoming freshmen know Capitol Hill better than Jaime Herrera (R-WA). Jaime was one of the female Republican candidates who rose to prominence in 2010, and she was highlighted by Time Magazine as one of the 40 leaders under 40 who are “rising stars of American politics.” Jaime will also be the first homeschooled member of the United States Congress in recent history.

Jaime was born on November 3, 1978, in Glendale, California. She grew up in Southwest Washington where she participated in activities like 4-H, fishing at Battle Ground Lake, swimming in the Lewis River, climbing Mt. St. Helens, and helping with local political campaigns. Jaime was homeschooled through ninth grade. She graduated from Prairie High School where she played on the girls’ basketball team. Before starting college she performed 2,000 hours of community service at ground zero in New York after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Jaime received an associate’s degree from Bellevue Community College in 2003, and earned a B.A. degree in communications and political science from the University of Washington in 2004.

Jaime launched her political career in the same year she graduated from UW. She won a White House internship with the Bush administration, arriving at the tail end of the presidential campaign. As a college student, she had the opportunity to intern in both the Washington State Senate and in Washington, D.C. at the White House Office of Political Affairs. From 2005-2007, Jaime worked in Washington, D.C. as Senior Legislative Aide for Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane). She was the Congresswoman’s lead advisor on health care policy, education, veterans’ and women’s issues. She also helped draft proposals, including a health information technology bill and an education-based competitiveness bill. Both measures passed the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly.

In 2007, Herrera was appointed to fill a vacancy in Washington State’s 18th Legislative District. After serving in the 2008 legislative session she ran for election and 60% of the voters in her district cast their vote for Herrera to continue her post as State Representative. During her time in the Legislature, Jaime served on the Health Care and Wellness Committee, the Human Services Committee, and the Transportation Committee. Representative Herrera’s first bill, a bipartisan proposal to give tax relief to business owners serving in the military, was signed into law on March 27, 2008.

Herrera’s congressional campaign was one of the high-profile races that national observers were watching in hopes of tipping the balance of the House. Jaime is a fiscal conservative who ran on a small-government platform. “I do believe in smaller government, less government at every possible turn,” she said. She is a supporter of the U.S. Constitution and works to uphold our freedoms and liberties. She aims to bring a fresh voice to Congress and restore commonsense leadership in order to get the economy back on track. “My parents taught me God first, family second, and service to community a close third,” Jaime said. “Those were the values of our region, too: personal responsibility, [and] a strong work ethic,” she added.

Jaime has class, character, and decent social and moral values. One of Jaime’s political heroes is Abigail Adams, who was one of our country’s most influential “founding mothers,” as well as the homeschooling mom of John Quincy. Jaime said that she decided she was a Republican after leaving home and reflecting on the values she’d learned from her own family. In 2006, through their church, they became involved in gang prevention. Jaime’s parents, Armando and Candice Herrera, adopted his brother’s three children to rescue them from the influence of drugs and gangs in Southern California.

Jaime says, “I am not opposed to safety nets. They are a part of our communities and our society. I’m the first to say when it comes to our most vulnerable citizens – children, seniors, folks fighting disability – we have a safety net for a reason. I think protecting our most vulnerable is actually a conservative principle.” However, Jaime believes that the government is becoming disconnected from the people it represents. “I think government has gotten a little too big for its britches… It is taking more and more ability from individuals and families to decide how they’re going to spend their money… I think we are at a point as a country when we are going to have to decide: Are we going to be in charge of our democratic republic, or is it the other way around?”

As a Congresswoman, Jaime says she will support an amendment that would require a balanced federal budget, emphasizing that the government needs to cut its spending to resolve the federal deficit. She thinks that Congress should “live within its means just like families, businesses and individuals do.” Jaime feels that the stimulus plan was misguided and that the stimulus money would have been more effective circulating in the economy. “We just need to get government out of the way and let small business do what they do best, which is create jobs,” she explains. The federal government should likewise eliminate regulations that stifle competition, she argues.

In a similar manner, Jaime said the federal health care bill should be repealed. She proposed small businesses be allowed to band together, even across state lines, in providing health care to their employees at lower cost. Jaime opposes abortion rights and opposes extending legal partnerships to same-sex couples. Jaime believes the federal government should take a smaller role in education and cede to local control of schools. On the issue of illegal immigration, the Hispanic young lady says, “We need to prove to the American people that the government can secure the border. I don’t support amnesty. People do need to learn English.”

Jaime revels in the excitement of belonging to the biggest group of House newbies in decades, and she is eager to get started because there is a lot of work to do. As she sees it, voters elected her to slim and streamline the government – and have given her two years to get the job done. “The fact that they chose me to be their voice here is an honor,” Herrera said. “You want to live up to that promise.” Jaime states her purpose very clearly: “I will be a member of Congress more concerned with saving your money than spending your money.”

