Home Education Plans for 2016 – 2017


Our Home Education Plans for 2016 - 2017 - Homeschool Planning - An Island Family By Grace

Next week we will start our new homeschooling year, so I have spent a bit of time over the last couple of weeks praying and thinking over our home education plans for 2016 – 2017.

Priorities

As our priorities for this year, I have written down that I want our homeschooling to:

  • be focused on Jesus
  • emphasise real learning rather than ‘busywork’
  • include more outdoor time and exercise

Changes

Obviously this year we will be adding a newborn baby into the mix, sometime close to the beginning of the academic year! I do not have any ambitious plans to do anything particularly new or challenging in terms of our routine, but hope just to keep the same rough routine as last year. This worked well when our fourth baby was born, almost 8 years ago. However, as a result of thinking over what had worked well and what hadn’t for my end of school year wrap up, I do want to add in a few things:

  • more crafts and painting on Monday afternoons, now that the weather is beginning to push us towards less nature study!
  • a set time for each child to do narration for me each day- this will be before lunch
  • our son to write questions for me for the end of his chapters in his IGCSE Physics and Geography books. This form of narration was an idea which came from Karen Andreola’s book Charlotte Mason Companion, which was one of my non-fiction books for reading this summer.

Field Trips

For field trips this year, I have written a list of possible destinations to find out about, mainly so that I don’t end up forgetting all about trips due to baby brain! Currently I have a castle, a boat trip, a museum, a lighthouse and several local craft businesses on my list, but we probably won’t do all of them!

Essential Oils Revolution 2016

Curricula

For each of our children, here are the curricula we will be using:

Our Son (almost 15 years old):

Home Education Plans for 2016 - 2017 } An Island Family By Grace

English

Maths

Physics

Geography

French

Music

Our 12 Year Old Daughter:

Our Home Education Plans for 2016 - 2017

English

Maths

Geography

German

Home Economics

Music

  • Piano and recorder

Our 9 Year Old Daughter:

Our Home Education Plans for 2016 - 2017 - An Island Family By Grace

English

Maths

  • Singapore Maths My Pals are Here 3A (moving on to 3B)

Geography

Music

  • Piano and recorder

Our 7 Year Old Daughter:

Our Home Education Plans for 2016 - 2017

English

Music

  • Piano and recorder

Together Work

This list doesn’t include extra-curricular type activities. For work we do together in the afternoons, we will be using Mystery of History Volume 3, Apologia General Science, Rosalind Surtees’ Junior French workbooks, Classics for Kids for music appreciation, and The Art Doodle Book for art appreciation.

Our Home Education Plans fro 2016 - 2017

As always, we will start our homeschooling days with Bible time and a family read aloud book. I will probably write a post with our planned read aloud books for the year within the next few weeks.

What are your home education plans for 2016 – 2017? Are you doing anything new or different this year? Please comment and let me know.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

Essential Oils – Learning More


Essential Oils - Learning More } An Island Family By Grace

One of my health goals for this year was to learn more about essential oils. As I said in my update in April, being pregnant has somewhat changed my health goals, however I have been feeling well enough the past few months to think about them a little bit again!

I read the ebook The Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils, by Christine J. Dalziel of Joybilee Farm, which I found to be a very helpful introduction to essential oils, as part of last year’s Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. I have continued to use the first six of the ten essential oils she introduces in the book, and feel more confident doing so now. I continue to use eucalyptus or tea tree oil in our homemade fabric softener, lemon and rosemary in my oil burner (not at the same time!), and peppermint and lavender in the various homemade toiletries that I have begun making.

Essential Oils - Learning More @ An Island Family By Grace

More recently, when our children have had colds, I have given them eucalyptus or peppermint oil on a tissue to put inside their pillowcases at night, or lavender when they have had difficulty getting to sleep. We have also used (diluted) essential oils to disinfect cuts, scrapes and insect bites.

