Thursday, September 10, 2015

Day Off

I have previously alluded to the fact that we have set up our homeschool schedule a little differently this year. Instead of having "days" of school, we have "sessions." We always try to start a session* by 8:00 am and finish by 12:00. In this way, we can finish two sessions in a day. The typical weekly schedule we set up, by mutual consent of all parties involved, has us doing two full days of class (four total sessions), followed by a half day, followed by two full days, and then a full day completely off. For us, for now, this seems to be a good balance of work and play. We work on weekends, if that is when the school days fall, unless there is a particular event or activity we want to do that only happens on those days. All that to say, we have been working since we arrived in Wales, and today was our first full day off, so we took the opportunity to explore our surroundings and just have some fun.

First up on the agenda was a horse riding lesson for Ruth at a local stable. Ruth has worked very hard this summer, researching riding facilities in various places and contacting them to find out about the possibility of riding. This is the first one that has worked out, and she was so thrilled to be back in the saddle, even though it was an English saddle, and she had been used to primarily riding Western in the States. She did a fantastic job, and we all had so much fun watching her!

After that, we took the long way home (but, really not that long), so that we could drive along the Welsh coast, which is absolutely beautiful! We are looking forward to more opportunities to visit the coast and beaches throughout our stay here.

Once we had had our lunch, the boys helped me pick apples from the tree in our yard. I then peeled, cored and sliced them, dusted them with sugar and cinnamon, and baked them, with the goal of producing (at the kids' request) something akin to the baked cinnamon apples at Chili's. The jury happily claims that I got pretty close.

When that was done, we decided to head over to the leisure club, access to which is a perk of staying in this house. It is a lovely space and has plenty of fun things for everyone to enjoy. The little boys spent most of their time trying out the bikes and other ride-on toys, while the older two enjoyed the big-enough-for-big-kids swings. There was also a pony paddock, a goat enclosure, and a delightful duck pond, as well as a very nice indoor pool, which we did not take advantage of this time but will definitely do another time. The weather was amazing, so we didn't rush to leave.

In order not to stray too far from our ancient Greek theme, though, Jeff and the kids watched a movie that Jeff loved as a kid called Asterix and the Twelve Tasks, which is an animated twist on the twelve tasks of Hercules (who is the Roman version of the Greek god Heracles).

Our last act of fun for the day was an early surprise birthday party for Weston. His birthday isn't until November, but when Jeff and I found out that some of the Rugby World Cup games were going to be played in Wales while we were here, we knew we had found the perfect gift for our sports lover. The tickets were delivered to the house today, so we spontaneously decided to turn it into a party. While Weston was in the shower, after dinner, we all hid behind the couch. When he came in, we jumped out and surprised him. He thought we were just surprising him with dessert, because he had smelled the brownies baking. He had no idea what else was coming. He was flabbergasted when he found out what was going on, and when he opened the package, his reaction was priceless!

I would say we definitely made the most of our day off and are now refreshed and ready to get back to work tomorrow.

*For those of you curious about what a session looks like, it is this:
Ruth's sessions consist of Literature, Spanish, Algebra II, and English Grammar. Weston and Max have (at their appropriate levels) Math, History, Spelling, Grammar, Reading, and Language. (This last started out as Spanish, but they both recently decided to give Chinese a go. They are both very enthused about this new venture for the moment and are working hard, so they can translate for us when we visit China next year.) And, Clay works on letter sounds and reading, as well as Math "from the green book." He also sits in on whichever classes he wants to sit in on and has learned quite a lot that way. 

So happy to be back in the saddle again

Panorama of the Welsh Coast
(Note the fish-shaped shrubbery in the far left picture)

Abundant Apples

Fun at the Leisure Club

A Big Surprise

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