Learning on your own terms: the benefits of homeschooling as a teen

There are several reasons why I prefer homeschooling over traditional schooling. Some of these include:

  1. Flexibility: Homeschooling can provide more flexibility in scheduling, which can appeal to some teens with other interests or responsibilities. For example, I can write my novels any time as long as I finish all my weekly high school requirements. I can also dual enroll with a university or college, finish high school, and get college credits.
  2. Personalized education: Homeschooling allows for more personalized instruction. This means I can cater my education to my interests and needs rather than following a one-size-fits-all curriculum. Because I get to choose my curriculum with my teacher, I almost always have no problems finishing my schoolwork quickly.
  3. Avoidance of negative social situations: Some teens may prefer homeschooling to avoid adverse social problems such as bullying, peer pressure, or a lack of inclusion. I never had this problem; most homeschooled high students I met or knew were too busy with their day-to-day lives. Most of the time, we’re with older adults, so there are no such adverse social problems.
  4. Increased family time: One of the advantages of homeschooling is that it can provide more opportunities for family time and closer bonds between parent and child. I like homeschooling because I can spend time with my siblings whenever I want or need to. When my family decides to travel, I can take my schoolwork with me, and there are no missed school days to make up. This is a huge perk for my parents and me since we love to travel.
  5. Religious or philosophical beliefs: Many families homeschool because it aligns better with their religious or philosophical beliefs and values. I have many friends who homeschool for this reason. It’s important to families that their children receive an education that aligns with their ideas. Because we’re living in the US, we have the freedom to choose; we all should take advantage of how we want to do school to improve ourselves as model citizens.

It’s worth noting that homeschooling is only for some, and this form of education can also be challenging and complex. The most difficult in homeschooling is being motivated and disciplined with your schedule. You are on your own when finishing and staying on task with your schoolwork. No teachers ask you to do it and finish it on time. No classmates to compete and get you going. No- just you competing against yourself to be the best version of yourself. This is why I love homeschooling, but many teens choose not to. However, for some teens like myself, homeschooling can provide an excellent choice and preferred educational experience.

Bella H.

The Life of Marie Curie

Born on November 7th, 1867, in Warsaw, Poland, Maria Sklodowska would go on to become a well-known scientist. Her father, Wladysaw Sklodowski, was also a scientist. Later, in 1891, she would move to Paris. This was when she changed her name to Marie and began working at a research laboratory, where she met her husband Pierre Curie in 1894. 

She would go on to marry her husband, Pierre Curie, in July of 1895. The couple would go on to work together, and eventually discovered the element Polonium. Marie Curie named their newly discovered element after the country she was from: Poland. They would also discover a second element, Radium, months later in 1898. Marie and Pierre Curie had two daughters, Irene (born in 1897) and Eve (born in 1904). In 1903, Marie and her husband won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their research about radiation.

On April 19, 1906, her husband Pierre was killed after a street accident. It is thought to be possible that part of the reason for his death was his and Marie’s repeated exposure to radium, a dangerous substance which weakened them both. Following this, however, Marie continued her work in science, and in 1911 won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. This time for her work about radioactivity. 

Eventually, Marie Curie would die on July 4, 1934 of aplastic anemia, due to her constant work with radiation. She was 66 years old at this time. Marie Curie was a great scientist, and the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

– Peri A.

Several books about Marie Curie are available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

How to Get Back into Reading When You’re…in a Slump

Reading is magical. It can make us laugh, cry, and it can inspire people the world over. But sometimes…you just don’t have the motivation to open that first page.

Here’s some tips to get back into reading when you’ve begun to slack off.



Do you have certain things you do before bed? When you do those things, it might help you relax and prepare for rest. So if you set a routine for reading, it can prepare your mind for reading.
EXAMPLES: reading before dinner, reading after homework, etc.

Setting timers can help motivate your reading.


Get blankets, a drink, and a nice place to sit. Reading is great for the mind, so why not make it comfy for the body too?


Don’t feel pressured to read a certain amount of pages a day. Even 5 pages is better than nothing!


If you feel your books are dull, try a new genre. Sometimes you need something new to spark your interest!


