Long Summer

January 2, 2014

2013 Year in Review

Filed under: about — by dbmamaz @ 10:53 am
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This year started off with a bang – the kind of bang which leaves you picking up the pieces and wondering what to do next.  

The first week of January, my (adult) daughter had a bit of a breakdown and it was NOT pretty.  The final outcome was that my mom and I drove to a midway point between our houses (about 2.5 hours of driving for each of us) and I handed my daughter off to my mom.

Since then, my daughter and I have had light communication, but my mom keeps me informed of the general happenings in her life.  It’s not ideal, but it’s a lot better than living in a war zone, and she seems to be doing well.  So, over time, I’ve come to see it as all good.

So, you might recall that Feb of 2012, I had an injury to my knee.  I worked my way through 2 doctors, 4 images, a physical therapist and an acupuncturist, who finally recommended a third doctor, a surgeon.  He agreed to cut me open Feb of 2013 (almost exactly a year after the injury.)

The good news is that the surgeon was able to fix two problems.  First of all, he kept telling me, you know how when you drop an apple, it gets all brown and mushy?  And if you don’t want that to spread,  you need to scrape it out?  Well, that was my kneecap.  Ewww.  So he scraped it out.  But while he was in there, he also discovered that the synova was stuck up in the knee where it didn’t belong, and was getting pinched when I moved my knee.   So he also did  a partial synovectomy.

Recovery took much, MUCH longer than we had anticipated.  I managed to bruise my rib on one side and sprain my wrist on the other, leaving me unable to use crutches while still unable to walk.  My husband worked from home and drove the kids to their classes and did all the grocery shopping for three months?

6 months after surgery, in August, I could finally walk up AND down stairs, and take long walks to the park, and had only minimal pain.  After 18 months of limited mobility I was ECSTATIC . . . until the dumb dog ran straight in to my knee at close range, all 74 overweight pounds of him.  That put my recovery back about 3 months.

All of this put a big dent in school.  We did not accomplish much in the winter at all, and with the limited mobility, I had become quite the hermit.  We stayed home and focused hard on academics all spring.  I intended to start going to the river every day over the summer, and inviting all the homeschoolers we know  . . . but the river stayed at flood level all summer!  Instead, I introduced the boys to Doctor Who, with great success!  Raven even asked for his 10th birthday party to be doctor who themed.

We also tried to do a chemistry kit over the summer, but no one much liked it.  I had also put up chemistry posters, and found Raven making up stories about the periodic table poster.  I managed to explain the periodic table to Raven by also using the Bohr Model poster of the atom – he suddenly yelled “Why cant the chemistry experiments be this interesting?!”  Definitely a theoretical, not an experimental scientist.

So, this fall, things have been going well!  Woot!  No new crises, and everything has been smooth!  I always love that.  Hubby still hates his job, and is slowly looking for a new one.  And these last 2 weeks, hubby had off of work so we even got a few projects moving along!  All in all, a good upswing in the second half of the year and lets hope for a great 2014!

Academics summary and plan:

Both boys have continued in martial arts, despite me no longer participating.  Dh actually started attending the same school this fall, when the location moved closer to us.

Orion:  Last year’s chemistry program turned out to be a dud.  We made it most of the way through it, threw in some physics resources, and cut our losses by calling it ‘physical science’.   English, history and math all stayed steady as expected.

