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Homeschool year 2014-2015

Here’s the learning line-up this year for

Cliffs of Insanity Day Academy and St. Jenn’s School for exceptional teens  :D

I am homeschooling my last two kids.  At one time, I was homeschooling 5….life is looking real different these days!

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Amie 7th grade:

Math   Aleks Math online                     Bible  Apologia’s World View Series, we are finishing “Who is God?”

Language Arts    Grammar Rod & Staff 4   Literature & Composition:  Outside class with Biola Star they are using: IEW writing

**Teaching Writing: Structure and Style Seminar Workbook      **The Bronze Bow -Elizabeth Speare  **various book report books
-Institute for Excellence in Writing

Science:  **Oak Meadow Science 6  and  **Quick Reads level E by Modern Curriculum Press

History  Veritas Press online History- 1850 to Present      Geography/social studies/History: online Minecraft class, reading Around the World in 80 days

P.E.  Swimming laps 3 days a week and daily 1 mile walk/runs

Art:  private art lessons                      Music:  private voice lessons

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Demi-Sky High School 9th grade

Math  Aleks Math

Bible  Apologia’s World View Series, we are finishing “Who is God?”

Language Arts

Grammar Rod & Staff 4

Literature & composition outside class with Biola Star  using:

*Fundamentals of Literature Student Text,  -Bob Jones University Press       *Brief Wadsworth Handbook 7th edition

*Vocabulary from Classical Roots A    *The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy   *The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

*The Hobbit by J.R. R. Tolkien           *The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens      *Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

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History

*a combination of Oak Meadow World History (using Glencoe Text book) and My Father’s World 

*Minecraft online class (geography, social studies, history) using Around the World in 80 days

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Science

Outside class with Biola Star using Abeka Lab ManualAbeka Biology

Latin:  First Form Latin -Memoria Press   -DVD’s & books      Art: private art lessons

Music: private piano lessons

 Josie 11th grade at performing arts charter school

- after-schooling with First Start French -Memoria Press and  driver’s ed with Automobile Club

Meg sophomore at a community college

she works several horse care jobs, at Barnes & Nobles part time and is in the police explorer’s program, beside full time college classes.

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still here

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Hey bloggy-friends!  I’m still here…problem is, I’ve taken such a long break from blogging, I’m not sure how to get back into it.  A huge part of it has been the on-going saga with my grandparents, I felt/ feel like there is  so much drama and negative-stuff, that I’m not sure how to share it without dumping it out and being, well, negative.

but, um here goes….I’ll just jump back in.  My grandmother is still living with us, in my front living room.  We were hoping to use some of my grandparents’ savings to build her a suite, but we weren’t real sure if it was a wise move, so that was part of why we went through conservator court…so that the court would make big decisions like that, because frankly, we are a bit lost with how to manage what little they have.  The court said no.  So….grandmother is living in my front living room, which has french doors on one side, and the other side we can board up.  Things can’t stay that way, though, she really needs an attached bathroom. So, we will be moving her into our master bedroom.  Our house is a 1950′s house and the master is not really big…she will lose some space in the move, the front living room is pretty spacious.  I think access to her own bathroom kind of trumps spaciousness, though. But only barely.  I’m a bit sad about giving up my room.  Sky and I will move into the front living room.  I love, love, love the big picture window in that room, so I will look forward to that.

I am taking another child development type class, this is my third. I’m planning on getting a certificate for early childhood education so I can be a kindergarten aid or a preschool aid in a headstart-type program.  I was also taking an Algebra class, but I had an epiphany last week that I really hate math and I didn’t want to be there.  I thought getting an associate’s degree would be the smart thing to do, since I’m taking classes….but I really just want to learn to write better and explore art. Sky said from the beginning that I should just take classes that interest me, and I can see now that he was right.  I was beginning to dread going to class, and for my first exam (which I got an A on) I had to spend a lot of time studying for, that I didn’t feel I had.  Amie and Demi have started back up with homeschooling, and then I have the grandparents’ care stuff….and so on.  My math class was two evenings a week, so now it is really nice to be home again for those two nights.