However, I realise there is such a huge amount more that I could learn about essential oils. Helpfully, from 22nd to 29th August 2016, Dr. Eric Zielinski, along with Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, will be hosting the second Essential Oils Revolution summit. I listened to the Essential Oils Revolution talks last year, and found them very interesting and informative. It is, as far as I am aware, the only online summit on essential oils which does not promote any particular brand of essential oils, and has a big emphasis on evidence based discussion of essential oils. What’s more, it is free to listen to! There are 30 different presentations, on topics as diverse as Debunking the Most Common Myths on essential oils, to Essential Oils and the Bible. If you have time to listen even to at least some of the presentations, I would highly recommend signing up for it.

Essential Oils Revolution 2016 - Essential Oils - Learning More ~ An Island Family By Grace

In the mean time, I am keen to learn more about how I can use essential oils for minor ailments in my family, and I would like to expand the number of essential oils that we use. Obviously this will be gradual, as our budget permits, but it would be nice to become familiar with using a wider range of oils for different purposes. Only last week, I discovered that clove oil, which I had recently bought, can used for many more things than dental care, which was the only thing I had heard of it being connected with before. You can see the article about that here.

Are you interested in essential oils? What have you learned about them recently? Please leave a comment and let me know.

This post Essential Oils – Learning More first appeared on An Island Family By Grace.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


 

This post contains some affiliate links. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

Times Tales Review


Multiplication Tables Help - Times Tales Review - An Island Family By Grace

As we are continuing with some light schoolwork over this summer, one of the activities I have given our 3 daughters to do is to watch Times Tales twice a week. I bought this a couple of months ago, and we have now used it enough that I feel able to give a Times Tales review for you.

In the past, we have tried various ways of learning and reviewing multiplication tables in our homeschool, including games such as Your Number’s Up, and Times Tables Soundtracks; times tables songs CDs (painful!); and plain old rote learning. Our children obviously each have different strengths and weaknesses in their different areas of learning, but I have found Times Tales to be the best way of learning the upper times tables so far with our daughters. Our son is older and had already learned his times tables long ago, so we have not used it with him.

I purchased the digital download of Times Tales from the American publisher’s website, Trigger Memory Systems, for US $21.95. This includes downloads of the part 1 and part 2 videos which explain the concept and give the stories for learning the tables. Review questions are at the end of each video, and separate downloads give printable worksheets and flashcards for practicing the stories.

Multiplication Tables Practice - Times Tales Review - An Island Family By Grace

Our girls have really enjoyed using Times Tales, and even our seven year old seems to remember the ‘tales’ with the correct answers relatively easily. Although the animations are perhaps aimed at younger children, up to the age of ten, our 12 year old is more than happy to watch Times Tales, and has definitely reinforced her previous learning of the tables through them. You can see a clip of what the animations are like here:

I would definitely recommend Times Tales to anyone looking for a simple way to strengthen or introduce learning of the upper multiplication tables, and it is also available on DVD, with a CD ROM for the printables, if you would prefer that to the digital download. There is also a Times Tales book available for those who would prefer to use that method.

Do you have a favourite way that your family likes to learn and review times tables? Please comment and let me know.

I bought Times Tales myself, and was not compensated in any way for this review. All the opinions are my own.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


 

This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

 

 

 

 

Traditional Foods of Scotland


Traditional Scottish Foods - An Island Family By Grace

According to a quote from comedian Mike Myers, “most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare”. If you are squeamish about organ meats and offal, the quote could apply to our ‘national dish’, haggis. However, traditional Scottish foods make up a wide variety, particularly if you look at the different geographical areas of the country…

Today I have written this guest post for my Texan friend Alisha, over at Family Travel On A Shoestring. Please click through to read the rest of my post on traditional foods of Scotland, and explore Alisha’s unique family travel blog.

Do you have any favourite Scottish foods yourself? Please share them in a comment!


