The rock and hard place

Last week I started my final journey to finishing up my bachelors degree. My first class through WSU Global Online began. Friday I graduated with my AA degree, that’s one more step finished (though I still have one more class to take that starts Monday, thanks to a very long and complicated saga involving a less-than-proper professor). It’s the beginning of week two of my WSU class, and, I’m not enjoying it. It’s not the accelerated pace (summer classes cram a semester of work into six little weeks), though that’s not exactly fun either, it’s more that through the entire course there isn’t a single powerpoint, lecture note, or audio from the professor. Not. One.

This really bothers me.

I’ve taken 6 online classes before this one. Each and every class has had either powerpoint lectures or audio lectures. This is the best way to learn (for me). My current class the teacher (I won’t say professor as he’s a PhD student, which for $1560 a class, I wasn’t super happy about that) simply assigned us six books to read, discussion questions and essay assignments. There is no other interaction other than a whole lot of people asking why nothing links correctly or why there are multiple assignments in multiple areas and everything’s a bit confusing.

But zero lectures. This is not what I was expecting. I tried multiple ways to find out if this is how all the classes are, and the only two items I could find, both non-favorable reviews, said there are no lectures for the online classes. I sent my advisor an email and asked if this is the standard format for online classes through the university. She says it varies but the situation I described is typical.

So we arrive at the crossroads part of the story.

After researching UW Bothell (38 minute drive without traffic which would probably make it like 60 minutes depending on the time of day), there are some classes I can take there if I need an in-person format. UW also does an Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Social Sciences degree. All online. All with recorded video lectures. I attended an online webinar for the program today and while it’s not exactly the same degree as the WSU humanities, it’s similar, and across most of the platforms (which they call themes) and more socially related than straight history. Which I like but don’t necessarily completely love. It would certainly given me a more varied skill set though.

What to do? They are still accepting applications for autumn, which are due July 1 (including a 1000 word personal essay, which lets face it, would take me about an hour to write). Spaces are available, though it is a limited program. They currently only have 360 students.

Do I switch after investing in the WSU program, and put my one class at WSU towards the UW degree? Or stay at WSU and deal with the non-lecture classes (which honestly does not make me feel really excited to continue). I have six days to come to a decision about what to do.

Do I stay a Cougar or become a Dawg?

Schools out for summer! {what now?}

Whew! What a week. Tomorrow the kids have a half day for their last day of school, and I can’t believe the year is finished. Next Wednesday, 22 June, we will have been in London for exactly one year. I can’t believe that’s here already (and thank goodness, one year down, one to go). As always at the end of the school year, it’s been kind of nuts with school parties, birthday parties, award ceremonies, field trips etc etc. I am looking forward to sleeping in come Monday morning {which basically means until 7, because let’s face it, the sun comes up at 4:30 and when you’ve been getting up at 6:20 for a year, your body just doesn’t let you sleep anymore}.


Arrival in London, 22 June 2015

Today was the 9th grade awards ceremony at school {proud mom moment: The Boy was recognized for excellence in chemistry}, and looking at the kids it made me realize what a different experience my kids are having than when I was in school. Not just the mix of cultures and languages they are around everyday going to an international school with students and faculty from over 50 countries represented, but how small the school is. For the entire Kindergarten through 12th grade there are only 570 students. In just my high school graduating class there were over 360 students. I think there are a total of 50 kids in the 9th grade, and my daughter’s 4th grade is one of the largest grade in school requiring two classes. Most of lower school has only one class of about 16-20 kids per grade.

Kind of crazy. In Seattle they both went to public schools which were the typical big affairs of 100-200 kids per grade, but I think the small nature of the school has been nice for them {at least I hope so}. The education they are receiving, half the teachers have Dr in front of their names if that gives you a hint, is pretty damn incredible and the choices of what they get to study isn’t have bad either. In high school they can chose psychology, business economics, geography, printmaking, fashion design, film…definitely a lot more choices than my pubic high school where I think we could chose community service, home economics, pottery, or keyboarding.

The private {highly competitive} London school circuit is no joke. In that sense I wish The Boy would come and say he wants to finish his high school career here. Because the benefits of an IB degree on a college application looks very good. And it’s definitely rigorous, the seniors take an entire 3 weeks of doing nothing but studying for their exams which last about two weeks. It’s no joke, and I’m not sure I would have survived it! I know The Boy does want to go back to Seattle after next year, but if he came to us and said he wanted to stay I think we’d have to figure it out to finally give him a choice {instead of moving him whether he wants to or not. he most definitely did NOT want to move to London}.

The Chick, she’s ultra flexible. So long as she has her pencils and books, she’ll live anywhere!

I haven’t captured any outfits this week simply because I’ve been busy and the weather has been awful, and not optimal for photographing (and I didn’t wear anything exciting because of the rain). I have come to the realization that wide leg linen pants are lovely, lovely things, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to feel the same way again about skinny jeans {thanks to Lee at StyleBee, whose wardrobe I would love to steal}. I’m also that bit in love with my jumpsuit. Totally comfortable, and lounge worthy.

33 days until we fly back to Seattle for ten days, then The Boy goes to tech camp (where they are making laser tag thingies; seriously, all I did at summer camp was swim, canoe, and get lost in the forest, things have changed), then another 30 and the school years starts all over again. We aren’t even one day into vacations and already it feel’s like it’s almost over!

Are your kids out for summer? What plans do you have to keep them occupied?!

The innocent mind of a seven year old…or the not so innocent

The other day Cycling Papa went to meet Thor’s teacher (and as an aside the other day when we went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch – our waiter’s name was Thor. CP and I couldn’t even look at each other for fear of laughing out loud). So CP went to see Mrs. M. since they’d never met before. She told him the funniest story.

