Saturday, May 31, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up May 30, 2014

It is hard to believe that it is the end of May already. We got back into our school routine this week though the schools here are on half-term break. (I really do need to learn the school schedule just a bit so I am aware of what is happening around me. I might follow their schedule a bit more.) We are slowly finishing some books and then will transition to summer learning. School doesn't get out here until the middle of July.

We have a few more myths to finish and then we will finish the pockets that we started. We now have a printer so it will be easier to finish these. I wrote about the resources that we have used for Greek Myths, here.

We are working through Europe geography. We try to have a review time once or twice a week. We put the Europe GeoPuzzle together.

We played a quick review game covering all the countries we have studied. I grabbed a piece of cardboard from all the boxes we have. It was not a very planned activity. Just grab and see what we can create.  Bob wrote the country names. Then we answered various questions based on where we landed.

Bob did finish Editor in Chief book this week. This has been good for practicing proofreading grammar and punctuation errors. We began the book in the fall and it was a struggle for him to find the errors. I would often give him a cheat sheet that told what errors to be looking for. I put it away for a few months and recently got it out again. He improved so much; I was impressed. I asked him this thoughts after completing the book. It was interesting to hear what he had to say. He said it was easy to see improvement and it was a bit of a challenge but not too much. It helped to see mistakes. I was pleased with his self-assessment.

Miss K is slowly working through her books. I doubt that we will finish. Most likely we will just keep going. I am trying to be consistent with doing some therapy activities. I have a box or two of resources and lots of ideas from Pinterest. I have a column in my planner to use so hopefully that will be part of our day. This week one of the activities that she worked on was untangling the carabiners. I found some of these in a discount bin at the Grand Canyon, some on the giveaway table, and some from sunscreen containers.

The tongue out is a sign that she is working hard. This was a bit harder for her than I thought it would be but she stuck with it and did it.

Sometimes it is good to put things away and try them later. This dot-to-dot book is another example of something I put away. It is surprising the improvement that I see now. She is working on it.

We are still looking for a car and so we are learning to use the bus. Thankfully a bus stop is just around the corner. We were heading out for some Thai food.

We have enjoyed getting to know the neighbours. The kids have played with others on our street.

That wraps up our week and I have recorded our month's activities in my portfolio summary. I need to support a summary by the beginning of July of what we have done this year. Our organisation requires us to do this.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

E is for the English Language

“England and America are two countries separated by a common language.”

George Bernard Shaw

I am beginning to understand that more and more as we are here and using a common language but not saying the same thing.

Miss K was very confused when we were staying with a teammate and she served tea. Later Miss K was looking for dinner. She just didn't understand that tea was dinner. It does sound funny to my ears to hear someone say, "I am going to eat my tea."

One word that we have heard quite a bit is pop. We were in the bank filling out forms and we were told to, "Pop a signature here." Then we were told, "Pop on in if you have a question." We are planning to pop in on Friday with some questions.

When we were signing papers for our house, the agent went to "pop the card in the machine."

When my husband was on the phone, the lady told him, "I am going to pop you off."

The cashier told me, "Cheers" yesterday when I bought my groceries. I am still trying to learn when I use cheers.

Then there is lad, chap, and mate. Who is a lad, who is a chap and a mate and when do I use those words?

Bob had begun to call me mum. That didn't take long.

We eat biscuits for snack and enjoy crisps.  Pudding can be cake or other dessert. It is just a word for dessert though I have learned the usage might be based on class.

We are slowly learning and adjusting. I know that when I open my mouth it is confirmed that I am not from around here. I am afraid some days that we will be a confusing bunch to talk to as we add in the Chinese words we use with a few Russian words.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Blessings from the past few weeks

We have been in England for six weeks. As I look back on the past six weeks, I see many ways that God has lead and provided for us.

I mentioned the cottage in the country. That was God providing -- we needed a place to stay closer to where we would be living and on a Thursday we inquired and it was available. We later learned the cottage is normally completely books March to October.

We came to the city for two days to look for a place to rent. I had been spending many evenings online looking at properties. We had a preferred area but finding a house in that area in our budget was a challenge. We were considering that we might need to be in another part of town but that would take us away from the students. We had two places to look at when we came for the visit. The first one was okay but it was above our budget and really not in the best condition. The next one we felt that it was the place as we were driving to it. We drove past the church that had been recommended. It was in the area where we wanted to be and below our budget. We can see the bus stop from the upstairs window. There are a few stops nearby. God provided.

