Issue 28 | October 12, 2012 | Featuring Marilyn Shannon

Marilyn Shannon is a part time instructor / tenured Biology professor at one of the branch campuses for Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.  She is also an author of Apologia curriculum, which is a widely-used science program for home-based learning. Beyond that, she has home schooled 9 children and can give us some very helpful insight about preparing students for success at college

INSIDE NARHS: Portfolio Season and a Phone Reminder

We at NARHS headquarters are experiencing our truly busy time of the year. Registrations are coming in that need our quick response to Curriculum Design plans.  Portfolios are coming in that need thorough review.  And the transcript office is busy filling transcript requests.  All of these need our careful attention.  In the meantime, there is a typical backup of work waiting for processing.  I remember years ago the former director calling me from the Maine office (I was then working as a family advisor) to inform me that families can expect their transcripts in eight weeks!  That was how behind the office had become.  Now I understand how that can happen.  One problem that you all can help us with is the number of "urgent" requests we receive. It's difficult to move someone to the front of the line bumping back others who have been waiting.  Timeliness of portfolio preparation is the best answer.  Know that once the portfolio gets here, it will be taken care of in the order it was received.  Please don't hesitate to email your advisor about when to expect the results.  Sometimes they might be so deep into their work, they haven't responded as quickly as you would like.  Working together,  this process can be streamlined more every year. 

 Also, here is a quick reminder of the new advisor extensions when you call 800-882-2828: 

 Becky Meinzinger.......................21

  • Silvia Johnson:.........................22
  • April Thome:............................23
  • Laurel Smith:...........................24
  • Registrar:................................25
  • Stephen & Katie Meinzinger:.....26
  • Wendi Frank:...........................27


Maureen Martin is still at her previous phone number: 207-778-3545

 Please remember that if you know who you are trying to reach, you can always enter their extension at any time after the phone starts ringing.

FEATURED Family: The Shannon Family

The Shannon Family Through all the experience Marilyn Shannon has gained by home schooling nine children, she can definitely tell which curriculum will help improve scores on the SAT or ACT and which will lay excellent ground work for college-level studies. Knowing that high scores on the SAT are imperative for scholarship opportunities, she has familiarized herself with the test by actually taking it. She also prepares each of her students by giving them the SAT study guide for a Christmas present when he/she becomes a sophomore! The vocabulary, math and writing required can be prepared for following Marilyn's recommendations. 

 Marilyn Shannon's curriculum recommendations:


Since math achievement is an important component, Marilyn has developed her math recommendations carefully. Some of this may come as a surprise to you. First she starts her young students out in A Beka math for the first three years, then switches over to Saxon. She does not encourage her children to skip levels, not even Saxon 87. "We stall the students in 87 allowing time for their brains to grow." (This is an important insight coming from a biology instructor.) For 2 of her children, she required they take Algebra 2 twice, so it would become deeply embedded. 

Language Arts:  

Literature and vocabulary are greatly enhanced by a 9th grade course in Shakespeare literature. Twelve plays are read that year, 9 of which are written by the British playwright:  Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Merchant of Venice, Henry the Fifth, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, and MacBeth. The family enjoys reading many of these out loud together. A typical follow-up composition assignment might be to develop the fatal flaw of the main character as it manifests itself sequentially through the story. For the 10th grade year, Marilyn appreciates A Beka world literature, for 11th grade American literature and for the senior year, British literature.

When it comes to the writing portion of the SAT, Marilyn guarantees high scores if the student has been well-trained in A Beka grammar and vocabulary. This program develops punctuation, capitalization, and all of the mechanics rules become quite natural. On a regular basis, her children will complete 1 ½ pages a day and once the year is over, it would not be uncommon to repeat the same book the next year. She prefers to sit down with her children and do the exercises with them, including some of the diagramming, but not all of it. 


For science, you can imagine what Marilyn recommends. If not, read her introduction above.

Foreign Language:

For foreign language studies, most of the nine Shannons will have taken 4 years by graduation using the culturally-enriching Bob Jones texts which are enhanced with Pimsleur. Spanish and Latin are considered the best choices in the Shannon household. 

 The Results:

Marilyn's efforts have paid off. One of her offspring was a National Merit Scholarship finalist and another earned a commendation. Receiving scholarships for high SAT scores are common occurrences among the Shannon offspring. (Marilyn has written articles on how to attend college debt-free. Perhaps we can cover that in a future newsletter.) As you can see, this highly experienced and capable home schooling mother knows how to get results. You can also tell from her curriculum plan for high school that choosing one limited program such as Seton or A Beka academy would not work well for her; and that brings us to why Marilyn chooses NARHS for her credential management. 

  NARHS' flexibility allows for a variety of curriculum choices in a student's program. Even for families not inclined to college-prep, the flexibility allows options for curriculum to fit the needs of different students. Marilyn appreciates the outside accountability which makes a statement to others who look at the grades on the transcript. It is not just her reporting those great grades; someone else verifies them. 

The accountability-factor works well between parent and child also when the student can be reminded that someone else is going to be taking a look at the quality of his/her work. And finally, Marilyn prefers the regional-accreditation which is available to her through the CED transcript. For students who achieve a combined SAT score of 1180 minimum, or a combined ACT score of 63 minimum, they qualify for an accredited transcript through CED and a diploma through NARHS. There is a cost of $250 but it is worth it. Call our office for more information.