MV Teen Voice has tons of book reviews to browse through – reading other’s opinions on books is a great way to find the best for you.


Try a book you have read before and loved! A lot of people see this as a great way to encourage your mind to read more – starting slow in your comfort zone.


If you’re reading a book, and you feel like it’s just not for you…don’t feel pressured to finish. Often times this drags you down from reading and demotivates you. Find something you really love, and read that!

Hopefully these tips can spark your motivation and get you back into reading. After all…

“A book is a dream you hold in your hands.”

-Neil Gaiman

Teen Library Intern- accepting applications now!

Looking for a summer job where you can gain real-world experience, leadership skills, and more? Check out the Teen Library Internship!

This is a paid position and there are 3 openings.

This cohort will run from May 15 to August 11 (off 5/30-6/2).

Interns will work 15 hours per week (up to 5 hours from home).

There are 2 required days/times onsite per week. While school is in session, they are: Mondays from 4:30 p.m.to 7:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m.to 9:00 p.m. Required days/times onsite during summer are: Mondays and Wednesdays, times to be determined based on availability.

Complete the application and questions here: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/missionviejo/jobs/3984530/teen-library-intern

Please reach out to me if you have any questions! ohoward@cityofmissionviejo.org


If you ever run out of things to do, head to Lichess.org to cure your boredom. Lichess.org is an online platform where users can play chess against other players to develop a higher rating or just for fun through the Casual game mode. 

On Lichess, you can create or join a chess match and play a random opponent. You can select which mode of chess you want to play, as Lichess has many different creative chess games, which aren’t all the traditional way of chess. You can play Standard chess, along with Crazyhouse, King of the Hill, Chess960, Three-Check, Racing Kings, Antichess, Atomic, and Horde. 

In all of the different chess game modes that Lichess provides, you start with a rating of 1500 and as you win, it goes up, but when you lose, it decreases. If you beat an opponent of a higher rating, then your rating will increase by more, but if you lose to an opponent with a lower rating, it will also decrease by more. 

In the lobby, you can find chess games that others have created, and it will show the game information. For example, if it says 5+3, that means you start with 5 minutes and after every move, you get 3 extra seconds to your game clock. If one side runs out of time on the clock before the game is decided, the other player is victorious. 

You can also “follow” your friends on Lichess and invite them to matches, making you able to play chess with your friends. 

If you ever don’t know what to do, visit Lichess.org!

Airpods Incident

Recently, I lost my airpods at a shopping mall, and it wasn’t like how most people would lose them. Here is what happened: I was in a changing room inside a clothing store about to try on some new pants, and I was planning to keep my airpods and phone in the pocket of the pants I was already wearing for convenience sake. However, when I was putting the pair of pants onto a clothing hook, my airpod case (with the airpods in them) fell out out and dropped on to the floor. Now, this next part is my best guess, because I did not see exactly what happened: The airpod case hit the floor which caused it to open, and the impact from the hit also caused the two airpods inside to scatter out, and into the changing room next to mine. Because the airpods were now in the next room, the person in that room took advantage and stole the airpods.

I still had the case, it was just when i got to the car that i realized my airpods were not there. I even went back into the changing rooms to look for them, but obviously they won’t be there because the person in the other room took them.

This is a lesson I feel like everyone should learn from, because airpods are not cheap. I would recommend getting a cover case for your airpods (the kind that you can strap on to your belt or something), and even better if you get one with a locking mechanism.

If i would change one thing about the airpod’s design, it would be to have a lock built in to the case, rather than just some magnets. This would have 100% prevented me losing my airpods.


10 Tips to End Your Writer’s Block For Good!

These tips have helped me get out of writer’s block and start writing again, and I hope they’ll do the same for you. If you need help, try following some of these suggestions:.

