Sunday, 30 June 2013

Our New/Old Home

My husband and I left the kids with my parents and drove our new RV to our new/old house.  We had fun on our road trip getting chance to try out our new camper although driving was a bit hair rising at first for my husband.  While my husband wanted me to take the wheel and try driving, I declined, maybe next road trip.

 We arrived in town and were able to check out our house.  We have had renters there while we were in England.  Thankfully our renters left it in pretty good condition so we were very relieved.

Since we arrived it has been a flurry of activity getting new carpeting, painting, and other needed improvements done in order to get ready for the family to move in.  My husband and I created a checklist and we are slowly working our way down the list.  We hope to have it all completed  by the end of next week.  We don't expect our furniture to arrive until the end of July.

One of the big things I am doing is converting our bonus room into a school room. I can't wait to have a designated room for all our school supplies.  I plan on painting the room a bright cheerful yellow and accent it with white furniture ie. book cases and desks.  Since this is a big project to do and expensive it will done done slowly over the next few months or year.  The most important thing to do in this room is paint it and add better lighting.

We have also purchased a new car, a Honda Odyssey.  I love it!!!  It took a little bit for me to get comfortable driving on the "right side" of the road again.  

We had our storage delivered  this week.  We haven't seen this stuff in nearly five years. As the packers were unloading the truck I couldn't help but think I stored some really silly things...things I just couldn't part with at the time of our move.  I haven't unpacked these boxes yet, I wonder if I will be a lot better at purging as I unpack, because really if I haven't missed it in nearly five years do I really need it:).  

I am still on that stage where I am comparing everything to the UK so I am sure I am annoying to my friends and family;).  There are some things here in the US that I am thrilled to be able to do/see again, but I also missed certain things I can only find in the UK or Europe.   

Thanks for stopping by commenting, I hope to be back visiting your blogs soon, once life settles down a little:)

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Stateside at last!!

We made it across the ocean and have been spending some lovely time with my parents and refamilarizing ourselves with America, at least the state of Pennslyvania;)!    It has taken me a bit to figure out how to write blog posts on my iPad and download photos but hopefully I have figured it out!

While here at my parents I am keeping the summer schedule very light, for the kids.  They just have two things on their daily schedule, read for a minimum of 60 minutes a day, a book of their choice, and practice  playing the piano.

The local library is having a summer reading program for kids and they allowed us to obtain library cards so the children can participate which I thought was very nice of them, considering we don't live here.  The library is also holding several kids oriented classes a week and we attended one on " making your own time capsule."

My father bought minor league baseball tickets and took my husband and son to a local game.  My Dad was so thrilled that my son thoroughly enjoyed himself and wants to go again.  This was his first ever baseball game, however, thanks to cub scouts he knew some of the rules and understand the gist of the game. I have no pictures as I can't retrieve them from the iPod yet:(.

While the boys were out at the game my Mother and I took my daughter to the local park where they were having a free summer concert.  The local band was excellent and played music ranging from jazz to pop.  My daughter experience her first ever funnel cake, YUM! I am told my son also had one at the ball park;).


Lastly and most excitedly my parents gifted us with their old RV!  My family can't wait to hit the road in it as we explore the United States in the upcoming months/years.  My husband and I have been working on getting it road ready (the RV has been sitting in storage for the last two years) and we are planning a road trip to St Louis.  Our children will be remaining with my parents  as we will be working on getting our home ready for move in.  We have had renters living it in for the past four years and it needs some work done.  My parents and the kids can't wait to have us leave, my parents so they can spoil the kids and my kids can't wait to be spoiled without Mom ruining their fun:)!  

Transitioning back to the states is going well for three of us.  Princess is having a much harder time as she misses her best friend and we have already had one outburst of "I am running away and going back to England."  My husband and I are trying hard to be patient with her mood swings and angry outbursts but they are proving to be very challenging.  Right now my daughter is talking to her friend twice a week via the phone.  Her mood always improves afterwards for a few hours!

Thank you for stopping by and I hope to be back to visiting your blogs soon we have limited computer time.

