Sunday, June 29, 2014

These boots were made for hiking

We are living on the edge of a National Park and one that is an area with numerous footpaths and trails. We decided that is something that we want to take advantage of and enjoy. It seems that a favourite pastime here is hiking/walking. That might just be the city we live it.

Yesterday we headed to the store and bought boots. We needed the stability and also something that could handle mud. Miss K was excited to get some that have a bit of pink. "My favourite colour."

We decided to break them in this afternoon with a short hike. It wasn't raining and the sun was out though it wasn't that warm.

About 20 feet down the path and Miss K was ready for a drink and a snack. I convinced her she had to keep walking. She did pick up one rock.

Daddy and J were in the lead. Father and son walking along, setting the pace.

We didn't see much wildlife except for a few slugs. I am not sure that was the wildlife that we were looking for. It was quiet on the path. I love the sound of the water flowing over the rocks. The bridge seemed like a perfect place for a photo.

Miss K took the bridge as yet another opportunity to take a break. She took the rock that she had picked up and seeing the rocks in the creek she threw her rock in to "join its family".

We only were walking for about 40 minutes. We just did a circle and came out to the same parking lot where we left our car.

We broke in our shoes. We did talk about how funny that sounds to buy something and then break it in. This particular area is about a 10 minute drive from our house and there are a number of trails/footpaths so I think we will have to go back and try again. Hopefully Miss K will be able to go at least 50 feet before needing a drink and a snack. She did get a snack when we were finished.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

York - City of History

We met some friends that we know from the northwest as they were visiting York for the day. We both lived in Asia at the same time and visited a few times then and we connected when we were both on the east coast so it was fun to meet them in another location. For us it was a short drive.

Miss K was excited to go to York as she was looking forward to the American Girl Store. We had to tell her that is in New York and this is York.

I really didn't know much about York and so I spent a bit of time learning a bit before our trip. I knew it was the white rose vs. Lancaster the red rose. I spent some time reading a bit of the history but also looked online to see what are the top places to visit. I discovered a free walking tour and decided to try it. It was a three hours tour. I thought if it wasn't what I wanted I could just drop out. I felt that would give a good overview of the city.

I also prepared a scavenger hunt for the kids. I copied some photos of building in York and added a list of some other things to look for while we were there. Something written in Latin, something from Roman Times, Something from William the Conqueror, a white rose, stained glass window, a tea shop, and Starbucks (I wanted a cup of coffee). I am not always sure how things like that will be view but in this case J enjoyed it.

We started at the Minster and began walking.

We walked through the Bootham Bar gate as we headed out for our walk. This was one of four gates around the city.

We saw something dating from Roman times -- the remains of a Roman fort.

The city was founded in AD 71 when 5,000 men of the Ninth Legion marched form Lincoln and set up camp. The Romans called the city, Eboracum. Now I want to read The Eagle of the Ninth.
On November 1, 866 the Vikings attacked. When they were digging the foundation for a shopping centre they found a number, like about 40,000 artifacts from the Viking time. The Vikings called the city, Jorvik. There is a Viking Museum but we didn't visit it.
We saw the ruins of St. Mary's Abbey once the richest abbey in north England. It was closed during the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. 

We walked along the city walls from the Bootham Bar to the Monk Bar. The walls were not as wide as I thought they might be. It was fun to walk along the city walls. There was a great view of the Minster. 

We walked The Shambles, yes that is what the street is called. The Shambles is a street in the centre of the city. Now it is full of little shops and places to get sweets and souvenirs. This street was mentioned in the Domesday book so it is more than 900 years old and is one of the bet preserved medieval streets in Europe.
So how did it gets its name? Shambles comes from the Medieval word, Shamel which meant booth or bench. The Shambles was a street of butchers. The livestock were slaughtered on this street and the meet places on the shelves at the window bottoms. The pavement is raised on either side and the centre was a ditch where the butchered would wash away their waste. 
I just bought a few post cards.
We walked and saw Clifford's Tower which is what remains of a castle which William the Conqueror built in 1068-9.

In 1068-9, William the Conqueror built two motte and bailey castles in York, to strengthen his military hold on the north: the mound of the second, now known as the 'Old Baile', can be seen clearly across the river from Clifford's Tower.  

After the walk, the kids and I did walked there. That was what J wanted to show Miss K. We went in and walked up around the top. Miss K was not sure she wanted to climb up the stairs but we convinced her she could do it. She was excited to say she did it.

Stuart went to the York Minster while the kids and I went to Clifford Towers. We joined him later for Evensong. Evensong is a great way to see the inside of a cathedral without paying the admission.

The full name of the York Minster is The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York but the easy thing to say is the Minster. There were previous churches on this site. The construction for the current Minster was begun in 1220. The archbishop at that time wanted a Gothic structure something to compare to Canterbury. The building was completed in 1472. Can you imagine beginning a project that you know won't be completed in your lifetime. Being the Americans that we are the comment was made, "that was finished before Columbus sailed to the New World."

