Archive for October, 2010


Southwestern College

October 1, 2010

Southwestern College Offers the Home School Learner Grant

Southwestern College in Phoenix, Arizona, is looking for students who can think, speak, and write well. They want students who understand the value of academics and have a passion for the Lord Jesus Christ. The faculty and staff at Southwestern College recognize the qualities that homeschoolers bring to campus – such as initiative, independent learning, and critical thinking.

To honor homeschooling families for all those years of working to provide their children a quality education with Christian values, Southwestern College has introduced the Home School Learner Grant for non-graduated home schooled students seeking college level courses* taught from a Christian worldview.  The grant reduces the standard tuition rate for up to 6-8 credit hours per semester – for credits that transfer to any college and university and apply towards degree or certificate programs. (*Students would complete the non-degree seeking application and will not be eligible for Title IV funds.)

Students need to provide one of the following sources to demonstrate ability prior to enrolling: SAT, ACT, PSAT, AIMS, Sanford 9 (Norm-Referenced Achievement Tests), or placement test such as the Compass or Accuplacer. In addition to academic readiness for college level work, students should also possess the requisite maturity appropriate for the respective subject matter. Some students choose to take classes as a dual credit program when they are 16 years old and that is acceptable as an addition to their homeschooling program. However, the college normally only enrolls students full time who are no more than a year younger than the freshman class.

WHEN: Spring classes begin January 11, 2011

WHERE: Southwestern College, 2625 E. Cactus Road, Phoenix, Arizona 85032

COST: Home School Learner Grant – $125.00 per credit hour

CONTACT: Tami Lopez, Admissions & Financial Aid Specialist for information about the Home School Learner Grant, 602-386-4109


Southwestern College has welcomed homeschool students for many years. While the college does not require applicants to have a GED or state certified diploma, they do require all students to have a transcript of courses and grades taken during high school years. The high school transcript should be a comprehensive transcript, detailing the course work from ninth through eleventh grades as well as the course work for the current year in progress. There should be a grade listed for each course and a cumulative grade point average based on a 4.0 scale should be given at the end. Finally, the transcript must be signed and dated by the preparer and sealed in an envelope. Southwestern College supplies a transcript template that can be used as a guideline.

Since 1960, Southwestern has been an evangelical college focused on ministry. It offers both Associate and Bachelor degrees in various fields of study for students who prefer to be taught from a Christian perspective. Bachelors in the arts and sciences degrees are offered in Behavioral Health, Biblical Studies, Business Administration, Christian Ministries, Education, & Music. Two-year Associate degrees in the arts and sciences are offered as well as a one-year “Certificate in Bible” program for those who wish to be educated in theology without earning a degree.

Southwestern College has the same regional accreditation that the state universities have, plus a Biblical worldview is interwoven into the curriculum – whether it’s an elementary education degree, counseling, or business. Southwestern College also emphasizes the importance of communication, critical thinking, biblical literacy, technological literacy, personal and professional ethics, and interpersonal skills.

Small class sizes and exceptionally qualified faculty create an unparalleled educational environment with lots of individual attention and plenty of opportunity for personal interaction between professors and students. Southwestern College provides the high level of academic preparation students need to succeed, the full college experience that helps them to mature, and the biblical foundation to guide their behavior.

Applicants with the most likely chance for admission have academic credentials that include at least a “B” grade average, an ACT or SAT test score above the national average, and a strong testimony of faith in Jesus Christ. Once you are ready, applying to Southwestern College is an easy process:


Homeschool Dad becomes President of Southwestern College

The Board of Trustees of Southwestern College has just announced the appointment of attorney, public policy expert and experienced non-profit leader Len Munsil as the 6th President in the 50-year history of Arizona’s only fully-accredited, non-profit Christian liberal arts college. Southwestern College, founded in 1960, is a non-denominational Christian college nearing 500 students for the first time in its history.

“I am honored to have this chance to lead Southwestern into its second half-century,” Munsil said. “This is an exciting time in our history. I believe we are poised to explode into a new era of growth and influence as a top-notch liberal arts college in the Southwest, while maintaining our ‘intentionally Christian’ heritage.”

Len Munsil, a third-generation Arizonan, has been a principled conservative leader in Arizona for more than 20 years, going back to his days as editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper at Arizona State University, where he wrote strongly-worded editorials in support of President Ronald Reagan and a strong national defense.

Munsil helped found The Center for Arizona Policy, which quickly became one of the largest and most influential state-based family policy groups in the United States. As President of The Center for Arizona Policy, he devoted nearly two decades to influencing public policy on behalf of children and families.

Len and his wife Tracy have both taught political science classes at Southwestern College, and they are parents of two students currently attending Southwestern – Anne, a junior Biblical Studies major and member of the women’s basketball team, and Michael, a sophomore Education major. The Munsils are huge fans and advocates of home education, having homeschooled their children from 1991 through 2005.

Southwestern College offers degrees in Behavioral Health, Biblical Studies, Business Administration, Christian Ministries, Elementary and Secondary Education, Music Education and Music Ministry. Recently the College added emphases in pre-law and pre-medicine, along with a fully accredited Adult Degree Completion program. The College competes in athletics at the NAIA level, and added baseball this year with the hiring of former Major Leaguer Thad Bosley.


