Sunday, July 29, 2018

Anne's Transcript ~ English I ~ 9th Grade

English I is a combination of great literature and literature-based movies. Anne completed all of her assignments, participated in all field trips to see plays, listened to all family read-aloud books and joined our monthly literature movie club. She put effort into her assignments and produced several short writing assignments drawing comparisons between movies and books. She received an 89% for this course. She completed the course with 144 hours.

Plays Attended ~ 
  • Macbeth
  • The Christmas Carol
  • Hamlet
  • Phantom of the Opera
Poems Studied ~ 
  • The Idylls of the King ~ Tennyson
  • The Village Blacksmith ~ Longfellow
  • The Children's Hour ~ Longfellow
  • Paul Revere's Ride ~ Longfellow
Books ~ 
  • The Boy's King Arthur ~ Sidney Lanier
  • Silas Marner ~ George Eliot
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Speckled Band ~ Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Hound of Baskervilles ~ Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Great Expectations ~ Charles Dickens
  • The Westing Game ~ Ellen Raskin
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ~ J.K. Rawling
  • A Year Down Yonder ~ Richard Peck
  • Little Women ~ Louisa May Alcott
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • She Never Looked Back ~ Sam Epstein
  • The Great Stone Face ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
Movies ~ 
  • Wonder
  • Poirot ~ Three Act Tragedy
  • The Birds
  • Holes
  • Psycho
  • Gone With the Wind
  • Rear Window
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass
  • The Crooked House
  • The Black Stallion
  • The Black Stallion Returns
  • Silas Marner
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde
  • The Bohemia Mystery
  • Frankenstein (1931)
  • Emma
  • The Great Gatsby (both 2013 and 1974)
  • Murder on the Orient Express
  • Great Expectations (2013)
  • Tale of Two Cities
  • Goodbye Christopher Robin
Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Our Week ~ The Bathroom Debacle, Baseball and Going Green

We had a good week, but a complicated week. It didn't go as I had planned, but life rarely does. I am in the final stages of planning our next school year. We have two weeks to go before we start, so I better hurry up. I also need to write transcripts for three more courses the kids completed. 

Our latest Universal Yum box arrived. It was Taiwan and we didn't like the snacks very much. They were all pretty weird. We did have a delightful time daring each other to try different bites and combinations. I liked the bubble tea popcorn. Everyone else thought I was crazy and let me have the whole bag.

I am continuing to try to live a more green and chemical-free lifestyle. We are taking baby steps. If it isn't easy, I know that once the school year gets underway all could be lost in the business of life. However, these are small steps. We gave up plastic straws last month and changed over to paper straws (for when we are out on the road and stop for a sweet tea). These are very unpopular with the kids, so I am going to order metal straws soon. We also switched to waxpaper lunch bags or Tupperware for dear husband and adult son's lunch. That is going great. Lastly, as our supplies run out, I am switching each item to a product that is more natural. I am keeping Chlorox wipes, as well as Tide for really dirty clothes, but otherwise, we are going natural. A few weeks ago, I ran out of dishwasher powder. I made a baking soda and salt mix. You add a few drops of dish soap to the mix as you start the machine. I am pleased with it so far but may try more complicated mixes when this one runs out.

Dishwasher detergent
We had our dear friend, Josephine, over for two more days this week. These three teens are just delightful together. They really enjoyed playing checkers at a downtown store. They played for about an hour while I relaxed in a rocking chair. Then we all picked out a few pieces of candy from the barrels. This is a treat that my kids adore.

Image result for mast general store asheville nc

We also went to a local minor league baseball game, since it was Goodwill night. We each brought three pieces of gently used clothing to donate and then each got a free ticket to the game. It wasn't the best game and our team lost, but everyone had tons of fun talking, watching the game, sharing snacks, watching the bats fly across the full moon overhead and eating french fries. The kids even caught one of the freebies (a bag of muffins) that was shot from the cannons. 

We went mall walking and tried rolled ice cream. I bought just one cup so everyone could try a small taste. They loved it and want to try another flavor next time.

The bathroom debacle happened Sunday night. It started with the soap dish falling off the wall. We noticed that the wall behind was wet and spongy. So we ripped off more tiles with  our bare hands (they were that loose) and started ripping out the wall and wet insulation behind it. We think the grout had worn out and caused moisture to get behind the tile. This shouldn't be a big surprise, considering the bathroom hasn't been renovated since the sixties. I thought we were going to have to take it all down and replace all of the tile and wall, which would have cost a small fortune and ruined my travel dreams for the coming school year. Mind you, I hate that yellow tile, but not enough to give up our hope of traveling to a new state or two. We started thinking how to repair the wall instead. I scrubbed all of the grout off of the tiles and cleaned them up and my husband and Dean cleaned up the area and bought new waterproof wall board and tile grout. However, by the end of the week, my husband decided that this was over his head and we called in my Mom's handyman. He will do the rest of the job for $100, using our supplies in the next week or two. For now, we are washing our hair in the sink and taking very shallow baths.

