Winter wasn't the only thing that finished this week. Miss 12 finished not one, not two but three programmes she has been working on! First to be completed was Latin Primer 2. The course, selected by Miss 12 at the start of the year, ended with a final exam. Normally we don't bother with exams but I was curious so had her complete it - even though I hadn't forewarned her and she hadn't studied. She earned an A+ so I concluded that this course (very no frills - basically just words lists and worksheets) was a good fit for her. If she wants to continue I'm pretty sure we have Latin Primer 3 on the shelf. Second on the list of courses to be finished was Middle School Chemistry - lots of fun neutralizing a acids and bases to finish up. Most of the experiments used easy to find supplies, the videos and animations highlighted what happened at a molecular level, and the questions and activity sheets were well designed to lead the student to a solid understanding of the underlying chemical principles. Last but not least, Miss 12 finished Practice Voyage which we'd been using as a quick way to review and keep basic grammar concepts clear.
Mr 15 also completed one thing this week, with the last match of his indoor cricket season. Two days later he began a six-week pre-season training programme for the regular cricket season. It's the first time he's had a serious programme of pre-season training before but he can't wait to get started.
Plenty of bird-related learning this week. Miss 12 researched and drafted a blog post on the Kereru for New Zealand pigeon for her on-line class. She viewed the second session - this one on parrots - and began work on an entry on the Kaka, her favourite bird which just happens to be a parrot. The first semester of this year's course is working far better for us than the three session summer workshop session she did. The other students seem more motivated and involved - lots of them are regularly posting to the class blog and commenting on each other's entries. We attended a meeting of the ornithology society and saw some interesting film from the 1940's by an early sea-bird researcher, recording his work with both penguins and albatross. So funny to see his wife (and research assistant) in her skirt, hat, white gloves and pearls weighing the young penguins! Miss 12 and I have also been invited to take part in a two-day workshop learning how to officially identify and count birds. If we pass we'd be qualified to act as volunteers for official conservation projects. It's not until October (and there is some official concern about Miss 12's young age) but definitely something to look forward to. We're back working on memorising bird calls as preparation. The final bird related learning was a birding expedition to a local estuary. We'd hoped to spot one particular species and although we had no luck with that the trip was not without its highlights - good observations of banded dotterels, a pied shag nesting and spotting juvenile little shags in their nests.
In other happenings there has been a lot of work on budgie training - although I sometimes think he is doing better at training us than we are at training him! A lot of time had also been spent caring for and observing the frogs. A good thing about the warmer weather has been the return of flies (never though I'd say that!) - they seem to be our frog's preferred food.
Miss 12 has been busy in the kitchen preparing or helping to prepare meals most days. She's also helped in my ongoing "tidy up the garden" project. And we've spent time most days playing games - Bohnanza (which I normally win) and Carcassonne (she usually trumps me on this one) are on near daily rotation. This week she's read Birds, Beasts and Relatives by Gerald Durrell, a sequel to My Family and Other Animals. We used the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington to learn more about it and to study rhetoric and public speaking via Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.. We're finishing up the Civil Rights focus by watching "The Help" on DVD. Miss 18 and I both really enjoyed the book but hadn't got around to seeing the DVD.