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Week 30 Pregnancy Update


30 Weeks Pregnant - An Island Family By Grace

I am glad to say that since my last pregnancy update at 21 and a half weeks, other than one episode, I have completely got over my ‘morning’ sickness! I was beginning to feel better then, and now I also have a fair bit more energy. I am still appreciating our quiet activity time after lunch, as I mentioned in my end of school year wrap up, but I am not constantly exhausted now. This week I am 30 weeks pregnant.

I have been continuing to enjoy growing plants out in our polytunnel, although I have to say bending down to do weeding is becoming a little less enjoyable! We are actually in the process of ordering parts to extend our polytunnel at the moment, so we will have much more growing space, which will be great. At the moment our courgettes are beginning to fruit, our potatoes are almost ready to be dug up, some spinach and lettuces are ready, and the pea plants are producing pods, but the other plants are not there yet. Hopefully they will have given us some more food before the end of the season!

Health-wise, I have been very well, and I only have minor complaints such as sore ligaments and being out of breath, which is normal for me during pregnancy, and I am not anaemic. As I mentioned in my Non-Fiction Summer Reading List, I enjoyed reading Helen Saul Case’s book Vitamins and Pregnancy: The Real Story. Although I will not necessarily implement all her recommendations, it has been very reassuring in seeing the large amount of evidence-based research from the UK, US and other countries around the world, that has been done in that area. I have now started reading a new book called Redeeming Childbirth, by Angie Tolpin, which is very encouraging. I had my blood glucose test last week, and I am not expected to have more ultrasound scans during the pregnancy.

I am hoping to deliver our baby in hospital on the island. They did offer me the option of having a home birth, but because of complications with one of our other children’s births, I am happy to be in the midwife-led unit at the hospital. Hopefully that will be possible, and I will not have to travel to the mainland. I can’t imagine a three hour journey while in labour being enjoyable!

I have been continuing to try recipes from the new Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, which I really like, although I have to say I have not been as healthy in my eating as I could have been! I still need to add in more exercise, which I hope to do by having a daily afternoon walk with the children over the summer.

30 Weeks #Pregnant / An Island Family By Grace

If you would like to know what I was wearing in the photos, the skirt was from New Look and the top was from Mothercare (although I bought them both on eBay), and the boots are from Amazon. The black vest (undershirt) was from Fruit of the Loom. I apologise for the grimace, but this was the first sunny day in two weeks, and I was obviously not used to it!

Since my last update, I had ordered newborn size babygros, bodysuits and a pram suit, so I am feeling a bit more organised now. I still can’t believe how small they are though!

As I only have about 10 weeks to go until my due date, things are feeling quite exciting! What are you looking forward to this summer? Please comment and let me know.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


 

This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

 

My Non Fiction Summer Reading List


5 Non Fiction Books for Summer Reading

I have to say that I am not one for reading much fiction. Sadly, I think doing English at university had a lot to do with this. Too much analysing and over analysing! I also find that I enjoy reading non-fiction books during the times when I am able to read, as I can use the time to learn things that I will actually put into practice in my life.

Having got back to reading again for a while now that the pregnancy sickness and nausea has worn off, I have managed to read some of the books that were on my list of what I’m reading this year, back in January. I have finished the devotional book Praying the Names of God, and I am now using a lined notebook to copy down passages of Scripture during my Bible times, and then make notes beside them, similar to the Journibles book I had on my reading list last year.

Here is the rest of my non fiction summer reading list:

