Sunday, June 8, 2014

Week Ending 8 June 2014

I'll break with tradition and start with Mr 16 first. He's had a busy week. He got back on Monday from a three day Scout camp, the highlight of which was pounamu (greenstone) carving. There was also a visit to a glowworm dell, a walk around some old mining sites, and a campfire on the beach one night.

Midweek he had a driving lesson from a qualified instructor who confirmed what I thought - that Mr 16 is ready to sit the next stage of  his licence. So next week, once the six month minimum period on his current license has passed, he'll go and book the test for the next level. He is looking forward to being able to drive unaccompanied. I may never see our car again! He also completed and passed the final assessment of his computing course at the local polytechnic. We're still deciding whether or not he'll go back next semester for another course. This weekend he helped out at a camp for Cubs (8 -10 year olds)  - apparently amazed at how early they get up in the morning and how noisy they are first thing. Obviously he's forgotten he didn't always keep teenage hours! In between he did manage  - just - to fit in the boring stuff I insist on - maths, science, history, economics and the like.

This week Miss 13 and I added a few extras into the mix - not necessarily in a well-organised and planned fashion either! Firstly is A Midsummer Night's Dream. The local professional theatre company is currently performing this play and they have a special matinee performance (with discounted seat prices) for high school students. A home school mum managed to get a group booking and so we're attending next week. Therefore, Miss 13 and I have spent the week reading the play aloud using our favourite Oxford School Shakespeare series. I've also used a few comprehension questions from an online Penguin Study Guide. I've got a few other ideas squirreled away to expand on this but we didn't get to them this week - maybe next week after the performance.

A blog I read mentioned a free online course entitled Literature of the English Country House. Miss 13 loved the tv series Downton Abbey and always enjoys touring through grand old homes. In addition our literature studies are bit low key this year. In other words this seemed a perfect way to ramp things up a bit. So far we're both enjoying it. I was going to get her to complete it on her own and get a Statement of Participation but the price put me off. Such a statement may be a useful addition to her portfolio one day but I think I'll wait until closer to the end of her homeschooling career first, and possible pick a course directly related to whatever direction she intends pursuing.

While signing up for this course I discovered another course - this one  Introduction to Ecosystems. It sounded like it would complement and expand on Miss 13's interest in birds so we signed up for that as well - even though it is already part way through. So far it seems straightforward enough that I'm confident we should be able to comfortably catch up before the course ends.

We didn't get out birding even once this week, but did manage some bird related learning anyway. We had a lot of fun learning to visualize bird songs by matching them to their spectrograms. This was something new to us and I've been looking to see if I can find something similar for New Zealand birds. Not a lot of luck so far but we did find one for the Kea which we saw last weekend. Lovely bird to look at but not sure I'd want one calling outside my bedroom window! We also spent time looking at an Osprey nestcam. Big excitement with two of the three eggs hatching. The thing I like about this livecam is that it is remotely operated so when the mother bird moves off the eggs briefly an operator will zoom in, allowing a good, close look at the chicks.

The weekend ended with a trampoline competition. Miss 13 came home with two second placings which was better than expected. After her friend broke her arm 10 days ago Miss 13 lost her confidence and hadn't been able to complete one of her routines since then. Thankfully it came right on the day. One more competition in two weeks time and then there is a break for a while which is great. I'm not a natural sporting mother and if it wasn't for the fact that Miss 13 really enjoys trampolining I would happily not be involved.

I've also spent some time thinking about courses Miss 13 might enjoy next year. My plan is to just jot down thoughts and details on possible courses as they come to me and then she can look over them, decide what if any she likes, add her own idea etc. One thought that kept recurring was geography. I kept seeing mention of a soon to be released programme for highschoolers called North Star Geography, which sounded like it could really work for us - enough structure to keep us on track but enough flexibility that we could individualise the course and make it our own. And then one night I happened to discover what looks like pretty much a final draft of the whole course available online for free until the end of the month! It's sad how happy that made me!

Linking up with Kris's Weekly Wrap-up over at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


  1. You guys always do such neat stuff. Sounds like a lovely week. :)

  2. A great week Sandra. I am definately going to check out the website you mentioned. We love Downton Abby too!! Midsummer's Night Dream is one of our favorites. I hope you enjoy the play! Happy weekend Sandra!!