Friday, September 5, 2014

Co-op Classes Started ... Let the Rejoicing Begin!

This week can be summarized simply as "Co-op started!"  We only have co-op classes one day a week, but Amber spent the days preceding in anticipation and the day after (today) exhausted.

Amber is taking a chess class and drama at the co-op, but I took her up a little early so that she could have lunch with her friends during the all co-op lunch break.   The day went well, including the classes I am teaching.  I was a bit nervous about them considering I have two very different subjects and age groups, but everything seems to have worked out well this week.

Off to first day of co-op classes (a little secret... those are compression socks)
Amber did successfully petition her dad to allow an 11 am co-op class, even though we had decided last week that it would make the day too long.  Amber's beloved band class was scheduled at 11 am, but we could not take the plunge and commit to that weekly.  However, Amber was successful in her bid to take Teen Bible at 11 am.  The instructor is one of the pastors, and since the co-op meets at our church, that means the instructor is one of OUR pastors. Most importantly, Amber does not have to attend Bible class weekly, which would be almost necessary for band.

I assume Amber's desire to be in Teen Bible relates to seeing her friends, as she has confirmation on Wednesday evenings at OUR church with ... wait for it... that same pastor. But whatever her reason, Amber is also taking an additional Bible class at co-op now, if she can handle the long days. 

Confirmation began Wednesday, so now Amber has assignments and memory work to complete for confirmation each week.  Our church requires one parent, at least, to remain in class with their student every week.  It is part of their Christian education philosophy.    I find it ironic that as the life long Lutheran I am also the parent basically retaking confirmation with Amber.  Fred did the "adult weekend class" at a previous congregation; one day from non-Lutheran to Lutheran.   I foresee my patience running thin with the cramped room and parents who can't stop their own conversations long enough to listen.

Various school work at home and dinner at McAlister's before confirmation

As for the home school part, this week we finally started back up with science.  It went well, but there was no experiment this week.  That was a bummer, but it just happens to be where we left off with this curriculum in May.  Hopefully in two weeks, after our break, there will be a fun experiment to kickstart science again.

We also began watching daily CNN Student News during our lunch time instead of in the morning.  We are definitely not morning people and we do not eat breakfast together.  I'm not in the mood for current events first thing in the morning and Amber is not either.  Actually, this is the first time I've really done any current events with Amber other than to explain extremely important events that might be occurring. 

As part of the plan to consolidate more of Amber's subjects and lessen the amount of time needed for school each day, we eliminated formal spelling / vocabulary lessons this year.  However, I do have Amber keep a journal of unknown or confusing words that she runs across in any reading she does.  Then, about once a week (depending on how many words she has listed) I have her look the words up in the dictionary, write out their definitions, and use each in a sentence.  This process seems to be going well and Amber is learning words that she truly does not know as opposed to getting A's for spelling words she already knew.

German lessons are moving right along and Amber is ready for her first test, unfortunately our break week has come and we did not yet get that test in.  I am hoping I can convince Amber to do a little bit of German during her break so that she stays ahead of my German co-op class.  Since the language is still fun and new I might be able to get her to do it just this once.   I expect by next break week she will look at me like I am daffy.

Watching CNN Student News, playing Webkinz (which she still likes at times), my NEW laminater.  You better believe that I've laminated the whole house by now. And two kitties, just hanging out with Amber. 

Amber is still studying the Vikings in history and again this week completed no lessons from Writing With Skill, instead I assigned all of her writing work in history and science.   I am also entirely still enamored with Tapestry of Grace, but just wish I had found it before mostly recreating it on my own.  Amber likes their Map Aids better than Map Trek, which is just silly because they are both from Knowledge Quest and nearly identical.

Amber has been having a lot of trouble in the mornings this week.  I supposed she has had weeks like this before, I just didn't know what was happening and chalked it up to other issues.  Now that I know to check her heart rate and blood pressure, it can be a bit unnerving.  I still cannot convince the child that she has to be calm when I am not around to remind her.  I caught her playing bump-the-volleyball with a group of kids yesterday at the tail end of co-op lunch.  Sure enough, her heart rate was sky high, she didn't look too good and she had yet to attend a class for the day - it was just lunch.  This is such a learning experience for us all.  She doesn't want to be sedate and I don't want to be the bad guy.

One of these readings is not a post-shower and getting ready reading for Amber (bottom-right).  She had already cooled down after those three readings and her heart rate was still high.  The fourth reading was when she felt poorly... the blood pressure is a little low.

Next week is our official first break week of the year, but Amber still has flute lesson, confirmation, and co-op classes.  It will just be our home studies that are on break, and that's okay. Even with the away from home classes we have a rest and can enjoy some relaxing time together.

As this is Missouri, our weather is still horridly hot here today (100+ degree heat index) but will take an immediate nose-dive this weekend where the temps will not be out of the 70's (and some days 60's) for the foreseeable future.  Fall officially starts tomorrow in Missouri. No preamble or easing into it. That means we will start the winterizing process of our house and yard this weekend too because winter comes to Missouri in pretty much the same way.

I finally made pasta for Amber last weekend.  Entirely by hand, with ingredients she tolerates (no wheat, soy, or brown rice).  I promptly used the pasta to make Pasta Carbonara.  Amber savored every bite. 
I also tried a new vanilla swirl bread recipe which is heavenly with cream cheese. And our best batch yet of "Texas Roadhouse" rolls, sans the honey butter because... well, have you seen the fructose content in honey?

Happy Weekend!

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  1. What a huge learning curve you are experiencing. I am glad Amber is enjoying co-op. What a blessing to have such a large group to attend.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. A couple of things: We have started watching CNN Student News this year. It's a little advanced for my 9 and 10 year old, but we are loving it! We get up and have our personal time, then breakfast, then start Bible time. Then we sit down and watch CNN together on the couch before we start our history lessons. I like being able to do the now and then comparisons. We love the host. He is hilarious!

    We are not doing formal spelling lessons this year, either, and I always struggle with that. But you made such a great point about having them learn words they don't know instead of getting A's on words they do. Brilliant! I love the thought of having them write down words they come upon that they don't know and then have them spend one concentrated time to look up the definitions. That would be a great Friday activity.

  3. As always Amber looks darling. Even her compression socks are stylish! I hope you guys will be able to get figure out soon the types and frequency of activities that Amber can tolerate without overdoing it. I'm sure it's not easy. Your menu looks delicious!

  4. Amber is styling! Go, girl! Co-op is off to a GREAT start for you! (Unfortunately our schedule doesn't allow for co-op again this year. :sigh:) Is CNN News on-line? We don't have cable...Yummy on your cooking!

    1. CNN student news is online. We do have satellite, but I couldn't tell you where CNN is on it. LOL. We use the iPads to watch CNN each day.

  5. We LOVE CNN Student News. Keilee learns SO much. She always knows more about what is going on in the world than I do! Co-op sounds awesome too. Amber looks too cute and Keilee said she LOVED her outfit and her socks. ;) I'm glad you are finding things your girl can eat!!

  6. I LOVE THAT OUTFIT! My middle daughter would love it also! Nice to see Amber's smile in the pictures!