Monday, August 31, 2020

Elijah Dean's Transcript ~ World Cultures

Elijah's World Culture course was developed to be a special interest course for him in addition to wrapping up a few areas of world history that I felt he had missed. We used numerous resources to complete this course. ~ Elijah watched this 10 minute show geared toward high school students at least three times a week for the entire school year. We occasionally delved deeper into the news that was presented. 

Universal Yums Subscription Box ~ We enjoyed 12 Universal Yums boxes over the year. These boxes are filled with snacks from a different country each month. In addition to the snacks, there is a book that describes the history of each snack, a brief history of the country, a recipe to try at home, a trivia game about the country (Elijah's favorite part of the book), and a few other fun pages that rotate such as a few language words from the given country, puzzles or a suggestion of movies to learn more about the specific country. Elijah always read the entire book and did the activities. We only got around to about six of the recipes. Here is the list of countries he learned about with his Yum boxes.

  • Poland
  • Brazil
  • Thailand
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Ukraine
  • Israel
  • Austria
  • Spain
  • Philippines
  • Egypt
  • Scotland
Guns, Germs and Steel ~ We watched this series on National Geographic with some further research and discussion from the book of the same name.

Mini Unit studies ~ We used YouTube videos, Internet research and a few books from the library (in which my list was lost). For each mini unit he read a book or two, watched a few documentaries and narrated answers to my questions.
  • The British Empire
  • Mother Teresa
  • The Cold War
  • The Korean War
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis
Games ~ He played each of these games dozens of times until the facts were memorized.
  • Professor Noggin ~ Ancient Civilizations
  • Professor Noggin ~ Wonders of the World
  • Timeline ~ Inventions
  • Timeline ~ Classic
  • Timeline ~ Events
Field Trips
  • Addissae Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Suwana's Thai Orchid Restaurant
  • Kathmandu Kitchen ~ an authentic Tibetan restaurant
  • The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Movies and Shows ~ 
  • Suffragette (2015)
  • Good Morning Vietnam (1987)
  • The Monument Men (2014)
  • 1917 (2019)
  • Midway (2019)
  • National Geographic ~ "Ancient Egypt"
  • Netflix series ~ "Civilizations"
Books with Homemade Worksheets
  • Who Was Mother Teresa? by Jim Gigliotti
  • Who is the Dalai Lama? by Dana Rau
  • Who is Malala Yousafzai by Dinah Brown
  • Who was Genghis Khan? by Nico Medina
  • Who Was Alexander the Great by Kathryn Waterfield
  • Who Was Fidel Castro? by Sarah Fabiny
  • Who Was Napoleon? by Jim Gigliotti
  • Who Was Winson Churchill? by Ellen Labrecque
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
Elijah Dean did all assignments and reading activities. He participated in all field trips and unit study work. He earned an A for this course.

Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Pushing On ...

This week was filled with highs and lows. There were tears for what has been lost and what is yet to be lost due to COVID-19.  Seeing all of the unkindness, fear, hate and violence that is sweeping our country is really taking a toll on us. But there were also joys over the opportunity to perform -- even if it was outside, with a tiny audience of 12. We push on and remain flexible to opportunities that come our way. We work to be kind to all that pass our way and to do all that we can to keep ourselves safe. It really is all that we can do. I am short for time today and will highlight our week through bullets.

  • We finally have another appointment for Vocational Rehab. Elijah will meet with his support person next Thursday and decide the next course of action.
  • Salem (kitten) got her check up and last kitten shot. She is now 16 weeks old and 5.9 pounds. She is doing great.
  • Anne finished her U.S. History Detective Book 2 and her midterm exam. She has only 10 more weeks of history to go.
  • I recorded a few more of Elijah's credits here on the blog. I hope to finish the rest next week.
  • Anne finished reading The Pearl and will be doing a paper on it next week.
  • I managed to get rid of or sell 111 things this week. Yes, I'm keeping track of it. We cut the DVDs down by two thirds and sorted through all of Elijah's clothing for the first time in more than a year. It feels good to make space and be responsible for a lighter load.
  • Elijah and Tim took over responsibility for their own laundry a few weeks ago. It is going well so far. 
  • My Mom is back in her home, but it is still filled to the ceiling with packing boxes that need to be unpacked and the kitchen floor is not done yet, so her kitchen/dining room furniture is still in the living room. We will be getting her settled over the next few weeks.
I do hope that all of you are safe and sound. Bless those less fortunate.

