Friday, August 29, 2014

Week Four... or How Much Longer Till Break?

This has been a hectic week full of appointments, exercise and a fun event.  We did manage to complete enough school for the week (21.5 hours) that we can still take our break when it is scheduled, but Amber had to use her August "Mom and Amber" day coupon for a homeschool group activity.  There just wasn't enough time to take another day off.

In school this week Amber finished the Carolingians and moved on to Vikings for history. We didn't have any formal writing lessons from Writing With Skill since we did several writing assignments in history. It's all about getting the most from Amber's time.

Analytical Grammar continues to be a huge success for us. This week I began having Amber grade her own daily grammar assignments prior to her next exercise.  It reduces her anxiety and removes me from the equation. She is not looking to me for correction, only instruction and clarification. She was worrying quite a bit about being errorless again and this new grading system allows Amber to review and learn from any mistakes without feeling judged. I am still grading her weekly tests and looking over her graded assignments to ensure there aren't any areas that need intervention. 

Amber completed reading the next version of Beowulf in our study and we began discussing what makes an epic story.  Amber worked on citing examples from Beowulf that meet the various aspects of epics.  Again, I love that Tapestry of Grace is making my work on these topics so much easier.  It's almost entirely worth the cost that I don't have to hunt down resource ideas for history reading or discussions anymore.  The writing and map work in Tapestry are just a happy bonus at this point.

(Left) Being goofy happy after clothes shopping with me.  It's been a long time since she really enjoyed clothes shopping. So this was a happy day.
(Top-Right) She had me take a selfie so that she could photo-bomb me.  It turned out looking posed instead.
(Bottom-Middle) At the homeschool group picnic, wearing her cooling vest and using her fan.  She was taking a small break from playing.
(Bottom-Right) A quick snack between errands:  Gluten free / allergy fries from Red Robin. 

Next week will be our first full schedule week with the addition of science, homeschool enrichment classes, and confirmation class at church.  Even as I worry about how we will accomplish everything on our list I'm struggling with keeping Amber's activities at a manageable level for her. I am so used to just doing whatever she enjoyed. For example, at one point Amber was taking 7 dance classes, played 2 instruments, was in chimes choir, took musical theater, away from home art classes, and was in Girl Scouts. 

Even now there are many morning homeschool co-op enrichment classes Amber would like to take with her friends, but it just isn't feasible with Amber's current condition.  The band that she was in last semester and loved has been moved to morning from early evening.  Co-op morning classes are especially difficult as Amber will have late evenings the day before co-op due to confirmation at church and she already has a full afternoon of classes.  After much discussion and worry we decided to hold off on the band for now.  Amber is not pleased. Perhaps if she is able to tolerate more morning activity next semester she can add some additional enrichment classes. But right now she is only allowed afternoon co-op classes.  

Amber's exercise has been progressing nicely.  This week we tried swimming twice and it turned out to be the most successful of Amber's allowed exercise methods.  She is only allowed to kickboard lap swim, but she enjoys it and even though it gets her heart rate to the proper zone she isn't as sickly after the exercise.  We plan to only swim one day a week, but the municipality recreation center is closed next week for the yearly maintenance so we substituted an extra swim in place of recumbent biking. We were questioned both times by elderly swimmers about why Amber was not in school.  The gentleman the first day was very much against homeschooling, but allowed that it was acceptable for us given that Amber is sick.  I decided not to antagonize him with the knowledge that she was homeschooled prior to being sick.  The lady on the second visit was simply curious and quite respectful.

The allergist called earlier this week and Amber's allergy shots have been reinstated after approval from neuroscience. I'm still not sure how I feel about that though. Now she has to make up the shots that were missed and her dose was backed down. Thankfully, we were able to squeeze a shot in Thursday after swimming and Amber did just fine.

Today we had our back-to-school kickoff picnic with the homeschool group.  Amber was so excited about it that she barely slept last night.  I find it so funny that Amber talks about seeing all of her friends that she's missed all summer, but who does she mostly hang out with?  The girls she sees at church and confirmation twice a week.  Of course it was sunny and hot today so that made it less than desirable for Amber, but she survived by wearing her cooling vest and taking forced breaks. I checked on Amber one time after she had been sitting in the sun on the playground equipment and her heart rate was 180.  That was sitting, not running or standing.  She had been standing a few minutes prior, but she was having real trouble after being active.

(Top-LEFT) Resting stats... It was a particularly bad day. This was before she stood up and her blood pressure bottom out.
(Top-Middle) Using her new rowing machine
(Top-Right) Feeling sickly and cuddling under a very old and large Care Bear.
(Bottom-Left) Out on errands with her new cool bag and ice packs. They have been a life saver in the heat.
(Bottom-Right) Knitting for the foster kitties at the humane society

We left the picnic early for a scheduled home visit with our adoption licensing worker, however we were called just as we walked in the door at home to reschedule the appointment.  Probably best; Amber was pretty sickly after the picnic and I was going to need a lot of "help" to look home visit presentable. 

On that note, we have officially transferred from an international adoption to a Missouri foster-adoption.  We begin our foster parent classes in September and hope to be licensed foster / adoptive parents by January 2015... roughly.  The holidays may throw a kink in scheduling of final visits, etc.   Our homestudy for the international adoption is actually complete, so it is just a matter of transferring that information over to the licensing worker for foster / adoptive licensing and then taking the additional classes.   This path was our original choice, but some factors made us ultimately chose international adoption.  Now that our homestudy is finished we had some issues with the international agency that led us back to foster-adoption.  We are pleased to be back to this route and excited to see where it leads us.

This holiday weekend we have absolutely no plans outside of our house.  The basement still needs cleaning, I need to finish preparing for the homeschool co-op classes I'm teaching, and I need to bake / cook Amber food to freeze for during the week.  All in all, it sounds like a relaxing weekend for me.
I hope everyone enjoys their Labor Day weekend too!

Happy Weekend!

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  1. What a busy week for you all. It seems to me you are getting tons done. I am sorry you ran into a man who was upset about homeschooling. We don't get that much around here.I hope your classes for foster/adoption goes well. That is the route we took. We took straight foster children that were likely to become adoptable. Tom Sawyer was our first placement. His plan was reunification for more than a year but it was obvious within a few months that he would not be going home.

  2. I like that she is now self grading. It is an important skill to learn. That heart rate of 180 from just sitting in the sun is scary. As always she is in our prayers.

    I don't know if it because I am a guy or that I am so upbeat and forward about homeschooling but I have only ever had one person react negatively. It turned out she was a public school teacher and when she realized that she had just insulted the intelligence of a man she didn't know she quickly exited the building.

  3. I think you both do fabulously, really. It was good to see a photo of you in there as well!

  4. You guys are too cute! You both look so beautiful and happy! It must be really frustrating for Amber to want to be so active but not being able to due to her health issues. Thank God she has loving and attentive parents and Thank God for homeschooling!