News by the learners of Village Home Education Resource Center
Table of Contents
She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms by Mia Sharp
Cooking Across Continents by Casper Carn
Felix’s Follies by Chase Williams
Winter Hobbies by Sophia Serrano-Dodd
Winter Book Club Pt 1 by Haydn Reilly Hogan
Ask the Otter by Otter
Find the Difference by Annika Elliott
She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms
by Mia Sharp
Even though the world is still in a chaotic state for multiple reasons, the theater community is finding creative ways to perform! Thanks to the talents of instructor Loriann Schmidt and learner Anteo Ramirez, Village Home is putting on an amazing show by the name of She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms (SKM).
SKM was written by playwright Qui Nguyen. It was one of the most popular high school productions across the nation last year. Sadly, most of the productions never got to see the stage. Seeing an opportunity, Nguyen re-wrote the entire production for Zoom performance in three weeks.
Taking place in present day Athens, Ohio, the story focuses on Agnes Evans, an average teenage girl and varsity cheerleader who wants a normal life. However, after the tragic death of her little sister Tilly, her whole word changes. As she’s trying to deal with overwhelming grief, Agnes joins a D&D campaign to try and learn more about her little sister. The play is filled with twists and turns beyond any average person’s imagination.
So what does it take to put on a Zoom production? A lot more than you would think. There are many unexpected challenges when it comes to Zoom theater. “Connectivity is really difficult over Zoom. Although Zoom is amazing in many ways, there is a lag time which makes it really difficult to act with a scene partner,” says Anteo Ramirez, Assistant Director and cast member. “Another thing is choreography. With the lag it makes it hard for things to sync most of the time.”
On the flip side, “It’s great to get to work with this cast from all over,” says Loriann Schmidt, director of the production. “We have folks down in Salem, and some down in Beaverton. It’s just awesome to see everyone and get back into acting!”
Both Loriann and Anteo have put in countless hours to get this show on its feet, and a lot of other people have also helped with the production.
There are people making costumes, props, working on the technical side of things, and more. The cast has been meeting since January 8th to rehearse for an hour and a half each week, over Zoom. There have been ups and downs, people being on mute during rehearsals, internet glitches, and Zoom lags. However, the cast is eager to perform this show and have a taste of live theater again.
SKM performances are March 12th and 13th at 7 pm. Ticket information will be sent out shortly. Everyone hopes you all come to enjoy a thrilling tale of a girl taking the strength to learn to kill monsters.
Cooking Across Continents
by Casper Carn, guest reporter
Every Tuesday afternoon this winter, Dawn Josephson, the Village Home Master Chefs class instructor, cooks up a new country for her students to sample. The students are doing virtual classes this year but that doesn’t mean they don’t get to taste the fun!
The students work from their kitchens at home and connect via a Zoom meeting with Dawn Josephson, who instructs them and helps them along, between 1:15 and 2:15 pm on Tuesdays. Not to be confused with the “Master Chefs Jr.” class, which is for learners between ages 8 and 10, the “Master Chefs” class is for ages 11 and up. This class has a syllabus that covers recipes from ten different countries, including Germany, Australia, and China.
There are around ten students in the class. Fourteen-year-old Felix Carn is one of the only students who does not live in Oregon. “The teacher goes at a fast pace and we are making interesting things from around the world that we don’t usually get to eat,” says Felix. “My favorite recipe so far was the citron pressé from France.”
Cooking is an important skill and a thing of vital importance to learn before adulthood! The class teaches different cooking methods and skills every week. Students will learn to bake, fry, and improve their knife skills.
This cooking class also teaches the students about the culture of other countries. Food is one of the most important things to learn about to understand another country’s culture. Trying these foods will hopefully inspire the students to visit those countries or keep cooking their foods.
by Chase Williams
by Sophia Serrano-Dodd
Learners are having fun during the winter! Skiing, ice skating, sledding, and playing outside are great winter activities.
Learner Meredith, age 11, made the most out of the first snow of the season, making a snowman. Her snowman had names for each of the different stages of its life, starting out as Mel T., then, when it’s head fell off, it’s name was Plop. When the snowman became nothing more than a small mound, its name became Glob. And last but not least, when the snowman was no more, its name was Gone.
Lila, age 13, likes to ski. This winter, in a new camper, she and her family went to Mt. Hood for a week of skiing. But not all her winter activities this year involved snow. While we were freezing our toes off, Lila was in Florida for New Year’s.
For those of us who haven’t been to Florida, seeing a wild, 12 ft. alligator may be terrifying. But Lila saw just that and dared to go onto a peddle boat in the same pond with the alligator. Lila wasn’t bothered by the fact that the alligator could have been under her boat.