  1.  Vitamins and Pregnancy: The Real Story, by Helen Saul Case. I heard about this book when Helen Saul Case was being interviewed for That Vitamin Summit, and as I am almost 29 weeks pregnant, I have found it very interesting and helpful. I will probably manage to finish it this week.5 Non Fiction Books for Summer Reading
  2.  The Charlotte Mason Companion, by Karen Andreola. I said in my Home Education Plans for 2015-2016 that I wanted to add in more Charlotte Mason inspired ideas to our homeschooling, and this book has been encouraging. One of the most encouraging elements of it for me has actually been about encouraging good character in our children, rather than any particular ‘educational method’. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on The Atmosphere of the Home. It is a big book, and I still have more than half of it left to read.5 Non Fiction Books for Summer Reading
  3.  Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less), by Angela England. In addition to my Polytunnel Book, I have been finding this book very helpful. It lets you know what can be grown in a particular space (we have half an acre rather than an acre), and she also has lots of experience with small livestock. We have chickens so far, so it has been helpful to read about other possibilities, although obviously we will be busy with our new baby in the mean time! Although it is written from a North American perspective, most of the principles still hold true for gardening in the UK.5 Non Fiction Books for Summer Reading
  4.  The Pregnancy Encyclopedia, edited by Dr. Chandrima Biswas. I had given away my mother and baby health book after our youngest daughter was past toddler age, so this spring I have been looking for a good pregnancy book. By good, I mean one that is informative and encouraging. I wanted a book about pregnancy which would talk about the different stages, without being negative about motherhood, or frankly, verging on pornographic, as some of the books I tried from the library were! I am not giving the book to my children to read, but I would at least like not to have to worry about it lying around! I have borrowed this one from the library and had it re-stamped repeatedly, as it is the most helpful one I have come across this time.5 Non Fiction Books for Summer Reading
  5.  Awakening: The Life & Ministry of Robert Murray McCheyne, by David Robertson. This biography is written by a Scottish minister, and  I have to confess that although we have children’s books about 19th century Scottish Christian Robert Murray McCheyne, I have never read about him for myself. I am therefore looking forward to reading this over the summer.5 Non Fiction Books for Summer Reading

I think five books will be enough to keep me going over the next 6 weeks or so that we are classing as our ‘summer holidays’, although we will be continuing with some light schoolwork.

Please let me know what you are reading this summer, and if you have any recommendations for non-fiction summer reading!


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


 

This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

 

 

Uncle Tom’s Cabin Unit Study


Uncle Tom's Cabin Unit Study - An Island Family By Grace

The children and I have just finished reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin together, and we have been so interested in it, and had so many good discussions, that I decided to do a unit study about it, for the end of our school year. I would have said the we ‘enjoyed’ it so much, but given the heart-rending subject material (slavery), that affected so many real people’s lives, I don’t think that would have been the right word.

What the Book is About

For anyone who is not familiar with Uncle Tom’s Cabin, it is a novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe, written during the time period when slave plantations were still very much a real part of life in the USA. It was first published in 1851, as a serial in an abolitionist newspaper. It is written from a Christian perspective, and follows the stories of several different slave families who are very much affected by that way of life, their stories all drawn together in the character of Uncle Tom. No matter how badly Uncle Tom is treated, or how cruelly he is tempted by slave owners to retaliate, he never gives in and stoops to their level.

The book does not shy away from the horrendous details of the characters’ daily lives, but is also uplifting and offers hope, and was a challenge at the time to get rid of legal slavery once and for all . It is written in the language of the time, and I have to say, I did not read out the ‘n’ word to my children, but I did explain to them why I was doing that, as of course they wanted to read over my shoulder!

Here are the resources and activities I hope to include in our Uncle Tom’s Cabin unit study:

Lapbooks

For our unit study, I hope to make lapbooks about the novel and characters themselves, then explore some of the issues it addresses. For the lapbooks we will be using lapbook templates from Homeschoolshare. If you haven’t come across lapbooks before, you can see more about them in my post on our Martin Luther lapbooks. For more background on the novel, the author Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the impact Uncle Tom’s Cabin had in the US and around the world, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center has helpful information.

Writing

Currclick sells a Progeny Press study guide to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but it is somewhat expensive, although the Homeschool Buyers Co-op does have reduced prices for buying bundles of five Progeny Press Guides. A list of free printable worksheets for Uncle Tom’s Cabin is available at Printable Worksheets, and C3 Teachers has a 7th Grade Inquiry printable on Can Words Lead to War? For discussing the book, Plugged In Online’s book review of Uncle Tom’s Cabin does include discussion questions for using with High School age children.

