Friday, November 21, 2014

Making Progress

We are counting down the hours here until our Thanksgiving week break.  We've not completed exactly everything I had scheduled for the week, but it's close enough.  I did consider having Amber finish a couple of items next week, but she is so near to the end of the semester that it probably isn't worth it.

Our state requires 1000 hours of education per year, 600 of which must be in the core subjects (and 400 of those 600 must be completed at the home location).  Other than a few details defining core subjects and how to count high school credits, that's the entire homeschooling law for Missouri. Well, that and the details about required records (that aren't turned in to anyone), who is legally allowed to request your homeschool records (almost no one), and that homeschoolers do not need to register as such with any entity.  It's quite a friendly state. 

We only have two more weeks before starting our Christmas break which ends our first semester of 7th grade.  Amber already has over 600 total hours, which puts her well past the half way point for hours.  However, she is not quite at the halfway mark of 300 core hours yet.  We should be able to make it, baring too many sick days, in our remaining time this semester.  I think.  Our December schedule is quite busy with performances (both viewed and participated), doctor's appointments, parties, and family events.  I'd rather not start second semester behind, so I told Amber that she can't officially begin Christmas break without having her 300 core hours finished.  It sounds mean, and I'm sure I'll let the rule slide if she gets too sick.  However, it's had the effect of motivating Amber to complete just one more subject each day.  As of this moment she has 24 core hours to go, which still might turn out to be too many.

(Left) We finally saw Big Hero 6.  Amber had been waiting months for this movie. (Top) The snow was starting and we were heading home, quickly. This is actually a brand new highway that just opened and doesn't even have all the ramps yet. (Bottom) Out for lunch before we make one last check on the mall scavenger hunt options.  She was tired.
This week Amber had a six month orthodontic checkup and all is still going well.  It seems like just yesterday she was having the braces put on, and now she officially is at yearly post-braces checkups. She still wears her retainers at night, but that's it.  She was fortunate to only need the retainers regularly for six weeks after the braces came off in January.

Again this week history has been a low priority with only one session completed so far, but I'm crossing my fingers that she can get another one in today.  Amber did quite a bit of writing in that single session though.  Thankfully.  The majority of her writing is accomplished in history until grammar completes this semester.  She is on track to complete the daily grammar lessons in Analytical Grammar by the end of the semester.  Then there will be only refresher lessons once every two weeks for the remainder of the school year.  In place of Grammar we will work on creative writing, poetry and research papers. 

Wednesday was Winter Weather Awareness day in Missouri, so our science consisted of reading all the information on the National Weather Service website for the St. Louis office.  There were tons of statistics and information about winter weather, as well as suggestions as how to prepare for the weather.   Amber read through the entire site and then made a list of items we should be doing that she thinks we are not.  

She was fairly impressed that we do most of the suggested items, but her list included:
  • Replace batteries in flashlights - which everyone knows I don't do. Our flashlights rarely work.
  • Make sure Daddy does not over-exert when snow shoveling - I try to watch him and we have a heavy duty snow blower that we use.  What Amber didn't say here was "check for gas and make sure snow blower is ready".  It's actually not ready. 
  • Way of keeping warm if the power is out (heater, furnace, fireplace, etc)  - Amber doesn't remember from a few years ago, but we had an ice storm predicted and there were no generators left in the area stores.  I had to pull the schematic for our gas fireplace to verify, and then move a few wires, but it no longer requires an electric start.  So that's our back up heat plan at the moment.  
  • Non-perishable food stored that does not need to be warmed up - Well, assuming food will thaw, I keep tons of food in the freezer that is already cooked and can be eaten once thawed.  Most of the pre-packaged non-perishable foods, Amber cannot eat.  Also listed should be spare food for the cats (which we do have).
(Top-left) Rosetta was cuddling Amber's Mr. Monkey.   (Remaining pics) These three always have to watch me curl my hair in the morning.  They have their designated spots too.  Rosetta on the vanity, begging for pets.  Biscotti (my faithful buddy) watching from his favorite spot.  Milori (Amber's buddy) on the the floor. He needs to be able to make a quick getaway in case Amber is awake.  He'd rather be with her. LOL.

We finished our STARS (foster parent classes) yesterday and now are awaiting for a spot in the adoption class.  There are no openings this session in any local adoption classes, so we won't be licensed until well into 2015 now.  I keep praying for us to do God's will and to understand his timing.  I can't help but worry that this delay is because there is something more going on with Amber that we need to deal with first.  

It has been a pretty rough week for Amber with her dysautonomia. We didn't make it to church on Sunday and she felt pretty sick last Friday through Tuesday.  Now again today she back to feeling sick because Thursdays are such long days with co-op and our STARS classes.  We also have a teen group scavenger hunt scheduled for Monday, but I'm fairly sure Amber can't handle the level of activity needed.  I'm the scavenger hunt organizer though, so this makes it a little rough for us.   Hopefully, Fred can go with us Monday to be "Amber's keeper" to allow Amber's group to continue on if she needs to stop.

Amber has started an email correspondence with a girl her age that also has dysautonomia and some similar symptoms. They have different underlying causes, but the end result is often the same.  This has done a world of good for Amber. Even though she can talk to us and her friends, it's not the same as someone who has a similar diagnosis. Amber says it feels wonderful to type out how she actually feels and thinks, knowing the person receiving the email will understand because they have the same feelings.  The girls are able to help each other deal with different losses that have occurred because of their conditions.  This was probably the single most important thing that happened this week!

(Left) Amber's new shirt from a Dysautonomia Divas fundraiser.  (Top) Bed school is a favorite time, even for math.  (Bottom-middle) She was having trouble with her head upright.  So this was how she stayed most of the afternoon.  (Bottom-right) I was just so thrilled with my full tank of gas at this price!!

Now some exciting news for Amber and me: we are joining the Schoolhouse Review Crew for the 2015 year!  Amber always had such full school schedules and we had more curriculum than we knew what to do with that it didn't seem feasible to fit in reviews.   Now we are much more open and often looking for ways to better help Amber learn.  This seemed a great fit on our end and they agreed!  Be on the lookout for some reviews in the near future. 

Happy weekend and Happy Thanksgiving!

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  1. Awesome update. I hope Amber feels better and can do the field trip on Monday. It looks like we are in for a harsh winter so it is good to be figuring out what needs to be done to be prepared. I look forward to your reviews. How do you become a reviewer? I think that would be so much fun. We love trying new things.
    blessings, Dawn

  2. Amber does look so tired in the first collage. It's great that she has someone who truly understands how she feels that she can discuss things with. I think you would be very handy to have around in a snow storm. I'm quite impressed with your wiring skills! Have a happy Thanksgiving!

  3. I am glad she has that email friend to talk to about everything. I remember the kids at Ronald McDonald house comparing medications and sharing what they were like and what side effects for those that were just starting. I do have flash lights out of reach of children that work. We have a camp stove and a covered porch that we can cook on. I guess I am more prepared than I thought, I just hadn't ever thought about it.

    Reading the list Amber made I really should do more preparations for winter. I shovel several times a day when it is snowing to keep it from getting deep. We don't have a secondary heat source but we have lots of blankets and sleeping bags that are rated for winter camping.