Herrera admits to being ambitious but also conflicted. “I do believe that the American dream, which is to pass on a better life to our children, is in danger.” Eventually, she and her husband Dan (who she married in August 2008) want a family, but they will have to “put our lives on hold,” she admits a bit wistfully. Nevertheless, Jaime declared, “Every step I have taken since high school has been preparing me for this. There is not a job in the world I would rather have…. I have this amazing, tremendous responsibility and it is not something everyone gets a chance to do.”


The College of William & Mary

December 5, 2010

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

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

William & Mary is famous for its firsts:

– the first American institution with a Royal Charter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Susan Wise Bauer

December 5, 2010

Although Susan Wise Bauer (born in 1968) is not a homeschooling teen, she used to be and now she homeschools four children of her own (including teens)! Many homeschoolers have read her history series The Story of the World as well as The Well-Trained Mind, which Bauer co-authored with her mother Jessie Wise. She has also written several other books including The Complete Writer series on teaching writing.

Susan grew up in Virginia and was homeschooled along with her brother and sister in the 1970s – the “dark ages” of home education. Bauer recalls, “My mother had taught in both private and public classrooms…so she was an experienced teacher. But she would be the first to tell you that her teacher training didn’t help her be a better homeschooler; she says that her education classes mostly taught her how to manage classrooms. So when she began homeschooling, she was starting from scratch – like many homeschool parents.”

Susan’s pioneering parents taught her at home for most of elementary and middle school, and all of high school. “I remember my parents giving us the option to go back to school at several points, but we never took it,” Bauer explains. “I counted up the number of hours that I would spend on buses, standing in line, doing homework, and so on, and decided I’d be better off at home.”

Bauer learned Latin at age ten. In high school, she worked as a professional musician and wrote three (unpublished) novels before she turned sixteen. She also toured with a travelling drama group, galloped racehorses at a Virginia racetrack, taught horseback riding, worked in ghostwriting and newspaper ad sales, learned enough Korean to teach a Korean four-year-old Sunday school, and served as librarian / reading tutor for the Rita Welsh Adult Literacy Center in Williamsburg.

At age seventeen, Susan entered college as a Presidential Scholar and National Merit finalist. Three years later, she received her B.A. from Liberty University with a major in English, a minor in Greek, and a summer spent studying 20th-century theology as a visiting student at Oxford. In 1991, Bauer earned a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where she added Hebrew and Aramaic to her languages.

Bauer has been a member of the English faculty at The College of William & Mary in Virginia since 1994, where she teaches writing and American literature. In 1996, Bauer completed the M.A. in English Language and Literature at William & Mary; her concentrations were in translation theory, 17th-century devotional poetry, and Psalm paraphrase in the Tudor period. In 2007, she received her Ph.D. in American Studies from William & Mary, with a concentration in the history of American religion.

Dr. Bauer continues to serve as editor-in-chief of Peace Hill Press, her family’s publishing company that produces history and literature resources for parents and teachers who are educating students in the classical tradition. According to Bauer, history and literature go hand-in-hand. “I tend to teach literature historically – in chronological order, with attention to the world events taking place during the writer’s lifetime.…History is endlessly fascinating….In order to understand any field of endeavor – science, literature, government, mathematics – we also need to understand how we arrived at our present state of knowledge. And the only way to do that is to study history.”

Bauer’s husband, Peter, is minister of the nondenominational Peace Hill Christian Fellowship, which serves the rural community of Charles City as well as students from William & Mary. The Bauer family lives on a farm with dogs, cats, horses, and chickens. “Peace Hill is the farm my mother inherited….It’s one of the original names on colonial-era maps of Charles City County; our farm sits on the hill where a peace treaty was signed between the Native American residents and the colonial settlers.”

Susan and her husband share in the task of homeschooling three sons and a daughter, with additional help from Susan’s mom. “Now that I have children of my own, I homeschool because it seems the natural way to live. People ask me, ‘Isn’t it hard to have them home all day?’ Frankly, I can’t imagine laboring under the restrictions of a school schedule. Always meeting the bus, only taking holidays when the school allows it – that seems like a much harder schedule to me.” (Her oldest has since graduated from high school and started college this fall.)

“I’m convinced my children flourish with one-on-one attention to their individual strengths and weaknesses. I’m sure there are some subjects that a school would teach more thoroughly than I do. But I don’t think any school could duplicate the flexibility and creativity of home education. I love giving my children the opportunity to investigate areas that pique their interest, and I know that if they were in school their time would be far too limited to pursue their curiosities.”

http://www.susanwisebauer.com/bio/c-v – Susan Wise Bauer’s curriculum vitae (Latin for “course of life”), a summary of academic and professional history and achievements.

http://twitter.com/SusanWiseBauer – Follow Susan Wise Bauer on Twitter.


UC Riverside

November 9, 2010

UC Riverside Welcomes Homeschooled and Non-Traditionally Educated Students

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

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

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

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

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

Homeschooled and other non-traditionally educated students should look at the Non-Traditional Admission section of the Paths to Admission area of the UCR website for more information: http://futurestudents.ucr.edu/admissions/Pages/pathsAdmission.aspx