  1. Take breaks: Sometimes, the best way to overcome writer’s block is to step away from your writing and do something else entirely. Walk your dog, watch a movie, play with your cat, or read a book.
  2. Change your environment: If you feel stuck, try changing your writing environment. Move to a different room, go to a park or a coffee shop, or simply switch up your sitting position.
  3. Free-write: Set a timer for a specific time and write whatever comes to mind. This can help get your creative juices flowing and overcome any blockages.
  4. Brainstorm with a friend: Talking to someone about your writing can help generate new ideas and spark inspiration.
  5. Write a different part of your story: If you’re having trouble with one particular section, try writing another aspect of your novel or story.
  6. Use prompts: Try writing prompts to get your creative mind working again. These can be found online or in writing prompts books.
  7. Try a new genre or style: Experimenting with new forms of writing can help you get out of your comfort zone and find new inspiration.
  8. Keep a journal: Writing in a journal can help you reflect on your life and experiences, providing a wealth of material for your writing.
  9. Reading other authors’ work can help you get new ideas and improve your writing skills.
  10. Reward yourself: Lastly, it’s essential to recognize and reward yourself for making progress. Make sure you celebrate your accomplishments with a treat or a relaxing activity.

If you struggle with writer’s block, don’t worry – you’re not the only one. Writer’s block is a common problem that can occur at any time. However, the tips above should help you start writing again and maybe even wholly eliminate “writer’s block.”

Bella H.

Luck Around the World


Since St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated this month, I felt it appropriate to highlight what other countries’ cultures consider good luck.


On Japan’s national holiday, Kokomo-no hi (Children’s Day), colorful Koinobori (Japanese carp) are displayed on houses to guarantee their children good luck. The tradition began during the Edo Period when the Samurai class placed carp-shaped items outside their home.

In the form of an adorable white cat with a raised right paw, an owner of this statue will receive good luck. The Maneki neko is commonly found in touristy shops sold as gifts or in a business with its left paw raised to attract customers.


According to a superstition, spotting a white butterfly at the beginning of a new year will bring one good luck. Many Brazilians may even wait in a garden before the clock strikes twelve to ensure they will receive good fortunes for the new year.

The figa, an amulet shaped into an arm with a closed fist, also brings good luck to whoever wears it. Originating from ancient Etruscan Italy, the colonization of Brazil allowed the figa to become ingrained in Brazilian culture. The owner of the figa must receive the item as a gift and may not break or lose the charm to receive its good luck.


Dating back to the Ancient Greek times, Greeks would throw a pomegranate against their new home before moving in which is still practiced today on New Year’s Day. Participating in this tradition requires the luckiest member of the household to throw the fruit after the other members share good wishes in order to bring good fortune for the new year.

Kronia, an event also originating from Ancient Greece, consisted of cakes (vasilopita) and pies baked to honor the god Kronos. A gold coin would be hidden in each for a lucky person to find and receive good luck. Today, most do not have any monetary value and can be found as jewelry or gifts in shops.


Although over 90% of the population consider themselves Catholics, many still use the Bonom di bwa’s (Man of the Woods) service. The man of the woods provides an individual with advice concerning supernatural encounters and bestows one with a potion or amulet containing luck.

Another form of receiving good luck according to Seychelles culture is tattooing a dot on both one’s ankle and shoulder. Frequently fishing during dreams is also another sign of good fortune to come.


Contrary to many other nations’ view on black cats, the feline in Australia’s culture actually confers a theater good luck if present in the establishment. However, if the cat turns its back on an individual or is kicked, a terrible future awaits the person.

Ancient Aborigines, natives to Australia, relied heavily on the rain to grow a plentiful amount of crops, so of course they were constantly perturbed by a lack of rainfall. Believed to bring rain, Aborigines’ anxieties concerning a shortage of water were mitigated whenever frogs were present.


With over 40 volcanoes, volcanoes are crucial in Nicaraguan culture as observed on the country’s flag and a superstition. Dormant volcanoes indicate Nicaraguan citizens have not changed their behavior and therefore will continue their a good fortune streak. If however, a volcano erupts, the peoples’ behavior has altered and bad fortune has now fallen upon them.

To ring in the new year, some Nicaraguans participate in rituals such as hopping three times on the right foot or holding a drink in one’s right hand for a midnight toast to guarantee good luck. Others include sweeping out negative energy and diffusing the smell of cinnamon throughout one’s home.