Friday, 14 June 2013

We are leaving on a Jet Plane, Don't know when we'll be back again

Well, if you are reading this we are on a plane heading to the states and my parents house.  Our rental house is packed up and all our stuff is loaded onto truck and hopefully it is now on a ship coming to the states.  While we look forward to our new adventure we are so sad to be leaving the UK.  We have truly enjoyed our time learning to live like a Europeans.  Lots of people (mostly the Brits) have asked us why we like it over here so much.  I am always amazed when I hear they would leave if they had the chance.  I guess the grass is always greener.  So here are just a few of the reasons we love it here:
Our homeschool group, the many friends we made and the fabulous learning opportunities that came our way!

Visiting and touring Castles both grande and those in disrepair

Visiting the great museums in Europe
Visiting history's famous homes -- Newtons

Visiting Cathedrals and admiring the stain glass

Going into London for the day or weekend to see a show or  go sight seeing

Visiting farms and seeing live births of farm animal every spring

My husband getting to enjoy his hobby and learning about the middle ages as a family

Visiting stately homes

Visiting gardens

Seeing National Heritage sites 
Visiting cemeteries of the Great Wars and honoring those who served and died

traveling far and wide --- we have had many amazing traveling opportunities
Lastly but most importantly we will miss our friends

Good Bye England we hope to be back again really soon:)!!!

For the next several weeks we will be transitioning to our new home.  Blogging will be sporadic at best, but I hope to be able to update you on our activities occasionally, until we get settled.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Children's Piano recitals

Right before we left the UK my kids had their last Piano recital.  They have come a long way since we first started nearly 2 and half years ago.  Just recently both kids passed their Level 2 ABRSM Piano test, one with a distinction which is very, very hard to earn.  Considering neither my husband or I have any musical skills we are so happy that the children seem to enjoy Piano and have an ear for music, from where that comes from we don't know:).

First was Little Man -- He played 3 pieces -- the  third piece is his best!

Next was Princess -- She played 2 known pieces and then played a piece that she composed all by herself!

The kids were thrilled that some family and friends were able to come and see them perform at their recital.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Raku Pottery

We had an opportunity to do a quick Raku pottery class before we left England.  The Homeschool Mom who runs this was so kind to squeeze us in and even held the class on a day when it rained on and off as time was running out for us.   I have seen Raku pots in shops before but didn't know the process so it was very exciting to see and be able to make a few pots to take home with us.

First we were instructed on the painting methods and how the process of Raku works.  You can't always predict what your piece will turn out like, but that is part of the fun:)

Each of us were able to complete 2 pots.  Little Man painting his

Princess painting hers

Loading the kiln, we did two separate firings.  This was a homemade kiln that the Mom made taking a class from the Anglican Pottery society.  Pretty impressive

Propane was used to fire up the kiln

Each child was brought in one at a time to take a peek at the process of the firing on and off .  the kiln can get up to 1000 degree C.  Each firing took about 60 minutes 

Moms being instructed on how to work as a team to prevent any injuries.  Children watched this part as it is quite dangerous

Opening the kiln

Removing the very hot pottery from the kiln

Placing the pottery into steel can filled with wood sawdust.  The minute the pottery hits the sawdust it burst into flames

adding more saw dust on top of the pottery

Closing the lid and then we allow the pots to oxidize We left the pots in the can for about 20-30 minutes

Pottery is still very hot, they are then removed 

and placed into buckets of water.

Then the children use sponges or steel pads to  scrub their pots of all saw dust

The end result!!!

We really enjoyed ourselves and are so very pleased with our pots.  I can't wait to find a special place to display them when we get resettled into our new home.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Yearly Wrap Up

We wrapped up our studies the end of May because we are moving!  I just looked at our calendar and we are at 163 days but managed to meet the 1000 hours requirement for our new home a couple of weeks ago.  So I feel we have completed the official school year.  We don't have any requirement in England so this new system of keeping track of hours, courses and other state requirements will be a new thing for me next year.  I only roughly kept track this year, sort of a practice run;).  Since we school year round we will be continuing to do something educational during the move but it will mostly be living life, reading, and settling into our new home and new environment with the occasional school assignment when time and energy permits.   So here I am putting down what we have accomplished and what we will resume once we get settled.

Math - Math U See

Princess is one chapter away from completing Delta book so we will be taking that with us to finish
Little Man is also nearly done (5 chapters) away from completing Gamma book and will continue to work on this while we move.  We want both books done by Sept. so we can move on to the new books

IEW - writing

We got a very late start with this program and are at the half way point.  I plan to have the children continue with this program thru the summer when time permits.  But realistically we will probably still be working on it in Sept but we hope to order the new program before Christmas.

