Fall 2017 Part II

The last couple months we had multiple visitors from overseas (mostly the states) and it’s been fantastic, but it also meant the school schedule was a bit off kilter.

C & Mo are both enjoying the program at the college campus and are down there 3-4 days a week for their various classes. Mo as of this week can take the city buses by herself then walk across downtown to get there, which is huge progress! It can be intimidating for anyone to learn a new transport system and I’m really proud of her for being comfortable with it now. Today she even headed down to city centre to get together with a friend over the weekend. We’re discussing if we’ll have Ben also attend the program next fall, we’ll probably have him tested in the spring to see if he’s offered a spot and see what he thinks at that point.

We’re refining our schedule a bit, between the various activities that have us running various directions. Having the older two more independent helps somewhat with that. We still have boys brigade (2) and girls guide (2) then drama (2) and climbing (4) and a new cooking class at our place (5) with a few other activities in discussion… plus field trips, National Trust site meet ups, skating, etc.

But the kids seem to be settling in well, and that makes me happy.

Fall 2017

Catching up over the last year would be a challenge so we’ll just start where we’re at and move forward. 🙂

We’ve celebrated one year of being here in the UK, and it’s been an extraordinary year. We’ve explored locally and abroad, having most recently spent 10 days in Germany & Austria and 5 days in London then down to Paris. (I think, after 15 years of holidays with kids, we’re starting to figure out what works best… they were lovely trips.)

We’re back in time for our older two to start at the local college in the program for home educators. Our oldest took GCSE exams in May and June and survived to tell us he wanted to try for another set of exams next year – these classes will help him prepare, and our second is in the pre-GCSE program, and will take exams a bit later.

The younger four are keeping busy at home with our regular curriculums with some British bits thrown in – spellings are different, we’re adding to our history and social studies, and we’ve switched from spanish to french for language lessons.

There’s a wonderful home ed community in our city and surrounding area with so many activities – rock climbing, drama, ice skating, gymnastics, game groups, park dates, field trips. Then in the evenings there are other activities like boys brigade, girl guides, D of E groups. (And here I am, juggling schedules and trying to find a way to be three places at once!)

Throw on top of that we’re working with some special needs, a few that were known to us back in the states and a couple that have been addressed over the last year. We’re working our way through the process of learning about resources and finding the best support for our kids.

We love England, and we’re grateful for the chance to be here and for the fun families we’ve met along the way!

Scotland & Ireland Fall 2016

Sep. 2016 – Part Two

It was very last minute as we didn’t know if we could make it in time, but our oldest was able to enroll in the GSCE home educator program at one of the local colleges! He attends a couple days a week and is taking three courses (plus a personal development program that’s required) and he’s enjoying it! I wasn’t there to insist on a First Day of College picture, but I’ll make sure we embarrass him and get a last day of school one.

We were able to find a keyboard for sale inexpensively through a local group, and the kids are excited to start their lessons again. Or at least this one is excited. 🙂

Plus lots of field trips and local exploring on the main blog here.

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September 2016 – Part One

The UK school system runs year round with July/August being their longest break. A lot of the home educators were also on holiday for that month so many of the usually scheduled events weren’t held and are starting again now that we’re in September. Other groups, like Girl Guides, are meeting again now so the schedule has gotten a bit packed. We’re sorting out which programs we’ll be in, and which may not fit well for now.

There was a “Not Back to School” picnic and it was enormous! We met so many new friends and faces of people we had gotten to know in the previous few weeks. Unfortunately it was C’s first day of college so he had to miss, but all the other kids had a wonderful time and came away with contact info for playdates. Kit and I also made some new friends, not necessarily with kids our kids’ ages.

Other activities we’ve attended or will so – ice skating, board game, National Videogame Arcade, Sherwood Pines field trip, Cadbury World, Forest Kids craft time, free play group, capoeira, church activity days, Girl Guides, rock climbing, and so much more. There are hundreds of home educating families in this city and surrounding areas and so many groups and field trips – it’s amazing.

This week we purchased our annual pass to Nottingham Castle, which the kids loved. We were there to see the Leonard da Vinci visiting exhibit of drawings. The children’s exploration room had all sorts of activities the kids could do along that theme – building devices, sketching anatomy, dressing up, with facilitators there to help as needed. The gallery upstairs also included art carts for the kids, with books, sketching materials, puzzles, and stuff to keep little ones busy. Downstairs there was more exploration area with touch drawers alongside the exhibits (which were behind glass, lest the kids get confused about what they could touch!) and a whole section for play about Robin Hood. Out on the castle lawn was a playground with forts, play horses, and a wooden throne – Livy says that’s her favorite playground so far! I’m glad it’s annual passes as we’ll be back often.

