Friday, January 31, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up - Snowpocalypse

As many of you know there was quite a bit of trouble in Atlanta this week. Luckily we live about two hours above Atlanta and was not affected to greatly. Hubby does work an hour and a half in that direction and on Tuesday it did take him longer to get home but nothing like the poor people stuck in their cars on the highway for 10 - 24 hours. The snow did make us cancel Cooperative classes as well as Grace's Speech and Art class on Thursday. 

Us being homeschoolers the snow did not affect what we were able to accomplish in school. I wasn't a horrible parent - I did let her have breaks to go out in the snow on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Due to the cancellation of many of our outside of the home activities we were able to get caught up on a lot of school work. In history we continue to read about King Arthur and the Famous Men of the Middle Ages introduced Grace to William the Conqueror. We also watched a documentary about him on Youtube yesterday which in turn led her to all the Horrible Histories videos. Grace was able to get three Algebra lessons completed and a Vocabulary quiz. In Science she finished Module 1 in the General Science book. Surprisingly she really likes this book and did well independently reading and answering all the study guide questions. We finished a lesson in the How to Write a Graphic Novel book and she wrote in her novel that she is creating. Looks like her language choice for high school will be Japanese due to the wonderful review product we are reviewing and she is loving and was able to finish 4 lessons. Her Speech homework found her writing an informative speech about the adventures of taking an African Safari. 

This week Grace created a lot of art. Two projects for her art class and lots of other stuff for her own benefit. She does have an art show coming up in May she is preparing for. We also made it to the gym three times this week.

I should also mention that Grace is feeling much better. No nausea or vomiting episodes in over three weeks. The new medications seem to be doing their job. 

I am reviewing another product that has a planner to use on a daily basis. This has come in so handy this week. This planner helped me get caught up on a lot of housework this week. Review will be forthcoming in a few weeks.

One of Grace's favorite things this week was learning about the Horrible Histories Channel on YouTube. She was also thrilled that her brother was able to fix the screen to her iphone that was practically shattered about a month ago. On Saturday almost a week ago our youth service group helped sort clothes for a couple of hours for a local clothes closet. Even though we were inside it was freezing. When we arrived the temp was hovering around 22 and no heat inside the building. Grace got her haircut today and I hope to get you a photo soon. It is short and she loves it. We also attended small group on Sunday night and she and another teenager girl are being included in the adult group. She enjoyed listening to what everyone had to share.

I am linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. I am also linking up with Virtual Refrigerator Blog Hop.

Virtual Fridge Link Up

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu Plus

We ditched the cable at least four years ago and never looked back. For most of this time my go to services I used for watching movies and television shows has been Netflix and Hulu Plus. I use each for certain shows and movies. Scott likes Netflix mostly with a little Crackle thrown in occasionally. He loves documentaries and television shows that revolve around history, science, etc. Grace watches very little TV (by her choice) and if she watches something it is usually on her kindle on Netflix or Youtube. I am the true Television addict in the family. At any given time I am probably following 10 -15 different shows. These 10-15 shows are spread out over Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu Plus. Recently though for me, Netflix has gone to the bottom of my list simply because I have found a treasure trove of shows to watch on Amazon Prime. Shows like "The Good Wife", "Grimm", and "The Shield" I was getting through DVD from Netflix but discovered that Amazon Prime has them to watch on instant. Yesterday I decided to check and see what else Amazon had available and to my surprise found some shows from HGTV like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, House Hunters, and The Pioneer Woman. That was the one thing I really missed without having cable or satellite TV anymore - HGTV and Food Network. Although with joining them gym I can watch both of those while walking on the treadmill. I guess what I am trying to get across is the fact that Amazon Prime might really be giving Netflix a run for the money soon. If I had to choose between the two right now it would be very tough. We pay $7.99 a month for Hulu Plus, $79.00 a year for Amazon Prime (mostly for free shipping), and $24.00 a month for Netflix (allows us three DVDs at a time and three devices for instant at a time).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What A Snow Day in Georgia Looks Like

Fun science experiments

Finishing up on the extra credit drawing for art class

I have eggs running out my ears. Boiled a dozen today for deviled eggs and egg salad. Then used some more to bake chocolate chip blondies.