Rachel Starr Thomson

October 1, 2010

Rachel Starr Thomson of Ontario, Canada, is a writer of novels, short stories, essays, and the occasional poem. She was homeschooled for most of her life along with her eleven younger siblings. The family tended toward the unschooling method of learning from life experiences and traveling, although they also pursued some formal academic studies over the years.

Rachel’s very first novel, Theodore Pharris Saves the Universe, was written when she was thirteen. Ever since then, writing has been her chief discipline. Rachel is a regular contributor to Focus on the Family’s and Homeschooling Today Magazine. She serves as copy editor for Home School Enrichment Magazine. Her articles have been published in various magazines, ezines, and websites. She also oversees a multi-author serial fiction project titled “The Romany Epistles.”

As CEO of Little Dozen Press, Rachel has self published several of her books in the last few years including Heart to Heart: Meeting With God in the Lord’s Prayer, and the discipleship-focused Letters to a Samuel Generation. Her novels Worlds Unseen and Burning Light are fantasy adventures in the tradition of C.S. Lewis, enjoyed by readers from age ten to adult. Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled is a collection of humorous vignettes and essays that Rachel co-wrote with Carolyn Joy Currey, another homeschool grad. All of these books are available at – including a free eBook of Worlds Unseen, a free online edition of Letters to a Samuel Generation, and chapter excerpts from Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled.

A stay-at-home single adult, Rachel wrote an article titled “20-Something Reasons to Live at Home” about the advantages of living with one’s family. In addition to her own writing, Rachel offers editing, proofreading, and coaching services – both independently and through, a combination writing course/private tutoring service for high schoolers. “I wield a mad red pen,” she says, “but I’m nice about it.”

In all of her work, Rachel explores the intersections of faith, life, and creativity – not just through writing but by the artistic disciplines of storytelling, singing, and dance. She and her friend Carolyn co-founded the Soli Deo Gloria Ballet, a Christian performing arts company. Their mission is to glorify God and tell His story through the powerful and expressive medium of dance.

Rachel’s other interests include: reading, nature, Celtic music, Sense and Sensibility, the Chronicles of Narnia, and Lord of the Rings. Rachel likes playing Scrabble, drinking tea, collecting books, going for long walks, and waxing eloquent on many topics. She believes “life would be far, far better if we all chucked our television sets out the window.”

Ten Years Ago

By Rachel Starr Thomson

If I had one message to give homeschooling teens (well, all teens, really), it would be this:

Where you are right now is not where you’ll be tomorrow, but what you do right now shapes who you’ll be tomorrow.

This is one of the greatest gifts of homeschooling: our parents have given us opportunities our peers don’t have, and so they’ve given us the opportunity to become what our peers may never become.

They’ve given us time with our families that will shape us and our future relationships.

They’ve given us academic freedom to pursue what we care most about, freedom that will shape our passions and maybe our future careers (or our ability to homeschool our own kids).

They’ve given us time and space to build our relationships with God, affecting eternity.

They’ve given us time. Did I mention that?

You’ve probably noticed that most adults don’t have a lot of time because their jobs claim most of their waking hours. Before people grow up and get jobs, most of them go to school, and school claims most of those waking hours. But homeschoolers are different. We have time for relationships, serious Bible study, ministry, creativity, long walks. We have time for things that matter most to us.

I graduated from homeschooling nine years ago (gah—it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long). My homeschool story has a lot in common with yours, also some differences. I went to kindergarten at a local Christian school, but my dad was a visionary and wanted to homeschool because he felt education was a task given to parents by God. Our family grew over the years: we started with me and ended up with twelve, ten girls and two boys. We also moved a lot. Our schooling was very loose and unstructured. My parents taught us to read, pointed us at a library like a kid playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, and let us loose to see where the tail would end up. (Well, that’s more or less how it went.)

This unstructured education worked very well in some areas and not so well in others (I am not the only homeschool grad who used to fall asleep over her math book), but a combination of time to develop passions and pursue them, unique experiences, and relationships with family and non-peers led to me doing a lot of things that have shaped who I am—and what I do—now.

Ten years ago I spent several days a week volunteering with a missionary training center and attending meetings there in a multicultural, passionately spiritual setting; my relationship with God and sense of the world is still under-girded by those years.

Ten years ago I was not heavily under the influence of negative peer pressure and teen culture, so those things have never taken root as serious considerations in my life.

Ten years ago I was jotting down poetry or writing story manuscripts here and there, and also reading like a fiend; today I’m a full-time writer, editor, and writing coach.

Ten years ago I was helping my parents in their small business; today I run my own.

Ten years ago I found out that I loved music and dance and that the arts could be a powerful part of worship; today I co-direct a ballet and performing arts company that tours around my home country of Canada.

Ten years ago I developed friendships and relationships that still challenge, inspire, and comfort me. The people in my life, a vast variety of them not bound to my age group or neighborhood, have each left their mark on who I am now.

The loose, interest-led education I got as a homeschooled teenager still shapes my approach to learning and life as an adult. I value curiosity and new experiences; I love to learn; I know I can learn anything—it’s as simple as heading toward a paper donkey with a pin, knowing you’ll get off course and make some mistakes that don’t ultimately matter. You’ll win if you stick with it.

What you’re doing today matters; it will shape who you are tomorrow. Homeschooling gives us unique and powerful opportunities, starting with time and then many valuable ways to use that time. I’m grateful to my parents for the sacrifices they made and the chances they took so that I could also take chances, make sacrifices, and live an unusual life.

I hope you do the same.