2013/14

  • History is continuing as previously, he reads/writes essay about Zinn after we read similar timeframe in Hakim.  Zinn is a lot more dense in modern times, so that’s been keeping him busy.  When he’s done with that, we’ll either do politics (most likely) or more world religion
  • Math: He’s taking a self-paced MOOC aimed at helping kids pass the community college math entrance exams.  It is mostly review, but a review he really needed.  I’m hoping a very solid understanding of algebra will help him succeed in pre-calc at community college next year
  • English: He started off with a MOOC about LOTR, a great follow-up to last year’s English.  He is now working through the second half of Bravewriter Help for High School, which is about essays, and then will do a science research paper in the spring.  He’s also doing assigned fiction reading.
  • Science is primarily watching videos on advanced topics of biology and taking notes, with the intention to find a subject to do a research project on in the fall. He did take a MOOC on genetics, which was interesting and challenging.
  • Drivers Ed: he’s also taking a drivers ed online portion.  (My new years resolution is to get him in the car!)
  • We will be visiting local community colleges soon.  He has been doing his own assignments organization for the MOOCs, which I find very encouraging.  We are still not entirely sure what he’ll major in.

Raven:

  • English: Raven’s spelling program, Logic of English, was AWESOME.  I am officially in love with a spelling curriculum!  Raven still frequently  throws on-the-floor crying tantrums over it, but in the end he will do the work and he is learning a lot.  Its even improved his reading. This is all we’ve been doing for English for a full calendar year, and we are almost done.  We will probably do some combination of Bravewriter, other lit studies, and maybe some Igniting your Writing
  • Science: Raven has continued with free reading science, but we may move on to LOF prealgebra/science combo books.
  • Math: Raven finished up the online math, some more murderous maths, and LOF decimals, but  Zaccaro scared Raven by introducing 2-variable algebra too quickly.  We ended up doing a review with Spectrum 6th Grade, which Raven is doing mostly independently.  We will move on to LOF prealgebra/science combos.  (and maybe the econ, I’m not sure)
  • History:  Almost done with Hakim, finally.  We watched several documentaries this fall – he didn’t like many of them.  Will move on to either Canadian history or world religion.
  • Programming: I bought a years access to a programming course to teach kids how to make minecraft mods.  We will probably start this when math and science combine in LOF
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January 10, 2012

2011 Year In Review

Filed under: about — by dbmamaz @ 2:13 pm
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2011 – WOW!  This has been the calmest year I’ve had in a LONG time! We did have some transitions, but I think this is the first year in over a decade with not a single real crisis.  It’s really weird.  But in a good way!

In January, hoping for some calm sailing, I put together a regular schedule for our homeschooling.  It takes some planning work, but results in more accomplished, less stress, and less chaos.

The biggest family transition was really my husbands.  By the end of January, we agreed that he would quit his hated job.  The second week of February he was ecstatic, but then he buckled down to the hard work.  While it was nice having an extra set of hands for homeschool help, we were all happy to have him employed again in May.

The next transition was my daughter’s.   After spending 7 mo living with her bf’s family in CA, she decided to move back home. We are getting along better than ever before.   Work was as hard to find here as it had been in CA, tho, and in the fall she returned full-time to the community college.  She was inducted in to the honor society, and is now in process applying to VCU for fall of 2012.

This year brought a few good field trips.  In the spring hubby was able to come with us to the National Museum of Natural History, a good followup to our fall evolution unit. In the summer, the kids and I visited my mom, including a wonderful trip to the Franklin Institute. In the fall the four of us visited the historical recreation of the original town of Henricus, which was how our county, Henrico, began 400 years ago.  This coordinated with our study of Jamestown.

The fall brought even more structure to our homeschool, with more outside activities than ever before. Orion, who had taken sax lessons over the summer, joined newly formed homeschool band and choir classes. I joined with 2 other families to create a grade school science coop. We continued with martial arts and the home school video game club, and added an ongoing D&D group.  Raven is reading more and more on his own, choosing to read to himself at bedtime instead of having dad read to him. Orion’s patience for board games has been a big growth. Hubby has renewed his interest in board games, which makes it good timing.

With the busier schedule, I’ve had to get much more organized with my cooking and menu planning. I’m in love with Paprika, a recipe app for my iPad  (a birthday present from my mother!).

Yes, this has been, for me, an amazing year. No crisis, no horrible news, no big adjustments. Just steady improvements! I hope this becomes the new normal around here!