Friday, September 2, 2016

Week 5 - High School Success, Finally

This has been the first week that I truly felt we were successful with high school. We've had moderate progress prior, but with Amber's chronic illness and then the weird infectious bug bite, things have not gone as smoothly as I hoped since her official first day on August 1st. 

Honestly, despite a rocky start to this week because of an overly busy Sunday and then some rather unfortunate occurrences during the week, Amber's school progress was remarkable. Monday we had zero control over Amber's heart rate and blood pressure although we tried all our known measures and medications to assist her. Understandably, physical therapy at Children's was fairly low key because her heart was just crazy.

Amber has been saving her allowance and special event grandparent money for quite a while to finally earn this LEGO set. It only took her 5 hours to build and she's been playing with it all week.
I have mentally re-evaluated the idea of giving Amber actual homework outside of our normal school hours. The plan had been to set aside only the scheduled school hours during the day, and if she did not finish specific assignments during the day then it was up to her to have them ready by the due date. In previous years, I have ensured Amber was given sufficient work time during school to finish all her assignments.

Amber technically schools from wake-up to 5:00 pm, which seems like a long day except when you factor in that she doesn't get up until 9 am (on a good day), she has multiple therapy days at the hospital per week, flute lessons, and a co-op day that all occur during our slated school hours. Originally, I thought it would not be unreasonable to expect her to do some work in the evenings. However, I've noticed lately that she is rebounding better on the days that she has full evening relaxation, than when she attempts evening homework. She is actually more productive when she takes the entire evening off and is refreshed for school the next morning.

So, for now it looks like we are back to school that ends at 5:00 pm.

Now that we had a truly accurate representation of how full school will go for us, I am able to evaluate our curriculum choices a little better and tweak what needs to be tweaked.

History (government and philosophy too)
We could not be happier with how I set up our Tapestry of Grace history, government and philosophy for this year. In the years past, I did not print as much out for Amber and tried to use as much of our TOG in the digital format as possible. This time, I printed the entire rhetoric level student portion for her, placed it in a binder divided by units. All of the items I selected for her to complete have been planned and entered into our Homeschool Tracker Online. Amber accesses the particular lesson plan, and is able to see her reading assignments, has the lesson summary in her printed notebook, knows exactly what geography and timeline work she has to do, and has her accountability questions at the ready for discussion with me.

While I will continue to use the digital format on my iPad (or occasionally my computer) for our discussions, I did print the reading assignment pages for each lesson and highlight which items were chosen. This gives us a backup to the Homeschool Tracker lesson plans, since last year we found a few typos I had made and then it took a good deal of effort for me to figure out what exactly was meant. Now we have a quick way to look up her history, government, and philosophy reading.
Although Amber has not yet started reading her first literature assignment of the year yet, we have been going through the course Teaching the Classics together. Initially I planned this to be for me while Amber worked on poetry in her Memoria Press set. However, Amber wanted to go through it with me even if she didn't take away as much as I might. The instructions listed this as a perfectly acceptable way to introduction literary analysis, so Amber's first literature project of the year is actually taking the video course with me. So far this week, we've had three sessions and done analysis work together.  We are both absolutely thrilled with this solution.

I've also updated our curriculum page to reflect our current selection of literature for this school year. Of course, it is subject to change as the year progresses.


Botany has been a surprise hit with Amber and she adores the course I've set up for her. I'm still figuring out her genetics course for next semester, but there are some mighty big expectations to fill for that one now considering how much she loves botany. I'm also looking at a forensic science project to add in conjunction with her genetics course, but may instead offer it at our co-op for Amber to take there if it feels feasible. Research is ongoing.

All of the other subjects are swimming along as expected. We have not touched logic, German or philosophy yet. Because Amber added my co-op speech course after we designed her home high school classes, we may put off philosophy and / or logic until next semester. We had not counted on quite so many content courses this semester at co-op, but the opportunity arose for speech with a group and we took it.

This weekend we plan to relax with no school work assigned over the holiday weekend. Although we have a fairly busy week coming up, our goal is to learn from our successes and make even the hectic weeks productive.

Happy Weekend!

Linking With:

Weekly Wrap-Up   photo purpFFBut_zps970d6cbe.png


  1. I am happy for you all. I love it when things start to come together. That Lego set looks very cool.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. I'm glad it's all finally coming together for you. My boys have been dying for that Lego set! My youngest two are HUGE Ninjago fans.

  3. What a fabulous Lego build! It's great she still gets play out of them once they are built. My son loves to build but once he has done that he loses interest in it. Glad things seem to be coming together for you.

  4. My son spends every he gets on Lego! He collects Star Wars Legos. He would love to build that Ninjago set!

  5. We are just starting out homeschooling my 7th grade daughter this year, we stumbled upon your blog and have been enjoying it so very much! My daughter has some autoimmune disorders as well and I think it's been nice for her to connect with your daughter just by reading the blog. Thanks for sharing!

    Jen and Zoey in Wisconsin

  6. Looks like you've got things all figured out!