Sunday, May 24, 2015

Week Ending 24 May 2015

It was a very noisy week, and as a result we we weren't as productive as we'd have liked. It's a little hard to concentrate with diggers, jackhammers and the like operating right outside your window. Our driveway, paths and patios were all dug up and replaced. They were damaged in the largest 2011 earthquake and replaced later that year. Except the contractors didn't do a good job and everything began cracking in less that two weeks. After lengthy negotiations with the contractor and then the insurance company it was finally agreed that they would need to be relaid. At least the contractors this time around appeared to know what they were doing.





We also took an unexpected field trip to the sewage ponds. I know- we sure know how to pick our venue! But birding networks reported a rare bird that we'd never seen before so we had to go and check it out. Turns  out that first reports were incorrect  and the bird was in fact a Hoary-Headed Grebe that we travelled north to see last year. But this is the first time one has been seen in our region for 30 years so it was worth the effort (and besides it got us away from the jack hammering). No photos sadly - it didn't come close enough to shore for our camera. Since we were across town we visited a few favourite birding sites while we were there.

 
Lots of waders and gulls at the estuary.

We spotted this White Heron fishing in a canal.
 
Mr 17 was knocked off his bike during the week. A driver opened a car door directly in his path. Luckily he only suffered some minor scrapes and bruising. He was on one of the city's busiest roads at the time so it could have been a lot worse. At least bikes can be repaired and helmets replaced.

In amongst all this we did get some bookwork completed. A trawl through my computer files revealed a geography notebooking pack which included a country study. It was perfect to supplement our geography studies which are currently focused on the Americas. Miss 14 has picked Colombia, while Mr 17 is looking at Panama.

 


We also spent plenty of time with this guy. He was perplexed by men destroying his paths!

Basil appears to be eating the maths homework!

The week ended with sleety showers. Perfect for curling up in front of the fire and watching a video.Since we've just finished Romeo and Juliet I thought an adaptation was a great idea. My first pick - West Side Story - was out. So we settled for the somewhat lighter Gnomeo and Juliet instead!

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap-Up.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Week Ending 17 May 2015

Some random snippets from our week.
 


When I stumbled across a recipe for these owl biscuits in a magazine I just knew Miss 14 would want to make them.



It sometimes feels as if Mr 17 never does any schoolwork. But I caught him hard at work on his comparative politics this week. He's just starting a unit on Iran.



Two birding trips this week. Miss 14 and I joined a small group of friends for a mid-week ramble around a local wetland. On another day she travelled south to visit a private wetland and aviary complex. I've been knocked around again by inner ear problems and didn't feel safe going. Hopefully I can get a referral to a specialist and fix this problem since I'm totally over it.


Mr 17 helped run a leadership camp for Scouts over the weekend. And no Scout camp is complete without a roaring campfire. Then he had the panel interview (a three hour marathon affair) for his Queen Scout Award - the highest award in scouting here. I didn't realise what a big deal it was - the awards are actually presented in person by the Governor-General, the Queen's official representative. Mr 17 was pleased the panel recommended that he receive the award - now he just has to wait for the paperwork to be processed and approved at both the regional and national offices.



Miss 14 read The Disappeared for her World Lit course. Set in Argentina in the 1970s, it is a nice complement to our current geography studies which are focused on South America.





Mr 17 has been playing a bit of indoor cricket over the past few weeks - regularly filling in on a friend's team. They had their first win (at least in the games he's played) this week.



Homeschooling in pyjamas - in this case a penguin onesie since it seems everything around here has a bird related twist.




The technician came back and finally fixed our hob. Four working elements again (he did have two of them working after his initial visit) and it was still covered by the warranty. Cooking is much simpler and I'm a happier cook.

Linking up with Kris at the Weekly Wrap-Up.







Saturday, May 9, 2015

Week Ending 10 May 2015

I thought this had been a fairly mundane week but when I write it down it turns out we were out and about a fair bit.