How to Write a Novel in four Months: Advice from a Teen Author

Writing a novel takes a lot of time; If you’re reading this, you may want to know how to write a book in four months. Well, I’m here to tell you that it is possible. I wrote my first novel in four months when I was thirteen. And, while it wasn’t the best novel ever written, it was a start. Here’s the thing: many people think that writing a book is a huge, daunting task that takes years. And, sure, some novels do take years to write. But, those novels usually result from years of planning, outlines, and drafts. You can do it if you want to write a novel in four months. All you need is a plan and a little bit of motivation. How do you write a book in two to four months? First, you need to sit down and make a plan. What is your novel about? The main plot? The subplots? Who are the main characters? What are their motivations? Once you have a plan, it’s time to start writing.

The first step is to set a goal for yourself. Write 200-500 words a day, or 1,000 words a day, or whatever you think you can handle. And then just write. Write without stopping, without editing, and without worrying about whether or not your writing is good. Just write. The first draft is always the hardest, but it’ll be more manageable once you get going. If you hit a wall, take a break. Go for a walk, watch a movie, or read a book. But don’t give up. Writing a novel is a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun. And, in the end, it’s always worth it.

Second, get started and keep going. You don’t need to have everything figured out before you start writing. In fact, it’s often better to start writing and see where the story takes you. You can always go back and make changes later. The most important thing is to keep writing. Keep going even if you hit a rough patch or think your writing could improve. Just keep going. The more you write, the better you’ll get at it. And if you finish your novel and are unsatisfied with it, that’s okay. You can always revise it or even start over. The important thing is that you finish it. Writing a novel is a huge accomplishment, no matter how long it takes or how it turns out.

Third, set a daily word count goal and stick to it. Set a daily word count goal and stick to it. This may seem daunting, but it is doable if you are disciplined and have a clear plan. Sit down and calculate how many words you need to write daily to reach your goal of 50,000 words in four months. This may seem like a lot, but only about 800-1000 words per day. Once you have your daily plan, make sure to stick to it. There will be days when you may feel like you need help to get stuck, but push through and remember your goal. If you stay caught up, don’t stress; catch up as soon as possible. Writing a novel is a lot of work, but it is also fun. So, set your goal and stick to it, and you will be well on your way to writing a great novel in just four short months.

Fourth, Don’t worry about being perfect; just keep writing.
Assuming you have a story outline and characters already planned out, the best way to write a novel in four months is to just keep writing. It can be easy to get bogged down in perfectionism, but it’s important to remind yourself that the first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. Just get the story down on paper (or screen), and worry about fixing it later. If you’re worried about making mistakes, just remember that everyone makes them. Even best-selling authors had to revise their work before it was published. The most important thing is to keep writing; you’ll be surprised how quickly the words start to flow.

Fifth, Make time for your story every day.
No matter how busy you are, if you want to write a novel in four months, you must make time for your story every day. That means setting aside at least an hour each day to write, and more if you can. Even if you can only spare 30 minutes, or 20, or 10, that’s still enough to get some words down on the page. The best way to make sure you stick to your writing schedule is to set a daily goal. Decide how many words you want to write, and then make sure you write at least that many. Some days you’ll write more, and some days you’ll write less, but as long as you hit your goal most days, you’ll make good progress. If you have trouble finding time to write, try getting up an hour earlier and writing before school or work. Or write during your lunch break. Or write in the evening after you’ve finished your homework. You can also break your writing sessions into smaller chunks and write for 10 or 15 minutes throughout the day. The most important thing is to be creative about how you fit writing into your life. There needs to be one right way to do it. Just make sure you find a way to make it work.

The next step is, Let your characters lead the way.
There’s no single right way to write a novel, but some methods are more effective than others. One method that can be particularly useful is to let your characters lead the way. What does this mean, exactly? It means that you should focus on your feelings first and foremost and let their actions and decisions drive the plot. This can be a great way to ensure that your story is character-driven rather than plot-driven. One of the best ways to do this is to brainstorm your characters before you start writing the story. Write down everything you know about them, including their backstories, goals, and personality traits. The more you know about your characters, the easier it will be to let them lead the way. Another helpful tip is to start each chapter with a character’s name. This will help you track who’s doing what and make it easier for your readers to follow. Finally, feel free to let your characters make mistakes. It’s their story, after all, and their mistakes will make them more relatable and human. Consider how your decisions have led to good and bad things in your life, and use that to inform your character’s choices. Remember, there’s no single right way to write a novel. So if you find yourself struggling, take a step back and see if letting your characters lead the practice might be the best course of action.