Drinking coffee, watching the snow fall, and throwing snowballs for puppy to catch.

These guys are not used to snow and have no intention of leaving the coops. 

We had to cancel Cooperative today which allowed me to actually catch up on a lot of work around the house. One of our review products is a planner that is getting good use today. I will post a complete review of the product in a few weeks. Grace is also enjoying her Japanese lessons that we have through another product review. Snow has been steady for the last couple of hours. Small flakes, but snow none the less. With the cold temps we have right now should still be here tomorrow. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

New Bible Study

I have been floundering for the past year or more in the Bible study department. If I don't have something to keep me accountable it just doesn't happen. I am sinful in that way - if there is something funnier, more enjoyable, etc. I will always chose to do it first and then of course the Bible reading and praying just gets left behind. Next I get out of the habit and then it never gets done. It is a true God thing that in the past month I was given two opportunities to participate in groups that will keep me accountable. The first is a small group that might eventually grow into something bigger (maybe a home church or a church plant), who knows. The second is a close friend that started a women's Bible study in her home on Monday evenings. Both of these opportunities could not have come at a better time. I am so appreciative and blessed to be a part of each. So looking forward to where this might take us as a family and group of believers.

The women's Bible Study is reading through the Bible, the beginning to the end. This works out to three chapters a day keeping a journal for each chapter with questions, etc. So far we have had some fabulous discussions and we are just halfway through Genesis.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up - The Week of Sickness and Renewal

Even though Grace is feeling 100 percent better with the nausea and vomiting she contracted a virus last Saturday that just seems to not want to go away. This was a virus most kids contract in childhood but somehow she missed it. Very sore throat. This kept her home from Cooperative this week but she was able to attend her speech and art class yesterday.

We have refocused our efforts and are working hard to do some catching up with school. Monday required a visit to the doctor because of the virus so school was out, plus Grace just felt bad. Tuesday I was at Cooperative most of the day and left some work behind for Grace to finish on her own. Nothing to heavy. Wednesday we hit the ground running. Algebra is going splendidly. As I reported in a previous post she made a 92 on the last chapter test and has been grasping all the concepts required to make 100s  on her daily lessons. Sooooo hoping this continues. Science has found us switching from bird study to the Apologia Science book. Grace is loving the experiments.
Experiment explaining Density
In creative writing Grace is currently writing her first graphic novel. She has 2-3 chapters finished and to go along with that we are using a book "You Can Do A Graphic Novel". I am considering using this in the Cooperative in the fall for the high school students.

This week Grace gave her first informative speech in speech class about barn owls. For homework this coming week she has to do another informative speech on African Safaris. In art class they are finishing up a month long study of work with charcoal, drawing what you see and shadows.

We are getting back on track with exercise with a trip to the gym on Wednesday and Friday. This really should be about 4-5 days a week but with Grace being sick we are taking it slow and working our way back up.

Grace's favorite thing this week was starting our review for Mango Languages. She is studying Japanese and enjoying every minute. Her second favorite would be General Science and the experiments we performed. I know that General Science is typically used as a middle school science but if you revert back to one of my previous posts you would know that we don't do "typical". All I am worried about at the moment is finding something that engages her and teaches her something she didn't know before.

She is currently working on many art projects. A nature themed art show that will be coming up in May, a BIG present she is working on for a friend, and just her regular everyday drawing. I am working on finishing up a study guide about the Gold Rush for a company I started free lancing with a few months back. 

Today I am linking up with Weekly Wrap Up. Be sure to click over and see what other homeschooling families did this week.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Some Random Things that Are Happening Around Our House

Today we did two experiments for Science. We have switched gears for a little while away from birds and are using the Apologia General Science book to catch up on some basic science related facts. Today's experiments were about atoms, density, and atomic motion.

Grace has been creating a good bit of art while we are reading aloud several books. Currently our read alouds are House of Hades, The Captives, and King Arthur. She has been reading White Fang and a bird behavior book.

