Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fortnight Ending 21 June 2015

I can't seem to keep to a weekly posting schedule at the moment - perhaps because nothing very interesting has happened.

* Homeschooling is rolling along, relatively smoothly. Miss 14 is busy factoring trinomials in maths. Turns out she enjoys this and finds it straightforward. Mr 17 is doing lots of things with logarithms. Turns out he does not enjoy this and does not find it straightforward!

* We're still in Africa for geography. Miss 14 opted to memorise all the countries at once and did so with surprising ease. Mr 17 stuck to the regional breakdown suggested by the programme but hasn't devoted a lot of time to the task. He got through last week's quiz with 100% anyway which irritated his sister no end. I'll be interested to see how the next test goes, since it includes West Africa which I found the hardest region to memorise.

* She's just started Things Fall Apart, which looks at the impact of colonialism on a traditional Nigerian society, for her World Literature course. Meanwhile he's working on a film analysis essay for his Comparative Politics course. He selected Traffic, a gritty look at the Mexico-US drug trade.

* Miss 14 is nearing the end of her Art History/Appreciation course. Just Post-Modernism plus one other topic - probably Islamic Art to cover. Which means I'd better check I've got all my ducks in a row for Music History/Appreciation which we'll do for the rest of the year.

* It's not all serious study around here. I love the fact that the kids still break up their day with a variety of board and card games - although I wish they were better at tidying them away when they were done!


* Miss 14 and I have managed a couple of good birding expeditions. Last weekend was the winter wader count. It was a bitterly cold day - poor Miss 14 lost feeling in her fingers and couldn't hold her pencil while I thought my ears might fall of, despite my hat - but we did see a few interesting birds. Once we'd finished the count we headed to a nearby lake hoping to spot a Little Egret, a species which is relatively rare but has visited this area regularly for the past few years. We'd already made a couple of recent visits without success. However, we had luck this trip. We spotted one, it's long filoplumes blowing in the breeze, at the far end of the lake feeding with a White-Faced Heron and a White Heron. Sadly, they were on the opposite bank, well out of range for our camera. On the drive home we were surprised to spot another one roosting in a willow at the other end of the lake, along with some Pied Cormorants. The  tree was right beside the road so we stopped to get a photo - but the Little Egret flew off before we could get the camera focused!

Two seconds previously there was a Little Egret roosting with these guys!

We also went on our monthly mid-week ramble with several other birders. This trip was around a smaller man-made lake close to the city and airport.

It was another crisp morning but at least hypothermia wasn't a risk! Lots of Fantails flitting about, plus several majestic looking Australasian Crested Grebes.

* Mr 17's homeschooling will undergo a bit of an overhaul in the next month.  The local university has long offered high school students the opportunity to take a couple of first year papers while not being formally enrolled. Just recently the decision was made to offer some of those papers for free - including a couple that Mr 17 intended taking when he enrolled next year. After careful consideration, we've rejigged our plans and he'll start his first university course when the second semester starts in a couple of weeks. This allows him to get a taste of university study (we're not entirely sure that university is a good fit for him) and to save some money at the same time. I think/hope he'll rise to the challenge.

* Mr 22 left on Friday for two weeks in Europe - a conference in Germany, followed by some research in a lab in France. He doesn't really like to travel, but the rest of us wish we could go in his place. With all the frosts we've had lately a couple of weeks of European summer sounds good to me. He was lucky to make it though. Fog delayed his flight from here which meant he nearly missed his connection to London. They were just about to shut the boarding gates as he raced up. But he's there safely now which is the main thing.

Linking up with Kris's Weekly Wrap-Up.

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