Blessings, Dawn

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

World Geography


Elijah Dean used Memoria Press Geography I and II as the backbone to his course work. These two volumes covered the Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Americas and Europe. He completed all of the reading and writing assignments with accuracy. 

He also completed the workbook, Draw the USA, by Draeger. These two programs included lots of map work and a very good working knowledge of geography around the world. 

In addition to all of the map work, Elijah also learned about how different landscapes and climates affect each country and continent. He learned through books, videos and 23 worksheets.

Books used ~ 

  • Where Is Stonehenge? by True Kelly
  • Where Is Machu Piccu? by Megan Stine
  • Where Is Mount Everest? by Nico Medina
  • Where Is the Taj Mahal? by Dorothy Hoober
  • Where Are the Great Pyramids? by Dorothy Hoober
  • Where Is the Parthenon? by Roberta Edwards
  • Death on the River of Doubt By Samantha Seiple

Geography Throuh Art ~ Elijah read this book and studied some of the art styles but was not interested in doing most of the projects. He did do a few of them, but he mostly just used it as a research book.

Games ~ He played all of these games more than a dozen times each.
  • 10 Days in Asia
  • 10 Days in Africa
  • 10 Days in the U.S.A.
Shows ~ Elijah watched 32 shows on National Geographic covering many geography topics. Here is a small sampling of topics:
  • Taj Mahal
  • Mount Everest
  • Serengeti
  • Woodlands of Africa
  • The Volcano that Built Hawaii
  • Wild Russia
  • Animals of Africa
Elijah really enjoyed the reading material and videos in this course. He has a good working knowledge of geography but still struggles with the capitals of states and major countries, even after a dozen quizzes about this. For this reason alone, his grade is an 89% (B).

Blessings, Dawn

Elijah Dean's Transcript ~ U. S. Government & U. S. History II

Elijah completed his second year of U. S. History and Government. He concentrated on the 1930's to the present for the history section of this course. There was a slight overlap from his U. S. History I course. He also read a few books that interested him from other time periods in America History. Elijah also learned about U. S. Government through several different platforms.

Books Used

  • What Was Hurricane Katrina? By Robin Kootnz
  • What is Alcatraz? By Nico Medina
  • What is the Stature of Liberty? By Joan Houb
  • What is the Women's Movement? By Deborah Hopkinson
  • Sundays in America By Suzanne Strempek Shea
  • Terrible But True : Awful Events in American History By Dinah Williams
  • What was the Vietnam War? By Jim O'Connor
  • Who was Sitting Bull? By Stephanie Spinner
  • Who was Fredrick Douglass? By April Prince
  • What was the Boston Tea Party? By Kathleen Krull
  • What was the Battle of Gettysburg? By Jim O'Connor
  • What is the Constitution? By Patricia Demuth
  • Fault Lines in the Constitution By Cynthia and Sanford Levinson
  • Who is Ruth Bader Ginsburg? By Patricia Demuth
  • Who was Alexander Hamilton? By Pam Pollack
  • Who was Cesar Chavez? By Dana Rau
  • What was the Hindenberg? By Janet Pascal
  • Who was Amelia Earhart? By Kate Jerome
  • What was the Great Depression? By Janet Pascal
  • Who was Blackbeard? By James Buckley, Jr.
Worksheets with reading and essay questions ~ He completed 34 worksheets with essay questions about the federal government, Supreme Court, local and state governments and famous events in modern history.