Saturday, even when Grace was feeling her worst, she took her chapter 6 Algebra test and made a 92. I was so super proud of her for this. Math is truly a thorn in her side but she is making progress inch by inch. She was able to do her entire lesson today in Chapter 7 independently and got every problem correct. We were having a lot of issues with the word problems but I got the bright idea to create her a formula cheat sheet. It has the formulas for different types of words problems and it has helped in a big way.

It was super weird not having her at Cooperative yesterday, but I tried to abide by the rules because her doctor said she was probably still contagious. In my classes we made medieval coins out of clay and herb salts. 

Today we finally started our first review product of the year for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Super excited about this one and can't wait to share with everyone in about six weeks. I don't think I will have any problem getting Grace to work with this one. 

We actually made it to the gym today. With Grace not feeling well it had been a week since a gym visit, but I did work out some here at the house. 

So far Grace is doing beautifully on her new medications and hasn't had any nausea or vomiting episodes. Can I get a bit AMEN!!!!! Praise the Lord!!!!!!! It is so nice to get up each morning and know that Grace is going to feel good. The past 8-12 weeks have just been brutal. Never knowing how she will wake up and if we can plan anything. I know she is relieved as well.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Catching Up

I feel like I am constantly playing catch up. I posted just three short days ago a long list of things I really needed to accomplish by today. Of course everything on the list did not get accomplished. A little wrench was thrown in the works. Grace got sick. Not with the GI problems but with a whole new "thing". She just can't seem to get a break. We get one thing under control and then something else comes on the scene. This time we thought she had strep but a visit to the doctor this morning confirms it is a virus. A virus that she should have caught years ago as a small child but didn't. When the doctor looks at your throat and say "Why that looks interesting", you know it can't be good. The virus has left her with an unbelievable sore throat. The doctor said she could almost visualize tiny blisters in her throat. Can you say "Ouch"! Anyway because of Grace being sick since Saturday there has been no exercise (i.e gym visits), so that can't be scratched off the list. No school work again today. I have written about a quarter of the study guide I am working on, but all the lessons are ready for classes tomorrow. Grace will go stay with my mom as she is still contagious and shouldn't be at Cooperative tomorrow.

I did get some much needed deep cleaning done today in the kitchen and TV room. Still lots to do on that front in the remainder of the house. Went to lunch with my mom for her birthday and really enjoyed that time together. In the past day and a half I attended church, small group, and a women's Bible study tonight. So I guess all in all when I look back on it I have accomplished a good bit.

In our women's Bible study we are following a book that takes us through the Bible in a year. We are reading three chapters a day. Last week was our first meeting and through the week we read Genesis chapters 1-21. We were supposed to discuss all 21 chapters in one meeting. Like that was going to happen. I think we got through chapter 7. I bring this up because there was much discussion but no real conclusions over Genesis chapter 6 verses 1-4. I would really appreciate your take on those verses. Basically I am most curious about your thoughts concerning who the "sons of God" are and also your take on the Nephilim (angels? giants? something else).

Friday, January 17, 2014

Ever Feel Like You Are Falling Behind

Today was the day for Grace's big GI appointment. This meant a trip down to Atlanta (1 1/2 hours away and then back), including a couple of errands on the way back home. In other words a complete day away from the home and a list a mile long that needs to be accomplished in the next 3-4 days. Don't get me wrong I was looking forward to this appointment and was hoping for a diagnosis for Grace so we could get moving on with a treatment.

Three days out of the house this week has really slowed things down for me. So I am looking at lots of work to accomplish this weekend:

Go to the gym in the morning with Grace to exercise
Plan lessons for my four classes for Cooperative on Tuesday
Finish writing a study guide for a company I am working with
Grocery shopping
Go to pharmacy to pick up Grace's new medications
Wash all animal bedding, linens, and rugs
Finish laundry
Start deep cleaning the house
Clean chicken coops (we have 20 chickens)
Attend church and listen to the possible new Pastor our church is interviewing
Attend small group on Sunday night
Take mom out to lunch for her birthday and purchase a birthday gift
I am also overrun with eggs and need to make deviled eggs and bake some items for the freezer

