It was the first week of spring and although the temperature is still a little cool I did enjoy time outside in the garden.
After our earlier positive experiences with online learning (especially the Animal Behaviour course that Miss 13 gained so much from) we signed up for a couple more that it sounded like she might enjoy. Except it turns out I maybe got a little carried away and didn't pay a lot of attention to details like dates. We are actually signed up to four online classes (this is on top of our existing workload) and there will be a period of time when they will overlap. Furthermore Miss 13 will actually be out of town, and realistically not likely to be viewing academic classes online, for one of those weeks. Luckily the courses are free so there is no cost if we drop out of some of them. The sensible thing to do according to Miss 13 is start them all too see what they are like content and workload wise before making any decisions.
So this week we started Irish Lives in War and Revolution: Exploring Ireland's History 1912-1923 through FutureLearn. I initially signed up for me since I have a PhD in history and wanted to do something to reconnect with that part of me. Miss 13 first thought it sounded boring but when I told her it was more about people's lives rather than focusing on battles she perked up and thought she might join in. This week did focus a lot on details of battles, uprising and political responses to provide the background setting for the rest of the course. I'm finding it interesting but I suspect this will be the first course to go if things get overwhelming.
One of the other courses is Shakespeare and his World also through FutureLearn. Since covering eight plays in ten weeks is pushing things in my view (I wish they'd allowed two weeks per play instead of just one) we thought we'd make a start even though the course doesn't begin until the end of the month. The first play is The Merry Wives of Windsor so we've begun reading the text while listening to the audio. So far we haven't enjoyed it as much as we've enjoyed some of his other plays. I do wonder if it is because we're not as familiar with it since we couldn't find a story version to read first, which is my normal approach to Shakespeare. After I had this revelation we began reading scene summaries first which has helped a little.
I've been feeling pretty flat homeschooling-wise recently and haven't had much luck finding like minds to shoot the breeze with. So I signed up to The Homeschool Alliance with Julie Bogart. It only began this week but it's already given me some good food for thought. Hopefully it'll help me ensure that next year's homeschool has more fizz than flat periods. As part of this week's work I was reminded of poetry teatimes we used to do when the kids were younger. One of them was even featured on Julie's blog. Miss 13 was just five, Mr 16 must have been 8 and Miss 19 would have been eleven. Not sure why my eldest wasn't in any of the photos (maybe the ones I took of his didn't turn out) but he was 13 - the same age my youngest is now.
Pre-season cricket training started this week. Mr 16 is happy even though he has already decided that cricket will play second fiddle to scouting activities. He's got three sessions per week at the moment and I'm not sure which I like least - the ones that clash with trampoline training or the one that happens on the day we used to have no commitments! Still at least both of them are racking up plenty of PE credits and getting lots of social contact as well.