Movies and TV Shows
  • The Post
  • Stephen Fry America (all episodes)
  • Dick
Travel ~ We were very fortunate to be able to travel to six states during this course and saw many historic sites. 
  • Having relatives there, we visited Washington, D. C. for the 8th or 9th time in Elijah's childhood. This time we visited the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and Smithsonian National Zoo.
  • We visited Cincinnati, Ohio where we toured Freedom Center, which is an amazing museum about slavery (both historical and current). We also toured the city.
  • We visited Indiana. We toured Levi and Catherine Coffin's home, who were important conductors on the Underground Railroad. We visited an Amish store, toured a bit of Amish countryside and visited a few parks in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • We went to the Swannanoa Valley Museum in a city near our home.
  • We visited the Mountain Farm Museum in the Great Smokey National Park.
  • We went to Charleston, South Carolina, where we toured Rainbow Row, French Quarter, Pirate Dungeon, Middleton Place Rice plantation and the Charleston Tea Plantation and factory. 
  • We visited the American Stonehenge in New Hampshire and also rode a cog railway to the top of Mount Washington in that state. 
  • In Salem, Massachusetts, we toured the Witch Wax Museum, House of Seven Gables, and Salem Wax Museum. 
  • We visited Boston, Massachusetts, where we toured the Boston Tea Party Museum and Boston Public Gardens. We also walked the Freedom Trail and visited Quincy Market. 
Elijah really enjoyed this year and learned so much. The course ended up being nearly 180 hours long. He received an A.

Blessings, Dawn

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Elijah Dean's Transcript ~ Physical Education III

Elijah spent his third year in physical education doing 145 plus hours of Belegarth Medieval Sport. He continued to attend adult and teen games on Sundays and added focused classes on Monday nights. He advanced to being a member of the adult competition group in our area called the "Valley of Ashes". He had the opportunity to attend a day festival in our area with them and a weekend festival in South Carolina. He also had the opportunity to be a camp counselor for a Belegarth children's camp for two weeks, where he taught many skills in sword play, as well as skills in self-control and compassionate battle. 

He earned an A for his final year of high school physical education. 

Elijah Dean's Transcript ~ Physical Education II

Elijah completed 144 hours for his second year of physical education. He started to really concentrate on one particular physical activity. However, he still had the opportunity to do several other physical activities.

He received 40 hours of credit for the following activities.

  • Ocean swimming and body boarding (8 hours)
  • Swimming in a pool (14 hours)
  • Mini Golf in which he improved his skills and got numerous holes in one per game (6 hours)
  • Family hikes that included close to 16 miles of walking (5 hours)
  • Paintball for the first and (probably only) time (2 hours)
  • Archery (5 hours)
He spent the majority of his time advancing his skills in Belegarth Medieval Sport. He trained with the Wandering Swordsman and attended children and adult classes each Sunday for more than 2 hours each time. He learned how to herald (be a referee) and sometimes helped when they were short staffed. He often got to be the leader and held his own, even with the adults who go to competitions. He deals well with all ages and skill levels and is an asset to his team.

Elijah received an A for this course.

Elijah Dean's Transcript ~ Math II

Elijah continued to make his math skills more concrete this year with a concentration in pre-algebra and consumer math skills. He used the following books and programs:

CTC Online Math: Geometry ~ Graded 90% for the overall program

Math Matters for Teens ~ Completed about 50% of the book with 85% accuracy

Learn Math FastVolume 2 ~ Fractions, Percentages and Decimals 85% accuracy

Learn Math Fast: Volume 3 ~ Pre-Algebra, Solving for X, learning about slopes 78% accuracy

Survival Math Skills 90% accuracy

A Slice of Pi ~ Read and worked out riddles as a family

Balance Benders ~ Completed Levels 1 and 2  99% accuracy

Dozens of review worksheets 85% accuracy

Elijah received an overall grade of 87% for this course. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Elijah Dean's Transcript ~ English II

Okay, I am playing some serious catch up. I haven't recorded most of Elijah's credits here on the blog, even though he graduated two months ago. I will be trying to load a record of all of his credits in the next few weeks on the blog. 

English II


  • Silas Marner ~ George Eliot
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
  • A Scandal in Bohemia -- Sherlock Holmes ~ Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Speckled Band -- Sherlock Holmes ~ Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Wind in the Willows ~ Kenneth Grahame
  • Great Expectations ~ About 25 excerpts from the novel plus watched the movie
  • To Kill a Mockingbird ~ Harper Lee
  • The War of the Worlds ~ H. G. Wells
  • The Westing Game ~ Ellen Raskin
  • A Year Down Yonder ~ Richard Peck
  • Who Was Alfred Hitchcock? ~ Pam Pollack
  • Who Was Harriet Beecher Stowe? ~ Dana Meachen Rau
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • The Great Stone Face ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Who Was Julies Verne? ~ James Buckley Jr., Gregory Copeland, et. al. 
  • Who Was Jacques Cousteau? ~ Nico Medina


