Friday, April 3, 2015

Lots and Lots of Planning

It's Holy Week and this is our 4th Easter not being in parochial school. Somehow it still feels strange to not have our Spring break start at Noon on Maundy Thursday.  It's also hard to believe that the very next Maundy Thursday will be Amber's first communion.  How is that possible?

Our Lutheran church has recently gone to a schedule where the 8th graders are not confirmed on Palm Sunday, but instead receive their first communion on Maundy Thursday.  Confirmation is then celebrated on Reformation Sunday of 9th grade.  This schedule is to encourage children to remain in the church even after the life changes that high school brings. 

Monday began a few days of hectic scheduling for me too as we received Amber's appointment for the Mayo Clinic, finally.  That meant I also needed to schedule our hotel, reschedule the neurology appointment which was to occur in St. Louis while we were in Minnesota, let everyone who was waiting to schedule summer events know when we would be gone, and schedule our homeschool group's used curriculum sale.  I was crazy enough to volunteer to organize the curriculum sale.  Do not even ask what my mind was thinking that particular day.  I've got a problem.  It's called volunteeritis.

(left)Shopping with Mom and Grandma at the outlet mall.  It was a glorious day before it rained the rest of the week.  She pushed so hard, but had to rest every couple of stores.  (Top) Standardized testing - go! (Bottom) She still likes to play with her food.

In school this week we've been trying to fit in some of Amber's standardized testing along with regular lessons. Every year Amber completes the Stanford 10 test along with the optional OLSAT (ability test).  I'm not sure why we even include the OLSAT portion anymore; we know what the results are going to be and it's just a silly little sub-test that takes Amber about 30 minutes.  By the end of the other testing Amber is usually only half heartedly completing the OLSAT.  Yet we keep tacking it on every single year.

In our regular lessons, I have declared literature complete for the year.  Amber finished all of her Canterbury Tales reading and assignments.  We had planned to do a unit on Shakespeare, but I've put it off until 8th grade.  I'm not sure why I feel like it is so necessary for Amber to start with Shakespeare in middle school.  My very first experience with Shakespeare was MacBeth in 10th grade, followed by a semester long Medieval British literature class in 12th grade.  I came to enjoy Shakespeare from that small exposure, so why does Amber need it so much earlier?
Amber did a lot of history and language arts this week but very little math and no science.  Amber is always eager to continue her language work but lately quite reticent when it comes to science and math. I did post our review of the Greek Morphemes curriculum we have been using.  This is one of Amber's favorite subjects and rarely a day goes by that she doesn't complete a lesson.

It's been an exhausting and grumpy week for me.  My insomnia returned without rhyme or reason, which has made me a zombie by 5 pm each day this week.  Then by 9 pm I'm wide awake so have been trying to tire myself out with grueling evening workouts.  None of it has worked.  During my hours of sleeplessness I've done a little bit of tweaking to Amber's eighth grade plans based on some requests from her.

(Left) Looking healthy.. and it's the day after co-op.  (Top) More testing. (Bottom) Pretending she doesn't know me at Outback.

I've mentioned before how Amber's interest in a future course of study swings wildly from month to month. It's just her nature.  She finds a topic that intrigues her and proceeds to dive right in, but once the initial curiosity has been satiated her interest wanes.  Of course she always declares her current topic to be the path for her future.  Recently, meteorology became near and dear to Amber's heart and she even requested we perhaps tailor her education with that goal in mind.  It did take several months, but Meteorology is now on the "slightly interesting, but not my thing" list.  Amber has gone back to wanting to be a writer.  She often returns to writing or languages as her main interest, so perhaps it actually is where we should place the emphasis.

Amber asked to do more writing next year than we have ever done in the past.  She wants creative writing, expository writing, and writing across subjects like we did this year. Hopefully, Amber will complete Cover Story roughly around the beginning of eighth grade, which leaves us without any formal writing.  I'm considering IEW for the future, instead of relying on the Tapestry of Grace Writing Aids.  It all depends on Amber's interest level when she finishes Cover Story.

We will naturally keep going with math and science despite the subjects being on Amber's unfavored list right now.  She may not like them currently, but her brain thinks that way. Math comes easy to her; so much easier than it ever did to me and I successfully went into math and science fields.

Literature too is receiving another makeover.  We enjoyed the deeper study of Beowulf and the Canterbury Tales this year while moving the majority of Amber's reading to history.  It did work well, yet there is so much great literature to read that does not always coincide with our history. I believe we will move back to more content while using smaller studies with some guided by Tapestry of Grace and others by Memoria Press.  Maybe.  That's my current fuzzy brained thinking.

Amber's Photography Art homework picture - Milori
I did make progress on Amber's Narnia costumes last weekend. The dress is finished, leaving only her royal cape / robe that is worn for 5 minutes at the end of the play. Yippie.  I doubt I'll make any progress this weekend, but hope to finish the cape very soon.  I do need to make some chocolate, gluten free, fructose free graham crackers to be used in a pie crust for Easter.  Nothing like leaving it to the last minute either. 

Happy Easter!

Linking With:

Weekly Wrap-Up   photo purpFFBut_zps970d6cbe.png


  1. What a good week. I love Amber's photography art project. What fun! Have a happy Easter.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. Wow! All that scheduling...and keeping it all straight! You must have a calendar or planner or something! Have you seen Wattpad? It's a great place for young writers to share their work and read others. (Just be careful what she reads. For the most part, it's been OK.) Cati really enjoys writing and sharing and reading there. It's really sparked her interest in reading. Cute kitty!

    1. Google Calendar. If it's not on my Google Calendar it doesn't happen. :)

  3. Hi just popped over from the Weekly Wrap Up :) Wow busy week for you all. I can relate to all the appointments etc as we have similar with my son, so sending a big cyber hug and hope everything goes well.

  4. Being Catholic we are quite often 'Volunteered' It can be very hard to say no. I constantly joke that if I loose my phone I would loose a kid.

    I am glad to hear that the appointments have been set. I am confident that they will finally give you a diagnosis.

    I find for my insomnia that exercise early in the morning helps as it get me out of bed rather that on my phone and my blood pumping for the day. I also don't allow myself to use my phone at bedtime.

  5. Amber looks absolutely gorgeous! She Looks so healthy and well rested this week! I'm glad you got your appointment scheduled but I;m sorry about your insomnia. I hope you get that resolved soon! I hope you've had a happy, healthy Easter!

  6. We've been tackling a little bit of Shakespeare this week - The Casket Scenes from The Merchant of Venice. I think kids can handle bits and pieces in middle school!

    I'm so happy Amber was accepted into the Mayo Clinic. I have a feeling you will receive many answers this summer!

    Thanks for linking with Collage Friday!