*Homeschool

We’ve started back up, full-swing.  I’ll get a homeschool materials post up real soon.  Demi and Amie are busy with a few Biola Star classes, we have our normal homeschool studies, and then art and music.  Josie is back at the performing arts highschool for her 2nd and last year, she will be graduating this year.  Meg is in her second year of college.  She cares for horses in the morning -as a job, just got a part time job at Barnes & Nobles (Yay!) and graduated from the police explorers program this Summer.  She is very busy, and I am so proud of how hard she is working and how responsible she has grown up to be.  She’s still not sure which direction she wants to go with as far as law enforcement, it changes…at first it was the horses, then FBI, now she’s talking about forestry.  Who knows, but I’m sure it will be exciting.

So, that’s a sort of re-cap of what is happening around here.  Oh, did I mention my grandmother has a dog?  We now are a two-dog family.  Sky is thrilled. (that was sarcasm) She’s a sweet, small dog.  The transition to having my grandmother and her dog here has really gone very smoothly, my grandmother is a gentle soul, and so is her dog. Grandfather is finally landed in a really nice private nursing home…for now.  He got kicked out the first week, we got him new medication and took him back after a week back home.  So far it’s okay, but every time I get a call from that area code, my stomach clenches.

here’s a teaser with the homeschool stuff…. Oak Meadow World History, Aleks Math, Memoria Press First From Latin, Minecraft….. (I’ll just name drop, since most of you stop by for the homeschooling stuff….I cleaned out my homeschool closet, totally!!  {shriek!!!!!}  I’ve tried to clean it out each year for the past 4 years, it is finally done. (Sky had to help me, bless that man!)

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Here’s a hawk on a fountain I saw during a run (okay, mostly walk….) because,

hawk…..urban….city…..fountain = cool and unusual.  I love my neighborhood.

How’s life bloggy friends?  I’m glad you stopped by :)

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So this happened…

Heellooo out there!

so much going on, I don’t even know where to start…
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So, this is happening.  Josie, artist in residence, is currently enrolled in driver’s ed class.  She decided to paint her car.  Because, obviously, this is what you would expect to find in the parking lot of an urban Arts School.

 photo efa54d4d-3a78-4d4c-b8f8-f2a97285b4b4_zps0e9bbe4c.jpgI followed the CIA on twitter. Well done, well done….

 photo 7b143e08-5fdd-40b2-b4e5-c7c7518f4e80_zps8abef363.jpgWe’ve had glorious weather here in Orange County. I’ve been doing lots of this…sitting on the front porch, drinking a protein shake and reading my daily psalm + Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening devotional, after my run. (okay, mostly walk- a little bit of run….)

 photo ac63d751-122b-4dc0-9cc9-e34dd9b13a2e_zpsd64f8ab1.jpgAnd finally, I returned to my car after class and found a ticket on my windshield, for…quote “occupying two parking spaces.” um…okay, my bumper was over the line, but I was not taking up two parking spaces.  Actually, the car in the stall in front did not pull up all the way, probably to park in the shade, and so I miss-judged where exactly the front line was.  A little mistake, but, come-on.  Yeah for Irvine Valley College. I feel hunted now every time I park my car.  I have to ask, if they are so picky about the lines…what is up with the messy three lines painted on each side?  I’m thinking they are not really as picky as they pretend to be.

  • I finished my first college class and I am in the middle of the next class.  We just had mid-term, and I got an ‘A’  :)
  • I went to court and my grandfather was deemed incompetent and  I am his conservator.
  • my grandfather threatened to kill my grandmother the following weekend, after a series of screaming sessions.  I told her to pack, collected her, and discovered a bruise on her arm.  She is never going back.
  • my grandmother now lives in my front living room, which we have closed up and made into her suite.  Hopefully, we can begin building her a real suite onto the back of the house.  This is all a big adjustment for all of us.

this is {Home} reporter Jenn, reporting in…. stay tuned

 

 

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the daily hate call

My phone rings, I glance at the clock and see the time is 9:10 A.M. and as I reach to answer it, I steel myself for what I will find on the other end.  My heart is pounding, I tap my foot in time to the chanting in my head of “not today, not today, please not today…” and of course, it is today and we are on day 5 of grandpa’s daily hate hour.  My grandmother’s warbly, tear-strained voice is in my ear, she is crying, grandfather is yelling at her in the background and grandmother says the words again, “your grandfather’s been to the bank this morning…”

It’s day 5 of week three in our own private Orwellian treat, breaks courtesy of the bank being closed on Sunday and the peaceful mornings when I whisk grandmother away to my house so we can all “rest”.