  • Macbeth ~ William Shakespeare
  • Hamlet ~ William Shakespeare
  • The Nutcracker and the Mouse King ~ E. T. A. Hoffman


  • The Coming of Arthur ~ Alfred Tennyson
  • The Holy Grail ~ Alfred Tennyson


  • Silas Marner (1985)
  • Frankenstein (1931)
  • The Hound of Baskerville (1983)
  • Emma (1996)
  • The Great Gatsby (1974)
  • Murder on The Orient Express (2017)
  • Great Expectations (2013)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
  • The Black Stallion (1979)
  • The Fellowship of the Rings (2001)
  • The Two Towers (2002)
  • The Return of the King (2003)
  • Rear Window (1954)
  • Gone With the Wind (1939)
  • Psycho (1960)
  • Holes (2003)
  • The Birds (1963)
  • 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
Elijah participated by reading, listening and watching all of the above. We mostly used narration or multiple choice worksheets to access his understanding of the material. He earned an A for this course.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

The Harvest

We had a good week. There were many accomplishments and some moments of peace. I must admit that the boys are feeling the strain of this pandemic. They are tired of being cooped up and unable to do the activities they did before. There are so many emotions wrapped up in this experience. We just have to take it all day by day.

My mother had a terrible leak in her roof a few months ago. The insurance company replaced her roof long ago, but the inside work of redoing the floors and walls of her small home couldn't be worked on until now. She is in a hotel this week and her home is being redone (all covered by insurance). What a gift to her in so many ways. I can't wait to see the results.

Elijah Dean had another appointment at Vocational Rehabilitation. His career aptitude test results came back and they were so interesting. They weren't a huge surprise, but they were interesting to see all laid out in front of us. He is probably going to start some job shadowing and a paid internship next. I am very grateful for these wonderful opportunities. Without Vocational Rehab, he would have settled for a big box store job without every exploring other options. He may still settle there for now, but at least he will get to see where his talents could be used if he wishes to work toward a career, sooner rather than later.

Anne and I have been exploring some locations for a small dance performance coming up in a few weeks. This is a barnstorming style dance project where just a few informed people show up to see you dance, plus perhaps a passerby or two. The small band of dancers will move from spot to spot around the city. This is the location Anne is most likely using.

Anne also completed four dance classes this week, two on Zoom and two in the park. She also completed 12 history lessons and three sewing lessons. Next week, she will add in English or Latin.

It took a fair amount of work to get our rather high strung cat, Rosie, to accept the new kitten, Salem. However, they truly are friends now. I don't hear anymore hissing from Rosie (Salem hasn't hissed yet; she is ultra laid back). We can leave them alone for a few hours and all goes just fine. They even take naps together now. I am so glad we have cats that are friends.

We enjoyed a walk around a park we hadn't explored in many years. I am glad we are getting out and seeing what lovely parks and trails we have in our area. We didn't have time before COVID-19 to explore all these lovely places.

The harvest is really coming in around here. Our peach tree lost some branches because we forgot to prune it, but we still got a great harvest of white peaches. I spent two days processing all of the peaches. We ended up with about five gallons of frozen peaches and three peach crisps that are tucked away in the freezer for special desserts.

When COVID-19 started, I didn't have any food in the emergency pantry. We had just eaten it all up to clean it out. I had planned to restock slowly, but was forced to dip into savings and restock as much as I could very quickly. We had food, but it was a bit of a mess to find things and try to reduce how many stores we were visiting. Fast forward to now and I have eliminated the emergency pantry. Now, we just have a pantry as an extension of our kitchen, and I am trying to make sure that we always have about three months worth of food between the kitchen, freezer, and pantry. We eat down what is in the kitchen and shop from the pantry and freezer. When I do go to the grocery store, we restock the pantry and freezer. It is working so much better. I also emptied everything out of every cabinet and reorganized the food to make it work better. Now, I can find everything and won't buy too many of some things and not enough of others. 


(Our pantry is really deep ~ there are eight jars of spaghetti sauce in the sauce row you can see in the picture.)

We also got a second harvest of green beans. I planted them on a staggered schedule so we would get lots of fresh green beans throughout the summer. I have one more crop in the garden that won't be ready until September. Considering how small our garden is this year, we sure did get lots of green beans with this staggered approach and they are so easy to freeze for winter. 

