Friday, November 14, 2014

Field Trips and Fun

First off, this has been a much better week, overall. Thankfully.  Given the way our calendar looked, I'm also very pleased with the school work accomplished so far.  I'm still hoping Amber can finish a little more this afternoon. 

This week Amber worked on her weather log every day, including reading the barometer that she and Fred made last weekend.  We've found her homemade barometer to be in agreement with the information from a nearby Weatherbug station.  Amazingly, our cats have not yet decided to eat / demolish the barometer either.  I'm considering purchasing a home weather station for Amber (and me), but I'm also having trouble justifying the cost when there is a large Weatherbug station about a mile from us (not to mention the NWS office is just a few miles away).

Operation Christmas Child boxes; Fred and Amber working on a homemade barometer

Amber also completed three math lessons in Saxon Algebra 1, 4 grammar lessons, 2 science lessons above the weather log work, daily CNN Student News, flute lesson and practice, some art / craft projects, co-op classes, and field trips!!!  We mostly dropped history this week in favor of getting some work done in the other subjects. 

Monday we went on a field trip with the homeschool group to the National Weather Service office that services St. Louis.  We happen to live 12 minutes from this office making it a perfect field trip.  The kids were well behaved and learned a lot about how forecasting works and how weather data is collected.  We also learned that meteorologists greatly dislike forecasting farther out than 1 to 2 days.  After that time frame it is pretty much anybody's guess, but "people want to know so we publish very incorrect forecasts."  The meteorologist doing the presentation did go into why it is so incorrect and how tiny factors or an incorrectly calibrated instrument can entirely change a forecast.   

Tuesday we then met the homeschool group again for a morning performance of the St. Louis Symphony.  I love going to Powell Hall and hearing the symphony.  Amber was over the moon about this field trip and pushed herself to be able to attend.  The performance was titled "Forces of Nature" and was all music inspired by nature, except the last piece.  They also played the main title from Star Wars. 

(Left) Turkey hats! (Top) Creating my co-op class project.  (Middle) Being silly and hiding behind the finished co-op project horse.  (Right) Amber made lunch! It was turkey, sorta.
Directly after the symphony we picked up my mom for lunch, then Amber rested inside with Mom while I winterized the rose gardens at my mom's house.  Winter came to our portion of Missouri overnight on Monday and it was quite an abrupt change and I'm still playing catchup with the plants at my house and my mom's.  It was an enjoyable afternoon working outside though. 

Wednesday we had our November Mom and Amber day to recover from Tuesday. Amber and I played pin-the-tail on the turkey (drawn by Amber), made turkey hats, played the LEGO Movie game (that we had forgotten was not finished), made dinner, and went to flute lesson. 

Besides the great time we had on our field trips this week they resulted in additional decisions.  Amber has been doing a lot of thinking lately about what topic she might be interested in studying in college.  We told her it wasn't something that she needed to decide anytime soon, but that knowing if she was going into science, music, languages, or another type of topic might be helpful in high school.  Amber has so many interests that she could never make a decision.   However, lately she's also been considering what kind of jobs she could do if her Dysautonomia does not improve (or even worsens).

Amber had already told me a month or so ago that she thought her main interest was lying in Earth Science of some type. After our field trip on Monday she has decided, for now, that she would like to go into meteorology or atmospheric science.  It meets the criteria of jobs that Amber can do with Dysautonomia and she is fascinated by it.   I can't really say I'm shocked.  I didn't tell Amber until after she made her announcement, but I intended to go into atmospheric science until I found astrophysics. 

I did some research for Amber on meteorology / atmospheric science degrees and found only one university in the whole St. Louis area that offers it as degree program.  Of course this university is not one of the most homeschool friendly either and it's a private university.  Realistically, unless Amber grows out of the dysautonomia before college, she won't be able to go away to school.  She has so many dietary restrictions, and dorm life is not something she can survive.  Mizzou does offer atmospheric science degrees and Amber would be able to live with my sister if attending there, so that is our backup right now. I'm just hoping that another university in St. Louis opens up a full degree program in meteorology within the next five years or that SLU makes it easier on homeschooled students.