Last but not least ~ Rosie is growing bigger all the time and is turning into a sweet cat. She loves all kinds of balls and is very partial to my wool dryer ball.

Blessings, Dawn

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Dean's Transcript ~ Career Education

This course is designed to give Dean the opportunity to experience several different work environments and develop skills that will help him in the workforce in years to come. He volunteered in three different environments. He worked for 151 hours.

Nature Center Junior Naturalist Program ~ Dean worked 37 hours at our local nature center during their summer Junior Naturalist Program. He worked in three different stations each day during his four hour shift. He worked in the nature lab, Appalachian station and the barn. He cleaned a lot, took care of the goats, taught the public how to touch the turtles, answered the public's questions about animals, and gave out basic information about the nature center. He helped with research, bird count and maintenance of the Appalachian Station. He always had a teammate and practiced social skills and sometimes needed to encourage his teammate to do her portion of the job. The nature center was pleased with his service and said he was welcome back.

ZaPow Art Gallery ~ Dean volunteered for six shifts of two hours each at ZaPow. This was an opportunity provided by his art teacher in which he learned about how the gallery store is maintained on a daily basis. He swept, recycled, hung new art work for sale, straightened paintings on the wall, painted and spackled walls for new art layouts, sorted bins to put away misplaced art and did general cleaning of the staff back room. His boss, Laura Harkrider Sheridan, said that he did a wonderful job.

ACDT's Mayan Adventures Camp Counselor ~ Dean worked for three weeks as a volunteer head counselor at Mayan Adventure camp. The campers were ages 8-12 and were mostly boys. Different campers were there each week. He worked a total of 90 hours.  He refereed games, helped with the clay table, led campers on long hikes and games in the woods, taught stage combat, watched campers at the pool, and taught hand sewing and woodworking skills. He also learned to work with a junior counselor who didn't pull his weight, was rude to campers and generally needed lots of redirection. He spoke to his boss about the junior counselor and followed his advice in dealing with him. His boss, Giles Collard, said that he did a wonderful job and was welcome to come back next year.

Documentaries and Life Lessons ~ 
  • Innovator's Tribe ~ An engineering course online to teach about what a career in engineering would be like.
  • Movie ~ Minimalist ~ This movie talked about the importance of doing what you love and creating a lifestyle where you do not need tons of material objects so that you can be happy and do your dream job instead of chasing the newest flashy thing that society acts like we all need. 
  • Movie ~ Happy ~ This movie talks about how happiness comes from hard work, a loving community and pride in a job well done and caring for others first. 
Dean achieved an A for this course. He conquered some of his uncomfortable feelings of working with the public and was complimented by all of his bosses. He loved the camp counseling job the best. 

Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Our Week in 200 words!

I planned to just touch up the kitchen paint, but the new gallon of paint wasn't a perfect match, so I ended up repainting the entire kitchen this week. I am even more pleased with the slightly darker blue, so it is all good.

There was a great deal of water play this week, both at the pool and in the yard. We had Anne's best friend every afternoon this week, and wherever Josephine is, there is always tons of laughter. Along with Dean, these three get along so well that it is always a delight to have her over.

They also played Monopoly Deal for hours. It is a much faster version of Monopoly, and they played game after game.

We also had Dean's girlfriend over for miniature golf, which was filled with hysteria and laughter. Let's just say none of the four are ready to become professionals.

The girls also did week two of the dance intensive at the studio. The end of the week performance was wonderful. I know Anne is not totally in love with belly dancing, but she is an absolute natural at it, and her performance was a delight to watch. I wish I could get the video to load here.

Blessings, Dawn

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Dance Intensive, Spray Paint and Backyard Jam

This week was the first week of Anne's dance intensive. She had fun doing ballet, modern and an intro to belly dancing each day. She really enjoyed exploring the silk dancing fans in the video below. They did lots of improvisation with the fans while they learned how to move them.

