Saturday, December 16, 2017

Time for a Break (Week 17 - 10th)

Life is funny sometimes and no matter how prepared or what our plans might be, things change. I had great school plans for our last two weeks of the semester. Amber was going to finish the semester with a bang(!) on December 14th and then we'd take a few weeks off before starting the next semester fresh.

You just have to laugh at how I assume life will keep going normally every day. Amber started feeling a little off on December 2nd, but soldiered on without saying much because it was my mom's birthday and we had plans. She was sniffly the morning of the 3rd, but went to church since it was just a sniffle. However, by Sunday evening she felt and looked awful. She spent Monday the 4th and Tuesday the 5th resting, watching TV, and working on her family Christmas present projects (which I'm not giving away here).

Back to flute after being too sick to play
It was merely a cold, while still being so much more. A couple of days into the cold and we noticed she was in a full-on dysautonomia flare too. Amber can't take any of the standard cold medication or home remedies. We did the best we could for her, yet she still coughed and coughed, and sneezed, and generally did what you do with a horrid cold. Wednesday, I took her to the pediatrician to ensure this was still only a cold, and thankfully it was. However, she was prescribed a mild antibiotic to prevent it from turning into something worse, because that's where it was heading. My mom instincts were right.

The only school Amber completed that entire week was the last day of our co-op for the semester, which, unbeknownst to us, turned out to be our last day of that particular co-op. The group had some internal issues that became too much, and now we've joined a newly formed group. The stress of the co-op day did not help Amber's health, and she was back to resting on Friday. On the plus side, we've re-watched two complete seasons of Andromeda - and these aren't the puny 12 episode seasons you get now days. Amber also finished all of her primary work on the Christmas present projects, and only assembly of one is remaining.

This past week has been a bit more successful with school lessons, but it was hard to start topics when we knew a three week break was coming up. For example, Amber was ready for her next literature assignment, however trying to complete a Shakespeare play in one week is not a good plan and taking a three week break in the middle is also not a recipe for success. So, we skipped out on literature this week.

Party games at the joint 16th birthday party - the two birthday girls!
Unexpectedly, my EMG with nerve conduction and my small fiber biopsy were scheduled for this past Monday. I was at the neurologist's all afternoon, and Amber was with my mom. Of course, I could have sent a full day of school work with Amber and the two of them would have ensured it was completed. On the other hand, it's no fun to go to Grandma's with school work. Instead, I opted to let them have the time together without school assignments.

Tuesday through Thursday this week ended up being relatively productive, school-wise, even though Amber was then and still is in a dysautonomia flare. The smallest things can undo all the effort she puts forward to stabilize her autonomic nervous system. This week we ran a few errands, went to flute lesson, and worked on whatever lessons would not be affected by taking a three week break after Thursday. All the while knowing Friday was going to be a big day for Amber - her joint 16th birthday party with one of her best friends.

Amber won't be 16 for a few more weeks and her friend turned 16 before Thanksgiving, however we planned a joint birthday party for the girls since they have most of the same friends and it would be so much easier this way.  The party was a absolute success - complete with party bus transportation, escape room fun, dinner, cupcakes and ice cream, and games back at the older birthday girl's house. It was a very long afternoon and evening for Amber and me. Today we are chilling out to recover in time for more Christmas preparation fun next week.

Waiting for the party bus to get thing thing going!!
I finally feel like I can breathe and relax. School is over for a few weeks, almost all of the Christmas shopping is finished. The homeschool co-op / group situation is sorted and we are invigorated with the new choice. It's turning out to be a better December than I could have hoped.

Happy mid-December!

Linking With:

Weekly Wrap-Up  Homeschool Coffee Break homeschool

Friday, December 8, 2017

High School Meteorology Course Resources

This semester at our homeschool co-op I have been teaching a semester long, high school level meteorology course. The course is not math based, so there are no calculations other than basic operations. Our students in the co-op are at varying math levels, and it was easiest to provide a non-math based course.