Here is a bit from the inside. There was some stained glass in there that dates back to the 12th century.

I told you York was a city of history. Here is just one more historical thing that we saw. I know it is a statue. It is a statue of Constantine. Yes, Constantine and the Edict of Milan. So what was he doing in York? Well, he came to Britain with his father, the emperor Constantius in 305. Constantius died in York. The soldiers in York proclaimed Constantine their leader. The statue stands at the location where that happened.

Romans, Vikings, William the Conqueror, Medieval -- York is full of history.

The walking tour really does give you an overview and understanding of the history of the city. J went on the tour with me and he said that he enjoyed it and learned something.

We would enjoy going back and visiting some of the museums.

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Week In Review 27 June 2014

This week we continued to unpack and find places for things. I am feeling like the kitchen and dining room/school room are finished.

On Tuesday we went to York about an 1.5 hours drive. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the other side of the city to the motorway. We met some friends there and spent the day in the city. I am working on a post about the day.

We finished our Greek Myths Literature Pockets. I think one of my favourite things that they did was Pandora's jar. They were given the jar to decorate. We looked online at some Greek urns and then he went to work decorating. I think he did a great job and I love the cracks that he included.

Once you have the jar decorated you cut a slit and put a strip of paper on the lid and list the evils that escaped.

We had fun doing this but also had some conversation about evils in the world.

Bob finished his maths book. He will still be working on maths this summer. He need confidence and to learn to work on his own. I am planning to give him a stack of maths books and allow him to decide what he wants to do and work on it for 20 -30 minutes. I have some workbooks, some Life of Fred, and a few other things.

Miss K is continuing to work. My husband made an observation that she has learned all the words to the Frozen songs so what is we put her math facts to music. I pulled out the CD from Classical Conversations for the skip counting. We started working on skip counting the 2's. I have to say she will work hard to get it right. We practice and then she wants to try. If she doesn't have it, she will try again.

We have been enjoying Experience History through music from Diana Waring. It is fun to hear Miss K try to sing along. The stories about the songs have helped us to understand some parts of American  history.

We will begin our summer learning next week. We basically school year round though summer is a bit more relaxed and we do something different. We are going back to Winter Promise Sea and Sky. We got to week 11 two years ago and we will see how many weeks we can do this summer. Schools here are still in session until July 20 or so.

As I have unpacked I have found a number of things that we need to use, some workbooks, games to play, activities to do and others.. I have most of the read alouds from the year we did Sonlight and I think Miss K is at the level to enjoy those books. I am looking forward to reading My Father's Dragon, The Year with Miss Agnes, and others.

I am working to finish my portfolio and summary document. More about that later. Keeping good records is one important aspect of homeschooling.

That is about all for our week. This afternoon it is rainy so football was cancelled.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

I is for Interceding for the innermost being

AKA Praying for the Heart
(Yes, I was struggling to get an I word for this week.)

This is a series that I will begin here in the next few weeks. I am sharing this based on some of my own study. It began as I was praying for my children but I began to realise that it was not only something to pray for my children but for myself, my husband, and others.

God's concern and desires are for our hearts. He does not want just the outward actions but hearts that are surrendered to him. God desires a broken spirit and a contrite heart. (Psalm 51:17) It is the heart that determines our words, actions, behaviours, and so much more. The heart is the inner being from which flows all of life.

Real change comes from a heart that has been changed.

Look for this new series coming soon. 

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Week in Review - June 20, 2014

I know the Friday was two days ago. I thought about skipping an update for this week but decided to just take a few minutes to reflect on our week.

The highlight of the week was getting our shipment. That is one reason that an update didn't get done on Friday. I have been busy unpacking and finding places for things. I have the kitchen all unpacked. Now I am working on the school things. We found the math dictionary. That was one of the things that I missed. Bob wasn't as excited as he said now I will say, "go look it up." I think I heard that from my parents so I am telling it to my children.

My plan is to give a tour of the house but that will happen when we are settled a bit more.

We are continuing working on our Greek pockets. This week we worked on a pocket for Persphone. One of the activities was to make puppets and then retell the story. Miss K did the puppets while Bob read the story.

Here are Bob's puppets.

Miss K is working on colouring a quiver for Pegasus.

Bob is adding detail.

Just a fun picture from the week. I think we are an international family that doesn't use the plastic bags that often. We have two boxes from Asia -- one is a Chinese New Year special edition Ziploc. 

That wraps up our week. 

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Friday, June 20, 2014

H is for House to Home and Hospitality

The big event this week was the arrival of our stuff precious belongings. I don't know how many boxes we received. We packed these boxes more than 16 months ago. When we packed them, we didn't think they would sit in storage that long.