Grandfather’s dementia has made him forget many, many things- except, curiously, his ownership of money.  He cannot remember his children, his parents, places he’s lived, friends,- beyond the personal bubble of his wife, his things, and his bank account -there is nothing else.  He likes to bring out a small photo book to show us, photos of his things- his planes, his boat, how he used to go lobster poaching.  The only person in the book is holding up a lobster, a prop- the person, not the lobster, that is.  It’s very, very sad- except when he lashes out at grandmother and then I am very, very angry. I’m also helpless, hostage to a process I don’t understand, a future I cannot predict and of relationships I can’t untangle.

Grandmother is hysterical, grandfather is shouting in the background, threatening to drag her to the bank and “make her put his money back”.  I try to calm her, I tell her, again, to not argue with him, to stop trying to explain to him, to just go lock herself in the bathroom.  I grab my keys and head out the door to make the 1 hour drive to her house.  I give out quick instructions to Demi and Amie as I rush through the house, grabbing things, “do 40 minutes of Aleks Math online, master at least 4 things and do your Veritas press History online lesson. I’ll be home by 3, there’s turkey in the fridge and somebody please walk the dog- and oh, don’t forget to practice the piano and then work on your creative writing stories!”….and I’m out the door.  I call my sister while in the car, to update her on what is happening, knowing that today she cannot run over because she is on a field trip with her youngest.  I tell her I am heading down there, to calm her, in case she received a hysterical call also.  Later, at the half-way point, I call grandmother to let her know I am almost there, and to check in.  She is calmer now, weepy, but calmer.  Her voice is slightly slurred, so I ask, “how many valiums have you taken, grandma?”  She tells me 3, and I wonder to myself how many it takes to overdose, and wonder if she would ever take too many on purpose.  Grandmother tells me she is okay, and happy that I am on my way, because she is hoping I will move all their savings back to the checking account and make grandfather stop screaming at her.  But, I can’t do that, and I feel horrible about it. I call my sister back and ask her if she thinks, after 60 something years of domestic abuse and sadness, would grandmother try to overdose on purpose?  My sister does not think so, not after all she has endured already…but I know, deep-down, that depression is senseless.  I drive faster.

And then, …and then it is an hour later and I walk into the house and grandmother’s face is puffy, her eyes red.  Grandfather is delighted to see me, a visitor!  Do I know how old he is?  He is 90!  Grandmother tells me he has calmed down, and that she can’t go home with me, she is worried about what he will eat if she is gone and worried that he might go for a walk and get lost.  She’s happy to see me, everything is better now.  Grandfather is happy to have a visitor, he doesn’t really know who I am.

I take grandmother out to lunch, to get her away from the oppressiveness.  I take her to the store to buy a few things to eat.  I ask her if she’d like to buy some soup, since she just had dental work and her teeth hurt.  “Oh no,” she says, “we don’t ever eat soup anymore, he doesn’t remember that he likes it.”

“grandmother”, I say, “Do YOU like soup, it doesn’t matter if grandpa doesn’t, he can eat something else.”  she hedges about it and puts the soup back, like I knew she would.

I take her home, grandfather is delighted to see a visitor.  He asks me, “do you know how old I am?”  and I guess wrong on purpose, so he can surprise me by saying “I’m 90 years old!”  and I fake disbelief because he looks so young…

and then, I get back into my car and drive an hour back up the 91 freeway.

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It’s the next day, the phone rings, and it’s 9:30 a.m. and my heart starts beating fast

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Lines

I had the best Mother’s Day in my memory.  It was the best, because it was effortless.