One of our local parks also hosted a “Grow Your Own” festival. We weren’t sure what it would entail but we all loved it! There were baby ducks, a honeybee hive, children’s booths to plant your own sprouts and bulbs, hedgehog welcoming information and food (our kids very much want to invite hedgehogs to our garden), information about all sorts of local parks and gardens, plants for sale, jams, wheat from the local windmill, apple cider booths, (plus pastries – so good!) Despite the rainy weather it was a lovely experience.

Our garden is so perfect, and this week our groundskeeper came to clean up the yard a bit and help prepare a plot for Emy’s plantings. They also helped the kids harvest some of the apples, which the cider many told us he would bottle for us if we head down to their center. Or we may turn them into pie. 🙂

In a couple weeks we’ll also be taking our first road trip and heading to Scotland. We’ll post photos of that as we’ll be hitting several cities and some castles along the way.

2016 School Year Begins!


SO, big surprise – we moved! In August we packed up and flew to Nottingham, England. We’re in the midst of unpacking and settling into our new home, but we’re also gearing up for our autumn school year. There are hundreds of home educating families here in our city, and we’ve attended some events already. But our littlest thought the scooters and uniforms of the little kids were so adorable that we let her have a “school” uniform, too. Part of our goal this autumn is to blog more while we’re doing our work, to keep friends and family updated back in the US while we settle into our new place.

2015 in Review

January: Moira sold Girl Scout cookies with her new troop; Kit took the older kids to watch the Harlem Globetrotters and Ben got to do the toss up!

February: Kit spent a week in Louisiana at Mardi Gras with Christopher, Moira and Ben while I stayed home with the younger three and visited with lots of friends (including Meg and her goats.) When they came home it snowed! The kids began swimming again at TWU, and Ben turned 10.

March: West Texas – we braved an ice storm and horrendous roads to head west: Midland, Monohan Sand Dunes, Carlsbad Caverns, scuba diving in a lake, McDonald observatory, Fort Davis. J started attending judo with Kit and Christopher, and some of the kids returned to Spirit Horse.

April: Doctor Who day on the Square where we got our comics was fun, and family pictures in the Tardis. Christopher earned his yellow belt in Judo.

May: We flew to England where we were met by Emily and Richy, to the kids’ surprise! (We also set the dangerous precedent that after surprising them with Emily and Richy in both Florida AND England the kids assume they will be joining us for all our vacations.) Mo turned 12.

June: We flew to Washington DC, which needs its own post because it was fantastic.

July: Mo and the Girl Scouts walked in the 4th of July parade. We flew to San Francisco to see the redwoods, Chinatown, the Bay Bridge, and a secret but awesome adventure.

August: J turned 7, E turned 9, Kit turned 41.

September: Mo and I had a sleepover at Sea World with the Girl Scouts and stopped at the Alamo on our way home. Emy joined Girl Scouts, and Mo bridged from Junior to Cadette. We helped harvest the honey from Jean’s beehives. J started a month long hockey workshop in Frisco.

October: We met friends at the Pumpkin Patch and later for a homeschoolers fall carnival, trick-or-treated around the square, and attended the ward trunk-or-treat. Livy turned five. Emy got chickens. I ran away to see Carrie in Canada for a few days and it was a much needed Mommy retreat.

November: C turned 14, and we saw the grandparents and Emily & Richy around Thanksgiving.

December: We toured the Japanese Gardens in Fort Worth to see the changing colors. C and Kit said it’s one of their most favorite places we’ve visited EVER. The weather was weird, from 70s and sunny to snowing and a tornado. I’m back at work, with three babies coming in 10 days just before Christmas.

It’s been another epic year! I’m writing this up to hopefully inspire me to write up some more detailed posts – my resolution for 2016, to get back into the happen of writing. Plus we’re anticipation some pretty wonderful things to come for next year. 🙂

Field Trips, Catch Up, Life

It’s been about a year since I posted… and oh, what a year it has been!

On our most recent trip we tried to list the places we’ve been since NASA last spring.

* Road trip to Minnesota for their great-grandmother’s funeral and visited the home where their grandfather grew up.

* NYC for the Katie Couric show.

* Road trip to Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico to see family.

* Florida for the new Harry Potter World – Diagon Alley – and to see the beach.

* Austin & San Antonio road trip.

* Alaska to see the northern lights.

* Oklahoma.

* C and Ben and I went to Los Angeles for “The Doctors” show.

* The Grand Canyon and CBS Evening News “On the Road.”

* Florida for Disney!

* NYC for Kit, Ben and C for the Rachel Ray show & Food Network.

* Kansas to spend Christmas with the grandparents.

* Mardi Gras in Louisiana for Kit and the oldest three kids.

* West Texas & southeastern New Mexico.

All within the last year. Isn’t that crazy?? It’s been crazy.

We’re writing up the adventures (slowly, I am very behind) on the family blog – here. There are more to come, too! And I’ve not even listed the local adventures.