Sunday, February 1, 2015

Week Ending 1 February 2015

The last week of our - admittedly lengthy - summer break. I'm not sure about the kids but I don't feel ready to start back into our high-tide, formal homeschooling phase. However, on Monday that is exactly what we shall be doing whether or not I feel ready!

Some highlights of the week.

* I progressively felt better. The vertigo has been at bay long enough that I feel safe driving again which is very liberating for me. I was getting very sick of the sight of my own four walls.

* I spent time looking over employment contracts for both Mr 17 and Miss 14. When they were babies I didn't imagine the day when my parenting duties would include checking their employment contracts. He started  a part-time job at a supermarket bakery this week and seems to be mostly enjoying it so far - despite the slightly silly  customers, including one who asked for a sample of what they had been told was the last loaf of its type. Mr 17 obliged but then the customer got grumpy when there was no longer a full loaf for them to buy. Miss 14 starts a very, very part-time trampoline coaching position on Monday. That means I'll be the only member of the family not actually earning any income.

* Mr 17 resigned from his paper delivery round. It had previously been Mr 22's round before that so it's been "in the family" for over ten years. The manager actually gave Mr 17 a "golden handshake" (a couple of movie passes) as thanks for his lengthy and reliable service.

* The coordinator of the ornithology field course sent the photos he had taken of Miss 14. It was great to see her working with the birds, instead of just the photos she took of others.

Scared Kingfisher and Bar-Tailed Godwits.

* I put the finishing touches to Miss 14's homeschooling plans. She wanted to do something on art and/or music history and appreciation. I've finally come up with a rough outline combining some resources we already owned with some online resources. It's a fairly broad guideline and we may well depart from it but I find if we don't at least start with a plan nothing much happens.

* I'm finally making progress with Mr 17's courses. He wanted something to do with comparative politics. I thought it would be easy to find resources given it is an AP subject but I struggled to find what I was after let alone envisage a way of pulling everything together into a coherent whole. Finally today I found a site where the teacher had his whole course planned out, week by week with handouts and readings included. Brilliant! Now I can subtract what we don't want (an AP level course is probably more than Mr 17 wants) and substitute/add in other resources and ideas that I like.

* A rare gull has possibly been sighted in the city. Miss 14 and I went to check it out. We didn't find it (but neither has anybody else) so we observed these immature terns and gulls instead.

* The first part of the Downton Abbey Christmas special was on television. I'm not as big a fan as I was. Some of the more recent story lines seem a bit far-fetched and overly melodramatic for my taste. But I do still enjoy it and it's fun spending time with both the girls together.

* Lots of reading. I finished Jane Smiley's Some Luck and The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion. Love the way that last one gets the reader inside the head of a rather quirky character. Miss 14 finished Walk in My Shoes about Afghani refugees in Australia. She was also reading Kate Milford's Greenglass House.

* Miss 14 and I have begun reading Hamlet aloud - one scene per day (two if they are short). We've just started a new MOOC - Shakespeare's Hamlet: Text, Performance and Culture which we're enjoying so far. We have another couple of Shakespeare MOOCs planned for this year. Along with what we did last year there will be more than enough for a high school credit - Shakespearean Drama or perhaps Shakespearean Literature if we read a few sonnets.

* Dh, Miss 14, Miss 20 and I spent a couple of pleasant hours exploring the city centre today. First up was Solidarity Grid , a public art installation of street lamps from around the world. Some cities have beautiful street lamps while others seem functional only. A couple made us think we could go to Narnia!

Then we checked our progress on the deconstruction/reconstruction of the city centre.

Plenty of empty sites had fencing and signs advising what will be built there. One construction site  had these duck sculptures floating in its flooded foundations - not a place I'd have thought to look for public art.

We also checked out some of the Gap Filler sites - temporary uses of lots that are waiting to be rebuilt.

Sadly nobody was using the Dance-o- Mat. If we'd had an iPod with us we could have connected it to the washing machine, popped in a coin and had our music play loudly for us to dance to. The Dance-o-Mat currently shares a site with Tree Houses for Swamp Dwellers.

The fact that there are so many empty lots around means the sides and backs of many buildings, which are normally hidden, are in full view. They provide a great canvas for artists and there is some great street art to be seen.

I especially love this one - the way the artist has integrated the art with the crumbling outside of the building. I think this is being rebuilt and/or restored.

Since it was hot cooling gelatos were a perfect end to the morning. No photos though - we were too busy eating them before they melted!

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

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