Cozy Up to Writing! - Unit 4: Summarizing a Reference
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November 2014 Newsletter

Cozy Up to Writing!

Unit 4: Summarizing a Reference
Dear Readers,

As the weather is beginning to change, and the vibrant leaves are beginning to fall, it’s time to “cozy up” to writing. Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa and dive into a writing adventure. If you need something to write about, here are some suggestions. Write by yourself, or gather the family, and compile a fun story together.
  • Share your favorite childhood memory.
  • Write about the most disastrous family trip you can remember.
  • Interview your oldest living relative, and write a story about his or her life.
  • Go “people watching” at the park, and write about what you see, using lots of description.
  • What about your most embarrassing moment?
Writing has endless possibilities! Congratulations to our student writers and illustrators who are published in this newsletter.
  • Lenore Blank
  • Brody Doeren
  • Braxton Houlden
  • Zeke Johnson
  • Tad Lyon
  • Caitlin Narmour

Thank you to all who submitted work. Keep writing and submit again! The writer’s deadline for our annual print magazine is creeping up! All students who submit their work by November 10, 2014, will be entered into a drawing for a $15.00 Amazon gift card. Stories submitted after this date will still be accepted; however, we cannot guarantee that they will be reviewed for our print magazine. For the print magazine, we accept submissions from all of the IEW units, poetry, fiction, and journalism.

Other upcoming deadlines for homeschooled students:
  • Newsletter #4 Unit 5 – November 17, 2014
  • Newsletter #5 Poetry – December 15, 2014
  • Newsletter #6 Unit 6 – January 12, 2014
Visit our website for writer’s guidelines and additional information: All submissions should follow the guidelines, and should be emailed to

Keep writing, and have a blessed day!

Megan L. House
Magnum Opus Magazine Managing Editor
800.856.5815 x5101
Intelligent Beavers
by Zeke Johnson, age 10
Beavers are intelligent builders. They erect dams across ponds. They like to create their lovely homes at night, so they are sure and safe from their enemies. First, they pile mud and stones in the water. Patiently, they drag trees which they have cut down into the water. These clever beavers stack the sticks higher than the water and then dig underwater tunnels. Next, they pack mud between the sticks and stones with their tails to make the lodges stronger. These wise beavers will live in their lodge all winter. Obviously, beavers have an intelligent way to build their homes.
A Pleasing King
by Lenore Blank, age 9
Illustration by Baxter Farthing
Josiah, who was a godly king of Judah, was eight years old when he became king. When Josiah was young, he was determined to totally obey God. He completely consumed and crushed all the idols of false gods. While Josiah was cleaning the temple, Hilkiah, the priest, found the Book of the Law of the Lord. When the king heard the Law, he tore his clothes in grief because Israel had not been obeying the Law. During a treacherous battle, Josiah was shot and killed. Josiah was a pleasing king in the sight of the Lord.
Deep Dark Abyssal Animals
by Brody Doeren, age 10
Illustration by Caitlin Narmour

In the deepest darkest part of the sea, disgusting animals are the only inhabitants. Down at the bottom of the ocean, which has no light or plants, weird creatures lurk. Amazingly, the sea floor is approximately four miles deep. It's dark in the abyss. The sea bed is a place of extremes.

Below the place where humans can travel, these few freaky fish are nearly blind. These fish have bioluminescent lures to attract other fish. Usually, these lures stick out of the fish’s face! Most of the fish have mouths that are so big they cover more than half their face. These fish are all top feeders, which means that their mouths are slanted upward, to better catch dead fish falling from the surface. All the animals that live in the abyss have special adaptations that only God can give.
by Braxton Houlden, age 12
Photo by Megan House

Giving and receiving gifts are ancient customs that have been preserved throughout time. Gift giving can be traced back to early Christianity. The origin of gift giving can be attributed to the three Wise Men who came bearing gifts for the baby Jesus. In the age of modern technology, gift giving has reached its climax. Now instead of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, a gift would be gold-plated frankincense and myrrh! Needless to say, gift giving has become an industry in itself. Millions of dollars are made annually based on a natural desire humans have for giving and receiving. It was estimated that in 2013 the average person spent around $800.00 on Christmas presents. That’s a lot of money when you figure in the number of people in the world giving gifts. Despite all the merchandise opportunities that gifts present, in essence a gift remains a symbol of care. Gifting has endured many changes but remains a constant even today.
Dogs Are More Active in Cooler Regions
by Tad Lyon, age 16
Illustration by Caitlin Narmour

Apparently not all dogs are equally fit, according to the studies conducted by companies Whistle and Tagg. Whistle makes a useful device that monitors the activities of dogs. The device counts the minutes of an activity, such as running, playing, and walking. Tagg uses a device that has an accelerometer and a GPS tracking device. Whistle’s studies have shown that the strongest dogs are found in Portland, Oregon, followed by New York, Boston, Sacramento, and San Francisco. The least active dogs were found in Houston, Phoenix, Austin, Dallas, and Washington, D.C. Surprisingly, according to Whistle, the fattest cats and dogs are in D.C. However, since their device cannot measure weight, this presumption might not be true. These cities with less active dogs are also where it is warmer, so perhaps it might be different in cooler seasons. Interestingly, a city with many active people has the least fit animals. (That is, Washington, D.C. is a city with some of the healthiest humans, but it is one of the cities with the least active dogs.) During Tagg’s studies, they examined 17,500 dogs, which consisted of 150 dogs per breed, to see which breed was the fattest and fittest. Tagg found that the Brittany breed was the fittest, while the Shih Tzu was the laziest. According to Whistle and Tagg, not all dogs are as fit as others.

Works Cited
Wells, Georgia. “Doggie Data: Pooches Are Most Active in Portland and Laziest in Houston.” WSJ.D. The Wall Street Journal. 27 Aug. 2014. Web.
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