Wednesday, May 22

International Roadschooling: Transportation & Before You Leave

 


Before You Leave

Planning
  • Pull out your passport and check the expiration date. It can take a while to get your passport, so have one in hand when you book your trip. Make sure it's good for at least another year.
  • Traveling during Britain's "shoulder season" (May, September, and early October) is easier and less expensive than in peak season. Plus, shoulder season travelers enjoy smaller crowds and better room availability. July and August are peak months to visit, with very long days and nice, warm weather. July is typically the warmest month of the year and June is the sunniest.
  • Contact your cell phone company to add an international plan, if available. If not, you'll need an unlocked phone with a local SIM card.
  • Book hotels with cancellation, whenever possible. Travel insurance can help, but it's easier to simply cancel if that's an option.
  • Plan to stay in some smaller bed & breakfasts or hotels run by locals, if you have the chance. Get to know people in small towns and learn about cultural differences. (We recommend the Old Schoolhouse in Haltwhistle, if you get that way. Ten stars! Tell them the Oklahoma homeschoolers sent ya. Seriously though, Kate is an amazing cook and Ian is hilarious.)
  • Let your credit card company know that you will be travelling abroad. This way, they won't cancel your transactions, believing them to be fraudulent.
  • Get the travel insurance. It can cover financial losses, medical care, emergency transportation, lost baggage, and canceled or delayed flights.

Weather & Clothes
  • Don't overpack. Packing light will help you to be more mobile. Many places do not have elevators, so only pack what you can carry up the stairs, onto public transportation, and walking through villages.
  • Contact your accommodations ahead of time to see if there is a place you can do laundry. This will stretch your clothing, eliminating the need for more suitcase space.
  • Layer your clothing to accommodate various weather conditions. Tank tops, long sleeve shirts, and a jacket can be mixed and matched to cover many settings and temperatures.
  • You're more than likely to see rain at some point in your trip. Have an umbrella at the ready wherever you go.

Transportation

Planes
  • If you are certain of your itinerary, book your trip as soon as you have the money. This goes for airfare and hotel, but also train tickets. Choose your seats for both the plane and the trains. In addition to saving money, you'll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your reservations are set.
  • If you don't have a connecting flight, choose a seat toward the back for easier access to the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Be nice to the flight attendants. Always.
  • When returning home, use the Mobile Customs app to speed through the customs line.

Trains
  • While there are some hiccups in rail transit, a lot of train companies allow you to file claims and get refunds online if your train is as little as 15 minutes delayed. Often if it's over an hour delay, you get a full refund.
  • The British are quite punctual and if you are late, you may be considered rude.
  • Book a table for longer train legs. You'll have space to read, eat, work, stretch out, and more.
  • Hold onto your train ticket. At bigger train stations, there are fare gates to scan your ticket on the way out, and the same applies for the Tube in London —you have to tap out in order to leave. On some trains, you'll be asked to show the ticket in motion and can be hit with a fine if you don't have it.
  • Order a pre-paid Oyster card, which can be used on various forms of public transportation in London, including buses, the Tube, trams and more. Using this card, rides are cheaper, and you can even show them at restaurants, shops, galleries and more around the city for more discounts!

Automobiles
  • Don't get run over. Driving on the left side might seem quirky and fun if you're not used to it, but the forgotten consequence for pedestrians is that cars are coming from a different direction than you're used to, so your natural instincts when crossing the street will be thrown off. Be sure to check both directions, multiple times, before crossing.

Feet
  • Don't cut in line. Queuing is almost a pastime in England...it's that important. In England, the right side of escalators is for standing, while the left side is reserved for people who are walking.
  • Fight against jet lag by getting rest before your trip. Drink lots of water during your flight to helps combat jet lag, and take it easy on the day you arrive. Don't immediately go to the hotel and lay down, but try to walk around and stay up to adjust to the local clock. However, to better avoid illness, give yourself some time to take it slow until you can overcome jet lag completely.
  • Do the touristy things. Odds are you'll never see the people around you again, so go out and enjoy yourself. Be a little quirky and see every tourist attraction you want!

Transportation websites:

Pick up activities and worksheets to augment your real or virtual trip in the unit study bundle below!