While Anne was at the dance intensive, Dean did some projects to earn money at Grandma's house and spent hours playing video games with friends on the Internet. 
Two handed spray painting gets the job done faster!
We completed Uncle Tom's Cabin this week. We did not read every single chapter since some of it really disturbed the children. We read the chapter summary on SparkNotes for  the more disturbing chapters like Tom's flogging and death. Reading the summary on SparkNotes was a little easier to take than the imagery portrayed in Stowe's excellent writing. We are happy to move on with something lighter for the rest of the summer!

I started going through my Rainbow Resource catalog which arrived this week. I had already placed a large order on their website, but had so loved looking through it each year over the last two decades of homeschooling that I gathered up my morning tea and snuggled in for some exploration. Wow, this coming year is our 20th year of homeschooling! I am almost speechless about that. I guess I really don't need anything more right now, which is a relief. I felt a sense of dread that I might find something that I wanted to add to our already crowded schedule rather than joy about it, so I took my helper's (Rosie, our kitten) lead and set it aside for now. I really do love Rainbow Resource. They have helped me so much over the years.

We also had a lovely evening at our friends' semi monthly backyard party and music jam. The kids got to catch up with friends, and Dean even got to see a friend he hadn't seen in years.

Lastly, the past few weeks have been very tense between our daughter Goldilocks, her caregiver and ourselves. They are really pressuring us and Dean's therapist to have a visit with Dean, and he doesn't want any contact with Goldilocks. She has had no contact with anyone but parents and grandparents in four years. We completely support his feelings and wishes. We are not sure why she suddenly wants a visit with him but with no one else in the family. Also, Goldilocks and her caregiver are demanding more money for all kinds of strange things. We already pay the difference of our insurance which is many hundreds of dollars every month for her room and board, and we have no more to give. So tensions are very high right now, and we have had to turn to several professionals to try to settle the issues. Our caseworker feels that we need to develop a safety plan for our children in case Goldilocks shows up unannounced while parents are not at home.  She will be 18 in five months. What will happen then is anyone's guess. We did get a nice photo of her in her new eyeglasses during our visit this week.
Blessings, Dawn

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Anne's Transcript ~ Sign Language I ~ 9th Grade

Anne fell in love with Sign Language in middle school. She took a year of Beginner's American Sign Language (ASL) at Elevate (a local homeschool co-op). None of those hours are reflected in this course, but that class did launch her love for signing. For her second year of ASL, we created our own program at home since we could not find a course for her to take in a group setting. She used YouTube as her main curriculum and forged ahead on her own. She focused on vocabulary and now has around 1,000 signs memorized.

She found that YouTube had a plentiful array of songs that had been translated into sign language. However, they were mostly translated into Pigeon Sign English (PSE), which is the most popular way for a deaf person to "listen" to a song. However, PSE does not follow the same syntax or grammar as ASL. The vocabulary is the same between the two forms of sign language. We decided that it would be acceptable for her to concentrate on songs, even if they were translated into PSE for this year, since she was focusing on vocabulary memorization and conversational comprehension.

She memorized 98 songs this year and performed each and every one of them. She maintained accurate speed with the song and was able to go back and perform whatever song I requested on her mid-term and final exams. She tends to sign even when she is talking and loves to quiz the rest of us on our rather poorer signing vocabulary.

 Here is a short list of some of the songs she learned this year.
  • "Death of a Bachelor" ~ Panic at the Disco
  • "The Adams Family" ~ theme song from TV show
  • "Feel it  Still" ~ Portugal. The Man
  • "Sarah Smiles" ~ Panic at the Disco
  • "Hard Times" ~ Bob Dylan
  • "Closer" ~ The Chainsmokers
  • "If I Die Young" ~ Taylor Swift
  • "Heathens" ~ 21 Pilots
  •  "The Star Spangled Banner" ~ Francis Scott Key
  • "Chasing Cars" ~ Snow Patrol
  • "Victorious" ~ Panic at the Disco
  • "Tear in My Heart" ~ 21 Pilots
  • "The First Noel" ~ traditional Christmas song
  • "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" ~ traditional Christmas song
  • "Silent Night" ~ traditional Christmas song
  • "Last Christmas" ~ Wham
  • "Away in the Manger" ~ traditional Christmas song
  • "Cancer" ~ My Chemical Romance
  • "Amazing Grace" ~ John Newton
  • "Emperor's New Clothes" ~ Panic at the Disco
She went for an interview at Elevate to see what level she should be placed in next year for ASL classes. The interview was held in ASL and Anne held her own. She was placed in level II for next year and will have the opportunity to increase her grammar and syntax use. She is currently considering a career as a sign language interpreter and researching how to combine her love of sign language with her love of dance. She would love to have a career in both.

She received an (A) 100% for this course with 144 hours of practice and performance of the songs recorded.