Geography

While we were reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, we did look at our atlas several times to see which parts of North America the characters were travelling through, and heading for, but we will probably do some brief mapwork using the photocopiable maps from Mystery of History to look at their journeys and also where slaves had been taken from in the first place. You can also get free printable outline maps from d-maps.com

Art

Bookrags post on activities for Uncle Tom’s Cabin includes various ideas for making art related to the book, and also links to paintings by Jacob Lawrence which are reminiscent of the slave trade era. This page from the Museum of Play also shows paper dolls for Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which were released at the time by the Boston Sunday Globe.

Music

Negrospirituals.com has lots of information on the history of ‘Negro Spiritual’ songs, which are referred to in the scenes from Uncle Tom’s Cabin where Tom leads devotions and worship, and includes a large index of songs and their lyrics. You can also listen to a long playlist of songs here on You Tube.

Related Books

In addition to Uncle Tom’s Cabin itself, we also have Escape on the Underground Railroad, a children’s historical fiction book which our 12 year old daughter has really enjoyed, and Dave and Neta Jackson’s fictionalised biography of Harriet Tubman, the real life underground railroad ‘conductor’. We will also use children’s encyclopaedias and books I have ordered from our local library to learn more about the wider issues of slavery.

The Underground Railroad and Uncle Tom's Cabin - An Island Family By Grace

Media

As part of this study, I hope to watch the film Amazing Grace with our older two children, which covers the life and work of British politician William Wilberforce, who fought earlier to outlaw the slave trade here. The 1987 TV movie of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, starring Samuel L. Jackson, is still available on You Tube, however I will be previewing it first to decide if it is suitable for our older children. We already own an Adventures in Odyssey CD called The Underground Railroad, which is similar to Eliza and Harry’s journey in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. There is also a free audiobook of Uncle Tom’s Cabin available to download at Librivox.

Modern Day Slavery

Earlier this month we read in Trudi Parke’s 40 Days 40 Bites, which we are currently using during our morning prayer time, about child labour, which led on to a discussion about modern day slavery. As we had been reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin for a while, and hearing detailed descriptions of the people who lived it, this made the realisation all the more shocking for the children that slavery is still going on today, although perhaps not in the same state-sanctioned manner.

I have mentioned before in my post on giving on a budget that our family supports International Justice Mission, a Christian charity which investigates cases of slavery, and then takes action to free those people, and ensure that they are safe and able to enter a new life. Having been reminded of the horrors of slavery, and also having recently read an exhortation in my devotional book Praying the Names of God not to forget God’s commands in scripture to take care of the needy, I feel that this summer is an opportunity for our family to do something practical to help people in such dire circumstances.

Jesus said “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” Matthew 23:23

 

‘He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.’ Micah 6:8

Our older children have done fundraising before for Gospel for Asia, as I talked about in Encouraging Our Children to be Outward Looking, so I will be looking for ways this summer that we can do something to help those who are currently trapped in slavery.

These are my thoughts so far on the kinds of activities and resources we will use in our Uncle Tom’s Cabin unit study this summer. Do you have any other resources to recommend? Or are you currently doing a unit study with your family? Please let me know in a comment.


May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

 

 

End of School Year Wrap Up 2015 – 2016

Home Education End of Year Wrap Up - An Island Family By Grace

In my end of school year wrap up last year, I was looking forward to using our house more fully for homeschooling, after a year of selling our house, and then moving to the island.

Unit Study

This academic year, we started with a unit study on Hebridean Island Life. We enjoyed discovering more about the history, geography and traditions of the Hebrides islands, and made lapbooks about their geology. We ended the unit study with a trip to an island life museum.

Field Trips

Apart from the museum, other field trips we have had this ‘school’ year have been for a guided tour of a nearby castle, other local sites of interest, and a recent successful fishing trip! We usually arrange trips to coincide with family birthdays, so as everyone in the family except me has an autumn or winter birthday, I am looking forward to finding some interesting places to go in a few months’ time!