Edwyn, age 14, travels a lot with his family. His favorite winter was when he went to Southeast Asia. “That winter had many good memories. […] I really liked a trip we took to the Vietnamese island of Cat Ba. There we took a cool cruise through the famous Ha Long Bay. My favorite part was kayaking through a cave!”
Though he prefers warm places over cold, Edwyn also likes snowy activities. “My brother and I used to sled really fast down huge hills in Wisconsin.” Plows would push snow to the end of driveways, leaving 8 ft. mounds of snow. Edwyn and his brother dug huge snow forts into the mounds. “It was so cold outside that by the time you’d finished your fort, it’d freeze into ice.”
Learners engage in many different winter activities. Some read books, others play in the snow. But they all have something in common: they all had winter this year, even if they spent it in different ways.
Winter Book Club Pt 1
by Haydn Reilly Hogan
Literature is the cornerstone of imagination. Stories cultivate creativity, open-mindedness, and possibilities. They give us a way to explore our thoughts, relieve stress, and help us feel like we’re a part of something bigger than just our singular lives. Books help us remember how wonderful it is to feel like you’ve walked straight into another world, becoming immersed in something entirely separate from what you’re used to.
Netflix is great, but it’s easier than ever to get caught up in binging this winter, and since we’re all stuck inside, you’ve probably already watched everything on Netflix. These books make great entertainment, and are a great way to get off the screen and out of your comfort zone.
This list features books ranging from lower elementary to high school reading levels, and is the perfect way to kick off a winter weekend.
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate, fiction (8+)
Katherine Applegate won the Newbery Medal for The One and Only Ivan. Crenshaw is a story about a boy named Jackson who’s family is running out of options.
There’s no money for rent, not much food, and his parents, his little sister, and his dog all have to go back to living in their minivan. Then, Jackson’s imaginary friend from his childhood (who is a giant, outspoken talking cat named Crenshaw) makes an appearance, and the two reconnect. This is a great read for young learners.
Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston, sci-fi (10+)
This New York Times best-selling Sci-Fi book is set in the Star Wars universe, and is perfect for fans of intergalactic adventures. Former Jedi apprentice Ahsoka Tano planned her life around the Jedi Order, but she decided to leave and go her own way. Then, the Emperor takes over the galaxy, and Ahsoka is left to take refuge on a nondescript farming planet.
She meets a woman named Kaeden and they become friends, but Imperial forces take control of the planet, and Ahsoka must make a life-changing decision about fighting for justice when all else is lost.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber, fantasy (12+)
A New York Times best-seller, this young adult fantasy novel is a fantastical whirlwind full of unexpected plot twists, page-turning suspense, and intricately woven conspiracies (with a touch of romance). Caraval is about a girl named Scarlett Dragna who has always dreamt of getting off her isolated island and attending the interactive circus, Caraval.
A ruggedly handsome sailor helps Scarlett get to Caraval. When they get there, Scarlett’s sister, Tella, is kidnapped by Caraval’s organizer and mastermind, a man predictably named Legend. However, his name is pretty much the only predictable thing about the entire book. Legend has engineered this year’s Caraval around Tella, and whoever finds her within five days is the winner.
Long Way Down – Jason Reynolds, fiction (14+)
Young adult fiction and another New York Times best-seller, Long Way Down, is a Newbery Honor book and is incredibly powerful. It’s about a teenage boy named Will whose brother was recently shot and killed, as well as the rules and unspoken code of conduct that take place in communities where violence is expected.
It’s written in prose, and focuses on Will’s plan to avenge his brother’s death. The plan goes awry when he’s visited by the ghosts of people he knew, who help him contemplate his grief.
The book is inspired by the author’s own experience, and Reynolds said in an interview with NPR, “When you feel that kind of pain, time suspends itself, and (…) you believe that the way you feel in this moment will last forever.”
Ask the Otter
A friend keeps facetiming me but then they just set their phone down and do other things, like play Switch, and leave me staring at the ceiling. I don’t want to be rude or hurt their feelings, but it’s pretty boring to listen to someone else play a game.
Dear Fed Up,
I’m so sorry that is happening! I think you should talk to your friend. They may not realize what they are doing, and/or that it is annoying you. Talking to them and explaining how you feel gives them the chance to hear you and make changes. Try suggesting a Zoom activity you could both enjoy like a game.
My sibling is in a couple of my classes this year. I hate it! We’re home together all the time and now I have them in my Village classes. How can I tell my parents I don’t want to take classes with them?
–A learner in need of personal space
Dear Personal Space,
I get it! I would suggest you calmly talk with your parents and explain that you would like your VH classes to be an opportunity for you to be with people outside your home. Make sure your sibling does not overhear the conversation because it might hurt their feelings. Then hear what your parents have to say. They may have good reasons for wanting you in the same classes. Hopefully you can work out a compromise.
Find the Difference
by Annika Elliott
(Scroll down for the answer key)