This is what the lounge looked like partly through unpacking.

The kids are enjoying finding all their toys, books. Bob found a world map puzzle that he received for Christmas 2012 and we packed it a month later. He had forgotten he got it so it was like Christmas again. They also found their Christmas pi's from 2012 and wore them to bed (our nights are cool enough).

I discovered I have a lot of fabric. I have enough school supplies to last until the kids are finished school. I guess it is time to get busy and sew.

Now we are working to make the house our home. I know you probably were hoping for a house tour but that will have to come a bit later once the boxes are unpacked.

We have truly been blessed by the people we are meeting here. On Sunday we sat next to a lady at church and started talking. Her daughter is working at the church plant of our church in Hong Kong. She heard we were getting our shipment on Tuesday and so she invited us for dinner on Tuesday. We had a delicious fish pie, a traditional British dish. We are thankful for her hospitality.

Miss K explored the air raid shelter in the back garden.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

I am willing to waste my time.

Is it a waste of time to teach something that the child won't use in the future? What if it were a special needs child, would it be a waste of time to teach something that the child will not use in the future?

I recently heard someone say, "I don't want to waste my time teaching something that they won't use in the future." I have pondered that at times as I consider what to teach Miss K. Should I merely teach her survival skills? Which leads to the question of what are survival skills?

Here are some of my thoughts as I pondered this question.

Some things that might be thought of as a waste of time are foundational for other future learning that might not be a waste of time. Colouring is not a survival skill yet it is the beginning of teaching penmanship.

I don't want to limit my children by not teaching them something. I am not sure what Miss K will be able to do in life but I don't want to put that limit on her. I want to expose her and teach her all I can so that she will have the best education that she can achieve.

Teaching her things that might be thought of as a waste of time can be engaging and building her brain. Is it a waste of time if it is engaging and building her brain? Specifically in regards to Down Syndrome there is an increase of early onset Alzheimer's among those with Down Syndrome. So by engaging and building her brain am I helping to prevent Alzheimer's? (Sounds like another topic to research.) Even without research I feel that it is good to build her brain.

Things that might be considered a waste of time might be teaching other skills. Miss K is learning to play the piano. She is training her ear to listen, learning to move her fingers independently, and she is practicing to get it perfect. All of those are skills for later in life.

I have decided that I am willing to waste my time and teach things that I don't know if she will use.

We teach her a foreign language. Teaching a foreign language enriches the brain. Miss K is exposed to Chinese and will watch Chinese DVD's. That is a language that she might use. She wanted to be like her brother and learn Latin so I bought Song School Latin for her. In some ways Latin is just stretch your mind, exercise your brain.

History, Science, geography in some cases that might not be survival skills but again we are stretching her brain. We are learning about the world and the people around us. We are learning about our bodies, nature, historical events, animals, and other things.

One of the reasons that I chose to homeschool my daughter is to give her more than survival skills, to help her reach her potential, and to be all that God has created her to be.

I am willing to waste my time because it is not a waste of time.

Are you willing to waste your time?

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Week in Review - June 13, 2014

The exciting news this week is we got a car. Now we can drive to the supermarket and other places to explore the area.

We wanted a diesel, automatic that seats 7. We are used to automatic and didn't want to have to deal with manual and driving on the wrong other side of the road. Actually I think what is harder than driving on the other side of the road is driving from the other side of the car, your perception is off. We are thankful for our car. It is a Ford C-Max.

We have been working on our Greek Myth pockets. If you want some easy hands on projects, I suggest the Literature or History Pockets from Evan-Moor.  These have all the pages ready to copy. I usually cut the pages for Miss K and have been cutting Bob's as well as it just makes it go faster.

We were doing some weaving and reading the myth about Arachne. We should have had two different colours of yarn to show the warp and weft but we used what we had.

Bob finished Chemistry today. He had been doing Christian Kids Explore Chemistry. It gives a basic overview and is good for upper elementary. I have created a study sheet for him before the wrap-up. I want him to begin to learn to study by going through his notes and book. He understood the need and saw the benefit as he scored 100% on the wrap-up.

Miss K is continuing along with her work. I don't think she will finish any books but that is okay, we just keep going.

This morning I came downstairs and discovered that Miss K had fixed her own breakfast.

A glass of milk and a crumpet with butter. I might need to arrange the kitchen so she doesn't have to climb on a chair to get a plate and cup. She was quite proud of herself.

We received a package in the mail today which provided us with some entertainment for lunchtime. More about that later.

That about wraps up our week. We are working to finish our regular year studies and get ready for summer learning.

Our shipment arrived so next week we will open boxes that were packed 16 months ago.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Teaching Reading to a child with Down Syndrome

Teaching reading is not one of my favourite home schooling tasks. While it is not one of my favourite ones, it is one that I feel is critical and one that we do spend quite a bit of time. This is a critical skill.

