This is going to be a random sort of post, so...
Read on at your own organizational risk.
For those of you who know what has been going on with Jo, and for those of you who don't know what is going on with Jo but who have been praying for her and our family anyway, I have good news:
Jo's most recent tests came back normal, and so it seems that although no one knows why her body was behaving in the way that it was, all of the 'scary' diagnosis are ruled out so far, and now it is just a waiting game to see if the symptoms go away on their own. Either way, we plan to run some of the tests again in about a month to see if things are continuing on their 'normal' trend or if further investigation is needed.
Please continue to pray for normal.
Jo's comment on the whole thing was as follows:
But Mom, if I have to draw blood again, I can't! They've already done it twice and I don't have any arms left!
Well, then, they will just have to get it out of your nose.
Nu-uh, Mom. My arm will be healed already by then. It is a whole month away.
On the school front, things have gone a little slower than I would have liked due to all the doctors appointments and running around we have had to do because of what's been going on here. Just in case you're curious, here's what we have been doing:
We are not starting her Algebra 2 until January or February. The hope was that she would finish her science first, and then hit her math, but since we were slowed a bit lately, I'm not sure how the timing will work out for that. The idea was to push through science and focus on that and then push through the math and be able to focus on that one.
We are kind of using the Sonlight curriculum for Elizabeth this year, too, but I am finding that I don't really like the readers that go with it. I mean, I like the stories well enough, they are just too easy. We are using core 100, which is for 9th grade, but her reading level is much higher. But, since we have it, we are pushing through it. Despite the fact that the readers are easy, they do have good historical content, which may in fact be the purpose: to have books that are easy to read so that the student can really absorb the historical content without having to struggle with the reading level. Either way, she is reading the books like they are comic books and putting the characters on the timeline that she made.
Which is another interesting thing:
I told Elizabeth that we needed to make a timeline so that we would know when things were happening in relation to each other. That is all I said, pretty much. Well, one day, after I got home from taking Jo to the doctor, this is what I saw when I walked in:
A timeline. With a Jo's pumpkin on the bottom. This is not at all how I imagined it. I was thinking more along the lines of a long line with hash marks on it for the years and then individual figures cut out and placed in their proper times. Elizabeth's argument was that we may not hit all of the years in our studies, and this way we can move things around to fit in more figures where they need to go. Good thinking. I like it.
Elizabeth is also still going on her Thursday morning jaunts into DC. She is doing wonderful work there. Her writing is much improved, both in handwriting form itself and her style and content. Much more insightful and creative. It's amazing what a little freedom will do for you!
To pick up the slack in the readers that she is experiencing with the Sonlight curriculum, she is also attending a book discussion group that meets once a month. Last month was The Aeneid; this month, War and Peace. I think she is making up for her easy readers there.
She is also part of a literature group that meets once a month as well, and they are studying English Lit. She has a couple of good assignments due for that, too.
Elizabeth has a spelling list that she tests on every week as well as working through a chapter of Wordly Wise, a vocabulary workbook, every week. (Jo calls it 'Whorly Why's' so she will sit with her workbook and say that she is doing her Whorly Why's.)
Her Bible study is loosely taken from her Sonlight Curriculum, and she is continuing to read through the whole Bible. She is not as far as we would like in her reading, but she is working through it slowly but surely. More slowly than surely, but still, it's happening.
Her geography is tied in with her readers, but is pretty weak. I am looking into something to supplement it, but honestly, she is pretty busy with everything else right now especially since she is also following the elections. Tied into that, we are collecting propaganda from both sides and analyzing it to see how marketing and design are targeted to elicit certain responses in us. This is to hopefully not only help her to pick out what's the truth and what is only a design scheme both in politics and also in the day-to-day life marketing of make-up, clothes and body image to name a few.
Elizabeth's foreign language has pretty much been limited to practicing reading Spanish and working on some vocabulary. We decided that it would be a good idea to get her more proficient in Spanish before branching out into another language, but we do have her French books in the wings, raring to go.
We didn't sign up for soccer this season. Elizabeth said that she wanted to try karate, and usually the rec center has karate very inexpensively, but they didn't have a class for her age group this session. She also has been interested in scuba diving, but that is very expensive so she would have to pay part of her class for that. But, since she hasn't been good in her oral upkeep, she has 4 cavities (!) that she needs to have filled, and she will be paying for those since we told her we would not pay for any preventable dental work like cavities that are between the teeth and due to not flossing. That means that scuba has to go on the back burner til she gets a lot of babysitting jobs. What she has in the bank right now will just be enough to cover her teeth. Hopefully she will find flossing and scuba to be a better investment than cavities in the future.
That pretty much sums her up and keeps her busy and out of trouble.
Jo is going a bit slower since she is the one I have been having to drag around with me to doctors' offices. She has broken the code of reading, though, and is able to sound out easy, short vowel words. We are working through A Beka Book kindergarten Letters and Sounds and Writing with Phonics, but honestly, she just runs through the pages because she wants to write her letters. She is pretty much past both of the books, but I let her use them anyway for reinforcement and letter practice as well as to satisfy her craving to have workbooks.
She is also whizzing through math. I have kindergarten math books, too, but she is basically using those in the same way as the Letters and Writing books...just to say that she has done her math workbook for the day. I had picked up a math fun book for grades 1-2 and she is working quickly through that, but it is more at her level. She understands addition and subtraction and is beginning to grasp the concept of multiplication. I am not going to push her into that one, though, because I want her to be really strong in her addition and subtraction facts, first.
Those are pretty much the only 2 scheduled things that I do with her. In science, we have been talking about fall and how the leaves are falling, but also about plants in general. I used to work at a garden center and loved it, and I remember many of the botanical and common names of many of the plants, so I am teaching them to her. She is very interested. We talk a lot about what you can learn about a plant by its leaves and flowers, and she can name many common plants that we see when we are out walking.
We go to the farmers' market every Wednesday morning and have made good friends of one of the farmers. He always likes to give us fruits and he has even taken the time to learn the kids' names. I ask him how in the world he makes his money when he gives us boxes like this:
But he says that he can't really keep it anyway, so he would rather we use it than he throw it away.
So, use it, we do! I have canned a few jars of applesauce, and these pears are next to go! I know I could just freeze the stuff, but there's no room in our freezer, so we have to can instead. I love the round brown ones...the Asian pears. They are so sweet and juicy with a crystalline feel in your mouth. Not gritty, but just right.
Last week, to show our appreciation, we took Farmer Settle a tamale that my mother-in-law had made. When I saw him this week to ask how he liked it, he said, Well, it certainly has a different taste. I thought that was a very nice way to put it. This guy's only foray into cultural cooking is a once a week trip to Taco Bell. So the fact that he even tried it at all says a lot to me.
Now, for the title of this post...
I have long since known that Jo has an artistic talent. Jimmy does, too. (Elizabeth and I don't.) But even though I know this, I am still constantly amazed at the abilities of this 5 year old little girl! Jimmy drew the eye on the left, and Jo 'copied' it on the right. I love the way she did the lashes and shading of the pupil. This is honestly better than anything I could do.
And the best part is, if you ask her how she can draw so well, she will say:
Because God made me special so I can draw!