Friday, April 27, 2018

Week 32 ~ Hands-On High School

This is really a two week review of the highlights. We are enjoying the first signs of spring. We are wrapping up more courses every week and see the end of this year in sight. It has been a great year with many accomplishments. We are spending the next few weeks wrapping up courses and practicing how we would like next year to go. Our homeschool is trying to move away from textbooks and workbooks (which crept into our lives more in more in the past few years) and return to an experiential learning environment with real-world exploration. I do not believe that homeschool high school needs to look like the public school, and I intend to follow a different path for our last three years. It perhaps does make a difference that my kids have career aspirations that do not require more than community college. I still intend to follow public school course of study transcripts, but without the boring textbooks. It is harder to create a hands-on high school curriculum than to follow a textbook, but I think for my kids it is completely necessary.

Full circle ~ Anne finished off home economics by mending all of the clothes in my mending basket. One of the items was her big brother's pants. The pants needed a new button sewed on them. The sweet story behind this picture is that her big brother Tim had to sew a button on her dress for his final exam in home economics back in 2007. I was able to find the picture in the album and show it to her. Sweet all goes by so fast.

Exploring the World through Food ~ This month's Universal Yums box was from Spain. We loved the ham flavored potato chips. All the food was great. The trivia games this month were challenging, too. We can't wait for next month's Universal Yums.

Exploring Towns Around Us ~ We explored Old Fort this week. This is a tiny town with a population of only about 1,000. We went to a Civil War battlefield, went to a fort that was the farthest western fort at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, and visited a manmade geyser. Fun and learning was had by all.
pioneer game

The block with the star is how tea used to come from England.

Being able to read this entire page is all the formal education you would hope to get in western North Carolina in 1776!

Andrew's Geyser

We Dissected a Sheep's Heart and Learned About the Circulatory System ~

Anne Made Candles ~ We had tons of yogurt jars laying around, and Anne has wanted to make candles for months. We finally got around to them. They are coconut scented and will make lovely dance and co-op teacher gifts next Christmas.

We Finished The Westing Game ~ What an exciting story! If you haven't read it, you really should.

We Had a Delightful Day at Exploring More of the Biltmore Gardens ~ There are so many different types of gardens at the Biltmore. We explored the azalea, spring and pond gardens this week. Spring is really blooming. It was lovely. We also visited the greenhouses, which is always a favorite.

Cypress knees...we saw thesewhen we to the Louisiana swamp, too.

Looking over the wall into the walled garden reminded me of the Secret Garden.
Sign Language Interview ~ Anne really has fallen in love with sign language this year. She has studied many YouTube videos and learned a great deal. I have searched for a sign language class and was starting to lose hope when a homeschool co-op decided to offer years 1 and 2 next year. She went in for an interview to see which level she should be placed. The entire 10 minute interview was conducted in silence. Only ASL was used. She passed with flying colors and only had to ask the teacher to repeat a question once. She was placed in year 2 for the coming school year. We are so proud of her -- not bad for being self-taught from music videos on YouTube.

Art with Grandma ~ The kids learned about Dale Chihuly this month. He is an amazing glass sculptor, who will have many works of art throughout the Biltmore gardens starting mid-May. We can't wait for the show. The kids had so much fun with this lesson. We were joined by four homeschool friends to hear Grandma's lecture and watch short YouTube videos about Chihuly. They used permanent markers to decorate plastic plates and cups and then used a hot craft heat gun to melt them into sculptures. (The plastic has to have a recycling number 6 on the bottom in order to melt well.) They did amazing art! This lesson was a real hit.
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Using the hot gun

Dean Finished Two 9th Grade Courses ~ If you are interested, you can read his transcript for English I and Math I.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. I love the art project! It looks like the kids really enjoyed themselves. This time of the school year is always my favorite. We are close enough to the end to enjoy the days knowing we are nearly finished. It helps when we do fewer and fewer subjects as they finish. Have another great week!

  2. I am most impressed by Anne teaching herself sign language. I have tried to do the same a few times because it is something that I am interested in learning as well, but it is really hard to learn if you cannot practice it with others. Bravo, Anne!

  3. Wow! I wish I could come to school at your house. :) My Pixie is learning ASL the same way your Anne is. She'll be able to take ASL at the community college soon, but for now, she's still watching great teachers on youtube.

    You've all done a lot of interesting outings and projects and learning. I think it is simply marvelous!!!