Friday, June 15, 2018

Mid-June Update

It's been a couple of weeks and we've been rather busy enjoying summer and feeling good. That isn't something that I have been able to say often in the last few years. Both Amber and I have been feeling rather well lately, and we are thankful for this reprieve.

Amber always feels best over the summers. Her joints do not ache as much from the EDS, her autonomic nervous system seems to behave better too, and she has more energy. This is probably the best summer she has had in... oh goodness, 7 years? She's acting like a normal teenager too. Stays up later than she should, sleeps later than I'd like, hangs out with her friends, chats / texts with her friends, spends hours gaming with her friends, and gives me attitude. I'm not as fond of the attitude part, but I'm grateful she has the energy to be snarky with me.

Our schedule has been full most weeks this summer, and a little voice in the back of my head worries that the busyness will trigger a relapse or flare for Amber. Still, even with early mornings some days she has managed to keep going. Maybe we've just learned how to balance her days and it is second nature to us now. I don't feel like I'm working to balance her activities, although it's possible. 

We re-arranged her spare room again. This time we swapped out a table for a desk, and moved her gaming computer. (New chair arrives today).
Lunch at a favorite restaurant that is moving a little farther away. 
I've also been feeling unbelievably normal-er. Is that a word? After I had to take the extended large dose of prednisone that ended in early May, I was still not feeling all that wonderful. My hand / foot joints were not as swollen or painful, but they still were not back to normal either. Then something happened about a week after I completely finished the prednisone. I started to feel better than I had in almost two years. My hands are still not quite right, and I might have to consider this the new normal. Amazingly, my back has had very little pain since being on the prednisone. I had gone through many steroid injections in my back and never got this level of relief. I can actually sleep without waking because I'm in excruciating pain. I can even work around the house without being crippled. It's amazing. 

Not to belittle the success of the prednisone on my back, but I have energy again. I'm not talking about the energy I probably should have, but I have the energy to function again. I had gotten to where I had about 6 hours a day of energy and even then I was pretty pokey. Now I'm gardening, cleaning the house, re-arranging furniture, planning school lessons, getting up early on many occasions for fun activities, and I don't feel completely fuzzy brained. It appears the prednisone did exactly what the rheumatologist wanted and reset my immune system a bit. Not a lot, but just enough for the plaquenil to keep the Sjogren's in check. I'm not going to complain about the added bonuses that have come along with that reset.

Half of my gardening purchases. I had to go back for basically double this amount. And Amber has been keeping up with her exercises even though she's not regularly attending PT.

So what have we been doing with this blessed energy and health? 
  • Amber has gone swimming with friends, outside in the heat, a couple of times. 
  • We went to the zoo for an entire day, in the sun and heat. Admittedly, this one was hard.
  • We went on a road-trip field trip with friends to various Lincoln locations in Springfield, IL. It was an all day trip with lots of walking, standing, listening, and looking. It was a hot day, but the threat of storms kept it from being overly sunny. 
  • Amber has had weekly Project Write sessions / classes. She adores the group this year and they are making great headway in writing their play.
  • Amber has been preparing for her flute recital the first of July.
  • Amber had her regular eye checkup, and managed to skate by another year without a prescription change. 
  • Although Amber's dental appointment didn't go as great - four wisdom teeth to be removed this summer. Consult is next week. Our greatest fear over this is that it will trigger a dysautonomia flare, and of course that there are EDS complications.
  • Lots of shopping, just for the fun of it and not because we needed to go for household items.
  • Lots of lunches out, again because we could.
  • Movies, with many more planned.

In summer school:
  • Government is finished!
  • Marine Biology is finished!
  • Huckleberry Finn is finished!
  • Half of the Survey of Science & History, Amber's last science credit, is complete. She will formally start 11th grade in August with all of her science credits finished.
  • Amber has started her summer reading schedule with Little Women. I have assigned several books for this summer, however she will not be writing literary analysis papers on them. 
11th and 12th grade Greek books arrived. And Amber worked on science while we waited for service on my car.
In the coming weeks, Amber has more plans with friends and will serve as a group leader at our church's VBS. I'm not going to volunteer again this year. Although I'm feeling fantastic right now, I can't guarantee that will last and there are not many jobs I can do at VBS when I'm in low energy mode. It's just as well. Amber prefers to have some events where I'm not there too. It can be hard for a homeschooled kid to get away from mom.

