Monday, August 31, 2009

Blue October, an Obsessive Fangirl, and Autism/Epilepsy

I posted last fall about my new favorite band, Blue October. In that post I had described how the kids and I had been listening to the band, and how Austin had developed an interest in them as well. I had actually forgotten about that until I came to my blog and did a search to make sure I hadn't already posted about the Blue October concert. So I'll address Austin's development as it relates to Blue October and music after I relate my concert experience!

As I related in the other post, I found Blue October last August as a part of the Twilight experience. I was needing some new music at that time. I have such a terribly eclectic taste and find it hard to find music that satisfies me. Blue October was exactly what I needed! It is raw, emotional, hard, creative... I could go on and on. No two songs are alike, yet there is an overall feel to their music.

A new album, Approaching Normal, came out in March of this year, and it was phenomenal! The band would be touring in support of the new album, but not in Georgia. The closest date was a Saturday night in Myrtle Beach, SC. I just could not work it out logistically. I was crushed. Then, in the spring, a new concert was announced... the Crazy Making tour! It would cover not just the new album, but older stuff as well. And they were coming to Atlanta!!! I immediately called Sherry, who I had sucked into the world of Blue October, and asked if she'd go with me! I bought tickets the minute they were available, which was at something like 1 AM! LOL

All summer Sherry and I had eagerly anticipated this concert. But I hadn't been to a rock concert in well over 15 years! I agonized over what to wear. I dragged my poor husband shopping with me one night and made him help me find something cool - who knew he was such a fashion guru! ;)

Finally, the night of the concert came... so many things conspired to hinder us from getting to the concert. I'll spare the details! But over the course of the summer, I had turned from fan into "obsessive fangirl", as Lisa likes to call it! While listening to Blue October on my mp3 player during my runs, I'd have these conversations in my head of what I would say to Justin (the lead singer and main songwriter) if I met him. I'd tell him how much his music has helped me in the last year, with the emotions tied up in autism, and then with our new "journey" into epilepsy that began a year ago. I'd tell him that his music has touch my heart and soul. I even warned Sherry I'd be talking the man's ear off!

Sherry and I got off to the concert well... and here are a few pictures. Here we are in our new outfits!:
Here is a great shot I got of Justin. You might agree that he's looking right at me. Or maybe that's the obsessive fangirl thing?
Here's a great shot of the stage! I wish we could have been closer to the stage, but overall I guess our spot wasn't too bad for general admission! We were around some pretty cool folks who made the concert a lot of fun! Except for the teen girls standing right in front of me who didn't seem to know any of the music except for a few tunes. But, I didn't let them ruin my fun! ;)
After the incredible concert that ran nearly 90 minutes of AWESOME entertainment, Sherry and I waited out by the front of the venue where the buses were located. I had read on a Blue October site that the guys will often come out and meet their fans. We had already gotten autographs (in the front cover of the Crazy Making book, a compilation of all the lyrics from all the Blue October albums with notes and pictures) from Jeremy (the drummer), Ryan (the fiddle/mandolin/piano player), and Matt (the bass player). Sherry noticed Justin coming around the back corner and pulled me toward where he was signing autographs and doing pictures.

Here was my chance, right? All those rehearsed conversations? Everything I wanted to say?

Um, not so much. LOLOL I froze up. Obsessive fangirl becomes shy, silent type. I managed about 8 words, 2 of which were "thanks" and "hi". He did sign my book and let me take a picture with him. But did I say ANY of what I wanted to say? Nope. @@ I could just kick myself!
Great picture, huh? I look totally starstruck! LOL Did I mention it was raining while we were waiting? That's why my hair is plastered to my head. Plus I'd been jumping around singing and dancing (lost my voice for several days afterward!). I do have to say I've never met a nicer bunch of musicians than the guys in Blue October. They were out in the rain signing autographs and taking pictures for a long time. Everyone who was waiting got to talk to them, and it wasn't a hurried rush, either. They spent time talking to everyone (at least, those who were able to actually SPEAK, unlike some of us @@). They thanked everyone for supporting them and for coming out to the concert! I was very impressed! I am eagerly looking forward to another tour!

Now back to Austin... yes, he's still a fan of Blue October, and he wanted to go to the concert, but I was afraid this wasn't the proper venue for it, and I was right. We were really crammed in there, and there was no seating. That's OK... maybe another time. But that's not the point. The point is that Austin told me a few weeks ago that he was tired of listening to Blue in the car all the time. He likes the music, but he prefers classic rock and heavy metal from the 80s.

WOW. That's some pretty dynamic thinking going on there. 1. He realizes he can like more than one thing at a time. 2. He realizes he can like things in various degrees. 3. He realizes he doesn't have to like something as much as I do just because I like it. 4. He realizes he can tell me he doesn't like something as much as I do. And 5. He can tell me that he's tired of something I'm doing and it's just part of having a discussion. Who knows, maybe those are all wrapped up in one sort of area within guided-participation/RDI. But that's OK! I still think it's pretty cool... along with the fact that he's constantly telling me (and his sisters) that I'm embarrassing him! LOL Sounds like a teen thing to do! ;)

If you made it this far, you are either my mom, a great friend, or bored out of your mind and had nothing better to do! LOL

Friday, August 28, 2009

Week in review: 8/24-8/28

I'm glad I didn't have to write this at the beginning of the week, because it wouldn't have been very much fun. It certainly took everyone a couple of days to get back into the groove! Reece actually did the best of everyone, only crying one time on the first day of lessons. :)

Since we're just getting started, instead of focusing on the specifics of what we did, I'll ask the kids what their favorite parts of this week were!

