Homeschooling Teen

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Helen Keller

By Alesha Dodd

Recently I dressed up as Helen Keller for a wax museum homeschool group activity. If you’re not familiar with a wax museum, it’s where you dress up as a historical person, and you stand there frozen until someone presses your button. Then you say your speech about the person that you’re acting as. The speech below is the speech I did for Helen Keller.

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Hi! I’m Helen Keller. I was born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama. I have two older stepbrothers from my father’s first marriage, and one younger sister.  My family is not very wealthy, but we earn enough income from our cotton plantation. I was born with my sight and hearing, and started speaking when I was just 6 months old. I even started walking when I was just a year old.

In 1882, I became very ill. The doctor called the illness “brain fever” — it produced a high body temperature. The true nature of the illness remains a mystery even to this day. Though some experts believe it might have been connected to the scarlet fever. Within a few days after the fever had broken, my mother started to notice that I didn’t show any reactions to the dinner bell when it was rung, or if a hand was waving in front of my face. I had lost both my sight and hearing when I was 19 months old.

Looking for answers and inspiration, in 1886 my mother came across a travelogue by Charles Dickson, called “American Notes.” She read of the successful education of another deaf and blind child, Laura Bridgman, and soon dispatched my father and me to Baltimore, Maryland, to see specialist Dr. J. Julian Chisolm. After examining me, Chisolm recommended that I see Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, who was working with deaf children at the time. Bell met with my parents and me, and suggested that we travel to the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston, Massachusetts. There, my family met with the school’s director, Michael Anaganos. He suggested that I work with the institute’s newest graduate, Anne Sullivan. For the next 49 years, she was my mentor and teacher.

And that is only the beginning of my story.

I hope y’all enjoyed! Thank You.

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I had a lot of fun acting as Helen Keller because she is my favorite historical person. She’s actually the person who inspired me to learn sign language because she did what most people think is impossible.

Thank you for reading, hope y’all had a good Christmas!

~ Alesha Dodd

 

Alesha Dodd, 14, has been homeschooled her whole life.

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