That's it for now! 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Summer 2018 School Plans

Now that tenth grade is complete it is time to start our summer school plans. Unfortunately for Amber, I'm not letting her off this summer. While she will have a lighter schedule than the school year, she also will have daily lessons and goals to meet. Of course, there will be days where fun times with friends wins out over school lessons. I'm not such a difficult task master as all that.

Last summer Amber desperately needed the time away from structured lessons and to simply rest. Thankfully this school year we managed her time better and she is not as burned out as when ninth grade finished. Amber also realized how boring summer can be when you have no direction, no job, and can't yet drive alone.

Plans for Summer 2018:

1. Government: Amber is not quite finished with her Notgrass Exploring Government. Honestly, I thought she was going to squeak it in before we ended tenth grade, but we got busy with friends and events. This one is not negotiable though. She must finish it.

2. Marine Biology: Another course that only requires a tiny bit left to finish. It's also a non-negotiable that needs to be completed pronto.

3. Survey of Science History & Concepts - Chemistry and Physics: Amber wants to finish this over the summer so that she has more time in her school year schedule for other subjects. As long as she finishes Marine Biology quickly, this should be easily accomplished.

4. Literature: I have no set goals to complete over the summer. Instead, we will continue through her literature program when time allows.

5. Greek Language: Continuing lessons as time allows.

6. German Language: Continuing lessons as time allows, with a specific goal in mind too. I'm fairly sure we can make the goal though.

7. Creative Writing: Amber is also participating in Project Write again this summer, so she will have weekly meetings with her writing group as well as work to complete at home. We are pausing her at-home creative writing course to allow for Project Write.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Finishing 10th Grade (Week 36)

It happened. My little girl is now an eleventh grade student and heading into the back half of high school. It seems like yesterday we were beginning this homeschool journey in the middle of fourth grade, yet here we are with a sixteen year old ready for eleventh grade.

We had another busy week where less book work was completed while still being productive. Even though the organizer and planner in me would love for her to check off those little boxes, we are at the end of the school year and it’s time for other activities.

Monday we took off from school in honor of my birthday - well, we actually had lunch with my mom, went shopping, rested because it was too warm outside, and then Fred came home and we did the standard birthday stuff. It was a nice relaxing day, and I didn’t have to make food. Then Tuesday, Amber had a couple of medical appointments, along with completing some government lessons.

I got the iPhone X this week and have been playing around with the Portrait mode in the camera. These were taken while we waited for our lunch at a barbecue place. She was playing on her new iPhone 8, and looked up so I could take a pic. It's all the camera... I have zero talent. It even took the restaurant booth out of the background.
Wednesday we spent the day at the St. Louis zoo with friends. It was another rather warm (hot.. it was hot) day, but we managed it with shade breaks and lunch in the air-conditioning. I won't say it was an easy day for Amber, since she had to push herself to make it through some parts before a rest. A few times part of our group walked too fast for her and she lagged behind. Still, she was able to last all day at the zoo, which is a monumental achievement for her. 

The day finally arrived on Thursday when Amber and another friend got to see their friend that moved to Kenya a couple of years ago! The entire family moved as Lutheran missionaries, but they are back in the States for home service this summer. The girls were excited to be reunited again, even if it was only for day until later this summer.

Friday was an all afternoon yearbook meeting that turned into a friend hangout when the girls finished their yearbook work early. Then Amber and another girl (the same friend from Thursday) had music rehearsal for our home school group's high school graduation. The girls were each playing their instruments during the Saturday graduation ceremony, but had to be at rehearsal Friday evening. Of course, that indicates that we were busy on Saturday at the actual graduation.

Petting and feeding Stingrays at the zoo!
Whew! Today, we are taking care of things around the house. Amber actually worked on several government lessons, did some of her regular chores, and helped me on a Target run where we got wet in a spot storm. As much as I didn't like getting drenched, it lowered the temperatures about 10 degrees into the mid-80s. Now, of course, Amber is playing Fortnite with her friends again. So, nothing new there.

Next week we are officially starting summer school lessons, that is if there is time around everything else for school lessons. Amber does start Project Write again this summer, so at least she will be working on creative writing regularly this summer.

Linking With:

  Homeschool Coffee Break homeschool

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