Friday, August 26, 2016

Week 4 - Return of the Co-op

This we we started back to that magical place called homeschool co-op. YeS, I'm being just a bit sarcastic for my part, but I think it might be an accurate depiction of Amber's feelings.

Regular lessons at home were still not up to the full schedule we planned out in late July, however they are getting close. Amber only had two appointments this week and on the same day! It was me that caused the disruption in our school schedule with two appointments of my own on entirely different days. That means we had three days of appointments to work around, plus flute lesson, and a full day of co-op.  Here's hoping next week stays as currently scheduled.

First day of co-op; Yes, it's a Doctor Who shirt... and earrings, and necklace.
A picture of a sweet kitty and a picture of three naughty kitties. All caught in the act of misbehaving.
Although we prefer Amber to take only enrichment classes at co-op, she is taking two content-type classes which I happen to be teaching: health and speech. It's her first time since we joined the co-op in 6th grade to be in one of my classes. Today, she's already completed her homework for both of my classes, plus several other subjects. We might finally be back into our groove.

Co-op went well for both of us. She enjoyed all of her classes and wasn't too sickly that evening or the next morning. I made it through all of my classes without forgetting anything, even if Amber says it is weird having her mom for a teacher. She thinks I'm a dork; so, she's a normal teenager.

Teaching the Classics arrived earlier this week, but we haven't had a chance to go through it yet in literature. I am hopeful that we will complete it next week and be ready to embark on our high school literature journey using the methods and literary works we desire. I've felt a great sense of relief all week after finally coming to our literature curriculum decision.

Being silly with Grandma at lunch one day, waiting for ME in a waiting room, and more LEGOs.0
I've been purposeful in setting aside more of my time to interact with Amber during the school day to ensure she is on track. I also need to be timely in my response to her finished assignments, which is something I faltered on last year.  Oddly enough, I'm getting more chores completed around the house while still working more often with Amber.  I guess prioritizing my day differently has worked out as intended.

We have family visiting this weekend, so not much will be accomplished around here other than relaxing and enjoying our company. Next week, we are striving for our full school and activity schedule.

Happy Weekend!

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Changing Things Up, Already

Well our best laid plans for ninth grade curriculum are already being altered before we even purchased it all. I had been waiting on acquiring the literature curriculum since we decided to start with a Memoria Press poetry set we already own, but also because I wasn't entirely sold on our choice.

After much reflection, online review reading, sample viewing, and stalking TWTM boards, I decided that although the Excellence in Literature guides may be wonderful, they also aren't for Amber (or me). Sigh. I really wish I had come to this conclusion months ago. And maybe I had; I vaguely remember taking the EIL curriculum off the "to be purchased" list, yet it was back on the list by August.


This decision left me in a lurch, though, since I really had no backup contender, which also might have been why EIL ended up back on the final curriculum list. At first I wasn't too concerned about it because we were starting with poetry. However, Amber keeps telling everyone her favorite and most anticipated subject this year is literature. That means I really need to ensure the literature curriculum is a good fit!

I hurriedly viewed all the literature curriculum we've vaguely considered or tried in the past, just to remember why each comes up a little short for us. Next came a frantic internet search where I did find something that might fit what we want, but would need supplementation. Absolutely nothing fit the style of lessons we need along with even half of the reading list matching my list. I could find near perfect reading list matches in entirely the wrong learning style though. My conclusion was that our best bet would be a combination of several publishers while leaving out significant portions of each curriculum / guide set to attain the desired reading list.

Then, I had an epiphany while looking one last time at samples from the Excellence in Literature guides on the IEW website (I was so hoping I could really just make EIL work).  What I really wanted and have been looking to find is a way to be more confident in myself as Amber's instructor.  This would allow us to use our lesson style with our reading list.

After finally determining the real issue, I realized there is a solution for that!

Oddly enough, we already had part of tools needed in Tapestry of Grace, so I went ahead and made the small purchase to acquire their short works anthology of public domain poetry. However, we had not originally planned on using Tapestry of Grace for literature because their selection of literature was, again, not exactly what I wanted for Amber. Still, the English poetry sections are perfect (along with a few novels).

The missing piece to this quandary I found on the IEW website: Teaching the Classics. Not only will this provide me with a framework (and the confidence) to guide Amber's literature studies for the next four years, it also is a short five hour course that Amber can view with me to jump start her foray into literary analysis.

I'm now waiting on my delivery of Teaching the Classics while we work on poetry from our Memoria Press set and from Tapestry of Grace. Amber and I are finally both enthusiastic over high school literature. Crisis averted. Whew!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Week 3 - Changes Are Afoot

School was slow again this week due to Amber's continued recovery from cellulitis and the open wound left from cleaning it out. She initially had no issues with the clindamycin used to kill the bacteria, but it wore on her body after five to six days and the remainder of her time on it was pretty miserable. She just completed the medication Friday! Now we hope everything was killed off and her arm continues to heal at the incision site.

Three days of appointments at Children's this week along with extreme exhaustion and nausea did not create the best environment for learning. Amber also needed to skip flute lesson for another week. We hope next week is a bit more productive overall. 

Representative of our week - waiting in offices, and goofy cats.
We did have one full day at home where Amber was able to make significant progress in several subjects. She loved her first botany lesson, and it went without a hitch. I was fairly concerned how botany would fair, since I put the course together using several sources. Amber requested to take botany, but didn't give me many details on the content she had in mind. She found the topic interesting, although didn't know enough to set forth concepts. So, I'm thankful this course is meeting her expectations. 

We've already completely changed literature without even having a single lesson. There will be a post Monday with the details, but we've decided to create our own high school literature program with a little (or a lot) of guidance from a couple of sources.

A snack on the way home after a busy day; The Disney mini-figs are out! She found her beloved Stitch and Maleficent on her first try - even if we spent 20 minutes trying to discern which one was in each bag at the store.
This week we start back to co-op and I'm probably a little unprepared still. I'm working on being entirely ready by the end of today. Amber is absolutely ready and prepared to return to her enrichment classes, which this year have a bit more content than planned. She ended up taking two of my classes - health and speech. Although we tend to use co-op as an enrichment-only option for Amber, I generally teach high school credit courses. However, it just worked out better for her with these classes, so we will be lightening her load at home somewhere. I haven't figured out which subjects to drop at home yet and it may take just seeing how our days go and which subjects feel burdensome this semester. 



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