Friday, January 10, 2014

Sixth Grade Changes

We are officially back to school after our Christmas break.   I had high hopes for easing into school over the duration of the week and having a bright and shiny new schedule ironed out by Friday.  Sometimes, I'm so naively unrealistic.

It snowed here over the weekend, and thankfully my sister's family with my mom all safely arrived home before the storm, even if my mom had a little longer visit with my sister than intended.  The huge snow storm and negative temperatures meant that Fred didn't go in to work on Monday.  It was really hard to ask Amber to start back to school Monday when Daddy was home and her handbells practice was canceled.   So, we decided to give Monday a pass, besides we had a day full of appointments on Tuesday.

(LEFT) Look, it's math again.  Going well too.  Her brain isn't as foggy anymore.
(RIGHT) Can you see anything in my backyard? My planters on the patio are covered.  That's halfway through the first snowstorm.

Then Tuesday came, and only the GI doctor appointment remained.  So, after the treacherous trek to the hospital and home we forged ahead and began our new semester with a hap-hazard selection of subjects.   Overall for the week, we did manage to get a good start.   It just felt disjointed because of the snow day, the various appointments that were scheduled and rescheduled throughout the week, and other canceled activities.

We did not achieve a full week of any subject, except the new science topic - Earth Science and Astronomy.  Amber was chomping at the bit to start this.  She even requested, prior to our first science lesson, that I get her books on Johannes Kepler and Nicolaus Copernicus.  She wants to know more about how they came to make their discoveries.  Of course, I requested the books from our library instantly and picked them up the next day.

Amber has had a lot of astronomy based questions this week.  They've really been about the logistics of traveling in space and how people make discoveries.  Then, out of the blue, on Wednesday she notified me that she wants to be one of the people who helps make space stations farther out in our solar system. An astronomer or astrophysicist.   Umm.. ok?  She's been talking about it all week since then like it is a foregone conclusion that this is what she will do.  The conversations have been unique.  I am somewhat afraid she is just trying to be like me.  My original degree program in college, before I decided computers were more lucrative, was astrophysics.

First experiment this semester.  Determining the speed of light using the wavelength of the microwave.  Turn off the spinning plate and the chocolate will show two melt points that represent half of the wavelength.  Very fun experiment.

Besides the wildly popular science, Amber worked on poetry, history, Latin, math, and her new literature book Men of Ancient Greece.  I had planned to start our new logic curriculum too, but I never got around to it.  However, we had meaningful poetry discussions instead of a rushed poetry reading.  It was worth it to hold off on logic.

We've made a fairly large change in Amber's activities this semester too.  I'm actually still ironing out the last of them today.  Amber was supposed to start all of her new and old activities this week, but the only one she ended up having was her private flute lesson.  We received approximately 10 inches of snow on Sunday and then another 1-2 on Thursday.  This was on top of high temperatures below 0.

The GI doctor visit showed that Amber had indeed gained a little weight, but the short of it is that Amber isn't allowed to dance right now. The doctor did not feel that Amber could be ready for a recital in the Spring, yet she knows Amber would push to be ready.  So, Amber is out of dance for now.  When she has gained a little more weight and is out of the malnutritioned status she may be able to drop in ballet technique classes for the remainder of the semester.  Thankfully, her dance studio is understanding and will let her do this.

We wanted Amber to be able to spend time with kids her age though, so Amber looked through a newish homeschool group's offerings and selected an art enrichment club that sounded interesting.  A friend of Amber's also joined the art class, so they can both see more of each other and meet new people.  Unfortunately, the second snow this week canceled their first art class.  We'll just have to wait for next week to begin that adventure.

Lots of baking this week. 
(LEFT) Trial of a cookie for Amber's birthday. We are actually going to make a cookie cake.  Don't ask how many substitutions I made from the original recipe.  It was supposed to be red velvet chocolate chip.  Amber can't have the gel food coloring. So it's a very cakey, slightly chocolatey, dark chocolate (80% cacao) chip cookie.
(RIGHT) A new bread again.  English Muffin Bread.  From Gluten Free on a Shoe String Bakes Bread book that I got for Christmas.  I love   My first attempt to bake with Ultratex 3 (I have the Expandex too, I just decided to try the Ultratex 3 version first).

Amber also has been tossing around the idea of joining either a homeschool band or the band where she takes flute lessons.  We found out over break that the same homeschool group where Amber is taking art is starting a band through the place where Amber takes flute.  How perfect is that? Unfortunately, the homeschool band practices take place during Amber's art class.  Not so perfect after all.  As of today those times may not stick though.  The schedule appears to be changing.  However, I think we have just decided that Amber will join the band directly through the creative arts center and not wait on the homeschool group to set the band time.

Whew.  So now Amber will have handbells, private flute lessons, band, art class (at the Painted Pot), and art class with the homeschool group.  Thankfully, the Painted Pot art class is only 6 weeks and then we will not sign up for a fourth session this year.

We are also trying to decide if it is more cost effective to rejoin the local city gym or pay by the visit.  Amber does need to exercise to increase her stamina and they have a lovely elevated walking track, an indoor pool and general exercise equipment.  We've been members before, and it's where Amber took the 4+ years of private swim lessons.  Since Amber will be 12 years old on Sunday (!!!!), I was able to enroll her in a one day weight room orientation class later this month that will allow her to use the entire weight room and be on the track without an adult.  Until now Amber could only use the track or the pool and I had to be with her.   After the orientation class I can bike while Amber walks, and Amber can use the other equipment too.

Requisite kitty photos.
(TOP LEFT) Can you find Biscotti?  He joined the American Girls.
(TOP RIGHT) Amber took Biscotti for some play time in the basement. 
(BOTTOM) Cuddly Kitties. 

We are really looking forward to sorting out our new schedule as well as continuing new foods for Amber.  We put the food trials on hiatus for a few days so that Amber wouldn't have a food reaction on her birthday Sunday. Amber also has a big change coming up on Tuesday, but I'll show you that next week.

Happy Weekend!

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  1. You daughter is certainly dreaming big! I hope she ends up being exactly what she wants to be :). We didn't get as much snow as you, but certainly got the cold. Looking forward to a warmer week!

  2. Happy Birthday! I am going to have to do the speed of light experiment with Margaret. We are doing sound and light this semester. Philip spent the first semester planning a Mars base. He got a little silly at the end but he read a lot of wikipedia articles for it. He also read Buzz Aldrin’s “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration” that he got out of the library. He quite liked it.

  3. I am so glad it is all going so well. Thank goodness for answers and solutions. I know it is hard for Amber to go without dance. Our daughter would be crushed.
    blessings, Dawn

  4. I'm glad Amber is liking Earth Science and Astronomy better than she did Biology! I'm also glad to see that she gained some weight. You guys have great homeschooling support in your area! It's my daughter, Rebekah's birthday on Sunday too! Tell Amber happy birthday for me. I love her purple striped shirt. She looks so happy with her furry friends!

  5. Earth Science and Astronomy sounds great Christy. Lots of good things going on. I am happy to hear that Amber has gained a bit of weight and I hope that she is feeling better. I bet she will love the Homeschool Art Class!! She loves Art. Tell Amber Happy Birthday from Keilee and I!!! 12 is a great age. Hugs to you all.

  6. It sounds like the new year is getting off to a great start! I love the upbeat tone of your writing and all the fun things that you and Amber are doing!