Units 1 & 2: Articles and Stories
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"Fall"ing Back into School
Units 1 & 2: Articles and Stories

As we come away from summer vacation and "fall" back into school, remember that learning can be made fun and exciting! Each month we will be offering a teaching tip from an experienced IEW instructor to help make your home school and writing experience easier and more exciting.

We additionally have a lot of upcoming writing opportunities, so mark your calendars with our writer's deadlines that are listed below!

Congratulations to the students who were published in this newsletter:


  • Michael Bowen
  • Abigail Doss
  • Esther Doss
  • Hannah Doss
  • Colby Duke
  • Andrew Heil
  • Susan Heil

Thank you to all the students who submitted work. Be encouraged to keep writing, and submit your work again!


Megan L. House

Managing Editor

Upcoming Writing Opportunities
Units 1 & 2 – August 26, 2016
Unit 3 – September 23, 2016
Unit 4 – October 21, 2016
Yearly Print Magazine – November 1, 2016 
Unit 5 – November 21, 2016
Unit 6 – December 19, 2016
Unit 7 – January 27, 2017
Unit 8 – February 28, 2017
Unit 9 – March 31, 2017
Poetry – April 30, 2017
Fiction – May 19, 2017
Journalism – June 30, 2017
Teacher Tip
from Jennifer Kimbrell, who has been teaching her own kids since 2001 and teaching homeschool writing classes since 2002. 

"The more specific and concrete the writing assignment, the better the students will write. For successful results give clear and detailed instructions, and give examples that model the assignment. Faced with a complex task such as writing a report or essay, students will be more effective when the assignment includes distinct steps. My assignments are generally laid out with two days per paragraph with one day spent on the key word outline and rough draft and another on editing, improving style, and final draft. I list any required elements of the paragraph separately on each day's to-do list, such as topic/clincher, style, and literature vocabulary. While working through the daily lists, the students are also internalizing the process of breaking a project into manageable stages, which will benefit them in many areas of life. In addition to daily specific instructions, provide sample sentences, paragraphs, or papers written according to the assignment. One potent example is worth a thousand instructions. A particular literature essay assignment always confused my students, regardless of how painstakingly I explained it. Finally, I had a more advanced student write an example paper analyzing a different piece of literature, and since that time my students have had no trouble with the assignment. They simply needed a concrete example that embodied the instructions. When writing goals are communicated clearly, students will flourish in their writing skills, and their teacher will be happier grading the papers."

For an excellent discussion of this topic, Jennifer recommends that you read English professor Tina Blue's article "Let Them Read Sample Essays" at
From one of our Magnum Opus Magazine Interns . . . 

"Prior to learning the Key Word Outline method, I struggled to piece together my papers. It seemed as if I always had things in the wrong order. This unique system has taught me how to gather and organize topics and facts. In addition to this, it has helped me create smooth transitions between paragraphs in a paper. It has become the model for all my articles and reports. Understanding the structure of an essay has never been so easy! Without the Key Word Outline, I doubt I would be the writer that I am today."   ~ Jessica Andress, age 16

The Grasshoppers' Discovery
by Hannah Doss, age 9

Hannah's Key Word Outline:
Winter was coming and the ants were engrossed in storing plenty of delicious food. The sluggish, green grasshoppers, however, did not want to bother with such back-breaking labor. They informed the ants that they had plenty of precious time. But before they knew it, cold winds, sparkling snow, and slippery ice blew in. Sadly and weakly, they hungrily hurried to the huddled ants. “Please, dear friends, won’t you share your food with us?” they begged. The ants lethargically crawled up the hill with leaves wrapped around them to answer the freezing grasshoppers. “We warned you and now you have to suffer the consequences,” they wisely reminded their woebegone visitors. As the grasshoppers discovered, if you do not work, then you will not eat.    

The Crow's Consequence 
by Esther Doss, age 10

Esther's Key Word Outline:
One day a crow, who was freely flying over the king’s palace, beheld a flock of peacocks with their elegant feathers spread out behind them. “Oh, how gloomy my feathers are,” mourned the crow sadly. Warily gliding down into the garden, she noticed a few stray feathers and promptly attached them to her tail with a bit of variegated string she had been carrying for her nest. Dressed in her borrowed feathers, she hesitantly hopped throughout the spacious garden. The peacocks, perceiving that she was an imposter and not one of them, laughed at her disrespectfully and gasped, “How absurd you look!” After they had taunted her, they pecked her until she flew away. As the crow discovered, if you covet you will reap dreadful consequences.    