Grammar - Growing with Grammar book

Both kids have finished their books for the year

HWT - handwriting

Both kids have finished their books for the year

Science - Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry and Astronomy 

We have completed both books and all lab work requirements --  we have enjoyed doing this with our friends and will really miss them when we return to the states.


Princess is typing loads to friends and family as well as typing up her own stories so I will remove this requirement from her school list next year as I feel she does plenty of work on her own with out prompting from me.
Little Man continues to use a typing program and needs prompts to practice so it will remain on his schedule for next year.


We have completed learning about the Mesopotamia, Mongols, Marco Polo, Kublai Khan and the Silk Road.  We have completed lap books, notebook pages, watched DVDs, read plenty books and visited museums.  While we have touched briefly on ancient China this year we are unable to proceed further so we will continue in Sept.


Goal was to cover 4-6 countries we managed 3 1/2, Tanzania, Argentina, India, and a little bit of China.  We also did a study on the history of religions and covered Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, and Buddhism and the areas where each religion originated.

Art - Meet the Masters program

My goal was to complete 4-6 artist in this program and we managed to cover 6 artists this year; Homer, Remington, O'Keefe, Hokusai, Mastisse and Degas

Foreign Language - Spanish

Big failure on my part:(, so much so my kids now no longer wish to learn spanish.  I just couldn't find a program that the kids or I felt was fun and where carry over was enough to keep an interest.  Definitely going to find a tutor for this area or a class in our next area...may even let the kids choose a different language in order to regain a spark of interest in this area, I hope

Character Education - Character First

goal was to complete 4-6 traits this year.  We covered 3 Responsibility, Patience and Initiative we will continue to address this next year.

Spelling-  AAS

We are behind but that is my fault entirely.  We will be continuing with this during the summer and hopefully be ready to move onto the next book by Sept.

Technology - computer

This is my husband's area and it is really hit or miss, however this year the kids learn a little from the scratch program, learned how to make power point presentation and Princess is developing a blog with a friend.  I am going to look for a program or class for this area when we get to our new location.


Both kids completed their ABRSM level 2 piano test and did excellent.  Currently working on their Level 3 scales and had their last piano recital the first weekend of June.  Both kids love playing so we will be continuing this next year once we find a new teacher.  My goal was to also study 3 composers this year we managed to complete 2 Haydn and Mozart.  Kids have been learning the musical timeline with their piano teacher as well as musical theory.

Physical Education

Swim lessons weekly with Princess graduating from the swimming program and is now ready, if she choses, to do a swim team or club, I will look to see what is available in our next location.
Little Man is a little over half way thru the program so will continue with lessons when we return to the states.

Horse riding weekly lesson for Princess until end of May, but we are not sure this will continue when we return to the states.

Martial Arts class for both kids weekly lessons, both kids would like to continue but I would have to find the right class for them


Both kids have completed a year in Scouting.  Princess has bridged into Cadette level for Girl Scouts
Little Man is now a Weblo 1 for boy Scouts.  We are not sure we will continue with this when we return to the states, will be looking into other options that we have heard about but are not available to us here at this time.

I am in the process of deciding curriculum for next year.  When I have my decisions made I will post.  For the most part I am happy with what we are using, however, I am considering adding a vocabulary program to our list.  Looking at the Wordly Wise 3000 computer if you have any suggestions or feedback on this program or any others please leave me a comment:)

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Art--Glass Class

We have been attending a monthly Glass Art class with our home schooling group.  Last month the kids learn to work with fret glass (which is tiny pieces of glass) in addition to copper and other metals to make a picture.
Little Man working on his pattern 

Princess hard at work

 Some of the pieces before firing

The pieces after firing

This month the kids learn how to paint on glass.  I took an more advance class on this several months ago at a local cathedral.

Kids being instructed in the art of painting on glass

Little Man practicing

Princess working on her creation

Little Man working on his creation
 After firing the pieces look like this:

Princess's pieces

Little Man's pieces

My pieces

In this class we only used brown for the outline no other color was used as the class only had time for one firing.  I think  when we return to the states I may get some glass paints and have the children color in their work if they like.  We had a great day painting and are quite pleased with our results:)