TOS Magazine Style and Format Guide for Authors

Microsoft Word® Document Specifications

  • Submit your entire article in Times New Roman font, 10 pt.
  • All indentation and spacing settings in the “Paragraph” section of the toolbar must be set at 0.
  • Use left-aligned text and single line spacing.
  • Do not indent any paragraphs. Leave one line of space between all paragraphs, titles, and subtitles.
  • Do not insert any text boxes, word art or effects, or shapes into your document. All text should be in paragraph form. Attach separate documents with any art, graphs, etc.
  • Do not use any “all caps” text in your article. Emphasized wordswill be italicized.
  • If you have a request for our layout designer, please describe your request in paragraph form beneath your article. For example, you might make this request: “Layout Designer: Please make sure there is a line of space between items on the list” or “Please indent as a block quote all quotations that are more than three lines long.”

Our graphic designers will do their best to grant your requests. 

Style Standards that Must be Followed

(TOS style is based on Chicago Manual of Style with some exceptions)

Space between sentences

Only one space should be used after ending punctuation in a sentence (period, question mark, or exclamation mark). Two spaces after ending punctuation is unacceptable.

Comma usage (in a series)

Use commas to separate three or more items in a series—unless all the items are joined by and or or. Place a comma after the next to last item mentioned in the series, as in this example: It takes time, effort, and attention to detail.

All website addresses

Bold, no italics: (unless in bios) Within a bio, it will be italicized with the rest of the text.

All email addresses

All email addresses are to be bold, no italics. (They are italicized if they are listed in a bio, since all bio text is italicized.)

All references to TOS Magazine

Italicized: The Old Schoolhouse®Magazine,LLC The registered trademark symbol should always be included in the magazine name, as a superscript.

All references to column headings

Capitalized, italicized, e.g., The Informed HomeschoolerTeachers’ Lounge

All bios within articles

Italicized, no indents, no bold except website addresses and email addresses, as well as first mentions of company names, programs, and/or books.

Word count for bios: 60 words.


Deborah Wuehler is the Senior Editor of  The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, website address:

(When The Old Schoolhouse®Magazine is mentioned within text that is italicized, such as a bio, then its name should be in Roman, not italics.)

Company or product names

Bold on first mention only
Example: Apologia at first mention; no bold if mentioned thereafter

Titles of books

Should be italicized. First mention of a book should also be boldfaced.

Titles in a list of resources

If a list of resources/company names/product names is included in a sidebar or within an article, do not boldface any of the titles that otherwise would be boldfaced, such as the “first mention” of a book or company name. (The goal of this style guide is uniformity within a list of resources.)

Scripture quotations

“Always italicized with quotation marks” (Proverbs 32:1).

Closing quotation marks should be followed by the Scripture reference in parentheses and then the ending punctuation. The reference also
should be italicized. 

Quotes should come from the KJV wherever possible. If any other version is used, you must include the copyright permissions at the end of the article.

Program names

Boldface first mention of program and product names, such as Phonics Plus or Institute for Excellence in Writing. After first mention you may use the abbreviated version: Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). 

Punctuation (misc. rules)

The period at the end of a sentence should not be boldfaced, even if it follows boldfaced text or punctuation. Exception: if the entire paragraph/sentence is boldfaced, then the period should be boldfaced as well.

Commas (or other punctuation marks) between italicized names or words (in a series) should not be italicized, unless the entire sentence is italicized.

Do not use multiple punctuation marks. Example: ?? or !!! (One of each is sufficient.)

Quotation marks should always be “double,” not ‘single,’ unless you are quoting within a quote.


Do not use any headers or footers in your document.

Our graphic artist will add the headers and footers when the spread is designed.


Parentheses that enclose boldfaced text, such as a website address, should not be boldfaced, unless the entire sentence is boldfaced for some reason.

Example: (

Em dashes/En dashes

There should be no space on either side of em dashes or en dashes.


Use of ALL CAPS text is not permitted. For emphasis, use italics. In some cases, exceptions will be made at the Publisher’s or Senior Editor’s discretion, in conjunction with the graphic designer.

Ellipsis marks

Should be spaced like this: . . .

Not together like this: …

One space should be before and after a set of ellipsis marks, as well as one space between each mark: . . .

TOS “Departments” listed on the website

Italicized, such as Product Reviews


The title Endnotes, as well as the numbered footnotes following the title, should be 1 pt smaller (font size) than the body text. (9 pt. Times Roman)


1. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary 
2. ESV Lockman Foundation, copyright 2001

Never use automatic footnotes/endnotes. 

Place superscript numbers within text or in parenthesis like this: 1or (1)

Create endnote list at the end of article.

Do not use pointy brackets around website addresses.< >

Ages/ordinal numbers

Use digits to list ages in most cases. 

Example: Her children, ages 4, 3, and 7, were veryhappy.

When referring to a “3-year-old” or a “7-year-old,” hyphens should be used as shown here.

Compound adjectives such as third-grade [math] and sixth-grade [students] should be hyphenated. (The term third grade (adjective + noun) should, of course, not be hyphenated since those words are functioning simply as an adjective and a noun, not a compound adjective.)


When a company or product is mentioned in an article, search for the company’s website online. If the company name includes a registered trademark symbol (®) or trademark symbol (™), include the appropriate symbol with at least the first mention of the company or product.

They vs. he/she

Although it is becoming more commonly accepted in casual conversation, “they” or “their” should not be used with a singular noun. If necessary, reword the sentence. Wrong example: “Your child may be able to do their schoolwork in the morning.” Correct example: “Your children may be able to do their schoolwork in the morning.” Or simply remove the pronoun: “Your child may be able to do schoolwork in the morning.”

TOS Terms, for quick reference (style-wise)

  • The Homeschool Minute 
  • The Schoolhouse Store
  • The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Frequently used words, TOS style preferences:

  • Body of Christ 
  • Crew (as it relates to the Homeschool Review Crew)
  • e-blast
  • eBook
  • e-commerce
  • E-Newsletter 
  • flashcards 
  • high schoolers
  • homeschool (always one word, unless you are quoting written text from another source) 
  • kindergarteners
  • language arts skills (no hyphen)
  • lapbook
  • learning disabled students (no hyphen)
  • mindset
  • restroom
  • resumé
  • special needs children (no hyphen)
  • Sunday School
  • God and all references/pronouns capitalized (God, Jesus, He, Holy, Who, His, Godly, etc.)
  • Scripture (capitalize)
  • Bible, Biblical, Bible study (capitalize)

Hyphenated words, TOS style preferences:

  • above-average beginners 
  • college-levelspelling
  • sight-reading methods 

Foreign words in italics (perro,agua, etc. all languages as well as latin words in italics)

Referenced words in italics (“We are saying dog when we say perro.” Or, “Use words with the same sound endings as in cathatbat, etc.”) 

IMPORTANT NOTE: For all other questions of editing, please refer to the Chicago Manual of Style, or contact the Senior Editor at

(REVISED 4/2019)