If you are planning a trip to Europe in the near future, here are some tips to make travel easier and more fun!
Get in Shape
Often on vacation, especially in Europe, you do a lot of walking and climbing that uses muscles that aren't used to working very hard. Take walks, climb stairs, and get those muscles working. If you only walk from your car to the office, you might need to consider walking during your lunch hour. A two mile daily walk will get you in shape quickly. And take the stairs for a month before you travel.
Break Your Shoes In at Home
Don't take a brand new pair of shoes that you've never worn. You are asking for blisters. Try out all your shoes by walking around the block in them. Are they comfortable?
Think Comfort and Layers
Forget the jeans you have to lay on the bed to zip up. Pull out the clothes that move and bend in cheery colors that look good on you. Layers work best for a place you have never visited. You can always peel off or put on a layer as needed. I brought a light weight hoodie to wear under a rain coat with a pair of gloves to the Netherlands. When the weather cooled off, I pulled on the rain coat and gloves. When it got warmer, I simply put my gloves and coat in the back pack.
I wanted to look nice for pictures so I brought pretty shirts and sweaters to wear with my comfy jeans. Wearing light make-up and no jewelry except earrings, I still managed to look nice.
Make a Detailed Itinerary
Teach 20th Century the Fun Way
The 20th Century is an exciting time in history to study! As a family, we decided to dig in and learn about this fabulous century and we had a blast doing it!
At the Turn of the Century, the automobile was brand-new and man was learning to fly a simple plane. By the end of the century man had stepped on the moon and had stations in space.
So many new inventions changed life as we know it: insulin, rockets, radar, lasers, GPS, computers, plastic, and vaccinations are just a few. Can you imagine life with out plastic?
Most people lived on farms in the early 1900s, but by the end of the century, most people lived in cities and there were hundreds of cities around the world with over 1 million people in them.
At the beginning of the century, vast empires ruled over large portions of the world including the Ottoman Empire, Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Russia, British Empire, and the Dutch Empire. After World War I, two of those empires fell and many new nations were created like Poland, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Estonia, and Finland. The Middle East, once part of the Ottoman Empire, was divided into territories and later into nations: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine (later divided into Jordan and Israel). So many changes.
There are so many exciting people to learn about from political leaders like Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill to authors like G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis, from missionaries like Gladys Aylward and Jim Elliot to heroes like Douglas MacArthur and Edith Cavell, and from businessmen like Henry Ford and Sam Walton to athletes like Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson.
When we decided to study 20th Century World History, I went searching for the stories. You can read those stories all together in HIS Story of the 20th Century. But, we didn't want to stop with the stories, we wanted to dig into the culture of the 20th Century.
History Labs & Movies
Geography Feast: Europe
We kicked off our Homeschool Geography Co-op with a Plane Ride because our goal is to Travel Around The World through reading, crafts, mapping, and hands-on learning fun this year. Did I mention food and feasting?
This month, we were studying Europe, so we had another Geography Feast using Travel God's World Cookbook.
Each family made a dish from a country in Europe.
I made EZ Paella from Spain. Pattie made Swedish Cabbage Pudding (it also has ground beef and potatoes, too), Molly made Bratwurst and Sauerkraut from Germany, and Leanne made Fruit Crumble from England.
Festive Party Idea: Cupcake Bar
I attended an engagement party this weekend and was excited to discover they had a cupcake bar.
You can see how pretty the display was in the photo. There were little flags in the frosting bowls and paper topping dishes to inform guests what they were looking at.
Guests could choose from vanilla or chocolate cupcakes, just plain cupcakes.
The next step was to choose chocolate or vanilla frosting for your cupcake. If you are having your own cupcake bar, you could also use decorator bags of icing so you could pipe the frosting on fancy.
Once your cupcake was frosted, it was time for the goodies to decorate. You had a choice of ten different toppings.
Drama! Acting is a wonderful way for the dramatic teen to unleash emotion. It's also a great way for the shy teen to come out of their shell.
My oldest daughter had a drama class in our homeschool co-op with a actress and drama major. She learned so much about acting and loved the class.
When the other children got to high school, the amazing teacher was gone.
"Can we do drama?" they asked.
