Sunday, May 26, 2013

Week ending 26 May

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.

Another piece of bad news was dh's bike being stolen while he was working late one night. With him struggling to walk long distances until he has surgery on his knee we'll have to buy a replacement fairly quickly.

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.


  1. You had a lot of great things in your week, but it is very sad, though, about the swans. I hope the other two cygnets do well!
    Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite sounds great, and it sounds like it sparked some fun learning.
    So sorry to hear about all of the earthquake damage :(
    We watched the video version of David Macaulay's Castle a few years ago, but the girls weren't very into it. I wonder if they would appreciate it more now...especially Lauren. I should try that!

  2. Love all the bird photos, as always. Sorry to hear about the cygnets.

    Sounds like archery went well! We sure are enjoying it:)

  3. I am so sorry to hear about the swans and the stolen bike.

    I am trying to figure out where you live--you mentioned earthquakes--I probably live under a rock, because I don't remember hearing about earthquakes? Maybe we don't get news of that here? How long ago were the earthquakes?

  4. I guess I don't mention it obviously -part of dh's security/privacy concerns so I might take this reply down in a few days. We're in Christchurch, New Zealand. We had a series of large earthquakes starting in September 2010. The most damaging occurred in February 2011 (building collapses - 180+ killed) It did get a bit of international coverage and there were international search and rescue teams here for a while - until they hurriedly moved to Japan - there earthquake/tsunami was a couple of weeks after our quake. We are still getting aftershocks - not nearly as many or as often or as large thank goodness and the rebuild is very, very slow. Lots of insurance hassles, people still living in garages and not knowing what will happen to their home. We are very lucky that damage to our house was mostly superficial.

    1. What a terrible situation, Sandra! I am glad that your home is OK!!