Duck Pond Trip - End of School Year Wrap Up on An Island Family By Grace

A New Addition

In January this year, I happily found out that I am expecting our fifth baby! Thankfully, although I had a lot of nausea and some vomiting until the start of May, I was nowhere near as bad as I have been with previous pregnancies. We have really continued with homeschooling as normal, with the difference that I was unable to accompany the rest of the family on trips with friends around Easter time.

What has worked…

One of the things that I am most pleased about having re-started this year has been a half-hour ‘quiet time’ for everyone after our lunch each day. This has been a help since my husband went back to work in January, and particularly during the time I was not feeling well. Usually the children will do personal reading in their rooms during that time, or some other quiet activity such as drawing or writing a letter, or our son may spend extra time on his IGCSE work.

Having a daily routine which we are all used to has also been very helpful, as everybody knew what was coming next, and I didn’t need to hound anyone to do their work… usually! We started this when we began homeschooling in 2007, and it has changed and been adapted a bit over the years. We don’t have a rigid ‘timetable’ that we must follow to the limit, but having a routine for every day is a positive thing for us, while still allowing for flexibility to do other things that come up.

Educents Sale

We have enjoyed the switch to Apologia’s General Science book by Dr. Jay Wile, as a big improvement on the curriculum we were using before, which was Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. Dr. Wile’s book is much easier to prepare for, each lesson is a good length, and you can really decide where to pick and put down the book when you want to.

Our elder daughter also started using the Home Economics 1 curriculum from Christian Light Publications this year. Our children have always enjoyed cooking, baking, and learning other aspects of ‘home ec’ with me, but this course has allowed our daughter to learn more independently, and she has made us some new recipes such as Mexican Scrambled Eggs (very tasty!), and Gelatine Salad (not something we would normally eat at all!)

School Year Wrap Up - An Island Family By Grace

Christmas Baking 2015

I have been trying to incorporate more Charlotte Mason inspired learning into our afternoons, making use of the amazingly dry and sunny weather we have had this spring to do lots of nature study outside (you can see what other outdoor homeschool activities we do here). We have also been listening to Classics for Kids once a week for music appreciation, which was recommended by Sarah at Delivering Grace. Something I would still like to add more of to our home education is narration, where the child ‘tells back’ what they have been learning. I am not so good at remembering to ask for this, and perhaps having a specific time for it in our day would help me!

…and What Hasn’t Worked

What hasn’t worked so well has been trying to learn too many languages! When we moved here, I was keen for the children to learn some Scots Gaelic. However, we were already learning French and German on alternate weeks, and it was just too much. Now, our 14 year old son has chosen to stick to French, our 12 year old daughter is doing German, and the younger girls are learning basics of both. We still discuss Gaelic, often when we see Gaelic signs when we are out and about, but we are not learning it for conversation. If any one of the children wants to learn for it themselves, that will be fine.

For French, our son is using the Voici une famille francaise curriculum from Rosalind Surtees (available direct from the author), and our elder daughter is using the Deutsch Direkt textbook, workbook and cassette tapes for German. The TV series of Deutsch Direkt is still available on You Tube. They both use Duolingo for listening practice. You can see other modern foreign language resources we use in this post.

What Next?

We do not normally homeschool year round, and would usually have our holidays for 6 weeks from the end of June, but this summer we will continue with some light schoolwork. This will give our son extra revision for his IGCSE work, and mean that we can take an extended break when the baby is born in September, without me feeling guilty about it! We will still be doing lots of fun summer activities, and as my husband has just started replacing the rest of our roof, there will also be plenty of opportunities to learn some life skills by being a builder’s helper!