Explore the art, history, geography, food, and culture of England in this cross-curricular unit study….perfect for families getting ready to travel abroad or folks who want to travel via unit studies!  Each stop along the roadschooling trip covers a different facet of history and culture with unit information, resources, worksheets, activities, and more...  

YES!  I want 122 pages of FUN STUDIES!

Table of Contents:

  • o Introduction & Geography of England
  • o Portsmouth
    • o The Mary Rose & naval archaeology
  • o London
    • o The British Museum & archaeology
    • o The Wallace Collection & medieval history
    • o The Tower of London / London Bridge & the Tudors
    • o Buckingham Palace & royalty
    • o Victoria and Albert Museum & medieval art
    • o Thames / Globe Theater & Shakespeare
    • o Sherlock Holmes Museum & British Literature
    • o Abbey Road & British Invasion
  • o Leeds
    • o Royal Armouries & middle ages
  • o York
    • o Jorvik & Vikings
    • o York Castle & archaeology
  • o Haltwhistle
    • o Hadrian’s Wall & ancient Celts
    • o Vindolanda & archaeology
  • o Alnwick
    • o Alnwick Castle & architecture
    • o Poison Garden & herbs
    • o Barter Books & WW2 history
  • o Alnmouth
    • o North Sea & train history
  • o Newcastle o Segedunum & ancient Romans
  • o Tips & Tricks for Travelling in England

Wednesday, May 8

Roadschool Trip to Leeds: Royal Armouries




The Royal Armouries is Britain's oldest public museum and traces its roots to the Tower of London. The collection is split across three UK sites — Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds; its ancestral home at the Tower of London; and Fort Nelson near Portsmouth. It is also the only UK museum to have a permanent presence in the US at the Frazier History Museum in Louisville, Kentucky.

If you have a chance to visit the museum, be sure to stop in the rock garden on the top floor, where you can see the city of Leeds and experience a peaceful moment of rest!

Once an important part of England's military organization, the museum is one of the oldest museums, and also one of the largest collections of arms and armour, in the world.

The Office of the Armoury grew out of the department known as the King's Privy Wardrobe at the Tower of London in the mid-15th century. Overseen from 1423 by the Master of the King's Armour, in the White Tower, the Office was responsible for manufacturing armour and edged weapons for the monarch and his armies; it functioned alongside the Office of Ordinance, which had responsibility for firearms.

Our teen took a notebook and pen, as well as a folding yardstick, to the museum to get accurate measurements and descriptions of various pieces of historic armour for his blacksmithing / swordsmithing business. Sparks Forge &  Armory is a small business where he creates beautiful, accurate, and detailed historical reproduction crossbows, scabbards, swords, daggers, maille (chainmail), armor, and other medieval artifacts. Each piece is hand made and unique!

Visit Sparks Forge & Armory's website to discover the history of each unique piece as it is crafted. Follow the Facebook Page for the Artefacts of the Week!



Pick up activities and worksheets to augment your real or virtual trip in the unit study bundle below!


Explore the art, history, geography, food, and culture of England in this cross-curricular unit study….perfect for families getting ready to travel abroad or folks who want to travel via unit studies!  Each stop along the roadschooling trip covers a different facet of history and culture with unit information, resources, worksheets, activities, and more...  

YES!  I want 122 pages of FUN STUDIES!

Table of Contents:

  • o Introduction & Geography of England
  • o Portsmouth
    • o The Mary Rose & naval archaeology
  • o London
    • o The British Museum & archaeology
    • o The Wallace Collection & medieval history
    • o The Tower of London / London Bridge & the Tudors
    • o Buckingham Palace & royalty
    • o Victoria and Albert Museum & medieval art
    • o Thames / Globe Theater & Shakespeare
    • o Sherlock Holmes Museum & British Literature
    • o Abbey Road & British Invasion
  • o Leeds
    • o Royal Armouries & middle ages
  • o York
    • o Jorvik & Vikings
    • o York Castle & archaeology
  • o Haltwhistle
    • o Hadrian’s Wall & ancient Celts
    • o Vindolanda & archaeology
  • o Alnwick
    • o Alnwick Castle & architecture
    • o Poison Garden & herbs
    • o Barter Books & WW2 history
  • o Alnmouth
    • o North Sea & train history
  • o Newcastle o Segedunum & ancient Romans
  • o Tips & Tricks for Travelling in England

Wednesday, April 3

Roadschool Trip to London: British Entertainers




In 1891, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes was a character very much of his time and place, who appealed to British readers directly by confronting the messy, changeable world they lived in. From 1181 to 1904, the fictional Holmes lived at 221B Baker Street in London, which became one of the world's most famous addresses.

