Sunday, December 18, 2016

Week Ending 18 December 2016

Just one week until Christmas and I think presents and other organizational matters are finally beginning to fall into place. For which I'm  grateful - I hate the feeling of being disorganized and having lots of loose ends. Apart from seasonal preparations there have been a few other things of note.

* Not one but two birding trips this week. First up Miss 16 and I travelled north to an estuary, one of my favourite birding spots since there is a wide variety of bird life in a relatively compact area. On this trip we waited until the tide was lower, before walking through sticky, goopy mud to the far end, which is a favourite hangout of two fairly rare but regular migrant waders. On this trip we couldn't make it all the way down since one of the creeks was too high for us to safely cross. We still managed to spot one of the species we were after - a Far Eastern Curlew, which we admire for it's impossibly long curved bill. Later in the week we went out with a friend for a full day's birding. A national twitchathon was happening - basically a competition to see who could spot the most species in 24 hours. We weren't competing - Miss 16 doesn't enjoy birding as an extreme or competitive pursuit. But it was a great excuse to go out anyway. We visited six sites in eight hours. The birds weren't cooperating - several species  weren't to be found in locations where they normally are. But we had a great day regardless. Miss 16 managed to find (and point out to me since she's nice like that) a species I hadn't yet seen this year and we all got good views of the incredibly rare Cox's Sandpiper.

* Since she can never have too much bird-related we were pleased to discover a new David Attenborough bird documentary was being aired on tv this week. I don't think we've ever been disappointed with anything he's involved with.

* We took a trip into the centre of town to search for some new Christmas decorations. It's very disorientating since so many buildings have been demolished post earthquakes, a few new ones have been completed, and there have been several major changes to street layouts as well. Not to mention the ever present road closures and diversions to allow for infrastructure repair. I barely found my way around! Once I managed to get us to where we were going  Miss 16 quickly settled on an owl . Like I said she can never have too much of anything bird related. Besides nothing says summer Christmas like a snowy owl!

* We started another movie for Miss 16's Movies as Literature course. This time it was A Man For All Seasons. I can remember reading the play and then seeing it performed many years ago as part of a high school English class. We'll try to watch it again and give Miss 16 a chance to tackle the questions in the coming week. I think she could answer the questions on the first viewing, but she prefers to watch once just for enjoyment. And the curriculum does recommend at least two viewings.

* I began work planning Miss 16's  Animal Behaviour class. After some research I narrowed it down to a choice of two textbooks which I've borrowed from the library. Now she gets to decide which one she prefers and then she'll simply work through it over the course of the year. If there are major differences between the books in terms of content we'll use independent research to tackle the topics not covered in our book - time permitting of course.

* I stumbled across a site on how to tackle the Harvard Classics in just 15 minutes a day over a year. Spoiler - you read key extracts rather than everything in it's entirety! I'm toying with the idea of doing this with Miss 16 but still thinking about logistics especially when she is away from home. Would it be better to have her and I read separately (there is a Kindle book which would make this easier), wait until she returns and then read double until we are caught up, or just read when we are together and if it take more than a year then it takes more than a year? I guess I don't have to decide that right now.

* Miss 21 treated us to virtual field trips to Athens and to Canterbury, including the cathedral.

* Trampoline  finally finished for the year. Miss 16 is already missing it and planning ways to do some strength and conditioning work so she doesn't loose her fitness. She's even considering running - and she hates running! The three week break is too long as far as she is concerned.

Linking to the Weekly Wrap-Up and Homeschool Highlights


  1. Again, the memories of my trip to Europe so long ago are flooding back! Tell your girl thank you for me. :)

    I'm so intrigued by Miss 16's passion for birds. I love that she's found it and is developing it so intently. And kudos to you for mentoring her. I worry constantly that I don't mentor my kids enough, so I hope that my efforts count.

    1. We mothers (fathers too probably) always worry about whether we are doing enough. I worry whether I did enough of this sort of thing with my older three. In this regard Miss 16 is lucky to be the youngest. If she was the oldest I simplg could not have given her this level of practical support. The thought of trudging through the mud for hours at a time with three younger siblings who didn't want to be there makes me shudder. When I'm having a calm,zen-like parenting moment I like to assure myself that although the four kids have all had different childhoods ther are advantages and disadvantage to each and that - so far at least - they seem to be doing okay in life with no more than the usual ups and downs to worry about. In other words all our efforts count and make a difference.

  2. The cathedral is just beautiful! I love stained glass windows. It is one thing I wish my home church had.

    I like the idea of watching a movie twice for school work, once to enjoy and get acquainted and once to answer questions.

    Have a Merry Christmas with your warm weather! Right now it is about 1 degree Farenheit (-17 Celsius). We don't actually have snow, it melted a few days ago, but there is some ice. My children are excitedly counting down to Christmas.