Disclaimer for those who wish to learn this way ~ To my knowledge, the songs above have no curse words. However, my daughter did have difficulty finding songs that were completely free of profanity, and so after she started running out of "clean" songs to learn, with my approval she learned many more songs that did have curse words in them. We do not use curse words in our home, and I knew she could be trusted not to use them outside of this course.

Blessings, Dawn

Monday, July 9, 2018

Dean Transcript ~ Earth Science ~ 9th Grade

Dean completed his Earth Science course. He participated in all field trips, experiments, projects and covered reading material. This course had a high concentration of hands-on projects and studies in the field.

Topics Covered ~
  • Volcanoes
  • Forest fires
  • Earthquakes
  • Geology
  • Hurricanes
  • Plate tectonics
  • Erosion
  • Fossils
  • Sun and planets
  • Black holes
  • Environments of the earth, including wetlands, deserts, coral reefs, plains
  • Environmental disasters relevant to the world today, with an in-depth study of Flint, Michigan
  • Caves 
  • Sinkholes
Projects and Experiments ~
  • Made a volcano
  • Made salt crystal geodes
  • Made an Earth model with edible layers
  • Experimented with a clean water science kit
  • Performed experiments with mini composter
  • Made a potato clock
  • Made a lemon clock
  • Reconstituted a dinosaur plant

Field Trips ~ We went on many field trips for the Earth Science course, since this is one of the ways Dean learns best. We are fortunate to live in an area that is rich in geology.
  • Arboretum ~ went five or six times
  • AMOS Science Museum ~ went every month for a year
  • Hendersonville Mineral Museum ~ cracked authentic geodes
  • Elijah's Mountain (gem mining) ~ found some tiny rubies
  • Gem store in Chimney Rock ~ had some very unusual fossils
  • The Great American Eclipse ~ 99% totality in our area
  • Hamlin Beach on the Lake Ontario
  • Niagara Falls and Cave of the Winds
  • Duke Gardens to study botany
  • Biltmore Gardens and Conservatory (five times)
  • Louisiana swamp tour
  • Mississippi bayou
  • Gulf of Mexico in Mississippi
  • Dry Falls in Franklin, NC
  • Franklin Gem Museum was filled with petrified wood and local gems
  • Mammoth Caves (the longest cave system in the world) ~ took the Discovery Tour and the Domes and Dripstones Tour.

  • Spectrum Science book
  • Book of Trees (Memoria Press) ~ completed all lessons 
  • Global Warming with Max Axiom
  • Exploring Ecosystems with Max Axiom
  • National Geographic Space magazine
  • National Geographic Grand Canyon magazine
  • Numerous environmental articles
  • Bill Nye Saves the World ~ Full Series
  • Voyager ~ Space Exploration
  • Wild Alaska ~ Full Season
  • How the Earth Changed History ~ Full series
  • Desperate Hours ~ Environmental Disasters show
Dean did a great job on all of his studies and earned a grade of an (A) 99% for this course. He completed 144 hours.

Blessings, Dawn

Our Travels through the Midwest

The main focus of our trip through Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio was to explore the Underground Railroad which you can read about here. However, while we were traveling, we visited several other places that were along the way.

Kentucky ~ We visited Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. This is the longest cave system in the world and is a world heritage site.  There are a dozen tours to pick from. We decided to do the Discovery Tour, which was an easy self-guided tour, and the Domes and Dripstones Tour, which was much more intense and went deep into the cave system with two guides (one at the front and one at the back of the group).
Entrance to the discovery tour
The first afternoon we went on the Discovery Tour, we learned the history of saltpeter mining in the caves. It was an enjoyable walk through large cave rooms and was delightfully cold. Our entire trip was during a nasty heat wave, so the cold was very welcome. We spent the night in the non-air conditioned cabins provided in the park. They were a cheap choice, but I would not use them again. My dear husband is still covered in chigger bites. The bugs in our beds, food, and shower were incredible. Two of us ended up playing hosts to ticks. Luckily, the park provided a fridge in the cabin, and I managed to squeeze all of the food we were traveling with into it. Also, as I mentioned there was a heat wave with high humidity coupled with high temperatures -- it was very hot in our cabin. We did have lots of fun cooking out, visiting with the many wild deer who came right up to us, taking photos of the sunset, playing with our Dollar Store glow stick Frisbee and attending the ranger presentation on the history of Mammoth Cave.