What we ate this week ~ 

  • Fried Rice and Pot Stickers
  • Tortellini and asparagus
  • Fish nuggets, tater tots and apple slices
  • Burrito bowls
  • Grilled Hamburgers with green beans and cucumbers
Blessings, Dawn

Friday, August 7, 2020

A Field Trip ~ Catawba Falls

This week went by in a blur of school lessons, household chores, painting ceilings, changing light bulbs to maximize light, buckets of rain and cat cuteness. The highlight of our week was a hike at Catawba Falls. This lovely nature hike is a relatively new trail that has been acquired by the U.S. Forestry. We got out of the house on the early side in the hopes of beating the rain and the crowds. We beat the rain...the crowds were intense at times on the trail and at the more easily accessible parts of the falls. 

The trail is three miles round trip and mild/moderate in intensity. The first thing we found on the trail was an old abandoned water pump station. It was a beautiful ruin. 

The trail follows a lovely stream. I have been missing the sounds of running water from the ocean or a mountain stream and this was a perfect respite for my ears.

The hike does become steep at times, but the trail is well maintained and the path is nice and wide to pass people while maintaining social distancing. We also found little nooks and crannies where we could get off the trail and be far enough away from people that we could take breaks from our masks.

Of course, it turned into a photo shoot and a photo bombing.

On our way down we found some lovely butterflies and a centipede. It was also just lovely to look at some of the stunning trees. Nature really is wonderful.

I hope your days are peaceful and filled with joy.

Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Camp, Turkeys, and Sewing

I have struggled with my attitude this week. I think it is mostly a result of hoping that we could go on a small overnight vacation next week. That will not be the case. COVID-19 gets worse and worse all the time. I couldn't find anywhere with lower numbers or without hot spots that were better than ours in a three hour radius. Welcome to the South. So we will stay put and I will adjust my attitude. Really, I have little reason to complain as so many living through this crisis. Think of Anne Frank, who sat in a tiny attic for three years before being caught and eventually killed. I am free to move within my community without fear for my life. I have food, shelter, books, movies, fun pets and family to pass the time. I have the Internet. Need we say more?

I did manage to snag one picture from the owner of the camp's Facebook page of Elijah Dean at camp this week. They were in the middle of a war and those lying on the ground had already met their fate. This week was a bit better than last week's camp. The heat was a little bit less, but there were more boys so the energy of the kids was higher. He got a nice check on the last day of work, along with compliments for his hard work and his calming effect on the campers. 
Image may contain: one or more people, tree, outdoor and nature
Elijah Dean is the farthest left laying down in the picture

In other news, the tree men came back to remove the precarious tree from behind the dance shed. They started with three men and swelled to six before all was said and done. They discovered that the tree was filled with cement that some former home owner had used as a means to "secure" the tree! With much work, they finally brought it to the ground where it will lay until my husband can break it into firewood. It is in a part of our yard that we do not use, so there is no rush. Unfortunately, as it came down, the tree hit the dance shed and the roof needs to be fixed once again. The contractor has already come out and the work is almost done at no cost to us. I am so relieved that the tree is down and did not hurt anyone. It did enough damage even with lots of guidance from the professionals.

Anne tried learning to sew before but got easily frustrated. But this summer, she has taken to sewing like a duck to water. She has made six ballet skirts this week, three for friends and three for herself. She is already talking about possibly making and selling them on Depop. She also has learned how to make hair scrunchies. Unfortunately, making three tiered masks are still alluding her. I hope it is just a mental block. Making them would be useful to our family.  

Anne also went to work, did nine history lessons and took three dance classes (two on Zoom and one in the park). She is a highly motivated girl.

I did a bit of touch-up painting of the kitchen this week. I also tried to stay on top of the gardens that we have been improving this summer. The rest of my week was spent enjoying pets, keeping up with normal household stuff, shuttling kids here and there and continuing to sort stuff for donation. I hope to paint a ceiling or two next week. 

What we ate this week ~ 
  • Puff pastry quiche
  • Turkey cutlets with mashed potatoes and green beans
  • Peanut chicken pasta
  • Stuffed butternut squash
  • Orange chicken
Just two pictures to give you a wee chuckle ... because we all need a chuckle right about now.
Never a dull moment shopping with this girl.

These fine feather friends were waiting to shop when I dropped Anne off to work. 

Blessings, Dawn