Monday, August 25, 2014

A Day in Our Homeschool Life (August 2014)

As part of the annual Not-Back-To-School blog hop, I've documented what one of our average school days has been like so far this year.  Amber has quite a few doctors' appointments because of the recently diagnosed dysautonomia, so we need to be flexible in our schedule at least once a week.  We are not yet incorporating all of Amber's subjects, and hope to build her stamina so that she tolerates more each day.  However, for right now this is a typical day.

Homeschooling 7th Grade:

Milori, our kitty with a heart condition
8:30 am:  My alarm goes off and I think about getting up.  I am NOT a morning person.  Nope. Not at all. But I hate how sleeping late causes loss of productivity, so every morning is a battle with myself as to how early I should get up.  I decide to go ahead and get ready.  I shower (I can't do anything before I shower), start laundry, check email and make sure the cats have fresh water and enough food.

9:15 am: I am forced to wake Amber because we have a morning appointment.  Normally, I let her sleep until she wakes - within reason.  She showers and gets her own breakfast.  I'm also not an "eat in the morning" person.

10:00 am: I start gathering Amber's hot weather kit (her body doesn't regulate it's temperature correctly, so we carry water and ice packs with us).  I fetch the cat carrier from the basement and Amber helps me collect Milori and Rosetta for their vet visit. We live less than 5 minutes from the vet.  Thankfully.  These two don't howl like Biscotti, but they quiver for the whole car ride even though they have each other.

10:30 - 11:30 am: At the vet for the two younger cats' annual checkup and shots.  Milori also gets x-rays because he still pants with exercise.  It does appear to be his heart, but it is hard to determine on an x-ray the extent of the issue.  He will need an ultrasound eventually with a vet cardiologist.  Sigh.  He's good for now, but will require medication eventually too.  Amber is not happy to hear that her favorite cat is also the sickly one.  But we already knew that, as we already had this checked once when he was a kitten and suspected the heart then.

11:30 am: Home and cats are all happy to be together again.  Amber goes over previous grammar assignment with me and takes her Analytical Grammar test.  I keep working on laundry and other household chores. I receive a brief call about the adoption process from our licensing worker.  We are in the process of switching from an international adoption to Missouri foster-adoption (yay.. which was our original intention).  Our international home study is entirely complete, but there is now additional paperwork and classes for the new type of adoption and new agency.  It's transitioning fairly smoothly though.

A little tired at lunch
12:00 pm: Amber works on her map assignment for history. She has been studying Charlemagne and the Carolingians.  Her map work is for Charlemagne's empire.  Can I just say that I love Map Trek.  We did switch over to mostly using Tapestry of Grace and I bought their Map Aids too, but they are almost identical to the complete set of Map Trek maps that we already had.   I'm still working on laundry, and other random household chores.  I'm a neat / clean freak, so I clean everything... all the time.

12:30 - 2:00 pm:  Amber wants to get out of the house. It has been horribly hot in Missouri (it still is), but she wants to brave the heat. She's feeling restless and upset about Milori still and requests to have lunch at McAlister's.  It's not that I mind going out; I love eating out and even with her food restrictions she can eat a baked potato at McAlister's.  However, the closest one is about a half hour drive and she knows it.  Amber offers to do school reading in the car, but I decide that we will just relax for a bit and talk about what is on her mind during the drive.  So, we had a good lunch and a good talk too.

2:00 - 3:00 pm: Home from lunch, but even with the cool kit Amber feels sickly now after the heat.  I check her vitals and her blood pressure is low, but heart rate is high (dysautonomia symptoms).  I send Amber to her room to rest for a bit and try to recouperate.  She reads her historical fiction assignment, Augustine Came to Kent, and actually finishes the book.  By the end of the book she is feeling a lot better and I give her a snack in her room.

SOS Missouri History
3:00 - 3:45 pm: We give Switched On Schoolhouse Missouri History a first try.  It's computer based lessons, which historically we are not fond of.  Still, it seemed like a good idea for sick days and it's just for Missouri history.  We will be able to do it at our own pace over the next few years.  It took a little while for us to get the hang of SOS, but eventually it worked out.  Amber does the first lesson while I sit next to her at my computer researching home exercise rowing machines. I eventually order one for Amber. 

