Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week Ending 13 April 2014 (Fitting it all in)

Recently I've been feeling a bit frustrated about all the things we don't do. Not just those enticing looking projects I've pinned but especially those things that we used to do and enjoyed. Somehow we just don't get to them anymore and I couldn't figure out a way to fit them all back in. There simply aren't enough hours in the day. Finally, inspired by Julie Bogart's Once is Better than Never post plus another post that I just cannot find again (don't you hate it when that happens?)  I came up with a potentially workable solution - pick one or two things and do them for a while before switching it up, dropping those things and replacing them with something else for a time. Just because it no longer suits us to do something all year long doesn't meant we won't enjoy it or benefit from doing it on a short term basis. And there is also nothing wrong - and many things right - with doing things, even very academic type things, that don't fit in any of the boxes on whatever transcript we might be maintaining for our teens.

The first thing we wanted to reinstate, at least for a time,  was poetry teatimes. At one stage we did these every Friday morning - mind you I seem to recall all four kids taking part and it has been five years since all four were homeschooled! Since April is National Poetry Month it seemed like the perfect timing. And while I know we can't do it every week I thought I could manage four top notch teatimes over the course of the month. It hasn't quite worked out as smoothly as I'd envisaged - mainly because I didn't check the calendar before coming up with the plan!



Last Friday we were on the road - but I was prepared with a selection of bird related poems and some fancy treats. So topical poetry was read, discussed and enjoyed overlooking a lake on a lovely autumn day- perfect. However, no poetry happened this Friday - a trip to the orchestra intervened and next Friday is Good Friday which will involved much Hot Cross Bun making. So I'm switching the day. Three more poetry teatimes will happen this month - just not on a Friday!

The next thing I wanted to bring back was music appreciation. I loved our variation of the Charlotte Mason approach -  pick a composer, listen to several pieces of their music over several weeks, read a little about them and, if we were feeling like model homeschoolers, we might even write a narration or make a notebooking page. Simple enough in theory but it wasn't happening in practice anymore. While I was tying myself up in knots trying to pick the perfect composer Mary at Homegrown Learners released a free SQUILT (Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time) lesson based on Dvorak's Serenade for Strings. So the composer and the first piece were sorted. This week we listed to the Classics for Kids series on Dvorak and listened to Slavonic Dance No.7. since that was the piece they focused on. I also discovered one of our libraries has a picture book based on how Dvorak composed one of his pieces - and birds are involved! 

The third thing we missed was reading aloud. Miss 13 has been on a real roll reading wise recently but we both missed my reading aloud. Following an online recommendation we started Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani.




So far we are about a quarter of the way through it and are enjoying it. Lots to talk about - the distinct voices of the two main characters, racism, environmental issues, and immigration among others.


Other note worthy events this week:-

*  We started working our way through the final clues for Journey North's Mystery Class. So far we're pretty certain we have 8 of the 10 locations sorted. We've got two weeks before we have to submit our answers so plenty of time to double check those eight and figure out the final two.

* We learnt about about cannibalism in frogs. Unfortunately this was not theoretical learning. We heard strange noises coming from the tank and discovered the large frog had the entire leg of the smaller one in his mouth and was trying for more. We did manage to rescue our small frog but sadly, he died a couple of days later - probably due to shock.

* There was plenty of playing with Basil. One of his favourite things is chasing water from the hose. I'm sure he'd do it all day long if he could.


*  We attended a concert by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. It was a concert for schools and since there was a limited adult-child ratio Miss 13 was going to attend alone. But when I dropped her off we discovered that our homeschool group had been allocated extra seats, so I got to go as well. A bonus birthday gift for me! All the pieces had a nature theme. Miss 13 really enjoyed Vivaldi's Spring, while my favourite was The Moldau by Smetana.

*  We began the process of taking over the editorship of the local bird groups' newsletter. Miss 13 was approached  at last month's AGM and has agreed to give it a go - with a little help from me to begin with. The current editors are continuing with the next issue due out in June and then we'll take over. This gives us a few months to get to grips with the technical issues - new software programmes etc.

* The current editors gave Miss 13 an excellent camera they no longer use. They're delighted to see a "young person" interested in birding and want to encourage it. Hopefully you'll see some better quality photos here, once we figure out how to use it that is!

* Mr 21 passed his first year progress assessment for his PhD thesis. He'd submitted his written report several weeks ago but the department only just managed to convene the five person committee for the oral examination. He's pleased, not only because they're pleased and his funding will continue, but also because the process has really helped him plan and fine tune his work next couple of years.

* Miss 13 attended the first module of a Gymsports leadership course. This may open up coaching possibilities for her in the future - which will be a great help when it comes to paying her training fees!

* We were meant to have a weekend full of outdoor highlights. Dh was to go camping on an island in the harbour with Scouts, Mr 16 was going tramping and I was going to explore a new patch of regenerated bush with a group of other birders. Unfortunately the weather put paid to all of that - everything was cancelled. Looking at it positively I did at least get caught up on some boring but long overdue tasks around the house.

* Miss 13 had another trampoline competition and was thrilled with her marks - especially for the routine that didn't go so well in the last competition. She also decided to compete in the Double Mini event for the first time ever and did a pretty good job - not quite the level in the video though! She's now contemplating trying to qualify for Nationals in that discipline. Nationals runs over several days and competing in another event will help to pass the time!


Some shots of Miss 13 in action. These stills were captured from video which explains the quality!


* Miss 19 survived the end of the first quarter and the associated exams. We still can't believe she's on track to graduate with her Bacherlor's at the end of the year. She's looking forward to a couple of week's rest - except for the four essays to write  and the major test to study for that is! Nobody said university life was easy.

* We watched the first of five weekly webcasts from Birdlife Australia. They're entitled Farewell Shorebirds and focus on some of the migratory birds that are beginning their migrations backs to the Arctic to breed. We've seen four of the five featured species so it'll be good to learn a little about their life away from here.

* We were meant to have a weekend full of outdoor highlights. Dh was to go camping on an island in the harbour with Scouts, Mr 16 was going tramping and I was going to explore a new patch of regenerated bush with a group of other birders. Unfortunately the weather put paid to all of that - everything was cancelled. Looking at it positively I did at least get caught up on some boring but long overdue tasks around the house.



1 comment:

  1. Lots of great things you are putting back into your schedule. I also always have this problem. So many wonderful subjects to study and discuss but only 24 hours in each day. Have a wonderful Easter weekend.
    Blessings
    Diane

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