Friday, February 6, 2015

Back to Full Days, Finally!

Whew, this has been a productive week!  We didn't have much scheduled out of our house, however it was Amber's first week back to full days of school since November.  I must say the week did test our ability to adapt lessons to Amber's ability.

As of this writing (before Friday lessons) Amber has earned 18 core hours, 11 non-core, plus 9 hours of free reading.  Additionally, we still have all of Friday to earn a few more of those core hours.  It's a good thing too as next week is a busy one with a lot of outside activities.

Amber started the week on Sunday with a fun trip to The Magic House, a children's museum here in St. Louis.  She attended with several friends to celebrate another friend's birthday.  They all left directly from church, which of course meant Amber was tachy and worn out before the fun was over, so we took her home a little early.  This led to Monday being a rough start and a pretty slow day.  Still, we used some of our alternate learning methods and successfully completed a full day of school.

(Left) The Magic House climbing tree.  She only fits in the very top section these days.  (Right) Starting her service hours for this module: baby hats for the hospital where she most often goes.  Her first Cover Story lesson.  The mild Steampunk theme doesn't hurt at all!
Amber started the day by listening to a dramatized audio book from in our history list instead of focusing on reading the same book.  We then had oral discussions over the sections she heard.  Then, for science Amber watched several videos on weather, the universe and our solar system after which again we had a discussion before Amber completed activities that went with the videos.

By late Monday afternoon Amber was feeling somewhat more together and was able to have her postponed crusades discussion with me.  We have a few videos on the crusades yet to watch when time allows, but the majority of her work for this topic is now complete.  Moving right along in history.

Amber did finally start her new creative writing course using Cover Story on Monday.  It wasn't what she expected from the sample I showed her. (It was what I expected, lest you think the sample is not a good representation). Thankfully Amber is quite happy with the curriculum.   Monday Amber watched the first video lesson and completed the first assignment in the student book.  She was a little bummed that the journal was not explained in the first lesson, but when the second lesson came around she was afraid the journal was going to be boring.  Again, it all worked out well and she loves the premise of the journal.  I believe her exact words were, "This creative writing class is actually fun.  I mean I am even enjoying it."  High praise, indeed.  We are going a little slower than the curriculum recommends simply because we don't have that much time in a week to do everything that every curriculum asks.

The rest of the week has been even more productive in all subjects except German. Amber did not catch up with my class yet since she only had one German lesson all week.  That's okay too because it has been a week heavy in science which is something that we truly needed to work on since first semester was a near bust in science.

(Left) Being silly. Even now that she wears my size shoes she still fits in the "rocky" given to her on her first birthday.
(Right) Tired after a day of school but playing her well earned LEGO Batoman 3.  And... this is the sum total of our "big" snowfall this year so far.  It's been a pathetic year for us.

Amber is sailing right through the Astronomy curriculum from Real Science 4 Kids at such a speed that I had to plan out the Geology lessons on Wednesday for fear we might need them in a week or two.  During a conversation on a different topic this week, Amber indicated that she very much enjoys chemistry and would like to study it again soon.  Well, if she's going to ask I could at least look into it.

Our plans were to complete Astronomy and Geology this semester, then start Apologia's Physical Science if the school year was not finished yet.  Amber will be moving to Apologia for 8th grade science and I already have the books.  A more detailed review of the Apologia books revealed a lack of the type of chemistry Amber is interested in studying.  At this point, I think we will be ordering the Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry books to start once Geology is complete.  I *really* wanted a head start on Physical Science, but I'd rather hold Amber's interest than meet a mental schedule.

Amber reiterated this week how she missed her school lessons over the extended Christmas / birthday break.  We will have to take a good look at scheduling next year because December activities make school almost impossible with Amber's dysautonomia.  I had been planning to give Amber an even longer official Christmas break in 2015; but in reality it was a long break this season as she did very little school after Thanksgiving in 2014, even if I was striving for more.

For some fun this week Amber and I have started playing the LEGO Batman 3 video game.  We knew almost nothing about these characters, except what almost everyone of my generation knows about Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman.   We are actually enjoying the game, even if the story line and characters confuse us (Martian Manhunter?  That's not a character you'd assume to be a good guy).  

Biscotti being cuddly.. see he really can be.  Then Biscotti trying to look small.  He is not.  Also, Amber working on Astronomy.  This was a common sight this week.  Yay for science.

We also started watching Sons of Liberty and have made it about halfway through.  We heard in advance from online sources and my mother that it was not terribly accurate, while still fairly entertaining.  I have to agree.  Amber was interested despite the historical inaccuracies, but I (not so secretly) think that might be almost entirely due to Ben Barnes (aka Samuel Adams).  Once Amber found out he was in Sons of Liberty, as well as the upcoming Seventh Son, she couldn't wait to watch both.  To be fair, Amber loves the book series the Seventh Son is based on and planned to see the movie before she knew the cast.  We did have to re-watch Prince Caspian last weekend though.  Teenagers.

This weekend I'm going to start sewing on Amber's costumes for the Narnia play.  I have great hopes for completing a good deal of the sewing, however realistically I know I'll be lucky to finish even one piece. Wish me luck!

Happy Weekend!

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  1. Sounds like you're required to count hours for school. I am thankful that we just have to count days here. I think it would be harder to do hours! Have you done a review for Real Science 4 Kids? I was looking at it for Sam for next year. Physics. It's a little pricey to get the whole package and I'm on the search for an experiment kit that goes with it as well. I don't like hunting down supplies!

    1. I haven't reviewed it yet. I'll tell you that it is very simple compared to Apologia for this level. We are doing a lot of video supplementing and using other resources we have at home as extra reading. However the experiments are much better than what we had been using. Home Science tools has a combo experiment kit for the biology, chemistry, and physics. It lists which items go with which level. You could just get the physics items.

  2. Looks like a really productive week. I am glad you were able to do some resting up before your very busy upcoming week.
    Blessings, Dawn

  3. I'm very glad to see that Amber had a good week! I love the Pic of her holding Biscotti! I hope you all have a great weekend and next week too!

  4. It is good to see her having a productive week. Crash Course now has a series on Astronomy with Phil Plait. There are 4 episodes so far with more being released every Thursday.

    I am having deja vu of having already shared this with you so if I did apologies.

  5. We use cover story and my guys LOVE it. I have seen his influence even when they are talking to me, as they now choose much longer and descriptive words. I have to laugh though because they don't always get the right words at the right time!! It has been a huge success in our household though!
    You are both doing a fabulous, fabulous job!