Sunday, April 17, 2016

Week Ending 17 April 2016

This was a much less eventful week than last week, which meant we had much more time to devote to actual homeschooling. In fact we had more time than a normal this week since Miss 15 did not have any university classes ( the university has just started a two week mid-semester break) and no coaching (the current recreation trampoline term has ended) - just training which for Miss 15 is not until the early evening.

So we accomplished all the planned schoolwork  this week. Four maths lessons from Algebra 2 completed  (44 finished for the year so far which means we are 1/3 of the way through the book) plus one chapter in Help for High School for writing. This week involved keenly observing an idea. Miss 15 focused on the recent referendum on whether or not to change our national flag. I liked the way the exercise encouraged students to look at both sides of the issue, to consider it from various angles and in different ways. We had lots of fun with ornithology, completing several lessons from HHMI Biointeractive. We did a lot of statistical analysis including constructing spreadsheets on Excel.

This was all new for us so we took it slowly. To finish up The Beak of the Finch unit we did a fun simulation activity, using different tools to represent different sized beaks and seeing how useful they were with different types of seed.

Simulating a small beaked finch ...and a large beaked finch.

I've seen plenty of variations of this activity. Most are aimed at younger students but the structure of this one plus the follow up analysis meant it was suitable for high school level students. We did have to modify it slightly since it is designed for a larger group of students. But it was still very worthwhile. To finish up the week we completed another HHMI unit - Great Transitions: The Origin of Birds. We enjoyed a short film examining the links between birds and therapod dinosaurs, an interactive activity on comparative anatomy, then another film looking at a biologist's study of how young birds use their developing wings. Really fascinating stuff. These HHMI Biointeractive units have made a great contribution to our ornithology studies.

One advantage to actually staying at home and not having to deal with any unplanned interruptions is that you can get all your schoolwork done in a relaxed fashion and still have plenty of time to do other more fun things. This week Miss 15 took  an hour or two one morning bake a birthday cake (for me) with her older sister.  Another morning was also spent with her big sister on a girly outing to the hairdresser. And Miss 15 and I spent a morning on a birding excursion with our local birding group - fun and it counted as field work for her ornithology course.

Since Mr 18 is on a break from unviersity he decided to put his "professional" skills to work at home and make some French bread from scratch. The recipe recommended periodically spraying the oven with a fine mist of water from a spray bottle. Since we didn't have a spray bottle he compromised - with a water pistol!

The other big news of the week was confirmation of an overseas trip for trampoline training. We've known about the possibility for a while so Miss 15 has been saving hard to fund it. It also given her an opportunity for some real life learning -  applying for a passport!

Linking with Kris's Weekly Wrap-Up.


  1. What a neat and wonderful activity for learning about birds. I love the idea of using different tools to represent different beak sizes.

  2. Hahaha! I love the water pistol and that you didn't have a spray bottle. Somehow, we never have a spray bottle!