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Archive for September, 2009

Two days lost to sickness and one to taking care of family matters and by the start of the second week of school we are already playing catch up.

We got Mom and Dad settled in their new digs this weekend. It was a hard weekend with way to much going on and Dad was exhausted. He walked as much on Saturday (moving day) as he normally walks in a week and then on Sunday, he wanted to go for a walk at the new place and they got lost in the hallways. It isn’t that hard if it is your first day there. In the end, Dad was so tired that he fell several times and on the last fall he bumped his head. It was a minor bump but the rules where they live say he needed to go to the ER and get checked out. That was a 8 hour nightmare. Next time we will find a 24 hour urgent care facility. He also broke his little finger so now he has a splint on one hand. It makes it harder for him to hold on to his walker. I will need to go down a bit more often than I had planned. That means changing they way I do and schedule homework so that the boys will be able to do some work on those trips.

We did manage to get in several hours yesterday and a whole day today and if I am honest, the only real problem is that MY schedule is off. This kids are doing fine and work hard. The first of the year is designed around review and reinforcement before we hit the harder stuff so the fact of the matter us that they are blowing through pretty fast right now. I just have to get over the fact that MY schedule is changed and the kids don’t know the difference. This whole home school thing as all about me isn’t it? Sigh!

On another subject …

Last October my wife walked out of her job to start her own investment firm. We had been talking and praying about it for a long time and even though the stock market was in a free fall, we knew that God’s timing was perfect. Well it was and things are going well but that is not exactly what I wanted to talk about.

Starting the business meant that we had to budget much differently than we had in the past. As a result, I began to look at open source software to meet my computing needs. I was amazed at the abundance of very high quality, free software that is available. I wrote about some of it in the spring but I have since found a lot more. I will write more about my favorites with respect to homeschooling in my next post. Stay tuned! I found some real gems.

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Dear GOD

Dear GOD, please help my father and mother through these difficult times. Give Mom strength, patience and understanding but above all please give her your perfect peace. LORD, please help Dad to understand more and to not be so demanding and strong headed. I pray that he will understand what Mom has to do to help and care for him and that he will give her grace when it doesn’t go the way he wants it to. Help them both find comfort in their new home and wash them both with your peace and grace. AMEN

Today I moved my 82 year old father and 80 year old mother from my brothers house, 165 miles to an assisted living facility that while no closer to me is much closer to all of the grand kids and great grand kids. Dad was diagnosed with Parkinsons over 10 years ago and it has taken it’s toll on both him and Mom. The medications have increased his physical quality of life over the years but they too have taken a mental/cognitive toll. Together, the disease and some of the side effects of the medications have greatly reduced his cognitive abilities. He is able to get around with a walker but needs help getting into and out of a chair or bed or anything in the bathroom. He is becoming increasingly combatitive toward Mom when things don’t happen how and when he wants.

They will have been married 60 years this November and Mom gives every ounce of her strength to care for him as he gave his all to provide for her for so many decades. As the disease has progressed, Dad, once the most patient and even tempered man you could have ever known, has grown increasingly demanding and intolerant of even the littlest things that are not as he wishes. This change in behavior has tasked Mom to her limit.

In the summer of 2004, we moved Mom and Dad from their home in Sequim, to a cottage on our property outside of Issaquah. Even then he had a difficult time making the adjustment and it was a 4 weeks before he stopped asking when he was going to be allowed to go home. In 2007 we moved them into my brothers home in Ellensburg because Mom needed more help and my sister in law has many years of experience in long term care. That move was even more taxing than the first and it was many weeks before he finally settled into his new home. Now Dad requires more that Mom can give alone and this weekend we moved them into an assisted living facility.

This was the longest ride that Dad has taken in over 10 years. They are both exhausted. Thankfully I have an extended family that has stepped up to the task. My daughters were waiting at the new place to help unpack, make beds and do everything they could to make Dad comfortable and to help Mom get “back to normal” as quickly as possible.

Dad has served GOD sacrificially for over 50 years. He was a prayer warrior and a humble servant to anyone who called upon him for help. He was truly a man after GOD’s own heart. Now, while his physical body is recognizable, the rest of him is not. I am not angry with GOD but my heart and mind scream to heaven … why?!? I understand we live in a sinful world and that sickness, pain and suffering are a result of the fall of man. I understand that our reward is not on this earth but that we will surely receive it when we are with HIM in heaven. Yet I still cannot bring myself to accept that Mom has to suffer these things?!? Dad, though he is weak and often frustrated with his lack of mobility, for the most part is either content or unaware of what is happening to him. Mom now bears the burden fully and does so with the faithfulness of a saint.

Dear GOD, please give Mom strength and patience and more than anything, please give her your perfect peace and grace! I know that the heart that you gave Dad to serve and sacrifice is still there. Please, please heal what ever is wrong in his mind that robs him of who you made him to be. I am not asking you to make him strong or asking you to give him years. I am asking, no I AM PLEADING with you oh GOD to let the heart that served you so faithfully for all those years, bless Mom and give her peace and grace! Let these last years, months or days be filled with sweet memories and without the pain. PLEASE GOD PLEASE?!?

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We don’t get but 4 or 5 days of temperatures in the 90s each year. This year we not only had about 15 but we also had 4 that were in the 100s. One day even hit 108. Add in about 40% humidity and you have some pretty miserable weather. (For those of you not familiar with the Puget Sound, we live about 25 miles east of Seattle in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. The temperatures are generally about 10 degrees warmer on sunny days and 10 degrees cooler on clear nights. If it is windy and rainy, the temperatures stay pretty uniform around the area due to the winds mixing of the atmosphere.) I generally don’t mind the heat having spend many weeks in the Army training in full combat gear when the temps were near 120. You get used to it and though it isn’t fun, it is tolerable. Well the opposite is true when you get used to the mild weather of the Pacific Northwest. You become much less tolerant of temperature extremes and they become down right miserable. Well today was one of those days. Yes 95 was MISERABLE! Try it with the flu, a fever and no air conditioning and see if you don’t agree. On second though … pass! It wasn’t any fun.

I did get the weather station back up and running again. I will get a web feed from the weather station and post a link in the blog sometime next week. Yeah I’m a geek but you should have seen Putz the Younger’s eyes light up when he saw the information from the base unit appear on the screen of the computer. He tried to hide his delight but his eyes told it all. Now he keeps sneaking back into the room to watch the graph change as the temperature changes. He is learning graphs and he doesn’ even know it!

There was no homeschool today. As I said before, I have the flu and Putz the Younger though feeling better was still running a fever and neither of us were in any mood to try school work. Putz the Elder even ran a fever for part of the day. When he doesn’t even care if the TV is turned on or not I know he is sick.

Now for some rest!

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Summer is over! … But then I suspect you knew that already.

We started homeschooling this week and now the flu has swept in, slowing things down some. At least no one will be behind “the rest of the class” when we get started again.

I spent the better part of the summer researching curriculum and finally settled on a mix of curriculum sources. We are using:

Math-U-See
KONOS
Stick Figuring Through the New Testament
Phonics Road
Artistic Pursuits
and material from the folks at Critical Thinking.

Our science materials are due in any day. We went with Academy of Science for Kids.

KONOS is a unit study format and the other subjects such as literature, history, science and social studies are covered therein. Some of the other subjects like science are also included in the KONOS but I am a bit of a geek/nerd so I really wanted the science kits to play with …. er I mean to use as a teaching aid. Yeah that’s it!

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