3:45 - 4:15 pm: Amber reviews her German vocabulary and pronunciation.  I'm still working on laundry and playing with Biscotti a little bit.  He follows me everywhere in the house, kinda like a dog - only he's a cat.  An 18lb Maine Coon mix cat.

4:15 - 4:30 pm: Amber gears up for her first workout on her new exercise plan.  We have to get the heart rate monitor on her and trained, ensure that my recumbent exercise bike settings fit her, which they do since we are almost the same height.

4:30 - 5:15 pm: Pre-month 1, Day 1 of Amber's exercise plan.  I stay close by her and keep time for the different portions of the exercise.  I also help track Amber's heart rate. To keep busy, because I have to, I clean the area where Amber's rowing machine will go.  It is all part of the great basement cleanout of 2014.

5:15 - 6:00 pm: Amber rests down in the basement while I continue to clean because she is too exhausted to make it up the steps.  She is still wearing the heart rate monitor so that I can keep track of her.

6:00 - 6:45 pm: Back upstairs and Amber rests more.  Going up the stairs caused her heart rate to jump back to 175, so she needs some calming time with a cuddly cat.  I start dinner. We are having chicken quesadillas for the first time in almost a year.  I finally made from scratch and froze some gluten free multigrain tortillas that are safe for Amber to eat.  None of the store bought gluten free brands are made with ingredients that are entirely safe for Amber.

6:45 pm: Fred is home and we eat dinner!  The quesadillas are yummy.  After dinner I do the dishes while Amber practices her flute and works on her music theory assignment. She takes private lessons once a week, and tries to practice every day - it doesn't always happen. But she also plays for almost an hour every time she plays.  Overall each week she gets at least 4-5 hours of practice; some weeks a lot more.
Yum! GF and fructose free quesadillas!
8:00 pm: We all sit down to watch Beowulf on Netflix.  Amber is studying Beowulf in literature and we decided to watch a movie version to compare.  We pause often though because Fred starts receiving a bunch of work phone calls and he eventually has to go work upstairs.  I actually also hop up occasionally to switch the last of the laundry and put the clothes away.

9:00 pm: Amber and I pause to get a snack to eat during the movie and then keep watching.

9:45 pm: Amber begins getting ready for bed and I do my nighttime cat routine: litter boxes, food / water, transdermal medicine for Biscotti, and treat for all the cats. Biscotti gets a treat for willingly taking his medicine and the other cats get a treat for leaving him alone during the process.  We didn't quite finish Beowulf, but will finish the next night.  Amber requires a lot of sleep because she is often exhausted from the racing heart.  I can't let her stay up to finish the movie if I want her awake before Noon the next day.

10:00 pm: Amber in bed and settling down for sleep.  We have our bedtime talk about whatever might be on her mind.  It helps with Amber's anxiety to talk every night.

Afternoon rest and snack
10:15 pm: I change to my workout clothes and head to the basement for my workout on the exercise bike.  I like to watch movies on my iPad, read books, or goof off on the Internet while I work out. It keeps me distracted from how tired I get.  That night I was able to concentrate enough on a book.

11:15 pm: I'm back upstairs from my workout and cooling down.  Fred is still working on an "issue"... actually he's not working on it. He's telling others to work on it, as best I can gather from what he does. 

11:45 pm: Bedtime for me, but Fred is still awake waiting on work status updates.  I do one last check on Amber, locate all the cats to ensure nobody is stuck behind a closed door (with three cats, that happens often enough), and I'm off.  Night Night.


  1. What a full and active day. It sounds like you are finding a balance that works for your family. That is one of the biggest keys to homeschooling success. I think you will find the track to adoption faster with the switch to Foster to Adopt. I am recording today and will probably have it up tonight...If I am lucky.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. You guys are such hard workers! I'm exhausted just reading about your typical day!

  3. Your day is a lot more full than mine. I do relate to Fred having to deal with issues until all hours. Danielle does the same thing although with them everyone is on a conference call until it is resolved. No, we need to find a DB. It doesn't happen to often, they actually have a pretty good record of keeping the site up.

    1. Sometimes Fred is on calls until issues are resolved, sometimes not. Fortunately, this is not a regular situation, but it's not unheard of either. However, Fred is the exec director of the data center for a global company, so they have quite a few things that are maintained. He has so much more going on at work than I ever did as a software developer.

  4. Looks like a good day! Great to see that you're able to work around each family member's needs and interests : ) We live in Missouri too!