I’ll admit–I wasn’t looking forward to today. We’re officially out of tourist/vacation mode and starting school. While I would like this to be one long vacation, the kids need to stay educated. Plus Lynn is going to work full-time which means I’m managing this crew all on my own during the week, and that’s a little scary. I mean really scary. By the end of the summer, I’m usually counting down the days for the kids to go back to school. Don’t get me wrong, they are the world to me and I love them dearly. But they are high energy, strong-willed and well, they are boys. They fight, they wrestle, they can be quite loud and they do the craziest things without any thought of the outcome, and by the end of the day, I’m utterly exhausted. So the thought of being cooped up in a little apartment trying to teach them all when they’re in such different stages (preschool, elementary, middle and highschool) seemed like a crazy, impossible thing to do. And it might be. But I’m going to try.
We thought about putting the kids in the British school system here, but the schools are all full near where we live and we want to be flexible to travel and sight see. So I did a lot of research and found some great curriculum before we left that is mostly self-directed with short daily lessons. Tyler’s still doing BYU highschool online and staying on track so far. Last night I set up everyone’s daily school schedule and made a reward chart. I was feeling pretty confident I could do this. Last night.
This morning I was awoken by a sick little guy who couldn’t stop throwing up. Poor little Jace wasn’t feeling well, but that was one less student to keep on track for the day I guess.
Things got a little rocky after a few protests from another student, but we figured things out and they all got with the program. The great thing is they can be done within 2 hours or less (except for Tyler), and we can move on to more exciting things.
Nathan loved art time and drew the cutest Big Ben and double-decker buses. He finished up his math, science, grammar and spelling test and was so excited to put stars on his chart. Crossing my fingers he doesn’t lose interest in the reward system. He’s dying to buy souvenirs and candy at all the little stores. Jace perked up and begged for crackers and Brie and I knew he was feeling better.
Time for a fieldtrip
Once they completed their daily work, we loaded up and rode the tube to South Kensington to go to the Natural History Museum. Holy canolli, it was the most amazing museum I’ve ever seen in my life! We walked inside and they had the largest Diplodocus dinosaur on display, which happens to be Jace’s favorite dinosaur of all time. It was almost too much to take in…the architecture, the grandness of it all and the millions upon millions of items displayed throughout the enormous buiding. I can’t believe this place is free. Going to a small museum in Seattle with the family is outrageous, so we’ll be taking advantage- especially since it’s so close to our new apartment. We only made it through a small part, but the kids were fascinated by all the extinct species, fossils and displays of animals. This could really fulfill their science learning for the year.
The Natural History Museum
This creepy looking fish has been extinct for millions of years
Another Ice Age animal
We managed to make it back during the crazy rush hour on the tube and saw the coolest sunset right outside our apartment. I don’t imagine we’ll see the sun for much longer.
The good news of the day was our offer was accepted and we’re planning on moving in to the new apartment in Kensington on Friday night.
Time to plan for another full day tomorrow. All in all, it turned out to be quite a wonderful day. Maybe I can do this.
The day started off a little chilly since the water heater went out. Cold showers all around. The maintenance guy came out and worked on it while the cleaning crew came to spiff the place up, so we headed out today and made it a full day of field trips. I love being this flexible. I’m really not going to stress that they missed their schoolwork. They’ll make it up later.
It was the first day of rain. The kind that blows sideways, which made our jaunt to the tube pretty comical. Our umbrellas blew backwards and within 30 seconds, Jace’s feet were soaked from stepping in puddles.
I thought we’d spend the whole day inside museums, but by the time we got to South Kensington, we had blue skies. Nathan was sad we missed “recess” yesterday so we headed to Hyde Park to play at the Diana playground again. We had to stop along the way at this quaint French bakery for a ham and cheese croissant and a baguette style hotdog smothered with cheese and Dijon that made Tyler very happy. That boy is loving the food here!
Jace’s idea of a good bakery
Tyler fell in love with French food
We came in a different entrance and were amazed by the Prince Albert Memorial. Everything here is so intricate and grand. The details carved into stone is impressive, even if it’s on the simplest of buildings.
We got a little lost and ended up in Kensington Gardens at the pond. It was filled with birds and beautiful swans. A sweet lady shared her bread so the boys could feed the birds. It was the highlight of their day. Tyler and Cade were covered in birds and feeding swans from their hands. Now we know to pack stale bread from now on. It was such a picturesque place with Kensington Palace in the background. I’m pinching myself that this is our life for now.
Feeding the swans at Kensington Gardens
Jace tried so hard to lure a bird on his arm with his Cheez-it to no avail.
We never did end up getting to the playground because it started to sprinkle, so we went back to the Natural History Museum to see more displays.
This massive sequoia tree is over 1,300 years old
Tyler was so intrigued by the gem display and wanted to show us the Vault, which has priceless gems in it. My favorite was the diamond display that took 25 years to collect all the natural colors of diamonds!! Tyler started his own little collection and bought some copper in the gift shop. They have some incredible, rare items on display. The most recent was a meteor from Mars.
Every natural color of diamond on earth
Recent meteor from Mars
Next we checked out animals preserved in jars for scientific purposes. This fascinated them and grossed me out. There’s a whole Charles Darwin Center and huge cocoon you travel through looking at how scientists work.
Jace had to see the “robot T-Rex” which scared him just as much the second time around.
With aching feet, we trudged to Lynn’s office to watch the Guy Fawkes fireworks display from the roof. November 5th is the day they celebrate the botched plan of Guy Fawkes, who tried to bomb the Parliament back in 1605 aiming to kill King James. He was arrested, tortured and killed and for years, locals would burn a dummy on the top of a bonfire to celebrate. Kind of strange. It’s turned into more of a Bonfire Night celebration connected with Halloween and open park festivals. We saw quite a few fireworks in different areas, but they were small and the kids were a bit disappointed-expecting more of a July 4th production!
Fireworks from the roof
Tyler went out tonight on splits with the missionaries tonight and talked to all sorts of people. What an eye-opening, cool experience for him! This is great preparation for what will come in just a few years. Even though the youth program is small, they have a lot of activities and do really cool things, as well as meeting weekly to play soccer and basketball. He’s got a big stake youth event this Friday night. We’re keeping busy for sure.