We watched it circling for a while. I had a very brief moment of concern that it might be trying to gauge whether or not we or the dogs were too big for it to handle. I know, given the chance, it would have taken one of our chickens.
She tried to get a picture.
Later, she told me it was a Cooper's hawk, and then, she told me about how she's seen these same birds on multiple occasions. She had a whole litany of places and times when she'd seen them, and she decided to find out what kind of bird it was. While some resources claim that making the distinction between the Cooper's Hawk and the look-A-like, Sharp-skinned hawk, can be difficult, there was no mistaking the sound. I've heard that monkey call on many occasions. It's definitely a Cooper's Hawk, and she further identified it as being a female, based on size and coloring.
And I'm impressed - awed, actually - that she figured it out.
Last night after dinner, while Deus Ex Machina and I were still sitting at the table chatting, Precious sat next to me with a math workbook we picked up from somewhere. We provide resources for the girls, and they have lots of books, workbooks, games (both board and virtual), educational toys, paint/markers/colored pencils/crayons, paper, journals, sketch books, chalkboards, globes, computers, iPods, educational posters (including one on laser doppler anemometry that we're using in lieu of a curtain or blinds on the French doors in our bedroom ;), and other manipulatives (like dice). But we don't *do* formal lessons with due dates and grades. When the girls decide they are interested in a subject, they pick up (or ask for) a resource and do activities related to that project. Last night, for Precious, it was math, and she worked on some addition, and then, she worked on some multiplication, and we sat with her and helped her when she needed us.
That's the way we do most lessons: it comes up because it's related to something we've seen - like the hawk; or one of the girls gets interested in doing it, and just does.
One of the most oft asked questions of us, especially this time of year, centers around a curiosity of when our school year ends/begins. It's hard to explain that there is no end or beginning, that learning is continuous, that everything is learning, and nothing is. The short answer is: our school year ends after dance recital and the next year begins around July 1. No, we don't take summer vacation, but rather, we space our "time-off" throughout the year so that if we have a day when we don't feel like doing anything, we don't.
Of course, sometimes, on those days when we don't feel like doing anything, we still are, and some of the best "school" days we've ever had were days that no one would recognize as being a "school" day.
2013 Wyvern Academy Highlights
Here's how to make your own.
*********************There was more, of course. There are ongoing, year-round music lessons with master teacher, Andy Happel (and this June 2012 TEDxDirigo talk that Little Fire Faery was invited to participate in :). There was the Mother Earth News Fair in September at which Deus Ex Machina and I were speakers. We hosted a NaNoWriMo writing workshop class in November. I taught a formal economics/social studies class called World Without Oil, and Big Little Sister taught a class on set-up and maintenance of a home aquarium in the spring.
And there was the every day, little things that we do that often get no formal recognition, but that are very much a part of our learning experience.
It's been a fun year. I'm excited to see what happens during this next one ;).