Sunday, September 2, 2018

Weekly Update (Weeks 1-3, 11th Grade)

We have been back to school officially for three weeks now, although it was a rather slow start. The majority of August was surprisingly busy with medical appointments, events, and home improvement projects. Finally this past week I felt like we could settle down to full days and start in on the remainder of the subjects. It didn't help that the majority of Amber's friends had not yet started back to their homeschool lessons, making her the only one who was schooling during the days. Or as the case may be, not schooling because she was hanging out with those friends.

Thankfully, co-op classes resumed two weeks ago and now all of the kids have at least started some kind of lessons. I'm teaching a whopping four high school classes at co-op, so I know Amber's friends definitely now have homework and lessons to be studying. I'm also teaching Apologia chemistry out of our house one day a week for Amber and three friends. We staggered the start of chemistry with the co-op classes, because none of us could contemplate beginning it all the same week. This is going to be a fun year. I hope. Or I'm insane. One of the two. I was going for fun, though.

First art class assignment of this school year
After changing up curriculum and subjects a few times since mid-July, we have amazingly been happy with the lessons so far. Much of what Amber is studying this semester is a continuation of courses from 10th grade, or the next level in the same curriculum. We are reviewing a rhetoric course called Fitting Words in addition to all of Amber's other language based courses. She's quite enamored with words, whether it is English or another language.

Amber appears to finally be fully recovered from her invasive oral surgery performed the last week of July! And as far as we can tell she did not have a major flare of symptoms from EDS or dysautonomia. We could not be more relieved or grateful. She is back to her normal self and keeping up with her friends. She's also been discharged from physical therapy and occupational therapy, unless something comes up where she needs their services again. I can't begin to describe all of the emotions involved with this turn of events. To know that she is no longer in need of their regular services, while at the same time know that we are not going to see the wonderful therapists regularly.

One final appointment in August for Amber was her genetics follow-up, and again she need not continue with those either! Her diagnosis of EDS was reaffirmed, and honestly nothing has improved that is visible to the geneticist - actually, she now has flat feet despite our attempts to prevent that from happening. However Amber has learned how to live with EDS, and conditioned her body to be in the best shape possible to live life to the fullest. We now need to encourage her to keep up with all of her maintenance exercises and pain clinic appointments. Again, it is another amazing step forward. All of the progress has tremendously helped Amber feel more like an average teenager. We so hope she enjoys these last two years of high school, since she missed out on many opportunities earlier.

Back to school with the kitties

Lessons Progress & Update:
There were two subjects where we were debating what to do this year / semester and what to put off for 12th grade. Our decisions were as follows:

1. We decided to go with geometry for math this semester. Amber is trying to convince herself to attempt the ACT, and she will need exposure to geometry. She'll continue with consumer math once the geometry book is completed. So far, she has completed the first chapter and is a few pages into the second chapter.

2. Although Amber is completing the last portions of her American History credit first semester, she will move on to Economics second semester. We even already have the economics books. She's been diligently working on history the past few weeks, which is an amazing feat. Perhaps she will finally finish American history instead of putting it off in favor of any other social studies topic. Amber basically was willing to do almost any social studies / history course to put off her American history lessons, which means almost all of her social studies credits are completed except American history.

As for 11th grade lessons so far, Amber has now begun all of her courses for this school year and has made significant progress in them all. She's almost finished her first literature novel for the year, The Great Gatsby. This coming week she will receive her writing assignment for that novel and will have a week before we move on to the next novel.

Languages are moving along nicely, as is creative writing. Oddly, the girl really likes grammar and will work on it happily even if we have only a few minutes. It's something I know I can count on always being completed.

Despite her disappointment at having another science class this year, I think she enjoyed the first chemistry lesson with her friends. We are doing almost all of the labs, including the extra labs in the Microchem kit. These kids are all very tactile learners, and they need the exposure to proper lab procedures. It also breaks up the lesson time since we meet for at least two hours a week. Amber easily completed her homework this week, so let's hope that continues.

Tomorrow is Labor Day here, and Fred is off from work. Amber will probably go hang out with her friends and I'll work on projects at home or my lessons for co-op or chemistry. I spent time before the semester started planning a month's worth of lessons (at least) for each class, but I like to be several weeks ahead in planning in order to know what last minute supplies might be needed and to allow for weeks when I may be too busy to plan a lesson. Since we've had a couple weeks of class, I need to ensure I stay ahead with my planning to provide that needed buffer.

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