That is about it for our end of school year wrap up! How has your school year gone, and do you have any special plans for the summer? Please comment and let me know.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


This post contains some affiliate links. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

 

Blessings of Island Life


Thankful for Island Blessings - An Island Family By Grace

In the past month, I think it could be safe to say that we have had more dry, sunny days than we had in the whole of 2015. The weather and the scenery have been really beautiful and we have definitely been enjoying the blessings of island life.

Last week, our children swam in the sea 3 days in a row. Bearing in mind, of course, that this is Scotland, they were wearing wetsuits, but it has been such a contrast to wearing wellies and waterproofs for about 350 days last year (OK, maybe less, as we only arrived on the island in February!) I grew up on the west coast of Scotland, so I was used to midges and rain, but 2015 really was something else!

Anyway, last Tuesday our neighbours (who own the Soay sheep that I had a photo of in my Spring Garden post), kindly took my husband and the children out on the sea in their small boat. Here was the result:

Fishing Success - Blessings of Island Life - An Island Family By Grace

They also saw lots of jelly fish and the beautiful sunset pictured above, but the best part was enjoying the mackerel they each caught for breakfast the next morning!

Fried Fish - Blessings of Island Life - An Island Family By Grace

We fried the mackerel with ground pepper and Hebridean sea salt for breakfast!

Last year we had fished from the shore with the family who came to help us replace our roof, but only one of the young men of the family was able to catch anything, so it was nice for our children to have some success this time. They finished off their evening with hot chocolate and some rhubarb muffins which my son had made, so they were tired but happy.

This summer we will not be going away anywhere, due to concentrating on the rest of the roof and getting ready for the arrival of our 5th baby, but hopefully we will have lots more opportunities to enjoy the blessings of island life, whether they include fishing or otherwise!

What blessings are you currently thankful for? Please leave a comment and let me know.

 


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.

 

 

 

 

Our New Room

Renovations ~ An Island Family By Grace

In my post 1 Year of An Island Family By Grace, I talked about the progress on our new room, which had been the dining room before we bought the house, but turned out to have a dry rot infested roof and walls. Thankfully in Autumn last year, I was able to announce that now we had a roof on that part of our house, and I am now happy to say that our new room is finished!

Other than putting pictures up on the walls, and my husband fitting the wood burning stove we have bought, everything in our new living room is completed. The room we have been using as our living room/ dining room homeschooling room will now be our dining room (and still incorporate home education!), which makes more sense anyway, as it is off the kitchen.

Renovations at An Island Family By Grace

How our living room originally looked from outside.

Finished renovations - An Island Family By Grace

How the outside of our new room looks now!

 

Our New Room - An Island Family By Grace

Our New Room - An Island Family By Grace

The fireplace will have another slate flagstone on the floor in front, once the cement has dried, and the wood burning stove will be inset.

Renovations - An Island Family By Grace

This window had been bricked up in the past, and now that the roof is all fixed, we opened it back up. It makes the room much lighter!

It is great to have the extra space, and to have more than a two-seater couch for our family of six to relax on! Not having to shuffle around the table in the dining room is a huge blessing. We also now have loft space above the living room, which has meant we have been able to store away bags and boxes that have lurked on top of wardrobes and bookcases for the 15 months since we moved in!

Next on my husband’s to do list is the replacement of the rest of our roof. It is not full of dry rot as the first section was, but began leaking big time in December, and has had a tarpaulin nailed down to it since then. We have had excellent dry and warm weather for the last week, and this summer looks to be a lot better than last year’s, so he hopes to begin work on the roof during June, and be finished before the end of summer, in time for the arrival of our new baby!

‘Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.’  Lamentations 3:22-23

We have had a huge amount of work to do on the house since we moved in, and a lot more than we expected from the home report survey, however we have been blessed time and time again by God’s faithfulness in providing resources, health and generous friends who have pitched in to get the job done! I am also so thankful for my husband’s DIY abilities and dogged determination to get it all done!

Are you currently working on or finishing off any renovations? Or do you have work that is waiting to be done? Please comment and let me know!


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.

 

 

 

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