I was beginning to feel discouraged about all the furniture we were having to buy. A teammate called and said a friend of her sister's had to get rid of some furniture. We were given two sofas, a computer desk, and a wardrobe.

I don't think I have ever been to a more welcoming church. As we considered churches in this area, there was one that was recommended.  It is large for UK standards and we have been told one of the best churches in the north. We have found the people to be very friendly and welcoming. I took Bob to youth group and the leaders had heard about us. The finance manager for our team attends the church and they have been telling everyone about us. We were invited to Sunday lunch last week at the home of a couple that do international work here. We feel at home after just a few weeks. It is just a 10 minute walk from our house.

There are two home school families at the church. One of the mums called me last week and we chatted and then this week we went for a visit. She is about two minutes from the church in the opposite direction. We had a lovely visit. She has a 13 year old boy and a 9 year old daughter with a few others in the mix.

We have found people here to be very friendly. We had had people on the street ask if we needed directions. I asked someone yesterday if he knew where a street was and he looked it up on his phone.

We are blessed in so many ways and see how God has prepared this place for us.

We are in our house and slowly getting the furniture we need.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

D is for Delight

D is for dust – we have been clean in the house since we moved in.

D is for dirt as we have been working in the garden.

D is for dance, which is what Miss K likes to do in her new room.

D is for daily walks to the shopping nearby as we get all the things we need for our house. Today we bought a toaster. 

D is for days that we are counting down until we get phone and internet at home.

In all the daily things, I want to remember to “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Hopefully we will have internet next week until then I will write letters, read books, and enjoy our time together. 

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Postcards from the English Countryside

Postcard [pohst-kahrda small, commercially printed card, usually having a picture on one side and space for a short message on the other. 

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hiking - To the Top

We had been told that the weather later in the week would be nice and that was correct. I don't think it rained at all yesterday and it didn't rain today. We didn't have anything that needed to be done today so we decided to do some hiking/walking.

The area where we are staying has footpaths and over 30 miles of trails in the national park. We saw some cards about the various walks with this warning, "Walking might result in a healthier body."

Our first stop was the castle. We have driven past the ruins a few times. If you were in the car with us, we sound like tourists, "look there is a castle".

This is from the town level. Why is it that castles are built up on the top of the hill?

This did have an admission. We need to consider an English History membership to get in to some of these places free.

We made it to the top. This was mentioned in the Domesday survey, Peveril Castle is one of England's earliest Norman fortresses. The keep was built by Henry II in 1176.

We were able to go in the keep.

The Norman Keep which dominates the site is 40 feet square and 60 feet high, and was built under the orders of Henry 2nd about 1176 at a cost of under £200, but the only action it ever saw took place 40 years later in 1216 when the Barons revolted against King John.

Here is the view from the top. You can see the village as well as the surrounding valley. It was a nice clear day so we were able to see quite a distance.

Standing up on the hill Bob spied another mountain that he wanted to climb.

We drove to the edge of Winnats Pass and parked there. Then we found a footpath and began our climb. There are public footpaths through the area marked with a sign.

He made it to the top. We all did but this is just a great photo of him conquering the mountain.

I took a break along the way. Climbing with Miss K does mean that you take a few breaks. We are working her up to walk and climb but it will take some time. I am proud of her for doing as much as she did. I am also proud of her brother for carrying her down part of the way.

We did decide that if we are going to do more hiking we want to buy hiking boots.

You can see road down there. We have driven through the pass a few times. There is a sign as you begin to be careful of sheep in the road. We did have to slow down yesterday and allow the sheep to pass to the other side of the road.

These cute lambs were in the field next to where we were climbing.

We walked across the street to the cavern here and took a tour. It was an lead old mine that was filled with water and so the tour was in a boat. Miss K was not sure about it at first it was dark but she did enjoy it. The tour guide makes all the difference and we got a great tour guide, Connor. Sorry no photos of that it was just hard to get photos of a dark cave.

It was a fun day. Bob said that he had enough hiking for a year. I am sure he will be ready for a hike in a few days. We did stop and get ice cream.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

C is for Cottage in the Country

Do I get extra points for having two words that begin with C in the title?

