The week got off to a bit of a sad start. A visit to the swans revealed only two out of the four cygnets remained. One of the locals told us he pulled what he initially thought was a plastic bag out of the water that morning. Turned out it was a cygnet but it didn't have any sign of injury on it. So maybe it was sick. Miss 12 hopes the remaining two survive. We'll be checking back in the coming week.
Music was one of the highlights of the week. Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite arrived. Good timing with the 25th being International Jazz Day. We've enjoyed many other books by the author. They do a great job of telling the story behind the music in a child friendly way and this one was no exception. Since then we've been listening to pieces of Tchaikovsky's original, reading about what Ellington intended with his variant and then listening to it. Great for developing listening skills - when we can make ourselves sit and concentrate rather than jiving around the room that is :-)
Dh had some errands to run and the logical plan seemed to involve driving through the centre of town - a route I haven't really travelled since the earthquakes. Talk about confusing. So many roads closed due to roadworks, underground sewer repairs and/or buildings still coming down. I ended up being forced into five diversions (in a journey of about 7-8 km) from my planned route. Coming up with a plan B on the fly was tricky since without building landmarks (many buildings have been demolished and the CBD is basically one big empty lot) I wasn't always sure where I was! In other weird post-earthquake related happenings our immediate neighbourhood is very quiet with the three houses next to ours temporarily empty (the owners are living elsewhere for a few weeks and all the contents are in a shipping container on the front lawn) while earthquake repairs are being made.
We enjoyed watching the video version of David Macaulay's Castle. We have the book which my boys enjoyed but it seemed a bit technical to Miss 12. The video was a good fit though.
Science using the American Chemical Society's Middle School Chemistry is still going well. Some fun activities with density this week.
With the colder weather the silvereyes have arrived back in town. The bulk of them spend summer inland. This was the cue for Miss 12 to make a lot of bird puddings and other treats for them. The dining stations have been really busy all week with silvereyes preferring the bird puddings and peanut butter and seed coated paper towel rolls while the green finches favoured the plain seed.
Miss 12 and dh went on a Scout trip to a local archery attraction. A good time was had by all - and Miss 12 was relieved that her arm was strong enough to pull back the bowstring. She was afraid she wouldn't be able to manage since she is aware the arm she broke is not yet back to full strength. Over the next couple of weeks they'll be making their own bows and arrows.
I was grateful for the beautiful autumn weather over the weekend since it gave me the opportunity to get out in the garden and tidy up a little. I removed plenty of weeds which had been threatening to take over the section and pulled out the last of the beans and tomatoes. Time to get a few more winter crops in - not that out garden produces a lot in winter but it is nice to be able pick an occasional fresh green leaf.
Miss 12 spent a lot of time working on her rag quilt. Lots of old clothes were cut into squares and sewed together with batting in the middle. However, when we came to assemble the whole thing we decided we'd like it a bit bigger so we're back to sacrificing old clothes. Since I'm not a sewer we've been doing lots of learning as we go- not to mention really wishing we had better basic equipment! While the end product (hopefully completed this coming week) won't win any prizes this has been more about the process anyway.
I've been pondering this article by Julie Bogart of Bravewriter. The lines "They felt connected to me when I took the time to plan their lessons and guide their education. They lost that connection when I gave them “freedom.” " (written in relation to unschooling) resonated with me. I think this may be part of the reason Miss 12 seems to want a fair bit of involvement from me in her learning . She is a people person and likes the connection. I know all too well that in a few short years she will have moved beyond home education into whatever her future plans turn out to be. I'm more than happy to provide that connection while it is still wanted - while still encouraging freedom where she is happy to take it.