On Monday Miss 14 and I went swimming. Mr 17 wasn't still in bed recovering from his weekend camp! We were there for a couple of hours and actually had the entire pool to ourselves for about half that time. I especially enjoyed soaking in the spa pool at the end. Monday night was our monthly bird group meeting, featuring a talk and photos from one of our members about a couple of wildlife trips he'd made to the United States. I loved the way he included particular details that he thought would appeal to specific members,such as information on Dr Julia Platt and her work in Monterey Bay especially for Miss 14.

On Thursday the weather was glorious and, inspired by this post from Jessica over at Teachable Moments, I told Miss 14 to hurry up and get dressed since we were going birding - despite all the bookwork that needed to get done. We headed north to a small estuary (probably my favourite local birding spot).



The sun warming our skin, the smell of the sea behind us and a great variety of birds preening, bathing, searching for food and otherwise going about their lives all made for a wonderful morning. The highlight of the day was this Black Stilt, one of many of our endangered natives.




 



Friday was dominated by caring for Mr 22 who had oral surgery. I spent the morning driving him to and from his appointment and then he had to spend the rest of the day with us. He wasn't allowed to be alone and all his flatmates were busy working and/or attending class. It was nice to have the whole family back under the roof for a night - even if Mr 22 was somewhat subdued. I spent a lot of time fetching ice and pills, and preparing soft food!

Saturday was the Global Big Day in support of global bird conservation . Naturally Miss 14 and I had to do our bit - any excuse for a day's birding! We were out and about for about six hours during another great autumn day plus another hour at night.
 


The highlight for us was the first Cattle Egret of the year. There was a group of three feeding on the ground with these White-faced Herons.



But the cattle egret were very photo-shy. Every time Miss 14 got the camera focused on them they took to the air.




At one lake stop Miss 14 spent ages trying (unsuccessfully) to capture all the Welcome Swallows swooping and soaring over the water as they fed. If you look closely you can see a small dot of white in the background, slightly to the right of centre. That's our first Great Egret of the year!
 

We were hoping to spot the Little Egret that has returned after spending the summer elsewhere. Sadly, it proved elusive - but that just gives us a reason to go back again.

In amongst all this some (but not all) of the planned bookwork got completed.
Miss 14 began working with adjectives in Latin, looked at thermal energy for physics (she's opted to stick with her existing textbook for now but might try some other resources I have when she moves to light and sound) and endured some lessons related to polynomials in maths. In geography they've moved on to South America. In literature she's finally finished To Kill A Mockingbird (I'm trying to find a movie version but none of our libraries have it) and we moved into the third act of Romeo and Juliet. I continue to be impressed by the SmartPass audio guide we're using). Art History dropped off the radar this week so we'll have to get to it first next week. Of course there were the usual twelve hours in the gym training and coaching.

Mr 17 has a less exciting week than his sister. He took on a few extra shifts at work, continued to look at Nigeria's political system, sat and passed his first economics exams and plodded along with his other subjects. Tonight he's off to a Jamboree on the Trail event, an annual event for Scouts worldwide to hike together.

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap-Up.
 









Sunday, May 3, 2015

Week Ending 3 May 2015


In our homeschool this week… Miss 14 and I are finishing up a self-designed Shakespeare course. We've incorporated several MOOCs and the final one - Shakespeare in Community - has just started. As a result we're reading Romeo and Juliet (the only  new play we need to read - the other three we've already covered). I forgot to order our favourite Oxford School Shakespeare version so we are do this play a little differently. Fortuitously I read about SmartPass audio guides (basically two audios of the play - one version is plain; the other interspersed with helpful commentary) then discovered they were available via Audible and I could sign up for a free 30 day trial. Miss 14 doesn't see herself as an audio learner so we grabbed a copy of the play from Miss 20's shelf (she's and English minor and studied Romeo and Juliet in one of her undergrad courses) so our eyes have something to do as our ears listen. There are differences between the print and audio versions - enough to spur interesting discussion but not too many to be irritating. I'm impressed with the quality of the guide and would recommend it, especially to anyone nervous about covering Shakespeare. I also dug around on my computer and discovered I had a couple of study guides (one from Secondary Solutions and one from Classroom Complete Press - probably downloaded for free or incredibly cheaply from Currclick at some point in the distant past.) So we're throwing in some activities from these as we go. Our local theatre is performing Romeo and Juliet next month and we're looking forward to attending with some fellow homeschoolers. It'll be a good way to wrap up our course.


Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… Mr 17 spent the bulk of the weekend helping to run a Great Race type event for Venturers (Scouts aged 14-18). As a result he was all over the city. Miss 14 attended an all day first aid course this weekend. She also spent hours coaching and training at the gym during the week while he spent hours working at the supermarket bakery. I didn't really go anywhere which is how I like it.

My favourite thing this week was... walking the dog on some lovely autumn days. I love the sound of leaves crunching underfoot!


My kids' favourite thing this week was… Miss 14's would have been swimming. Except we ended up not being able to go because a plumber and electrician were due to call and I really wanted our hot water restored! So I'll have to make sure we get to the pool this coming week.



Things I’m working on… Mulling over the best way to handle my underachiever. Figuring out how much to push him and how much to back off, trust that he has the skills in place and when it counts (ie next year when he is out in the "real world" either studying or working) he'll choose to put them to good use. If not I'll have to trust that he's smart enough to learn from the natural consequences that will inevitably result. I've got to remember that it is his life and not mine - but it is really frustrating when he doesn't want to put in the effort required to produce work of the quality I believe he is capable of. Rant over!

I'm also working on finishing Darwin's On Origin of Species for my Classics Club challenge. It's tough going (any version I can find has small font and the writing style is long, slow and detailed) and I'm really having to force myself to persevere and complete the chapter per day goal that I've set myself. But I'm more than half way through.

I’m cooking… whatever I can that doesn't require a hob. At least the oven is back in service and I'm hoping the hob will be repaired this week. It's a hassle having to make do without it.

I’m grateful for... a working oven and working hot water.


Something I am ogling or have my eye on… A new cookbook by one of my favourite cooks. Confession time - I've already caved and bought it even though I really didn't need another cookbook!


A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…
  

This is what Miss 20's room looks in the week prior to a major test. A very large, detailed, colour-coded mind map has taken over one wall, while post-it notes have sprung up on the side of the dresser by her bed. They've got information on both sides and the location means it's easy to flip them over and check what's on the back apparently. I forgot to grab a snap of the several large stacks of notecards/flashcards scattered on her desk. One advantage of having older kids at home while they are studying at university is that the younger kids see first hand the effort that university demands.

Linking up with Kris's Weekly Wrap-Up.















  • In my life this week…
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  • My favorite thing this week was…
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  • In my life this week…
  • In our homeschool this week…
  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
  • My favorite thing this week was…
  • My kiddos favorite thing this week was…
  • Things I’m working on…
  • I’m cooking…
  • I’m grateful for…
  • I’m praying for…
  • I rewarded my kids this week by…
  • Something I am ogling or have my eye on…
  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…
  • - See more at: http://www.ihomeschoolnetwork.com/homeschool-journal/#sthash.2FmpJxDB.dpuf













  • In my life this week…
  • In our homeschool this week…
  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
  • My favorite thing this week was…
  • My kiddos favorite thing this week was…
  • Things I’m working on…
  • I’m cooking…
  • I’m grateful for…
  • I’m praying for…
  • I rewarded my kids this week by…
  • Something I am ogling or have my eye on…
  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…
  • - See more at: http://www.ihomeschoolnetwork.com/homeschool-journal/#sthash.2FmpJxDB.dpufv













  • In my life this week…
  • In our homeschool this week…
  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
  • My favorite thing this week was…
  • My kiddos favorite thing this week was…
  • Things I’m working on…
  • I’m cooking…
  • I’m grateful for…
  • I’m praying for…
  • I rewarded my kids this week by…
  • Something I am ogling or have my eye on…
  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…
  • - See more at: http://www.ihomeschoolnetwork.com/homeschool-journal/#sthash.2FmpJxDB.dpufv