Here is an article on phonics vs. sight words. I thought this was interesting in two areas one if that fact that we have moved from an audio world to a visual world. I don't know if we are trained to listen and absorb as in the past. The other interesting bit is the digit span that is needed for learning phonics.

I began teaching Miss K sight words using the principles from Teach your Baby to Read by Glenn Dorman when she was about 11 months old. She needed that for the brain stimulation. We continued with sight words until she was about 6.

Then it came time to add phonics. As we got started, I used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I am not sure what phonics she learned through that program. It is good in the sense that it is scripted so you know what to say. For Miss K it was good to work on speech. We had lots of cards that we used with that.

I wasn't ready to give up on phonics so we pulled out Scaredy Cat and have worked with that. There are parts of that program that is sticking. It has lots of hands-on activities which she enjoyed.

We are also using Classic Phonics from Memoria Press. This just has simple word lists. We are using it for review and reinforcement.

After about three years of teaching phonics, I really don't know if I would say she is sounding words out. If you ask her what sound a letter makes, she will give you the sound but to do it on her own and put the word together, I don't think so.

So the debate continues with phonics or sight words here with Miss K. Do we keep pushing phonics or just skip it and do sight words? At this point we are still doing both. I do think we need to add some activities to increase digit span.

I don't have the answer on how to teach reading. I am sharing some of what we have done and some of it has worked and some has not. In some ways it is try and see what happens, adjust, try again and see what is happens, push a bit, encourage, see improvement, keep going.

Here is a bit more that I wrote about teaching reading.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

G is for Groanings of the heart

Groanings, what kind of word is that? These are the cries from the heart. A deep desire from the heart. Groanings are different from moanings. Both might come from pain or struggle but the difference is what you do with that pain. Groaning is a cry for help, a deep desire for change while moaning is a complaint, resigned that nothing will change.

Groanings are the cries of my heart, the unsatisfied longings from deep within us. The unsettled feelings that come from knowing that this world is not our final home. The desire to return to the Eden, to the way it was meant to be. Graonings are the restlessness within our being.

The Psalms are filled with David's groanings as he cries to God. Many times he says, listen to my cries, I cried out, or how long. Psalm 5:1 "Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning." The Psalm might begin with that cry but often it ends with praising God for who he is. Psalm 5:11-12 "But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favour as with a shield."

What are the groanings of your heart? It might be the desire for a deeper relationship with the Lord. Maybe it is a stronger faith to depend more on the Lord. It could be to see a love one come to know the Lord. Maybe it is to be free from the struggle of sin.

Groanings from the heart are good as they keep us striving, praying, depending, and growing. We are not satisfied with life as it is. We desire more. We are not accepting life as it is but seeking more of what God wants.

Take your groanings to the Lord. He does not tire of hearing us. He is the one who can help.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Walk to Church

This post is for people that like lots of photos.

It is fun being just a 10 minute walk to church. Well, on the nice, sunny, warm days it has been fun. Don't ask us about the cold and rainy days.

We head out our road. It isn't long and we turn left and head down the road. See the blue sky with white clouds. This is one of the nice days that we enjoy the walk. Yes, cars park like that with two wheels on the pavement. The roads are narrow and that makes it just a bit wider.

As we walk along the road, we look at the gates and gardens. We decided this morning that this looked like a nice gate.

We continue walking down the road. It is Sunday morning so it is quiet. The bus to the centre city goes down this street. Miss K likes to ride the bus. She is a city girl.

Some pretty flowers along the way.

 We got to the end of road where there is a Give Way sign. If you turn to the right, there is the Co-operative Food Store. We are in there at least once a day. We are going to turn left. You can see the green hills in the distance.

Here is another view of the green fields. Some of those fields have sheep. This is the edge of the Peak District where there are lots of walking trails.

We turn left and walk just a short distance. As the road bends to the right, we take the little alley that goes along side the church.

The sky was blue with lots of white clouds. The trees were so green.

There were some statues along the way. The kids love to climb on pillars. It is nice that there is one for each of them.

We walk up this road. It is a nice quiet road. There are a few houses on the right side and on the left side is the wall along the church gardens.

We can look back and see the green hills. Some times I can't believe how close we life to the country.

We are getting close to church. You can see the steeple peeking above the wall.

There is just a bit more of the steeple and you can see the blue sky and the white clouds.

Here is the gate leading to the ministry centre. There are lots of things that happen there each week. Miss K goes to Kids club and Bob goes to Youth Group. There is an outreach to international students and a number of other things.

We walk around the pathway and we are in the church building. There are two services a 9:30 and an 11:00. We usually go to the 11:00 service. We made it though this morning not early enough for coffee and tea.

Then we walk home retracing our steps with a quick stop at The Co-Operative Food.

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