Located on Baker Street in London, near Regent's Park, the Sherlock Holmes Museum is the world's first museum dedicated to the literary character. It actually sits between numbers 237 and 241, but has special permission from the City of Westminster to carry the famous address. This Georgian townhouse was built in 1815 and used as a boarding house until 1936, but was converted into a museum in 1990.

Since then, the rooms have been restored to give visitors an insight into the life and stories of the world's first consulting detective, as well as an authentic experience of Victorian London. From the cheery 'Bobby' in traditional uniform at the door, to the tour guides in Victorian-era costume, this museum invites you to step back in time to the gas-lit world of London's iconic detective. Photography is not allowed inside, but there are plenty of opportunities to take home postcard from the gift store!

Brief Overview of British Literature (aka BritLit)

The earliest surviving works of BritLit are from the Old English period (475-1000), and include famous epics such as Beowulf. (Snag a complete unit study on Beowulf here!!) Fast-forward to the Battle of Hastings, and Norman French replaced Old English as the language of the ruling classes. At this point, BritLit became largely influenced by the French, and stories began to center around Charlemagne and King Arthur. It wasn't until the 14th century that the old styles would re-emerge in works by authors such as Malory and Chaucer.

The Renaissance brought Shakespeare and Marlowe, whose writings led the Elizabethian era and still persist today. Famous poets of this era included Donne and Milton. In the early 18th century, novels became the 'done thing,' with works by Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne and Smollett. This style was developed further in the 19th century by Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Thackeray, the Bronte sisters, Eliot, and Dickens.




London — Abbey Road

Tucked into St. John's Wood is a little road that went largely unknown until 1969. Legend says that the Beatles were close to breaking up that year, and during the album recording they could barely stand to be around each other. When it came time to produce the album exterior, they simply decided to name the album after their recording studio and take the photo in front of it. Thanks to the band and album's popularity, today Abbey Road is one of those free and unusual tourist attractions!

Abbey Road studios is known for producing legendary artists such as Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, and Lady Gaga. You might notice the Abbey Road street signs mounted a bit higher than other signs in London. This is because they have been frequently stolen, and the local council moved them to deter would-be music-fan thieves. Today, people from all over the world stop by this location to take pictures of themselves imitating the famous artwork where the four band members are walking straight across the crossing.

If you decide to try your hand at crossing this extremely-busy street, go early in the day, when there is less traffic. Be patient and prepared to wait your turn, and be alert as not all of the locals appreciate stopping for tourists....

Can't visit? Check out the live Abbey Road Cam.


Pick up activities and worksheets to augment your real or virtual trip in the unit study bundle below!

Explore the art, history, geography, food, and culture of England in this cross-curricular unit study….perfect for families getting ready to travel abroad or folks who want to travel via unit studies!  Each stop along the roadschooling trip covers a different facet of history and culture with unit information, resources, worksheets, activities, and more...  

YES!  I want 122 pages of FUN STUDIES!

Table of Contents:

  • o Introduction & Geography of England
  • o Portsmouth
    • o The Mary Rose & naval archaeology
  • o London
    • o The British Museum & archaeology
    • o The Wallace Collection & medieval history
    • o The Tower of London / London Bridge & the Tudors
    • o Buckingham Palace & royalty
    • o Victoria and Albert Museum & medieval art
    • o Thames / Globe Theater & Shakespeare
    • o Sherlock Holmes Museum & British Literature
    • o Abbey Road & British Invasion
  • o Leeds
    • o Royal Armouries & middle ages
  • o York
    • o Jorvik & Vikings
    • o York Castle & archaeology
  • o Haltwhistle
    • o Hadrian’s Wall & ancient Celts
    • o Vindolanda & archaeology
  • o Alnwick
    • o Alnwick Castle & architecture
    • o Poison Garden & herbs
    • o Barter Books & WW2 history
  • o Alnmouth
    • o North Sea & train history
  • o Newcastle o Segedunum & ancient Romans
  • o Tips & Tricks for Travelling in England

Thursday, March 14

Books Featuring Homeschooled Children (for all ages!)


