Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fortnight Ending 27 July 2014

It's been an incredibly busy fortnight - didn't even get around to posting last week - but Miss 13 is now officially on holiday. And that means I am too - yah! I was going to say two weeks of nothing to do - but of course there is still trampoline training...not to mention cooking and cleaning etc. But no formal homeschool work to complete sounds wonderful right now. Normally we take a break every nine or ten weeks, but this time it was thirteen weeks and with more work than normal, more challenging work than normal ...and I had a cold as well. On top of that things cropped up involving all four kids - most of it not of their doing and most of it not things we can do anything about , but emotionally draining anyway. Let's just say this break feels long overdue and I'm feeling a strong desire to spend a day in bed with a good book or two and a block of chocolate!

The main work of course has been Miss 13's Animal Behaviour MOOC. Her final assignment was due last week. At times we weren't sure she'd actually get it submitted (starting a week late then being sick for two weeks really put her behind, then we ran into technical difficulties trying to get all her work up on a blog, which was the preferred submission method) but she did. It was such a weight off her shoulders. This week she's been busy reading and marking some of her classmates' assignments. This was much easier than marking the scientific writing assignments a couple of weeks ago. She also finished up the last week of lectures on social insects and completed the final test. Now we just await the marks for the final assignment.

The beginning of Miss 13's field notes blog.

Miss 13 also finished her Future Learn course on Literature of the English Country House. One of the texts discussed was The Importance of Being Earnest, which was a great excuse to rewatch our  DVD version. We all love Wilde's wit. We're going to have so much spare time now all the MOOCs are finished.

In other work she completed a history unit on the switch to agriculture and wrote a short paper considering the advantages and disadvantages of foraging and farming. In science she completed the unit on anatomy and physiology and started the next unit on evolution. She's gone on a Harry Potter kick and is rereading the entire series.  She also finished the French programme she's been using and has decided she's not interested in doing any more formal French for the time being. In Latin she's been doing work with third conjugation verbs and learning the perfect tense. She's nearly finished her current Latin course but is keen to carry on with the language. It makes more sense to her than French apparently. In between all this she has managed to watch some of the Commonwealth Games - a scaled back version of the Olympics for countries that were members of the British Commonwealth. While trampolining isn't a Commonwealth sport, one of the rhythmic gymnasts is a member of the same club as Miss 13. After watching her train it was especially interesting watching her compete.

We managed a couple of birding trips, trying to spot a white-winged black tern, a rare Asian migrant that was seen in the area. Our first trip was unsuccessful and we thought maybe the bird had moved on. But people reported seeing it later that same day. We then realised all sightings of it had been in the afternoon and we'd gone in the morning. So we went out the following afternoon and Miss 13 spotted it before I even stopped the car. We spent a happy half hour watching it fly low over the water hawking for insects.

The White-winged Black Tern.
 The photo is by our friend  Grahame, since he takes much better photos than we do!

The highlight of the fortnight for Mr 16 was passing his restricted licence, meaning he can drive the car without a supervisor. I haven't had to run any errands since then - he's keenly volunteered for every single one! For so long I've been the only driver in the family and now I feel like I need to book the car or else one of the kids will have it.  Mr 16's finished his break and is easing back into a full course load - supplemented by a statistic course that dh thought would be good for him and has managed to convince him to try. He's still busy working on his big Scouting project, but the end is in sight at least.

Mr 21 came around for dinner last weekend - an early celebration for his birthday. It was good to catch up and find out all the things in his life that he has forgotten to tell us about - a quick trip to the United States and winning another research fellowship among them. He didn't think they were a big enough deal to mention!

I did find some time to put some work into Mr 16's transcript and Miss 13's as well. I thought it would be relatively straightforward but it turns out there was a big variation between what we planned for Mr 16 to do some years and what he actually did! Glad I didn't leave it any longer or I may have struggled to remember some of what he'd done. Hopefully having it all written up will help him and us come up with a good plan if he decides to keep homeschooling next year.

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