Finally, enjoy the process, and don’t get discouraged.
One of the best pieces of advice I can offer for anyone trying to write a novel in four months is to not get discouraged. The process can be daunting, but it’s important to remember that writing is a journey, not a destination. You will make mistakes along the way, but that’s okay! The important thing is to enjoy the process and to keep writing. There will be days when you feel like you can’t do it, but you must push through. Remember why you’re doing this in the first place. Whether it’s because you want to tell a story or you’re aiming to get published, keep your goal in mind. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Many resources are available to help you, whether online forums, beta readers, or writing groups. The most important thing is to not give up. Writing a novel is a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun. So go forth and write your heart out! Get started today!

Bella H.

Trading Cards

You’ve probably heard of Pokemon cards, and maybe even Magic Cards, but have you heard of sports cards? Sports cards are trading cards that represent the players in major sports leagues, like the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and more. Some card collections also feature players from college.

Since my favorite sports are football and basketball, I enjoy collecting NFL and NBA cards. For about 6-7 years now, I’ve been collecting cards and creating a massive collection. 

For the people who are beginners to card collecting, just know that to get valuable cards, you don’t need to purchase really expensive packs. Even a simple $5-7 pack of 15-40 cards can be enough to help you pull a valuable card. Card collecting is pure luck, and you need to be prepared for the outstanding packs with the top players as well as the terrible packs filled with only duplicates of the cards you already have. 

For NBA cards, there are a few that come to mind when thinking of my favorite brands. Each card brand has it’s own strengths and a completely different look from other brands. One of my favorite NBA brands is Illusions, which has a really special, interesting look to it. Another card brand I like is called Revolution, but it is harder to find. Those 2 brands feature a lot of nice quality cards, but sometimes don’t offer many cards in packs. If you’re looking for quantity over quality, I suggest buying NBA Hoops cards. NBA Hoops cards have simpler designs, but usually give a good amount of cards for the price you pay. There are many more brands that produce amazing cards that I like, such as Prizm and Optic. 

Moving on, there are some NFL card brands that I enjoy opening packs of, too. If I’m opening for the quantity of cards instead of rarity, I would probably choose to get Prestige or Scorecards. Prestige cards have a simple design, but there is a special Heroes Collection that can give you some epic cards if you get lucky. These Heroes cards make the player look like a comic book character, adding some variety to the Prestige packs. Also, Score cards are really good for quantity and they also provide different types of cards. In a pack, the majority of the cards are base cards, but there are also extra collections like Celebration, Potential, Sack Attack, Toe The Line, and Hot Rookies. A few Celebration, Potential, and Sack Attack cards come out of every pack, but Toe The Line and Hot Rookie cards are harder to come by. Also, Select is another card brand, but I suggest buying it if you are looking for quality over quantity since it can be pricier than the other options I listed. 

Before you start collecting, there are a few more things I need to tell you. Rookie cards, indicated with an RC symbol on the card, are more valuable because they can only be pulled during the player’s rookie season. These rookie cards tend to be more valuable, especially if they are of a great player. Whenever you get a rookie card, hold on to it (don’t trade it) because you never know what its value will be when the player’s career is over. Some players don’t stand out until their 3rd or 4th season, so you should be careful about your rookie cards. In addition, to check the value of your cards, you can visit the website sportscardspro.com. The website shows the former purchases of cards, so you can see what your card goes for. If your friends also collect cards, you can trade with them to grow your collection. 

Finally, I hope this post gave you some more knowledge about sports cards and hopefully you’re ready to start your own collection now! If you start collecting, I suggest purchasing a binder and some card binder sheets to keep your cards in a safe location. This will protect the card from losing value (bent corners, scratches). Happy collecting!