Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall 2015

This has been the strangest fall y’all.  Never in my 15 years of parenting have I had a season of illness like the one I am currently living through.  My kids have had it all, ear infections, strep throat, stomach viruses, and even the flu but nothing is like pneumonia.  The deep rattling cough, worse than the cough that accompanied their flu, rocks my core.  I hate it.  It literally hurts me to hear it.  I just got Grace well and now Lilah is down with it.  Her illness it slightly different and while the doctor can hear something in her lung, it did not show up on the xray so they are calling it bronchitis but giving her the same medication as Grace had for the pneumonia.  All of October has been devoted to doctor’s visits and getting my children well.  Through it all, we have worked on lessons, moving ahead in our work and following where our interests lead us.

What is working:

Science.  Grace still enjoys her Apologia Biology text.  We were told about the app that goes along with it ($5) and she purchased it to supplement her readings. We also sought out YouTube videos of some of the topics covered to give her video illustrations of what she is reading.  

Lilah changed things up and created a schedule that covers the next three months.  She  wrote down the topics she wants to study and she seeks out information from the Internet and her textbook.  She takes notes, draws pictures, and writes a weekly summary of her learning.  We discovered a free download: Blank Lined Paper from iWork Community which allows her to type right on the line and drag and drop pictures into her writing.  I have not seen her this excited about science in a very long time.

Riding.  When Grace was too sick to ride, I took her lesson and loved it.  Loved it like I love yoga.  It is centering, calming and focusing.  For the thirty minutes that I am on a horse, I am not concerned about anything but me and that horse.  What a beautiful escape from my super busy mind.  

Photography.  Grace bought herself a new camera with the money she saved up from babysitting.  She completed an online class through Creative Live and her new learning was put to the test when took a live class at our local camera shop which was described as an introduction to her new camera but assumed the photographer had a working knowledge of terms like depth of field, aperture, ISO and color balance.  During the class I leaned over to ask her if she understood anything that was being said and she smirked and said she understood it all, thanks to the Creative Live class.  I went back to reading my book.

Reading/History.  Our love of books has not abated.  We did make some changes to our audiobook line up.  Jurassic Park was too much for my sensitive Grace, who does not want to internalize images of dead babies.  Lilah and I are listening to this on our own, when we wait for Grace to ride, or when Grace is outside and we are inside.  Our car audiobook is Sharon Draper’s Stella by Starlight, which is a bit juvenile but ties into our upcoming trip to Alabama.  When you are teaching children with sensitivities, it is hard to incorporate certain material into your studies.  For example, we were watching the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War but photos of naked slaves with scars disfiguring their backs imprint on my daughter’s brain and cause her sleepless nights.  It’s a fine balance of bringing in high school leveled material yet accommodating her needs.  Same with the KKK.  It is vital she knows about this, yet I cannot show her pictures of death.  Stella by Starlight is a great introduction to the KKK in a way she can internalize without being traumatized. This down time from illness has given me time to read also.  This week I finished Ana of California and The Same Sky.  Both good reads.  

We’ve added to our Civil Rights Timeline and put our American History program on hold for just a little bit.  It is hard to flip between Civil Rights and Dave Raymond’s program, so for now we are focusing more on Civil Rights as we prepare for our trip in November.  The work we have done and are continuing to do is adding up to a half credit for the girls as an elective.  This will be in addition to the full credit they will receive at the end of Dave Raymond’s program.  

Planning.  I have tried all kinds of planners, from very structured ones to cheap $5 I picked up at a teacher’s store.  I plan, but then life leads.  I know that to complete One Year Adventure Novel we have to do at least 2 lessons a week to finish in May.  We are ahead of this since we are watching multiple lessons per session to get us to the actual writing.  I know that Dave Raymond’s History is 36 lessons.  One should be done a week, unless we want to keep going through the summer, which we most likely will do because of piggybacking Civil Rights with it.  Math is done when math is done.  Algebra will be done in January and we will begin Geometry because holy moly do we need a break from algebra!  This is how I plan.  I keep a composition book daily that “assigns” the girls their lessons and keeps track of how many days we are doing formal lessons.  I don’t have to report this, I was just curious.  I write down what I want to accomplish day by day for each girl.  We check off the lessons when they are completed and I have a nice record.  A piece of duct tape on the inside margin helps hold the book open and pretties it up a bit.  This is by far the cheapest and easiest to maintain system I have tried and this is the longest I have kept up a planner. 

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