What a week this has been! We started out on Monday with some blatantly disobedient children and plenty of grumbling about how "boring" school is, then Tuesday I went to see a neurologist and everything really fell apart from there. Since November I've been having daily spells of dizziness and blurred vision, occasionally followed by everything going black for a moment or two. On Tuesday I learned that I have papilledema - swelling of the optic disc, caused by increased intracranial pressure.

Wednesday, I had an MRI/Brain Scan and today I received a call from my neurologist's office telling me I'd need to see an opthamologist (for the papilledema) on Monday, meet with the neurologist again on Tuesday so that he could talk to me, and have a cerebrospinal fluid exam/spinal tap on Wednesday. They would not tell me what the MRI results were, but said that everything is being scheduled based on the findings. Lovely. I've had chronic headaches for years and was told many years ago that I had a few small "cysts" that were perhaps causing them, but I've never had them re-checked until now...so there is the worrisome possibility that they're causing this somehow, or that it's something else. Either way, this is stress that I did not need - especially since my husband is losing his job and our *health insurance* at the end of this month.

So, my way of coping with everything? Lots of my French pop favorites, LOL...it's been a week full of Cocoon and The Dø, and to a lesser extent Julien Doré ("Les Limites" is awesome for it's sheer absurdidity - some of the parodies are also quite amusing), and even Sebastien Tellier (ew!)...strange yes, but music is very soothing to me. Needless to say, school has been hugely disrupted this week and now will apparently be screwed up next week as well. That's discouraging, though as much as possible I'm going to try and maintain our schedule, even though I failed miserably this week. I find it very hard to focus on school (or work, for that matter) when I'm seriously stressed out, however there must be a solution, because it doesn't appear that the stress will be going away anytime soon.

And now, on with our weekly report - we managed to accomplish two actual semi-full days of lessons - Singapore Math, Rod & Staff Grammar, and a CLE Reading lesson to cover the basics, plus we continued reading "Tirzah" in History and learned about the Ark of the Covenant, Amenhotep IV, Hatshepsut and Tutankhamen in "The Mystery of History" and "The Story of the World." This month's National Geographic Magazine had a cover story on Hatshepsut that we enjoyed. For art, we experimented with some Waldorf-style wet-on-wet watercolor painting. I'm sure there was more, but for the life of me I can't remember what!

We also started on our very belated Nowruz/Ten Days of Spring celebration (which would normally begin on the first day of Spring and was the start of the ancient Persian New Year), learning about the history of the holiday and reading a story from Iran for seeb/sīb (apples) the first day. I think we'll probably cover a day or two per week since our schedule is already quite full, and besides, we're not celebrating the holiday in the traditional sense, but rather we are using it to learn more about Persian culture and to celebrate the arrival of Spring.

We set up a part of our Haft Sîn table. Haft Sîn or the seven 'S's is a major tradition of Nowruz. The haft sin table includes seven items specific starting with the letter S or Sīn in Persian alphabet.

The Haft Sin items are:
  • sabzeh - wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish - symbolizing rebirth
  • samanu - a sweet pudding made from wheat germ - symbolizing affluence
  • senjed - the dried fruit of the oleaster tree - symbolizing love
  • sīr - garlic - symbolizing medicine
  • sīb - apples - symbolizing beauty and health
  • somaq - sumac berries - symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
  • serkeh - vinegar - symbolizing age and patience
Other items on the table may include:
  • Sonbol - Hyacinth (flower)
  • Sekkeh - Coins - representative of wealth
  • traditional Iranian pastries such as baghlava, toot, naan-nokhodchi
  • dried nuts, berries and raisins (Aajeel)
  • lit candles (enlightenment and happiness)
  • a mirror (symbolizing cleanness and honesty)
  • decorated eggs, sometimes one for each member of the family (fertility)
  • a bowl of water with goldfish (life within life, and the sign of Pisces which the sun is leaving)
  • a bowl of water with an orange in it (the earth floating in space)
  • rosewater, believed to have magical cleansing powers
  • the national colours, for a patriotic touch
  • a holy book (e.g., the Qur'an, Avesta, Bible, Torah, or Kitáb-i-Aqdas) and/or a poetry book (almost always either the Shahnama or the Divan of Hafez)
Thus far, we have an Easter Lilly (in place of Hyacinth since any type of Spring bulb can be used):

Sumac berries, garlic, candles, and a mirror (I'm not sure who placed the gnome there!):

Also apples and goldfish:

We also baked some delicious bread from a recipe included in the Earthschooling April curriculum, and enjoyed a couple of the stories and verses provided:

Since I very seldom take the time to bake bread, the kids thoroughly enjoyed this treat. For science, we started experimenting (to be continued this weekend) with natural Easter egg dyes. The kids had a lot of fun trying to guess what color dyes would be produced and were quite surprised by the actual results! The red cabbage was especially interesting when we added some baking soda. It went from a very foamy teal and midnight blue:

To a green that nearly bubbled over! I later realized that I added *way* too much baking soda, 1/4 cup instead of 1/4 teaspoon (oops!).

These were our eggs this morning, after removing them from the dye (the eggs on the left were dyed by a beet, the eggs on the right with red cabbage and no baking soda):

After sitting for about an hour:

Hmmm...the eggs in the green [red cabbage and baking soda] dye were a very faint mossy green, so I've decided to let them sit longer in the hopes of developing a darker color, though I think the excess baking soda has eliminated that possibility. We're also started some barley and wheat sprouts to plant for a variety of projects: a living Easter basket, a story garden and of course, sprouts/grass for our Haft Sin table.

Lastly, and most importantly, today is Maddie's 9th birthday. We'll be having an official birthday dinner at Grandma's this evening, but she's already received one present - an itty-bitty pinecone that Elon found for her:

Naturally, she loves it. :-)

We had to postpone our roadtrip this weekend due to the threat of rain and cold weather. That's a bummer, but I'm hoping that in a few weeks it will be nice enough to get out. As for the "52 Books in 52 Weeks" challenge, I am still participating but have gotten horribly delayed by my current book, "Kept: A Victorian Mystery" by D.J. Taylor. It's quite dense which makes it rather slowgoing.

1 Comment:

  1. Gail said...
    I'm so sorry to hear about your health problems. It took me back to when my husband was being diagnosed -- the main thing that he learned was that neurologists are sometimes jerks with no clue how to interact with patients.

    Your projects for Nowruz and for natural egg dyes look fascinating!

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