The next morning we had some time before our Domes and Dripstones Tour. We decided to take a half mile hike to an ancient sink hole. We were dripping with perspiration by the time we got back to the top of the hole and it was only 9:30 in the morning. We opted to sit in the hotel lobby for an hour or so and cool off. It was the only place with A/C and an Internet connection so the kids could chill on their phones for awhile. We had planned to have a picnic lunch from our cooler, but it was so hot (notice the theme here) that we bought just enough food to be allowed to sit in the cafe and combine it with our cooler food. All of this was pushing my husband's comfort level, since he is a super rule follower. Sitting in a hotel lobby at a hotel where we were not staying and eating our own food in a cafe was pushing the envelope to him, but it all worked out just fine.

Finally, it was time for the Domes and Dripstones Tour. It was worth the wait. We had to climb down 250 steep, steep metal stairs through very narrow passages. Those of us over 5'4'' had to bend over several times to squeeze through. This was a dry cave tour, so it did not have many beautiful formations like you find in an active (wet) cave. But it was a lovely 54 degrees and our tour guide was wonderful. She even turned all of the lights off for two minutes which Anne loved. Dean preferred the Discovery Tour because it felt safer, and I was glad we were doing this tour when we were still young. Some of the older people on the tour were struggling a bit. It was a completely different world and we got to spend two hours in it.

Indiana ~ After we finished the tour, it was time to leave Kentucky and move on to Indiana to spend the night  in Indianapolis. We decided to visit the canal that runs through the middle of Indianapolis and have dinner in a local deli. It started to rain just as we arrived, but that didn't hamper our spirits. We darted from canal bridge to bridge until we found a nice deli.

The rain intensified so we decided to take a nice walk around a downtown mall. I hate to admit it, but my kids are complete mall rats. They love to visit malls wherever we go. We don't really shop, but they just love walking around them. After our somewhat harrowing "camping experience,"  we decided to spring for a hotel with an indoor pool for the night, since I found one discounted on The kids stayed in it until the pool closed at 11 pm.

The next morning we checked out a local park before leaving Indianapolis. Holliday Park has a demolished skyscraper from New York City that has been turned into a lovely work of art in the park called The Ruins. The skyscraper was called the St. Paul and was created by the architect Karl Bitter, who also designed the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The St. Paul had three famous sculptures called the race of man on its facade. When the building was demolished, Indianapolis won a contest to have the sculptures and some of the beautiful parts of the building incorporated in their park.

It was another scorcher of a day, so we got back in the car and headed for the Levi and Catherine Coffin home, which you can read about here. We had lunch in Fountain City at the Amish grocery store and deli. If you ever find yourself in Fountain City, Indiana, the $3.75 sandwiches are HUGE and really delicious at this Amish-run deli! The peaches were to die for, too. We bought a whole bag for snacks on the road.

After the Coffin home and museum, we moved on to Xenia, Ohio, where my husband's grandparents and father are from. There is no one left there now, but we took pictures of his relatives' graves and his grandparents' home.

Cincinnati, Ohio ~ By nightfall, we had found our way to Cincinnati, Ohio, where we would stay for the remainder of our trip. We got in so late that we just ate a dinner of pizza and fell asleep. I had planned on us going to a water park while in Cincinnati, but the kids thought it was too hot, even for a water park, plus Dean hates crowds. Since it was the 4th of July, it was bound to be crowded. The kids voted to go to the Cincinnati Museum of Art and see the Terracotta Warrior exhibit instead. They had seen it as preschoolers in Atlanta but, of course, didn't really remember it well. It was marvelous and not too crowded. The entire museum was first-class quality, and we enjoyed a lovely half day wandering the halls and seeing many famous works of art.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and indoor

Image may contain: 4 people, including Dawn Beasom Purdom, people smiling, people standing and shoes

We even got to see more Chihuly art.
By the time we left the museum, we were starved and headed for another mall. I told you, they are mall rats and the A/C didn't hurt either. We had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory, which was a first for all of us. 

We finished the day off with a long visit with my aunt and uncle, whom I hadn't seen since I was about 18 years old. We had a lovely visit with them.

We awoke on our last day in Cincinnati and went back to explore the Riverfront Park, which we had quickly walked through the day before while we waited for the Underground Railroad Museum and Freedom Center to open. It was a lovely park with lots of kid-friendly, interactive things to do like splash fountains, swings and life-size board games.

You can read about our wonderful tour of the Freedom Center at our post on the Underground Railroad. It was a great trip. I am so glad the kids are finally comfortable riding in the car for long distances. That piece and eating picnic style most of the time (rather than in restaurants) have dramatically increased our ability to travel farther from home.

Blessings, Dawn