For those that have lasted this long and want to know how the appointment went with the GI specialist thinks at this point that we are dealing with a motility issue and we are trying two new medications that she will take daily for three months. If we have no improvement in the next 2-3 weeks on the new regimen then she will be sedated for an upper endoscopic exam. Thanks so much for all the prayers.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Something I need to Share

I follow a fellow blogger that thinks along the same lines as I do. She is always able to express what I feel about education and what is happening in our society to children. Many times among my own personal homeschooling community I feel like I am an outcast. Don't get me wrong, everyone accepts us and we have lots and lots of friends. When I say I feel like an outcast it is because we are always straddling the line of what most individuals would observe as a regular education and on the other side of the fence is unschooling. I have a child that really doesn't want to go to college. She kind of already knows what she wants to do with her life and her talent which is art. She doesn't care about excelling in science and math and I have resigned myself to her being her own individual person and that being okay. Don't get me wrong I want her to know the basics but I am more interested in her being a good, compassionate person willing to serve and share the Gospel than I am with good SAT scores and getting into a promising college. Some things that you see consistently with homeschooled high school students you won't see on our radar. We won't be taking part in dual enrollment when Grace becomes a junior or senior in high school. We won't be taking the same exact science and math classes that all other students take (Physical Science, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Geometry, and Trig). Yes we will take some of these but not feel compelled to take all of them and follow the trend that was set forth by everyone that says we need to take it to get into college. I am sure what I am saying may ruffle some feathers and believe me, I mean no disrespect. I know that the current recommended courses are what works for many families and if it works for you and your student - keep it up.  Basically what it boils down to is that homeschooling is educating outside of the box and if we are educating our children outside of the box shouldn't we have the freedom to do it differently than everyone else and not get criticized for it or looked down upon. Who knows what the future holds - Grace may change her mind at the last minute in 12th grade and want to go to college or art school. If she does, then we refocus and get accomplished what is required to get in. It is never to late to change your mind and work to achieve your goals and dreams.

I would recommend following this link to read my online friend's post She is More Than a Number because everything she wrote comes from her heart and I wish I could have said it so well.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Peek Into My Two Elementary Cooperative Classes

 This semester I am teaching two high school classes and two elementary classes. It is evenly spaced out so that I get time with both age groups. My first elementary class of the day is Knights and Maidens. This is an arts and crafts class with a little Medieval History thrown in the mix. Today in the above picture we created Robin Hood hats which were called bycockets and cone shaped maiden hats which were called henins. We also made ladies looking glasses (mirrors). This is a small class but fun.

My second class is a simulation class about running a zoo. This is my first simulation type class. Zooland has been run down for years and the city government wishes to shut it down. The class takes a test to get licenses to become zoo keepers and raise fund to renovate the zoo. In the first two classes we created zoo cages and decorated their folders to keep all the worksheets. Today we also looked at worksheets of animals in cages in Zooland and observed the problems that needed to be fixed. If you would like to know more about classroom simulation type classes visit the following link to Interact Simulations. Next week we start learning about habitats and how to make the cages the animals natural habitat.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

When Is Life Too Busy

Our family seems to suffer from one or two afflictions. The first affliction is that our activities ebb and flow. This means that for a few months we are incredibly busy and then for about one to two months nothing really is going on. The second affliction that most families in general suffer from is that everything (classes, Bible studies, small groups, church functions, Cooperatives, exercise) looks so good you don't want to miss out and sign up for everything under the sun. Currently we are having issues with the second affliction. Our schedule was pretty tight already but two things have popped up that I really want to include in my weekly schedule. Current schedule looks something like this: Gym or Zumba 3-5 days a week, Cooperative on Tuesdays, Speech and Art Class on Thursdays, Tattoo Shop (hubby is one month away from being a full fledged tattoo artist) for hubby on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, a small homeschool/church group that meets two Mondays a month for fellowship, school work Monday - Friday, and just daily life. 