We needed a place to stay for the week as we wait for the credit check. We wanted to be close to where we will be living so we could do some shopping and also get familiar with the area. The suggestion was a holiday cottage in the national park. We spent some time online looking for cottages then my husband began calling and contacting places. We found a place that was available for the week.

This was some of the roads on the way to the cottage.

God provided. We ate dinner in the village the other evening and when we told them where we were staying they said that place is usually filled from March to October so God was good in providing for us.

We are close to the city where we will live so we have been to church there though I stayed home with a sick child. Everyone was very welcoming and my husband met a home school family and learned there are about three home school families in the church.

This is looking out the window as we drove from our new house back to the cottage.

There are a number of hiking trails and also public footpaths. The other night Bob and I decided to walk one of the public footpaths. We climbed down the narrow steps and when I say narrow I mean about 25 inches. We then walked across the field with the sheep grazing next to us. We did have to be careful where we stepped. There was a bit of a path but really it was just some signposts along the way that said, footpath. We crossed through two fields climbing over the walls and through the gates. It was a fun adventure. It was a bit wet and muddy. I think hiking boots are on our list of things to buy. 

We hear the sheep from the cottage. Miss K came in last evening to tell me there were lots of sheep. 

We hear the rooster and have seen the chickens. The other morning the owner came over and brought us these.

These are called fresh eggs as they were still warm. We have enjoyed eggs for breakfast.

We are enjoying our time here at the cottage in the country.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Greek Myths - Resources

Since we had some time this spring, I decided to use that to study Greek Myths. I have had some of these books and resources on my shelf and decided it is time to use what we have.

Greek Myths are background learning for a classical education. Greek Myths are also a part of our culture. We use the phrase Pandora's box which comes from the Pandora's box. Produce names come from Greek myths such as Nike.

My favourite book for the Greek myths is D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d'Aulaire and Edgar. I was thrilled when they introduced the audio version of the books as well. We have the CD and it is nice to listen to the stories that way.

I also found Memoria Press has a study guide for D'Aulaires' Greek Myths. It has been a great resource. There is a list of the people and places, then some vocabulary words, review questions and discussion questions. I have found the discussion questions helpful. There are questions about comparing the gods to God, comparing parts of the myths with Biblical accounts.

Another resource that I have used in our Greek Myth study is Evan-Moor Greek and Roman Myth Literature Pockets. This has some activities for various myths. We enjoyed some fun activities with Pandora's Jar including colouring a Greek urn and then adding a lid that had a page with all the evils.

Here is Bob working on adding some snakes for hair on Medusa's head.

Here she is with the snakes for hair.

These resources have helped as we spend time reading the myths. The more we have read these the more we see the true God's greatness. He can't be tricked. He doesn't lie or cheat. He is holy and just and has so many other characteristics.

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Adjusting - Learning the Money

It is time to learn and understand the money specifically the coins when you can no longer zip your wallet. All of that was squeezed into my wallet.

Here is a bit of what I have learned.

The pound is divided into 100 pence. The symbol for penny is p so 50p would be half a pound. It is pronounced 50 p. The coins include 1 penny, 2 pence, 5 pence, 10 pence, 20 pence, 50 pence, 1 pound and 2 pound. So that is eight different coins that get in my wallet. Americans basically have four coins in circulation -- penny (1 cent), nickel (5 cents), dime (10 cents),  and quarter (25 cents). I doubled my coins, no wonder my wallet was getting full.

The 1 penny and 2 pence are both copper. The 1 penny is the smaller of the two.

The 5 pence, 10 pence, 20 pence, and 50 pence are all silver.  The 5 pence is the smallest about the size of a nickel. The 10 pence is about the size of a quarter. Both of these coins are round. The 20 pence is between the 5 pence and 10 pence in size but it is 7 sided. The 50 pence is also 7 sided and the largest of the coins.  The 50 pence is used in vending machines and needs to be able to roll so while it is 7 sided it does roll.

Then there is the £1 and the £2 coins.  The £1 is gold and the £2 is silver and gold. The £2 is the larger of the two. The slang term for £1 is quid. You could say that cost me 1 quid or maybe it cost 5 quid.

Here is some information about the coins from the Royal Mint.

I have found Project Britian to be a great website for learning various things about life here.

The banknotes include £5, £10, £20, and £50. These are different colours and also different sizes. They are not shorter than American bills and the width is greater so my husband noticed that they stick out of his wallet.

