Saturday, March 24, 2012

Just Can't Get Enough... of the Revolutionary War

This week started a new phase in Amber's life (braces) and we wrapped up a lot of things in school too.  However, I wanted to start this week's wrap-up with some observations and general thoughts from this week.

Amber is truly thriving in homeschool.  She is happy, smilely and fun again.  She clearly enjoys learning and is finally enjoying life like a child should.  She is a totally different child than the one we took out of the parochial school only 7 weeks ago.  Still, everything isn't all sunshine and fluff.  Whenever we are out and randomly run into kids from her school that were part of the "not nice" group, Amber withdraws into herself still and second guesses every body movement and word from her mouth.  It makes for very uncomfortable meals when we see these children at a restaurant. Thankfully, this doesn't happen too frequently because we do live a distance from her old school.  Unfortunately, it shows us how much damage was really done at school.

Last day before 2 yrs of braces
This week I finally found enough confidence to select Amber's memory work myself.  I had been using whatever was posted for her old school class.  I tired of that randomness and decided I could find appropriate memory work as well.  I even branched away from her religion curriculum a couple weeks ago to use a Lent devotional book.  We will return to her standard religion book during Holy Week for the lessons that it has for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Monday was only notable in that Amber did double assignments in several subjects to prepare for missing school Tuesday morning. We had a Friday deadline to finish our current topic in several subjects.  I still am amazed at her love for American History, especially the revolution.  She loves to tell me all about what she has learned and wants to go faster through the history to hear the rest of the "story".  What was her school doing that they made her loathe this topic?  I am baffled.  We also made it "rain" for our science study on Monday.  Very simple ice cubes on the jar lid to show how condensation will form, but Amber found it fascinating. Amber informed me that I've done more experiments with her than she did in all the previous year at school.  Again, I'm wondering what they were doing because I feel like I slacked off on the experiments.

Tuesday was the BIG day - BRACES!  We'll just say that Amber's sensory processing problems were very evident during the banding process.  She survived, I survived and the orthodontist too without any major injuries - I guess it was a successful morning.  We took the whole morning off for the appointment, then lunch with a chocolate milkshake, and some shopping therapy. There is nothing like a pretty new outfit to take your mind off the trauma of braces, or something like that.  Actually, we both find pretty new outfits to be cathartic for many problems.  Amber did do afternoon lessons and went to her ballet class that evening.  It's a good thing too, she needed something to take her mind off of the pain in her mouth.

Happy with her milkshake

Kitty taking care of his "girl"
Wednesday we finally started our read aloud book!  Amber worked on her latch hook project while I read aloud from Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.  She thought it was a very weird title, but was willing to try the book after I told her it was one of my favorites in gradeschool.  By the time I finished our reading for the day, she was begging to take the book and finish it herself.  Too bad!  This one we are reading aloud and she doesn't get to devour it in an hour.

We also finished the last of the Liberty's Kids episodes on Wednesday. It was a sad day, but Amber has vowed to watch them over and over.  I believe her.  I can't tell you the number of times that we have seen her favorite shows and movies.  It's a sad day when I don't want to watch any of the Star Wars or Lord of the Rings movies, but honestly I could go years without seeing them again.
Latch hook and watching the last Liberty's Kids episode
Thursday we made a quick morning run to the orthodontist to clip a wire that was already poking out in back. It happens and  I'm grateful her orthodontist is happy to see kids on a moments notice for issues like this.  Mine would not do it and I have permanent grooves on the inside of my cheeks from wires that stuck out in back, but then it's been 30 years since I wore braces.

We also started using Profiles from History with her LIFEPAC 5th grade curriculum on Thursday. Amber has so enjoyed "meeting" the many historical figures in Liberty's Kids, that we decided to add some more depth to her history lessons with short biographical studies of various Revolutionary war era people.  The iPad worked out great for this curriculum. I don't have to print out the pages or make her sit at the computer to read it. The Nooks don't format books of this nature well, so the iPad is a great tool for these supplemental items.
Impatient with sub dance instructor who doesn't know the dance - this is a quintessential Amber expression

Friday we "grandpa sat" again while my mom was running her errands.  After lunch with both Mom and Dad, Amber commented, "I really love coming in here for school and to see Grandma".  Eventhough Mom is gone for a good portion of our visit to run her errands, Amber has really gotten to spend a lot more quality time with her Grandma and they both love it.  This is just another reason why I LOVE homeschooling.  My mother has really gotten to know her first grandchild (and only granddaughter) so much better just in these past 2 months.

Amber loved the Liberty's Kids episode of Paul Revere's ride and on Friday she covered that portion of the Revolution in her history study.  So, to continue with our fun history studies we read Longfellow's Paul Revere's Ride poem and discussed the inaccuracies in the poem but also the power the poem had on the people at the time.  We also used a cool iPad app to read the Declaration of Independence.  It has the complete text, as well as the parchment version and an engraving version of the Declaration.  There is also a section with details on all the signers, and a section with notes on all the versions of the Declaration and what version was sent to whom.  It was a fun app to use and we had a great discussion on all of the various aspects of the Declaration and what the writers were actually saying in modern day words.

This week was also a "finishing" week for us.  Amber finished her unit on adverbs in Language Arts, the unit on Weather in Science, and we are all done with the lessons in her first workbook in the History LIFEPAC.  Only some additional biographies and quiz / test left in History before we move on.  Next week is standardized testing for Amber, so we will do very little school work - probably just history and creative writing.  The following two weeks will also be fairly light being Holy Week, with a field trip, and then her Spring Break after that.  It will be 3 weeks before we have a full school load again.
Realized the hamburger was a poor choice
Afraid of her soup and bread dinner
 The funniest part of the week had to be when Amber ordered a hamburger for lunch the day she got her braces.  I warned her, she didn't believe me.  The look on her face when she bit into the hamburger was priceless.  A look of total shock and horror.  She was then quite terrified to eat the soup and bread I gave her for dinner.  I know I shouldn't find it so funny, but she was so sure that I was wrong about how it would feel already that the total shock on her face at that first hamburger bite was entirely entertaining.

How did the week go for everyone else?

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