Now let me give you a little back story on why I want to join up with two more activities. Our church has been struggling for a couple of years. My family does not attend every single Sunday but we do go at least twice a month and I have no intentions of leaving, but periodically I feel we just need more or something different spiritually. Recently we were invited to another small group as a family that may start meeting on Sunday afternoons. This small group has many people that I miss seeing and spending time with. This small group may eventually evolve into something. It may be something that meets once a week or as little as once a month. Today is the informational meeting to get everyone's opinions and ideas about how the group would work. I was also invited to start participating in a women's Bible study on Monday evenings with part of this same group. I really need the accountability of a group to keep me reading my Bible, etc. So I guess this means two more activities to add to the weekly schedule.

I miss the Fall leaves so just thought I would share a pic.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up - Everything Started Back

This week found us pretty busy. I guess my best bet is to list it by day so I don't miss anything.

Monday - The state of Georgia saw very low temps just like everyone else across the nation. For a while we thought we might receive snow but alas just cold temps. On Monday I hosted a teacher's meeting for the Cooperative. Lots was accomplished and I feel like every semester all the clerical and extra stuff gets tweaked and better. Immediately following the meeting me and my co-director held auditions for Fiddler on the Roof which will be performed by the high school class. As I have mentioned before Grace is not performing in this one which is a little sad for me but she needed the break with her health issues. Plus she just wanted to chill and fun this semester with no pressure to perform. I did assign her some school work to do on her own at the church while all this was going on.

Tuesday - The biggy for Tuesday was first day of Cooperative. I taught four classes - Knights and Maidens, Improv, Science Explorations, and a Youth Service Group. The day went by in a flash. The afternoon is evenly spaced for me with two high school classes and two elementary classes. Grace attended her classes which were Improv, Pottery, Youth Service, and Stage Makeup. She is super thrilled with the stage makeup class. They will be responsible for all the makeup for the Fiddler performances. In the morning before Cooperative we did a little history and an Algebra lesson. Currently she is learning about Canute the Great for Famous Men of the Middle Ages.

Wednesday - This was to be an all out attack on school work kind of day. Alas, Grace woke up in the morning not feeling well. She woke up in time for an early lunch then we hit the books. Basically we are talking about all the basics with Algebra, History, Science, English, CNN Student News, God World News Magazine, and a few extra thrown in. We hit a snag around mid afternoon when she did actually get sick. It usually takes her about 30-60 minutes to recover and then it's back to work. We didn't finish till dinner then headed to the gym for some much needed exercise.

Thursday - This day opened up with Grace's first class in Speech at our beloved Ms. Christy's. No time for school work in the morning because the class started at 10:00. After Speech I picked her up for lunch at Captains Ds then back for an art class at the same location. Once we arrived home we finished another Algebra lesson and a little science and history. Both of us worked out after dinner.
Grace's rendition of herself in her favorite hat.

Friday - Well this brings us to today. Grace again woke up not feeling well and very fatigued. She didn't get up until 11:15 which moved everything into the afternoon. I was hoping for a trip to the gym but school work is taking a front seat instead. Looks like another workout at home tonight because the gym is only open till 7:00 on Friday nights. Definitely going to the gym tomorrow. So far slow go she just can't get into the flow of working today. We are watching a bird documentary for her science class and she did some basic review in math.

Her favorite thing this week other than classes outside of the home is writing her own story for creative writing. She is really looking forward to illustrating this one.

Check out this post to see what we will be starting next week and I am sure it will be her favorite thing for the week Graphic Novel Lessons.

What is Your Child's Passion

The past few years Grace's passion has revolved around anime, manga, and Japanese culture. I try to fit that passion into our weekly lessons as much as possible. If we illustrate anything it is usually drawn in an anime format. If she writes a story it follows along the lines of what you might find in manga or graphic novels. We have even read graphic novels that are published about different events in history and biographies as well as the Bible.

Even though she writes these stories she doesn't really know what to do with them after they are written. How to get down all the details for turning the story into a graphic novel. Well that is all about to change. Recently I came across lesson plans for the book "You Can Do A Graphic Novel". I found the lessons here and purchased the book from Amazon. I plan to use this not only for Grace's benefit but I am also trying this out on Grace to see how well it might do as a class for our Fine Arts Cooperative. I may be offering this class to high schoolers in the Fall.