Another thing that I have had to learn is how to type the currency sign on the computer. For my Mac it is option 3. I have also learned how to write it so I can put it in my planner or other various notes to myself. The symbol is from medieval Latin documents where the words libra, solidus, and denarius (£sd) referred to pounds shillings and pence.

I think I know the coins now so I am ready to use some of the coins in my wallet.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Week in Review - Looking for a House

One of the benefits of home schooling is the flexibility. Monday was a bank holiday. On Saturday Miss K said to me, "Monday bank holiday, no school." I replied, "Monday is a bank holiday and you will have school." I don't know where she learned it was a bank holiday. Yes, she does drop the little words when she speaks (we are working on getting those words in her sentences).

We did school on Monday and then took Tuesday and Wednesday off to go look at housing. We have been looking at houses online. That was my nightly activity, check what houses are listed for rent. We had two appointments on Tuesday. The first one was nice but the condition was so-so and the price was beyond our budget. The next place we looked at, I think we knew it was the house as we were driving we went past the church we will attend. It is a semi-detached, it is older which means the rooms are larger. The kitchen is relatively new, there is new carpet and the walls are neutral. It was in our budget. The bus stop was just around the corner. There are some shops within walking distance -- small grocer, post office, butcher, hardware store, and a health food store. We put a deposit on it and now we are doing all the application and waiting. We did look at one other house but was way out of town.

We enjoyed lunch at a park that we found along the way.

Thursday and Friday were back to school. We are slowly finishing books and subjects. I have looked at where we are to see how much longer we have. We will do some different learning in the summer.

That wraps up our week here. We will be staying at a holiday cottage for the next week to be closer to where we will be moving.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

B is for the Beauty of the Lord

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: 
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, 
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. 
Psalm 27:4

This chapter begins with David describing the Lord -- my light, my salvation, the stronghold. Just the person to run to in times of trouble. Then we see what is happening in David's life. It was not an easy time for him. He is facing challenges -- evildoers are assailing him. There is an army encamped against him and war arising against him. So what is David's response to these hardships, the suffering that he is facing? Does he complain? Does he bemoan what is happening?

His response to not to fear. He knows where to place his confidence. He knows that because "the Lord is my light and my salvation, who shall I fear?" He knows there is nothing to be afraid of because "The Lord is the stronghold of my life."

In the midst of his suffering David states his desire to seek after, to dwell in the house of the Lord and to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. David's response to suffering is to worship. So sing and make melody -- worship God. My suffering is not an army encamped against me but it is real to me. Yet in the midst of my suffering I need to worship God. The response to suffering should be to worship.


This was inspired by a sermon from Paul Tripp.

Ben and Me

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Postcards from England

I decided at times that I will do a post titled postcards. I like sending postcards when we are away as it is a great way to share a photo as well as just a bit of what is happening.

Just postcards from around where we are staying.

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Week in Review - 2 May 2014

Monday started out with a trip to the Apple Store. My power cord was not charging the computer. It was about a 30 minute drive to the mall where there is an Apple Store. It was easy -- walk in, check my computer with a power cord there, swipe my credit card and I have a new power cord.

The kids were excited to be in a mall. Bob thought it was the first time he had been in a mall in England. Miss K was excited to find Build-a-Bear. I told she could go when Auntie Sheila comes.

Miss K spied a sign saying Five Guys is opening soon.

There really are no questions about her eyesight. She was also able to spot the Disney store two floors below. We did make a short visit to the store. Of course, she had a list of 25 or more items that she wanted. I keep telling her we will put it on her birthday list.

We have continued to work on school. The conservatory is great in the morning almost a bit cold but in the afternoon it gets hot in there. Maybe that is the incentive to get up and get school done.

We are going through the Greek Myths and enjoying that. I like have them on CD so we all listen and then talk about the myths.

We have moved to Europe in Geography. Wow! We timed live and school to the same lessons. I really try to take some time to review.  This is just an overview which is fine at this time.

Bob has been working on Keys to Fractions taking a break from his Saxon lessons. He will need to go back and finish Saxon but the extra fraction practice is good as well.

Miss K got the camera. I try to keep it with me while we are doing school so I can at least have it close if I want to take a photo.

The kids discovered the game Frustration and played it.

Some of the normal everyday things that we have been doing include laundry.

That about wraps up our week here. We opened a bank account today so the next thing is to buy a car and find a house to rent.

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