Cover Story Archives - Eva Varga

August 30, 2016

In today’s technologically saturated environment, more and more businesses and people are going online. Teens have grown up with social media as a daily part of their lives. As their interests and passions begin to take form, these internet rising stars are using social media and Web2.0 platforms to their benefit. In doing so, they develop strategy and community management skills that rival many adults.

Today, I would like to celebrate several creative homeschool kids who are striving to make a name for themselves online. Bloggers, magazine publishers, and YouTubers – these kids know where they want to go and together with their parents, are molding their schoolwork around their passions.

internet rising stars

Homeschool Bloggers & Rising Stars

Blogging benefits students in ways that you may not even realize. Blogging has students writing regularly, so it’s a no-brainer that they’ll become proficient at it over time. Blogging also helps students learn to manage their time – finding a balance between schoolwork, family, writing, scheduling posts, and formatting their blog template and images. Perhaps the most important, students gain experience with social media strategy and community management.

Missions and Music and More, Oh My! – Rachel’s tagline says it all, “It’s all about missions, music, baking, graphic design and other geekery.”

Geneva Varga – An online portfolio created as documentation of her life work as an artist and naturalist. I love how she showcases her many passions.

Troop 156 – As his Boy Scout troop’s Webmaster, Jeffrey has begun to put together a website for his troop. Best of all, his efforts also meet one of the project requirements for the Programming merit badge.

Minetech – Jeffrey has also created a website to support his Minecraft server. Complete with forums and tutorials – he is able to connect with his players and collaborate on the development of mini-games and animation videos.

Piqued for PC Gaming – Rydro (as he is known online) has a lot of experience playing video games and it shows. Check out his new website to learn more about PC games.

The Perler Post – Eleven year old Grayson is passionate about Perler bead art. I can’t wait to see the elaborate projects he will share in the future.

Do you blog? Do your teens? What stories and passions would you all share with the world?

Homeschool Magazines & Rising Stars

Similar to blogging, the process of creating the content for their own magazine, students learn about the writing process as well as refine their skills in formatting and communicating their ideas with an audience.

THEM Magazines – Published by Nate Spell, THEM Magazines is a culmination of all his interests: gaming, coding, and movies. I love that he has multiple issues! Clearly he is passionate about his craft.


This past school year, my kids worked through the lessons in Cover Story Writing. They really enjoyed the creative process. My daughter’s magazine, The Otaku Habit, celebrates her love of Japanese anime. Hers impressed me the most because she spent many hours on artistic layout, design, and formatting.

Do your tweens and teens have a blog or YouTube channel of their own? Share a link in the comments.

Homeschool YouTubers & Rising Stars

The most coveted of internet stars are the YouTubers. If you haven’t heard of Joey Graceffa, Boy in a Band, ExplodingTNT, or Jelly, just ask your kids who their favorite YouTubers are. Creating videos for YouTube teaches kids a variety of production skills including story development, visual design, framing, lighting and sound techniques that will help them make magic.

Luci Hodges – Luci shares insight into your teen life. My kids are envious that she has met their favorite YouTubers, Dan and Phil.

Joel Ross – If you like Chopin, you’ll love Joel’s channel. This 17 year old pianist is fabulous!

Jeffrey Varga – At 11 years, Jeffrey is just beginning to come into his own. I encouraged him to create a channel to showcase his love of piano. Like many, however, he struggles with balance. He spends more time on his gaming channel, BudderSticks. I made a bet with him that his piano channel would gain subscribers at a faster rate than his gaming channel. Sadly, I am losing.

Geneva Varga – Geneva’s vision for Werifesteria (from Old English meaning ‘to wander longingly in the forest in search of mystery’) is to share compilations of our family hikes.

July 13, 2016

This past year, both kids have been working through Cover Story, a writing curriculum specifically aimed at middle schoolers whereby students create their own magazine.  The first task requires students to choose a theme and the writing assignments that follow all are geared towards their theme.

cover story writing

The assignments have been both challenging and rewarding. The experience has opened doors and provided opportunities to meet others who share similar passions. The interview assignment has been the most remarkable.

My daughter’s magazine theme was Japanese anime. She was in nearly in tears when we read through this assignment.

“How am I going to do this, Mom? How do I write an astounding but true story about anime? The director of one anime died before the series was finished, that might work. But no one I know even watches it so how do I interview someone?”

She happened to share her frustration one evening when she had arrived for her violin lesson and her instructor had greeted her in the usual fashion, “How are you?” Upon hearing of her dilemma, she exclaimed, “Did you know that my husband, Chuck, is an animator? He used to work for Disney. I know it’s not Japanese anime but would that work?” 

We made arrangement to meet Charles Harvey at a local coffee shop the following week. She brought along her prepared list of questions (one of the Cover Story writing assignments). They chatted for over an hour. My daughter loved watching short clips of the animations he had done – some of which were older Disney films we had not yet watched. Her favorite was Eliot, the magic dragon from Pete’s Dragon (1977), whom she also chose to feature in her magazine:



What I Love About Cover Story Writing

We have tried a variety of language arts curricula and writing programs over the years. What we like best are programs that provide real-life writing experiences, as opposed to workbooks and dry grammar exercises. Cover Story fits this criteria perfectly.

Students are led on a fun, thought-provoking journey of exploration and creation through the process of creating the content for their own magazine. A variety of writing genres are used including poems, short stories, non-fiction articles, letters, and many other short pieces. Each writing assignment is geared for use in their magazine. cover story writing

Where to Buy Cover Story Writing

In the summer of last year, I was able to purchase Cover Story at a reduced rate from the Homeschool Buyers Co-op. I am delighted to share that for a limited time, this wonderful writing curriculum is available through the co-op once again. Offer Expires 08-31-2016 at 11:59 pm Pacific

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