Friday, November 20, 2015

We Really Aren't Unschoolers (I Think)

It's been a busy appointment and activity filled week, topped off with Amber and me catching a mild virus. It wasn't a terribly productive book-work week, but much was accomplished:
  • Many, many hours on her co-op knitting class project that is doubling as a Christmas gift for a family member.  
  • The last of her handmade Christmas present projects planned.
  • Art class and at-home sketching.
  • Hours of German, multiple IEW writing lessons, and grammar.
  • History reading
  • More learning about connective tissue and how it affects the spine.
  • Flute practice
I know, I know. It's beginning to look even more unschoolish - but we really aren't unschoolers. It's just been a difficult few weeks.

Fred stayed home Monday with Amber so I could go to a much anticipated medical appointment that had nothing to do with my upcoming gallbladder surgery. Thankfully this appears to be the last appointment dealing with that concern and I've been cleared for now. Back to concentrating on my upcoming surgery without any other issues lurking about. I'm also quite thankful my gallbladder is causing less pain at the moment and allowing me to eat a little bit of fat.

Ready for the Wild West themed event where she played flute. It was a fun night for us all!
Knitting, knitting, knitting and a lunch out between appointments.
The majority of the book work Amber did complete this week was while I was out on Monday at the doctor's office. That was one hectic day. We also had her regular PT session where we both learned more about how the spine is supported and should be curved. The therapist even used a flexible spine model during our impromptu lesson. Turns out Amber's connective tissue around her spine is not exactly holding it in place properly, so she naturally compensates with muscles that have tightened around the spine. The result is fairly common in EDS: she has kyphosis in her upper back (rounds out too much) and lordosis in her lower back (goes in too much) and a small amount of scoliosis in her lower back. 

Amber actually startled the therapist since her back measurements had not been taken before. A simple stretch where Amber was asked to arch her back and then lower it while on all fours began this latest EDS learning experience. Amber had way too much arch and a lot of movement, but barely gets to neutral with her back. She can't even begin to do inward curve on all fours. Now Amber is working on stretching out those muscles to help with the curvature problems. Thank goodness for knowledgeable physical therapists. 

We also had the much awaited veterinary specialist appointment for Biscotti (our Maine Coon mix cat). We have a plan of action after five hours at the vet (plus an hour round trip driving) during which my poor traumatized kitty had to be knocked out for many additional tests to be run and his belly shaved for yet another ultrasound.

At physical therapy. This is as close to neutral as she can get her back. Can you believe this girl was once a dancer? We learn more about EDS every week.
For now he's on the same antibiotic for another continuous three weeks because it looks like this medication does actually work on his UTI but could not kill all of the bacteria in only 10 days. The short break between each of the previous three antibiotic courses was long enough to let the bacteria take hold again. The hope is to eradicate the bacteria entirely this time. The vet also took away Biscotti's treats (pure bites freeze dried meat) until further notice for fear they were triggering food hypersensitivity. Poor guy, he had the longest car drive plus the most traumatic vet visit in his life and then no evening treats with his medication. He still loves us though.

Homeschool co-op classes were busy and fun, as usual. Only two more class periods of this semester, then after Christmas break Amber will have almost all new classes next semester. The only class continuing is embroidery, which is ironic because it's one of the things I can easily teach Amber. Still, she loves embroidery and it provides w nice relaxing hour in the middle of her hectic co-op days. We haven't registered yet, but we think Amber will also be taking the yearbook class, art, and improv drama - all which are topics I can't teach her. Yay for enrichment co-op courses.

Look at everything we have to be thankful for!
Now today we are relaxing and enjoying our only day at home this week. We've declared it our November Amber and Mom Day, so no school work is allowed. We will even kill a few brain cells playing Star Wars Battlefront on the PS4 for hours on end. I'm excited to have no appointments or responsibilities today short of keeping Amber hydrated and watching over my kitties.

Next week we have more medical appointments than normal for Amber plus a few other necessary non-medical appointments. We won't be taking any time off of school before Thanksgiving, but with the numerous appointments there won't be time for full days of school either. I'm hoping to simply complete the left over lessons from this week prior to Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving! (to those of you in the United States)


  1. You are in a season of life that is very busy, but as you can see learning is always happening. It is all good. Have a lovely weekend.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. It does sound like you have an excellent physical therapist working with Amber! That is definitely something to be thankful for! I love the your thankful tree. I may try doing something like that with Beth. I'm sorry to hear that Biscotti is still feeling poorly. I hope this new round of antibiotics works!

  3. I love the idea of a mum and Amber November day. I ought to do that once a month with all my children. They would love the surprise element although spending one on one would be much harder for me :(