A Famous Trading City
by Susan Heil, age 12

Susan's Key Word Outline:

Dido, who was a beautiful and clever princess, fled her home traveling for Africa to start a trading city. Finally finding land near the sea, she asked the owner if he would sell her as much land as she could cover with the skin of a bull. The owner agreed, thinking it would only be a small portion of land. But Dido had a crafty plot. She quietly cut the skin into thin strips with a sharp knife, making a huge circle of land. The owner reluctantly sold her the land, and Dido built a tower called the Bull's Hide. Eventually, it became a famous trading city known as Carthage.   

The Plunge
by Abigail Doss, age 11

Abigail's Key Word Outline:
Late one sweltering and oppressive evening, an aged ass was being led down a very steep, rigid mountainside to an old but well-kept farm, which was his home. Trudging wearily upon the tumbledown path, he peered over the cliff and observed his comfortable stall. He decided it was a wise idea to take a shortcut home. It seemed to him that the swiftest way down was over the nearest precipice. When the donkey absentmindedly lumbered toward the cliff, his master yanked him back by the tail. Stubbornly kicking and braying, the headstrong donkey would not obey his young master. “Very well,” his master remarked. “Travel your own way and see where it leads you.” And with that his master instantaneously let go of his tail. The brainless beast tumbled over the edge and plunged like a sack of grain into the raging river below. If you don’t listen to others’ good counsel but follow your own foolish thoughts, it usually leads to terrible consequences. 

Wild and Free
by Michael Bowen, age 14

Michael's Key Word Outline:
Many years ago, in the days of the Aztec and Mayan people, not a single horse could be found gallivanting anywhere on the continents of the Americas. During the age of exploration, Cortez, who was a Spanish conquistador, transported horses with him on the first of his several infamous expeditions to the Americas. Throughout his stay, before he was forced completely out of South America during a fierce and bloody battle with the natives, numerous spare mounts escaped from the Spanish encampment. The horses soon went wild. After establishing themselves in the uncharted territory of southern America, the growing herds of horses began to migrate into North America. While enjoying the vast expanse of their northern grazing grounds, the Native Americans managed to capture and tame some of the wild steeds. Inevitably the Indians soon discovered that horses were much faster than the heavyset buffalo. The horse proved to be a very useful animal because it possessed incredible intelligence, speed, and agility. Years later, the settlers, cattlemen, and cowboys, as well as the company Wells Fargo, which was a famous stagecoach line, began to create a large demand for untamed horses. Although seldom seen by humans today, a considerable amount of horses can be found roaming in America wild and free. 

The Challenges Easily Forgotten
by Andrew Heil, age 14

Andrew's Key Word Outline:
To do the hard things, one must do what everyone else is neglecting and overlooking. Sorrowfully, in America throughout the past decades, society has roadblocked teenagers from accomplishing objectives which teens in America’s distant past would have achieved with haste. Breaking free of society’s manufactured chains, youths can fulfill life ambitions with less strain than before. When the shackles are broken, adolescents can carry their own burdens like the valiant Vikings, who rowed their mighty warships through the waving, splashing ocean and carried their own weight. According to Alex and Brett Harris, authors of the book Do Hard Things, there are five kinds of hard things (Harris ch. 5-9). First, one must do things that require leaving one’s warm comfortable zone. One must also work past the expectations and requirements which have been set in place by society. Furthermore, one must do things that need the assistance of other people. One should do the small things, the things that are few in number and do not pay off immediately. While doing those hard things, lastly, one should take a firm stand against a society which is constantly creating illusions to hide the truth from teenagers. So why do teenagers need to work hard at these difficult things and not squander time during their adolescent years? It will help prepare them for adulthood and will strengthen their relationship with Christ. Teens should do the hard things, which others so quickly neglect, and hold strong to their faith in God.

Tragedy in Tiananmen Square
by Colby Duke, age 15

Colby's Key Word Outline:
The year was 1989. Red flags fluttered and flew. Tiananmen Square was packed. Almost a million young Chinese students entered the square, located in Beijing outside of the Forbidden Palace. Beginning in May they began protesting against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and for democracy. Everything was peaceful until one fateful day. Storming into Tiananmen Square with full force, the CCP military troops attacked viciously, cutting down all protesters in their way. Tanks soon entered as well, emphasizing the extreme force used to put an end to the gathering. Sadly, the exact number of Chinese protestors that perished that day is unknown; the number ranges from three hundred to several thousand. More than ten thousand students were unfairly arrested and incarcerated. The democratic world was outraged. Because the Chinese government handled the events in Tiananmen Square poorly, the USA started economic sanctions for a limited amount of time. Living in infamy, the June Fourth incident is a tragic reminder of how fortunate citizens of the USA are, and why they should help other countries around the world embrace democracy.
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