My tenth grade daughter has been the motivation for the course, having requested it be one of her sciences for high school. She has significant anxiety and difficulties with math at this point, so I was highly motivated to make meteorology interesting and factual, yet not heavy in math.

During the week, the students work on an assigned reading selection from the primary book listed in the resources below. They then have vocabulary and questions to answer from the worksheets in the teacher guide. Additionally, they work on lab reports and questions from our previous class period.

Our class periods are spent reviewing their reading, and delving into the topics more fully. Each week there is also a laboratory portion where the students usually conduct their own experiments or build their own weather instrument. Many of the lab / investigations have been taken from a kit I purchased from Amazon, although I did need to purchase additional supplies so that my entire class could work on the experiments at the same time.

Other projects and investigations came from the final book listed in the resources. This book was not only a good source of projects, but had some helpful explanations that were not provided in the other resources. I had actually planned for all of the laboratory portion to come from the Weather Projects for Young Scientists book, however I discovered the weather kit at the last minute that made everything simpler and provided lab question sheets.

Our class was also fortunate enough to be able to take a field trip to the National Weather Service office in our area. It is close to all of us, and they offer free tours for educational groups. This was a fantastic way for the students to see what they were learning used in practice.

As a final project, the students have taken weather readings with the instruments they created and recorded the information for several weeks. One day each week the students attempted to forecast the weather based on several days worth of recordings. Of course, we do not have the benefit of upper air readings, however we can take the current weather and make predictions of change.

Meteorology Class Resources:

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Two More Weeks (Week 17 - 10th)

In the most recent school years, I've given Amber the majority of December as her Christmas break from school. It made sense with our commitments, and family visits. However, this year Fred's parents won't be visiting until after Christmas and our schedule is eerily open for the first two weeks of December. It's a little scary, actually. Maybe I've forgotten very important appointments or events?

Until such time as I figure out what belonged on those days, we are having full school days the first two weeks of December!! Amber isn't thrilled, but it might keep her from summer school too. Besides, what else is she going to do if we don't have any events planned?

We went to Denny's specifically for Amber's traditional Rudolph pancakes. It's now Frosty the Snowman.
This coming week is our last class day of the semester at our homeschool co-op. There is already much rejoicing on my end, while Amber is lamenting her poor, sad existence. It's not that I don't like teaching at the co-op, or seeing my child happy with her friends. I am simply tired and worn out. I want to give my classes the effort they are due, but at this time of year when I'm physically wearing down and have so much holiday stuff to be doing, I cannot give to my classes what I should. Thus, I am thankful we have only one class period left.

Last week we only had school three days out of five. Monday was our November "Amber and Mom Day." We spent it picking up Amber's new retainers - she only wears them at night, but her mouth had grown since she was 12. Then we ran errands, mostly Christmas related errands which made it fun instead of a normal day. Friday we had hair cuts for us both, errands again (normal ones), and then needed to get ready for our church's Advent by Candlelight. Thankfully the other three days were full school days.

Before Advent by Candlelight, then dinner for my mom's birthday the next night. Yes... it's two different trees and houses. Yes, we have the same tree topper. My mom crocheted them for us all years ago.
Amber spent quite a good deal of time on Tuesday working with consumer math. It was her first introduction to payroll tax deductions. She really isn't fond of how taxes are calculated and finds it all rather ludicrous. Join the club, child. At any rate, by the time she was finished she looked a little unkempt, with wild hair and dazed look. Math that day even drained her ability to work with Greek. She was utterly exhausted after payroll deductions. 

The rest of the school time this week was either her co-op classes, languages (including English), and history / government. We definitely love having Amber's science at co-op this year. It has freed up so much time at home for her languages and writing. I'll have to keep teaching more of Amber's courses at co-op where she can still have the social aspect while getting in the subjects I need her to take. Yippie.

Building this year's LEGO Winter Village set - it's the train station for last year's train.
That's about it from here for now. It's been a crazy busy weekend, and I'm ready for our two weeks of relaxation - even if it's because I might have forgotten something on the calendar. 

Linking With:

Weekly Wrap-Up  Homeschool Coffee Break homeschool
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