Table of Contents:

Your Story
Draw, Draw, Draw
The Creative Process
The Creative Block
Creating Characters
The Plotline
Some Students' Work
The "Biz"

There are many aspects of this book that appeal to me and hopefully will help Grace. The main topics she needs help with at the moment is the actual creative process and how to bring it all together. Grace aspires to do this type of work for her career. She needs to start immersing herself in all of the aspects of creating to see if she enjoys it. I hope to start this book with Grace on Monday and will keep you posted chapter by chapter with our thoughts and Grace's work.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Current Artistic Creations

It isn't often now that I can get photos of Grace's artistic creations. She is drawing more and more digitally on her computer. I keep telling her to send them to my computer but that doesn't seem to happen. The above photo is something Grace created for my mom for Christmas. My mom wanted something really colorful.

This was Grace's favorite Christmas present - the monster hat. 

This is Grace's rendition of herself wearing the hat. I think it is totally cool. Love it!

This is just something in the beginning stages. I love to watch how her drawings change from pencil to something so detailed and colorful once she had marker.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Coffee Addict

My entire adult life I have despised coffee. Now at the age of 46 I have developed a taste for coffee and love having it as an afternoon or evening snack. Of course most coffee drinkers would probably call my cup of coffee a glorified cup of hot chocolate. Grace has also become a coffee drinker and her cups are much more close to what a real coffee should be. Mine have flavored coffee (preferably Dunkin Donuts variety) a package of low-cal hot chocolate mix and a little french vanilla creamer. Yum!!  Now with the weather so cold a cup of hot coffee mid-afternoon or after dinner is just the ticket.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Homeschooling with a Sick Child

Many of my readers are aware of the health issues Grace has had recently. Never knowing from one day to the next if she will be having an episode of nausea and vomiting is really putting a damper on homeschooling. How do you plan for the next day of school when you don't know how your child will wake up feeling? Is the episode only going to last through the morning or all day? Can we wait till after lunch to start school which then throws out all the intentions of running errands in the afternoon? What about exercise? If she wakes up feeling bad will it pass so we can still go to the gym (just bought a membership) in the afternoon or evening? And what exactly is actually going on with her? How to plan for big events or outings?

These are questions I try to answer every day. Truly we live day to day at this point. If it is a good day we get lots of school work accomplished and errands or exercise. If it is a bad day only a little or none gets done. Very frustrating. Until we get this thing figured out this is our life. Don't get me wrong. I am grateful for homeschooling. If I was having to go through this and send her off to school each day it would be quite impossible. Homeschooling allows us the freedom to fit in school when we can, schedule doctor's appointments and testing for whenever we want, and just plain relax without needing to adhere to other people's schedules.

Last week was a really good week, of course school was out for Christmas and we didn't do any work. This week every other day she has woken up sick. It is 1:30 and we are just about to get started on some school work. We are not only dealing with actually feeling bad and unable to sit at the table to do work but once she does feel good to sit at the table there is a constant review and catch up process going on. Every time a big project gets started or paper to be written you lose the flow of your thought processes and basically have to start the process over.

Currently we are in a waiting pattern. All her blood work has come back normal, the ultrasound for her gall bladder is normal as well. Now we have an appointment scheduled with a pediatric GI doctor on the 17th of this month. We could be dealing with anything. Food allergies, GERD, gall bladder issues, cyclic vomiting syndrome, anxiety induced and so on. Really we have no idea at this point what is going on with her. I ask you all to keep her in your prayers and hope that we find a solution soon.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome to 2014

2013 was pretty great but we are also looking forward to a wonderful 2014. Lots of friends and family to share the New Year with love.

Normally NYE for us is pretty tame. The past few years I haven't even stayed up to ring in the New Year. A friend had a family party this year with games, food, and fellowship. Lots of teens. Three different games going at once all night. Glow stick tag was pretty popular as well.

In New York you watch the ball drop, in our home state of Georgia it is the Peach drop. Well we had our own version with the Pinata drop.

And of course what is a NYE without kids and fire. Again pretty tame - just sparklers. Fireworks are illegal in the state of Georgia. All said and done we got home a little after 1:00. Good friends and good memories. This might need to become a tradition.