"There's no one to teach it," I replied.
"You could teach us," they replied confidently.
I talked to my friend Laura about it and we decided we could do something simple.
"Let's learn some simple drama techniques in the beginning of the year, do a short Christmas play, create a radio drama after the holidays, and then record some YouTube videos to close the year out," I suggested.
"Let's start every class with an icebreaker," Laura enthused. She researched and came up with a different ice breaker for every class. We decided to open the class up to other teens, meeting three times a month.
Tons of Fun!
How We Did It
It's time for a girls' night! We watched Princess Cut, a Christian film from Watchman Pictures.
I invited my friend Molly and her daughters over. After I invited them, I found out that they already own the movie, but they still wanted to come over and see this Christian romantic comedy with me.
I loved the movie! It had a message to a world that has lost its moral compass when it comes to dating and marriage. Princess Cut offers hope to so many ladies who have experienced rejection. The idea of men placing high value on them and treating them with honor is foreign. How sad.
"When I first saw the movie, I couldn't relate to Grace because I have never had a boyfriend. But, a girl just got saved in our church and her story is like Grace's experience in the movie. I share the same principles shared in this movie to encourage her to see herself in a new light because the Lord places high value on her," my friend Marielle confided in me.
First Form Latin Level One from Memoria Press is a challenging course made easy to use with an excellent teacher on DVD, in addition to the workbook, student text, pronunciation CD, and flashcards. The way this course is presented hits every learning style, making it work for all students.
For the visual learner, there is a student text and workbook. For the auditory learner, there are oral drills and a pronunciation audio to practice speaking with. For the hands-on learner, there is sitting and standing during the DVD lesson, games, and flashcards. The DVD appeals to all learning styles.
The teacher is clear, interesting, and easy to understand. In fact, when I glanced through the student text, I felt a little overwhelmed. It had been a while since I've taught Latin, so I put in the DVD. I immediately felt relieved. I could do this! The DVD makes all the difference for me!
First Form Latin Level One by Cheryl Lowe is perfect for beginning Latin students grades five and up. It works for younger students, too, that have completed Latina Christiana. However, if you have a student that is not used to rigorous study, this course may be too hard for those younger than high school. The course moves quickly. With that said, I love Memoria Press! I used it years ago.
Wanting to give my children a year of Latin, I tried so many different Latin programs for my children--a couple different ones for each child. When I got to my younger children, I discovered Latina Christiana. I loved the DVD and the simplicity of the course.Best of all, the children loved it! I knew we had found the perfect fit when my children would yell, "Mea Culpa" on the soccer field when they made a mistake.
Let me tell your more about First Form Latin and how we used it.
"Would you like to do a unit study with me?" I asked my friend Mercy since my grandsons were too little and my children were too old. "It's called Creation Unit Study-Pine Trees from Creation Illustrated.
"Yes!" she replied.
We looked at the beautiful magazine article in Creation Illustrated Fall 2017 issue to start our study. Of course, we got distracted by all the other articles because the pictures are amazing and draw you in. Every photograph was beautiful and most were breathtaking!
We read about the eclipse last August, kangaroos, Creation Day 2, a devotional on walking in peace, a garden ministry in Australia, recipes from Genesis, and a character lesson from the forest community. I also noticed a study guide section to use the articles to teach.
My favorite article was the one on the Grand Canyon and Canyon Ministries where God changes lives as people visit the Grand Canyon and hear about creation and Jesus. I loved it!
Once we had finished our rabbit trail, we hopped back to the article and reviewed a few things.
Then we went straight to the Vocabulary & Spelling and Vocabulary Definitions pages in the unit study because the words came straight from the article. I like that!
Our favorite part was the Bible study. We were surprised at how often pine trees are mentioned in the Word of God.
At this point, we looked up other resources listed in the unit study, including some YouTube videos that I passed along to my homeschool geography co-op teachers since we are studying forests in May. Videos always help me and the children I teach because they bring a subject alive with sight, sound, and movement. After we worked through the rest of the unit study with art, math problems, science studies, and puzzles, I was happy to find a teacher's answer key in the back. That just made life easier!
The unit study covered math, science, reading, vocabulary, writing, spelling, art, geography, research, and Bible.