Sunday, May 11, 2014

Week Ending 11 May 2014 (We Were a Mystery Class)

It's been a bit of a strange week this week - feeling very flat and lacking in energy. Early in the week the cause was waiting for the preliminary redundancy announcement for dh's department. The good news (for us at least) is that his position seems safe. The latter part of the week saw most of us affected by a cold. Nothing major, but enough to have us feeling a little sub- par.

The other odd thing about the week was the number of things that came to an end, especially odd since this was our first week formally homeschooling after a couple of weeks break. Perhaps the most exciting end was Journey North's Mystery Class. The locations were released last week and this week it was the introductions to each location. Now that  Mystery Class has ended for the year I can finally reveal that the secret project I alluded to a couple of times late last year and early this year was related to this. We were Mystery Class 9! Click on the link if you're keen to learn more about Dunedin/read what Miss 13 wrote.

The opening page for Miss 13's introduction to Dunedin, New Zealand (Mystery Class 9)

After last year's Mystery Class ended they called for volunteers for this year.  Miss 13 was keen but they didn't want us to do our city since Mr 16 did that one a few years ago. So we suggested we do Dunedin, a city a few hours drive south of here which we are very familiar with -  I grew up in the area, attended university there and my parents still live just outside the city. It's a great experience being on the other side of the Mystery Class experience - coming up with clues that are neither too easy not too difficult, then researching and writing the introduction. Not to mention it being a great excuse to play tourist! It's also interesting seeing the final product (can't say we are fans of the format - having the text hidden behind images and having to click back and forward all the time makes  it too choppy for our taste), seeing what parts have been omitted, added or otherwise edited and speculating as to why. All in all it was great to see the result of all the hard work that Miss 13 put in. Being a Mystery Class is a learning opportunity that wouldn't have been available had we lived in the US since they specifically seek Mystery Class locations that aren't American. Often I see the negatives in being outside the US, especially in resources that we just can't access, so it's a nice change finding something on the positive side of the ledger.

Another thing that ended was Miss 13's online bird class. She's been attending and writing a weekly post for the class blog since June last year.
Miss 13's final blog post for her bird class.

In many way's it's been a cornerstone of our weeks - especially since (due to difference in school years) we worked on the bird class even when we weren't doing any other formal work. The Farewell Shorebirds video series from Birdlife Australia also finished this week. Combined with the fact that we also wrapped up the book on bird behaviour that we'd been reading, this means we now have a big gap in our schedule . A great opportunity to revamp and refresh our bird studies!

We bought our study of Dvorak to an end. This week we listened to his New World Symphony. We tried using these listening guides but kept getting lost! Obviously we don't have enough of a technical background. So we used this animated site instead - much more our speed!

The graphics on this site helped us identify the instruments and themes we heard.

We were supposed to finish our study of the artist Modigliani as well, but due to the general lack of energy that didn't happen this week. Next week for sure.

Of course not everything came to an end this week. Our science programme continued and this week saw us beginning a section on anatomy and physiology. A frog dissection was scheduled but a) Miss 13 was not at all keen on the concept of dissection and b) we had no easy access to a specimen anyway. So we did the external anatomy by observing our one remaining pet frog and relied on online virtual dissections and Youtube videos for the internal structures.

This was the simplest of the virtual dissections we used.

Miss 13  began reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It turns out she hadn't read it and only had a vague idea of the significance of painting the picket fence! I already had a study guide on the shelf and was keen for her to study a couple of novels in-depth this year anyway so it was an easy decision to add it to the schedule.

We also managed one birding trip. As is typical we didn't get shots of the most exciting birds, including a new one for our list. The exciting ones always insist on staying just out of camera range!

Clockwise from top right - Chaffinch, Canada Geese, Pukeko and Pied Stilt.

Linking up with Kris's Weekly Wrap-Up
and Mary's Collage Friday

1 comment:

  1. The Mystery class sounds so neat. I love what she wrote. :) Wow almost a year for the online bird class and her writing a post. That is amazing. I love how much you all love birds! Keilee has done about 5 dissections at a Science class but never a frog. I love that they have the option for online dissections now! Great week and happy weekend Sandra!