Sunday, January 18, 2015

Week Ending 18 January 2015

It's been a busy week for Miss 14. Seven hours of trampoline training per day from Monday to Friday. When she got home she was tired - enough energy to read but not much else. Certainly no birding, although we did watch Birders: The Central Park Effect. Now we both want to go birding in Central Park during the spring migration!

Since that is not likely to happen any time soon Miss 14 will be satisfied with a more local birding adventure. On Saturday morning she flew up to Auckland (where she was met by complete strangers - this stretched my comfort level somewhat! - who drove her for the second leg of the trip) for a week long ornithology field course at the Miranda Shorebird Centre. It's an amazing opportunity for her - not only to see some birds we don't get down here, but also to learn different aspects of ornithology from a range of experts. She sent me a text on Saturday night to say she'd added three new species to her life list that day. She sounded pretty happy.

Before she left we managed to fit in one of our favourite summer activities - a trip to a local berry farm for some of their delicious berry ice creams.

I've spent a lot of my time this week trying to get a big picture overview of how I want this year of homeschooling (Mr 17's last- gulp!) to look and feel. To this end I've been re-reading  articles and re-listening to audios over at The Homeschool Alliance. Given I've been officially doing this homeschooling thing for 18 years, you'd think I'd have it figured out. And to a certain extent I do. But each child is different and I've been feeling flat and jaded so it seems like a good time to reframe how I'd ideally like our homeschool to look before getting bogged down in details of what subjects to study and which resources to use. I've been enjoying focusing on the big picture and considering how ideas from a wide range of authors could apply to my practice of homeschooling. Julie's audios have been really helpful at adding a practical homeschooling slant to the readings which are not your typical homeschool fare.

In addition I checked out a couple of MOOCs. One is a short four week course titled Learning How to Learn. So far I've picked up a few useful tips and tricks. Mr 17 is supposed to be working through it himself but I'll just pass on the highlights to Miss 14 since she's otherwise occupied for two of the class's four week. One of the topics she expressed some interest in studying this year is Music History so I was keen to check out Coursera's Introduction to Classical Music. The timing isn't great for her and there is a bit much work to easily fit into her schedule. Since it isn't exactly what she is after - a bit too abstract and technical we won't be taking advantage of it this time around. However, I'm trying to  keep going myself. Perhaps when the course moves away from theory and onto particular composers she might be keen to join me since I think that is more what she is after - educated musical appreciation.

I've also managed a lot of personal reading. I finished Germinal (a grim tale set in the French coalmines of the nineteenth century) and also read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as part of my Classics Club challenge. reviews should be coming soon. Seems I enjoy reading the classics more than I enjoy writing reviews about them! I also raced through Pointe, a Young Adult novel covering the "cheerful" topics of child abduction, rape, and anorexia among other things and What She Left Behind, which had left me wanting to bang my head against a wall at the power and injustice of the mental health system in the mid-twentieth century. I need to make sure that my next read is a little lighter I think.

I had great plans to get to all sorts of household chore this weekend but I seem to have come down with a virus. On Friday night I was overcome by a weird dizziness spell - the room was spinning, the walls were bulging and I felt like I was falling off the bed. Just one short recurrence since then (thank goodness) but I'm lacking in energy, feeling slightly light headed, slightly nauseous and just generally not quite right. Hopefully it will pass quickly. I had great plans for the coming week - including some one-on-one with Mr 17 before his sister returns.

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap-up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


  1. That sounds like you have some fun things going on, and the ice cream looks divine! I wish I could stow away in your pocket for some of the birding. When taking a toddler and preschooler with on all our trips to the woods, we don't see or hear any of the shy stuff, so I haven't had any new birds for my life list in quite some time. All that ornithology stuff you are talking about sounds like a real treat!

  2. Thanks for dropping by. I'm lucky we didn't get into birding until a couple of years ago. I can see how it would be a frustrating exercise with littlies. I wished we lived in the US or somewhere else that had more birdlife. We have relatively few species and many are seabirds and/or only found on remote offshore islands. Very limiting, especially when neither Miss 14 nor I do well on even short boat trips.

  3. We watched the same Birding documentary last year when Grace did half a year of bird study. We would also love to visit Central Park, so diverse. I can't imagine training on the trampoline for that many hours a day - 7 days straight. My legs would probably fall off. lol.

  4. "Flat and jaded" -- such a great description! I feel like that with my 14 and 17-year olds too! I am so focused on my 17-year-old and college that I haven't really been enthused about my 14 year old. I need to build some excitement for both of us in his last few years!

    1. I've heard the whole college application process can be brutal and time consuming. I'm so grateful the process where we are is quick, simple and straightforward. At least it was for my older two and I'm hopeful it still will be for my younger two.