We went to church, Amie was baptized today (and she asked me to baptize her- wow)  then went to a lunch to celebrate at the church (I was supposed to bring dessert & I just picked up cookies from the grocery store bakery- win!) and then we came home and I took a nap.  Later, we had spaghetti for dinner (Sky prepared it) and I picked up bread sticks from Pat & Oscars.  After, we all went to Barnes & Nobles and hung out.  I called my grandmother around 5 to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day and survey the collateral damages (see grandparents’ posts/NPD/Alzheimer’s/depression/disfunction/codependent…) She was weepy (another post?) and so I quickly promised her that I was coming out the next day to treat her to lunch for Mother’s Day…which I wasn’t planning on.  I had driven down there on Friday, Wednesday and Saturday last week already. (the drive one way is over an hour)

I reported back to Sky and he asked me, “why did you promise that??” and I told him, “hey, when your grandmother is crying on the phone on Mother’s day, you promise almost anything to get her to stop.”  to which, Sky replied, “fair enough”.

After our Barnes & Nobles outing, I called my Step-mom, wished her a happy Mother’s Day and chatted.  It was a really uncomplicated day.  winning!

The final exam for the college class I am taking- is this coming week.  I can’t believe the semester is practically over!  I am already registered for a class during the Summer session.  I wanted to take two classes and “get ‘em done” but I don’t know how things will be in grandparent-land, so yeah, just one class…

Sky and Amie are busy writing short stories for a story contest.  I love seeing them throw themselves whole-hearted into a project.  Piano recital is coming up for Amie.  Unfortunately, we have -oh-so-many-tears from Amie over this.  I promised her I’d let her quit after this recital and move on to voice lessons; but to please, soldier-on for this recital.  We still have tears.  And, I haven’t cleared what I said with Sky yet.  It was a moment of mom-weakness. I’ll claim insanity. or, something.  Or, I ‘ll just dress to get what I want, when I tell him.  (it works).

Two weeks ago, I started getting up early again (after a really long bout with depression) and I’m now back to running and actually being, you know, productive, again.  I took the opportunity to dive more seriously back into homeschooling- it’s been sheer survival mode for a year and a half here.  I dusted off the My Father’s World curriculum on the shelf, opened the schedule and actually, you know, followed it.  It was like magic, people….we schooled.  So yeah, we can just not think real hard about the fact that it is May and I’m working on week 3 in a 36 week curriculum…um, we’ll just see how it goes. I am enjoying our schooling again.  Demi-Sky and Amie are still working through Veritas Press History online, they will finish up with that- and we will just see what we can accomplish with My Father’s World this summer.  It’s really nice to be working regularly through something together again, and it is really helpful to give the kids assignment sheets each week to make sure they are moving through their work at a good pace.

There is a lot happening with the grandparent situation, update in a future post…

Here are the books I am reading right now:

and here is a funny Mother’s Day short video to entertain you…

*Bring a jumper ( A mother’s day video)

**jumper is a sweater in England and Australia  :)

I hope your weekend was great!!

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Elder Care -an unexpected journey

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My mother died about a year and a half ago.  Quickly, unexpectedly, young.

She left behind her parents, who moved close to her about ten years ago, so she could help take care of them, when needed.  And then she died.  My grandfather had five children, two he didn’t raise.  Of the three children with my grandmother, only one is left and he did the opposite of stepping up to care for his parents.  So, now my sister and I have stepped into that role.

I’ve heard the term “sandwich generation” and I guess we are that now; caring for our children at home and then coordinating elder care…we just seemed to have skipped a generation somewhere…it’s a bit topsy-turvy/ timey-whiney…..

this journey has taken up most of my time and thought lately, and so I’d like to write about it, because that is what I like to do- write it all out.  The process and timing has all been a little tricky, though- there is always the question of timing and over-sharing to consider.

I thought I would start by sharing some helpful links to resources that have been helpful to me on this journey:

Elder-Care Resources

We’ve had a lot of tears, a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of driving.

The three most helpful things to me in this journey have been

#1  Prayer and a faith to lean on

My Grandfather’s Primary Care Doctor (who has been both the most helpful and the most unhelpful at times)

Hiring an elder-law attorney local to my grandparents, who does this all the time.

 

 

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Favorite Things

Raindrops on plum blossoms

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and whiskers on kittens

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yummy cakes with bright candles 

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and dogs in dunce caps -es

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grandmothers cozy with pets on their laps -es

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These are a few of my favorite things…

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About the author: Jenn; writer, photographer, homeschooled five children and lived to tell the tale.

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