Sunday, January 19, 2014

Week ending 19 January 2014

Miss 13 and I decided to begin compiling a year list for our birding this year - basically a list of each species we spot during the year. To kick start the project we made three trips to different locations to give ourselves the best chance of spotting most of the common species we're likely to see around these parts. As is typical there were some highlights (seven Royal Spoonbills roosting on the tops of some tall trees- we've only seen them on the ground before, long close up views of both California Quail and Fantails going about their lives, a nest of large Welcome Swallow chicks being constantly fed by their parents) and some frustrations (the herons not being in their usual areas, and thinking we'd seen a Whimbrel, a bird we've spent all spring and summer trying to hunt down, but not being able to get a good enough view to confirm it). Still I always enjoy getting out and we've got at least one trip lined up this week which will hopefully let us to add to our yearly tally.

Trampolining started back for the year. With one extra sessions and all new days and times I'm struggling to get my head around things. At least I haven't forgotten to collect her ...yet! I'm hoping Mr 16's cricket stays the same as last year, which will mean their practices won't clash. I'll be chauffeuring every day but I think that's better than trying to be in two different places at the same time!

We've spent plenty of time observing Monarch butterflies. We think we've noticed a lot more than normal and our swan plants, that the caterpillars feed on, were covered with caterpillars. They've totally stripped all the plants bare now. The larger caterpillars have turned into chrysalises and the smaller ones are trying to feed on the alternative food we've put our or have crawled off, no doubt looking for other swan plants in the neighbourhood.

Mr 16 spent the weekend tramping - something he enjoys and plans to do more of this year. His group had planned to stop in at the  hot pools on their way was not to be attractive after all!

Before he left he finally made a decision about which physics programme to work with this year so we've been able to flesh out his year a little. He'll continue with Saxon for maths (Saxon 2 this year). He likes their approach - straightforward, no frills, and it allows him to teach himself- just coming to me on the odd occasion when he strikes a problem. For physics he's gone with Louis Bloomfield's How Things Work. I think he'll enjoy the real world focus of this programme and I was delighted to discover a six-week Coursera course based on the first couple of chapters of this book has just started. I wanted to introduce Mr 16 to Coursera this year so the timing of this course is perfect. He's keen to continue with Economics, at this stage  via a book written by one of dh's colleagues. It's got a practical New Zealand focus. Later in the year he may pick up a Coursera course on game theory, one area of Economics he seems to especially enjoy. He's opted to pick up German again, a language he dabbled with a few years ago. We'll quickly review the video course that we used earlier, add in Memirse and Duolingo then raid the local College of Education library for textbooks and teacher's guides if he wants to go there. Dh did some German in school so I'm hoping he can help out if needed. Mr 16 be doing Big History along with Miss 13 - not sure how much will be together and how much will be individual work but I'm hoping they can find some benefits in working together. At least for some of the time he'll be doing some literature - probably just picking and choosing from a list of suggested works and then discussing them with me and maybe writing a paper or two. He wants to do another year of Grammar using Stewart English ( it was a big surprise to me when I saw this on the list of things he wanted to do this year but I'm not about to say no). Finally, our local polytechnic offers various computing courses (for free!) and he plans to enrol in some of those. I'm sure there will be some interesting time management challenges in here as he juggles this workload with his Scouting commitments, cricket games and practices plus work if he can find a suitable part-time job.


  1. Thanks for the link to Memrise! I'm "teaching" (facilitating is probably a better word) German this year to 4 students and I can use all the help I can get! I do have them using Duolingo. I lived in German for 6 months and attending a German high school, and I took German in college; but that I was all a long time ago and I feel woefully incompetent!

    1. You're much more qualified to teach German than I am! If international air travel wasn't so expensive I'd put Mr 16 on a plane and he could join your group. Realistically, if he shows interest and application, I'll probably have to find him a tutor later in the year.

  2. Here is the link to the book title you requested that Grace has been reading:

  3. Thanks Diane. Now to see if one of the local libraries has it.