Austin's favorite thing: "Working on my own in my room. So I don't have to listen to the girls make noise in the kitchen."

Riley's favorite thing: "Nothing. HA HA HA. Um.... I think I liked spelling the most, this week."

Reece's favorite thing: "Nothing. (And no she wasn't in the room when Riley said that). My favorite part is when you read to me. That's all."

Wow, that's inspiring and encouraging. @@

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day 2009-2010

Austin - 7th grade
Riley - 5th grade
Reece - 2nd grade
The students of the Black Pearl Academy

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Academic Year 2009-2010

It's been a really challenging summer. I've had to come to terms with many things over the course of the summer, and it's not been very easy. I think I can safely say this has been the most intimidating year in terms of planning. I guess we'll see next spring how the implementation went! :)

Austin - 7th grade
History - Early Modern History (using an Out-of-Print version of the Kingfisher Illustrated Encyclopedia of World History)
Grammar - Analytical Grammar
Writing - One written narration per week in Term 1, Two per week in Term 2
Spelling - Studied Dictation (using Spelling Wisdom - the key here will be in following through!)
Math - finish up MUS Epsilon, begin MUS Zeta
Science - Apologia General Science
Geography - Sailing Around the World Alone (found this book on the Simply Charlotte Mason site and it looks VERY COOL!)
Latin - Getting Started With Latin
Critical Thinking - Logic Countdown

Riley - 5th grade

History - Early Modern History (using Story of the World, Volume 3)
Grammar - Incidental learning during narrations and dictation
Writing - One written narration per week, all year
Spelling - Studied Dictation (using Spelling Wisdom - again, following through is necessary!!)
Math - Singapore Primary Math 4B & 5A, Challenging Word Problems 3
Science - Intro to Chemistry using living books and an experiments kit
Geography - Minn of the Mississippi
Latin - Latina Christiana I (first half)
Critical Thinking - Mindbenders

Reece - 2nd grade (decided to go ahead and call her 2nd instead of 1st since most of her friends will be moving up to 2nd and she is very aware of this)
History - Early Modern History (using living books)
Grammar - First Language Lessons, Level 1
Writing - Copywork, might start cursive as she's very interested
Spelling - incidental through copywork
Math - finish up Math U See Alpha, begin Beta
Science - nature studies using living books
Geography - Paddle to the Sea

Family Studies
Spanish - La Clase Divertida, Level 2
Composer Study
Hymn Study
Artist Study
Character Building
Nature Study
Scripture Memory Work, and Individual Bible Reading (still don't know how to implement this last part)

You may notice that I didn't list Literature selections. That's because this year, I'm taking a new approach and not doing a formal list for each of the kids. I have tons of lists (of course! LOL) of great literature and I'm going to be a little more flexible this year. I will start the year with a particular book I think each child will like, and then we'll just go from there! :)

So there we go! I will try to go into more detail with our daily schedule tomorrow... wish I could figure out how to turn a spreadsheet into a picture! ;)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fear vs. Faith

It's been a rough summer at the Black Pearl Academy, at least for the teacher. The first day of lessons has been approaching and with it has come ever-increasing amounts of dread. This will be our 8th year of homeschooling... what should I be so scared about THIS particular year? I've not been able to put my finger on it, no matter how deeply I've searched.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sherry gave me an article from our state homeschool association's magazine about Fear vs. Faith, written by Jeannie Fulbright, a CM homeschooler and author of the elementary Apologia science courses. I found her article here on her blog, and thought I would share it.

The entire article resonated with me, but this one particular quote struck me the most:

"Fear is the opposite of faith, but it is actually similar to faith. You "believe" the fear, much the same way that you should rather believe God. Therefore, fear is an expression of faith. You have faith in the thing you fear, rather than in the Truth."

I looked up the definition of faith - belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.

So, basically we're back to an issue of TRUST, huh? Figures.

Guess I will work on memorizing Psalm 91....

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Not Missing in Action!

I haven't disappeared off the face of the Earth! What happened was the county decided that it doesn't have enough money to open the county pools at noon after public school resumes (like they have for the last umpteen years). This year was the first year I'd planned to start our lessons after Labor Day and take advantage of the nearly empty pools!

Since there won't be anything else for us to do in the August heat in Georgia, I decided to resume our lessons 3 weeks earlier... on August 17th. Which means I've had to kick everything into high gear, leaving me little time to blog, or email, or do anything much besides updating my Facebook status! :)

And today, I didn't even have time to do that because we went to Six Flags with some free passes a friend of the family gave us! We were there from 10:30 AM until 8:30 PM, plus the hour drive there and home! It all went wonderfully, and Reece was the best-behaved of the bunch! She rode her first roller coasters... including one that goes upside down!

Will update as I have time over the next 2 weeks! :)