While we love to teach about other eras, cultures, and people through literature, it's also good to recognize similarities...and homeschooled children don't often see other homeschoolers featured in the books they read.  Fortunately, this is a trend that is changing!

It's a fuzzy feeling when your homeschooled child reads about another kid who is learning at home, too, and knows that s/he isn't alone.  Whether your children are in elementary or high school, there's a book on this list that they'll be able to connect to, and the booklist is also a great reference tool for families (and well-meaning relatives) who are skeptical about this whole homeschooling thing you've been taking on....


Younger Readers


Middle & High School Readers




You may also like...

Vintage Boys  Vintage Girls  Free Kindle  Middle School 

Wednesday, March 6

Roadschool Trip to London: Victoria & Albert

The Victoria and Albert Museum (also known as the V&A) is the world's largest museum of design, applied arts, and decorative arts. It is located in 'Albertopolis,' a section of Kensington with many museums and institutions supported by Prince Albert. The V&A began as part of the 1851 Great Exhibition and was originally known as the Museum of Manufactures. Three years later, it was moved to its current site and renamed the South Kensington Museum.

In 1857, Queen Victoria hosted the official opening of the museum. In order to serve the working classes, the museum was kept open by gas light so that all people who wanted to could access the applied art and science resources. The museum was dedicated to serving all classes, and when she renamed the building the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1899, Queen Victoria said, "I trust that it will remain for ages a Monument of discerning Liberality and a Source of Refinement and Progress."

The museum owns the world's largest collection of Italian Renaissance items outside of Italy. There are triptychs and effigy tombs, and you can even walk inside Trajan's Column! The Asian department includes art from South Asia, China, Japan, Korea, and the Islamic world. These are some of the best Asian resources found in Europe. The museum features a large collection of medieval pieces from around the world.

The medieval period lasted from about the 5th to 15th centuries in Europe, and is generally broken into the early, high, and late middle ages periods. The era began with the fall of Rome and ended with the fall of Constantinople, then transitioning into the Renaissance. During the middle ages, several new kingdoms, based on the Roman civilization, were formed across the western part of the continent, and the eastern part of the continent came under the rule of the Islamic empire (see the unit study on the Umayyad Caliphate,  the Button Box).

The high middle ages was a period of technological innovation and climate changes that allowed crops to flourish...which led to a population boom and increased trade. The feudal system of serfs and lords became the prominent political structure, with the nobles reporting to the king. This was also the period of the Crusades, the founding of universities, and authors such as Dante and Chaucer. The late middle ages were marked with difficulties, such as the Black Plague, schisms within the church, and peasant revolts.

Pick up activities and worksheets to augment your real or virtual trip in the unit study bundle below!

Explore the art, history, geography, food, and culture of England in this cross-curricular unit study….perfect for families getting ready to travel abroad or folks who want to travel via unit studies!  Each stop along the roadschooling trip covers a different facet of history and culture with unit information, resources, worksheets, activities, and more...  

YES!  I want 122 pages of FUN STUDIES!

Table of Contents:

  • o Introduction & Geography of England
  • o Portsmouth
    • o The Mary Rose & naval archaeology
  • o London
    • o The British Museum & archaeology
    • o The Wallace Collection & medieval history
    • o The Tower of London / London Bridge & the Tudors
    • o Buckingham Palace & royalty
    • o Victoria and Albert Museum & medieval art
    • o Thames / Globe Theater & Shakespeare
    • o Sherlock Holmes Museum & British Literature
    • o Abbey Road & British Invasion
  • o Leeds
    • o Royal Armouries & middle ages
  • o York
    • o Jorvik & Vikings
    • o York Castle & archaeology
  • o Haltwhistle
    • o Hadrian’s Wall & ancient Celts
    • o Vindolanda & archaeology
  • o Alnwick
    • o Alnwick Castle & architecture
    • o Poison Garden & herbs
    • o Barter Books & WW2 history
  • o Alnmouth
    • o North Sea & train history
  • o Newcastle o Segedunum & ancient Romans
  • o Tips & Tricks for Travelling in England