Saturday, September 24, 2011

TOS Interview with Amelia Harper!

Hi Friends!

Today I have an interview with Amelia Harper to share with you. Amelia will be one of the new writers for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine when we begin publishing our interactive digital monthly magaznine in January 2012!  I'm so excited about going monthly and all the new columnists who will be joining us!  I'm happy to say that we will still have our "regular" TOS writers too, so don't worry that you won't be hearing from your favorites any more--because you will! 

Instead of explaining who Amelia is and what she'll be writing about, I'll post her interview here.  Keep reading all the way to the end of the post to find out how you could win a free one-year subscription to our "new" interactive digital magazine!

QUESTION: Tell us a little about what readers will find in your upcoming column, The Inspired Homeschooler.

The Inspired Homeschooler will be a column that focuses on improving writing skills and inspiring homeschoolers to create written masterpieces of their own. Each column will have suggested writing assignments drawn from that month’s column material. However, the column will not primarily focus on writing instruction for children. I find that there are a growing number of homeschooled teens—and even parents—who are inspired to pursue writing for themselves. And we hope to help them on their journey.

I will be cohosting the column with Susan Spann. Susan and I met through our mutual work for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and found within one other a kindred spirit. We both love to read and write and both have a passion for inspiring others to writing excellence. However, we have different backgrounds and focus.

Susan is an intellectual property attorney who also writes and speaks on topics such as copyright law and writing contracts. She has made radio appearances and also spoken at writers' conferences. However, she is also an author in her own right and has worked hard to develop her craft. During the coming year, her columns will focus on the steps needed to take an inspired idea and bring it to the point of submission for publication—sort of a mini writing handbook written in a serial style.

My background is more journalistic and educational in focus. I have written for my local newspaper for over fifteen years and for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine roughly seven years, so I have a great deal of research and interview experience. I also teach English classes for homeschooled teens (including my own) and have written a literature curriculum for the homeschool market. In addition, I take occasional forays into poetry and creative fiction—especially fantasy. My columns will alternate with Susan’s and focus more on the wide variety of writing genres in the hopes that others can find their own writing style. So Susan and I complement each other’s skills quite nicely. She is really the brains, however.  :)

QUESTION: Amelia, you created the literature-based curriculum Literary Lessons From the Lord of the Rings. What prompted you to write this study? Has Lord of the Rings been a favorite book of yours for a long time?

I have loved The Lord of the Rings since I first read it as a teenager. It was the work that first showed me the true power of literature and inspired me to want to become a writer. Over the years, especially since I have produced this work, I have found that I am not alone. I have met dozens of homeschooled teens who have come to me and told me how this intense study of The Lord of the Rings has inspired them to pursue writing, or history or even Old English. I love that sense of setting a new scholastic passion aflame in a young person and Tolkien is just the author to do that. Asking me this question is quite dangerous, because I tend to go about it for hours (reportedly with a mad gleam in my eye). But for now, I would just encourage those who want to learn more about this one-year literature curriculum to go to my website at

QUESTION: Parents often fear the high school years. What encouragement can you offer for parents preparing to homeschool their teens?

Are you kidding? These are the best years! You’re young person practically teaches themselves and you are simply a guide and mentor. Actually, the scholastic independence they start to gain is a great way to prepare for college—and life—where learning is largely self-taught. Also, you start to see an adult bloom before your eyes and you set the stage for a new relationship with your child—hopefully one that will last the rest of your life. You start to have amazing conversations about life and love and faith and philosophy. I have three now that have already graduated from college (quite successfully, I might add) and yet I still have two at home, so I am sort of caught in the middle of this whole experience. The worst part about the experience is that your child finally becomes this amazing human being—and then they move away! But that is really the way it is supposed to be—the most beautiful butterflies have to take flight. The teen years are simply the final preparation for that wonderful person you will unleash upon the unsuspecting world. Enjoy these days and keep your sense of humor. You will treasure the good moments and can always store the bad experiences to use as blackmail when they have kids of their own. :)

If you would like a chance to win a free one-year interactive digital subscription to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, please leave a comment below.  If you sign up to follow my blog on Google Friend Connect, you will get a second entry.  (Please leave separate comments for each entry.)  I would love to hear from you!

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  1. While it was nice to hear about Amelia Harper, I was hoping to find an interview with Karen Andreola. Can you tell me where I went wrong? Thanks.

  2. Hi Anastasia,

    You didn't do anything wrong! I'm just about to publish Karen Andreola's interview now. I was unexpectedly gone all day today, so I'm just now able to post it. I'm sorry it wasn't already here for you to read, but in just a few minutes, it will be here. :)