There’s this kid in the class that Thor doesn’t get along with. I mean really doesn’t get along with. It’s fair because this kid doesn’t like Thor either. Apparently the other day something happened at recess and when they came inside to class it escalated.
I’m afraid to say Thor took it to the next step.

He got up from his seat and walked around the class to this other boy’s seat and stood behind him and…

He gave him bunny ears.

Oh yes he did.

I think I laughed so hard when CP told me that I had tears streaming down my face. The fact that Thor actually acted on giving this kid bunny ears is what is hilarious. He is the type of seven year old that doesn’t actually do that sort of thing.

When CP put him on the bus the next day he told him:

“Now Thor, no bunny ears okay?”

giggle giggle


Now Chick on the other hand…oh yeah, she’s got bunny ears written all over her.

The teacher also told the little story of one of the first days of school where they were supposed to come in and sit down for a story. None of the kids except Thor wanted to sit close to her so she told them it was Wednesday and she only bites on Tuesdays.

Well, never tell a kid with a photographic memory something like that. On the next Tuesday he walked into class and whispered into the teachers ear:

“It’s your biting day Mrs. M.”

Is this kid priceless or what?

What do your kids do to make you giggle!? What do they do or say that makes you go “oh no!”? Go ahead, give someone bunny ears today!

Have you entered my giveaway of the book Alienated? Click here to enter today!

Coming this week

It’s only 8 more days until schools out here so I have been searching for things to keep me and the little chillys busy.  I’ve come across Unplug Your Kids  thanks to benandbethany .  The site promotes an unplugged activity every week with a theme.  It’s a way to get away from the tv and have some creative fun with your kids.  Last weeks theme was plastic and there were some great projects that came from it.  Head over to Unplug Your Kids to see what they were.

I also came across another post on a blog I read regularly who is doing a Fun Friday (thanks Janalee!)  It is a day to give her kids a day off from the usual chores and such and give them something to look forward to each week.  Another idea I will have to copy I think.
Tonight or tomorrow I will be posting my Photo Challenge results (still looking for a photo or two).  Please see this post for details and I hope you’ll decide to join in!
It’s a social week in the house.  We’ve recently discovered how wonderful a thing a babysitter is!  We’ve been out twice in the last month and had a good time while the kids have had fun playing with a sitter (well, Boo anyway, I put Chick to bed before we go).  We are supposed to have dinner at a friends on Friday but we have now contacted babysitter number four (out of desperation!) because the first three were busy.  I am hoping she will be available because this friend lives in an old embassy house and I am dying to see what the inside looks like after hearing so much about it.  
Saturday we have a BBQ at other friends house (with kids) and Boo has a great time with this little girl whose house we are going to to.  There’s also a possibility another school friend will be there too (along with other kids) so it should be a lot of fun.  Let’s hope the weather holds.
We had planned to go to the trodelmarkt down at the river today.  I saw signs it was still there today and I hope it is.  After our last flea market find in Bad Honnef (a limited edition stamp and blown up drawing of the Brandenburg Gate, even signed and numbered) for 6€ it would be great to find something else to go along with it for the entry hall.  These are the type of things I like about trodelmarkt days, old finds and rare things.

We reap what we sow

If it is true we reap what we sow then I apologize to my parents.  My Boo has come out with the attitude of a teen some days.  Personally, a lot of this is because of some very ‘questionable’ children he plays with at school (my repeated times telling him they are not being his friend doesn’t help.  He digs in his heels and continues to play with them.)  Over the weekend I met one of these kids coming straight out my Boo’s mouth.  I told him sincerely that that boy was not allowed in my house and I would like my Boo back please.  My Boo who is kind and sweet.

There is such a difference in him when this one particular child is not in school.  One week not long ago this child was on vacation for a week.  What a difference!  Boo was nicer, kinder and the back talk attitude was virtually nil.  He even commented how nice it was without this other child.  Last week was holiday from school and by all accounts he was a much more pleasant person to be around.   It’s back to school today so I figure he will be a bit moody (shame cause I have to drag him to the store which he hates because Chick is napping and I haven’t gotten time to go yet).  I was actually sad to see him off this morning.
5 more weeks.  That’s it.  5 more weeks until we leave this school (and this other child) behind.  I think life next year in his new school is going to be so much better for everyone.

Request for Wonderful Wednesday Posts

I’ve had a request to bring back the Wonderful Wednesday posts. I really should get back to those to finish out my remaining 8 months here. Yesterday would not have been a good WW post however as I was in bed all day or (and read between the lines here) with my head in the toilet. Ahh, love those migraine stress induced headaches! This is the third one in six months. I’m better today but still feeling kinda odd. It turns out one of the mom’s at school whose dd is in Boo’s class is a neurologist. Very interesting. She highly recommended trying Yoga to relieve stress. I really should get back to that, now I’ve got the mat and all. She is going back to work in a few weeks and her nanny is coming from Seattle. Wahoo! An American. She’s 19 but heck that makes two American nanny’s (other family’s nanny is from Chicago). I am definitely going to be setting up playdates with this kids this summer. Piratenland anyone?
I do have a picture for today’s post. I have been capturing rainbows quite often (you know since it rains like every day here). The pictures don’t do them justice. They always seem to occur at the same spot outside my kitchen or living room windows. And Boo loves to have an excuse to get out of bed to see them too. This picture is from Tuesday night I think. It’s hard to see but that’s the best I could get it.
This is my last full day without the kiddo, last day of school tomorrow, he’s done at noon. Let Summer begin!
As consolation for not heading to Taiwan yet, dh said he’d book the babysitter to take me to see Harry Potter. Awesome. That makes two HP films he’ll have taken me to. Maybe I can convert him to a HP nut like me 🙂