Sewing time.  I made Amber's Mary costume, a pair of simply fleece pants (Frozen fleece) and a Frozen fleece blanket.  She was freezing one day and wore the blanket everywhere.  It was not cold in our house though. 

Amber was also so entirely enamored with the symphony.  She immediately started asking when we could return, and could it possibly be the Christmas show.  Of course, we rarely deny her anything of this nature so we are attending one of the Christmas shows now too.  Then, for good measure we also purchased, as a Christmas gift for Amber, tickets to a five show set.  It looks like I'll be driving into the city a lot in the next few months. 

Amber then came out of her flute lesson on Wednesday with a list of competencies needed to pass the audition for our county's intermediate youth symphony.  Apparently, this is now her goal and according to the flute teacher it is a very realistic goal.  Thankfully, auditions are not until August of 2015, so we have a while to ensure that Amber is ready and for her to be certain this is something she wants to do.

Our adoption training continues and the foster parent classes (STARS) have only one more week!  However, we hit a slight snag with the required adoption class (Spaulding) that follows.  The program we are in decided to not hold the companion adoption class this session and the other programs in our area appear to all be full.  There is possibly one with a couple of openings, but it starts tomorrow and we have not technically finished the foster parent classes and thus cannot start the adoption class yet.  Clearly, this process is not going by our time frame, but God's.   Still, there are several children we have been told who are coming up for adoption and our worker was striving to have us ready for those staffings.  I'm trying not to stress about it and just let it all flow.  The right child and the right time will happen, or it will not.  None of this is in my control.

(Left) Symphony! (Top) Biscotti often forgets he is not a small cat and tries to balance where he cannot.  (Bottom) Sigh. 

Overall Amber has felt better this week, but the sudden onset of winter (or exhaustion, or excitement over the coming snow, or something) threw us a curve last night.  Amber was relaxing before bedtime after a long day of co-op and then the evening with Grandma while her dad and I were at our foster parent classes.  She seemed pretty mellow and there was nothing unusual going on.  Yet when she stood up to get ready for bed her blood pressure dropped dramatically and her heart rate shot up to 172.  It took hours to calm down, she slept poorly and has been puny today with a headache and mood swings.  I'm hoping there was a specific trigger for this and not just a random dysautonomia "flare", but unfortunately her stomach and intestines appear to be uncooperative too.

Thankfully, next week is a fairly calm week with only one tiny extra item on the calendar and then we are off for Thanksgiving week!  It's not quite time for our regular break, but Fred will be off most of Thanksgiving week, we have plans for several of the days and I'm fairly sure Amber will be sick from holiday anticipation.

Happy Weekend (and stay warm)!

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  1. I am glad that Amber is feeling better from last week. We only have one university locally and that is relatively new. When the time comes they will probably do so courses in the local college and then they will have to decide if they are staying locally or leaving the nest.

    We used to have a Maine Coon cat as well, they definitely are not balancers. She fell off more things than I can remember.

  2. I'm so glad Amber is doing better. It sounds like you all got so much done!!! I always love seeing your pictures of what Amber is up to. All the Weather study sounds awesome Christy. I'm sorry about the class you needed. I know it is all so frustrating at times. I so admire all you do with all the things you have going on! I hate to hear Amber felt bad yesterday. I hope by now she is much beeter. Happy weekend my friend. <3

  3. You got a lot of Operation Christmas Child boxes packed!

    I'm sorry Amber is having health problems (just came over for the first time from Homegrown Learners).

  4. Wow! it sounds like you had an amazing week, except for the last episode. It seems that maybe your tweaks and changes to routine are working out for the good. Amber is so focused on her future as such a young age! She knows what she wants and has parents that will make sure that what she wants happens. What a blessed young lady!