Ah life with a car

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When we moved to South Korea in 2015, we didn’t bring a car with us at all. My 14 year old car got totaled the day we got the official offer. And Tim’s car had recalls on it like every other month. So we ditched the cars and thought we would do public transportation in Korea. And we did, for the first year.

There is a one car rule in South Korea for Americans. In Daegu, it is pretty easy to get a second car approved if you live off post. At Camp Humphreys, it was harder. So while we bought a car in January 2016, Tim had it most of the time because he was working. I could use it after work or on weekends. But for play dates and events during the week, Clarissa and I either got a ride from a friend or took the bus somewhere. It wasn’t a big deal in Daegu because there were like 1,000 different busses and a subway system. Plus all of our friends had two cars. Pyeongtaek was harder because the one bus only went one way to AK Plaza and most of my friends were stranded without a car during the day as well.

During our time in Pyeongtaek, Clarissa would always say things like “I can’t wait until we move to America because we will have two vehicles!” So when we found out we were moving to Washington DC area I had to disappoint Clarissa and tell her that we would still be a one car family. However, she is happy about it because instead of Daddy taking the car to work and us taking the bus everywhere, Tim takes the bus to work and we get to keep the car for the day. I forgot how nice it is to have a car and be able to run errands during the week or just to be able to go on a random adventure because we feel like it.

So on Wednesday, Clarissa and I went on an adventure. We decided to check out Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center in Alexandria. It was an easy ten minute drive from our house. At first I thought I missed it because it is attached to an elementary school building. We really enjoyed it and plan to go back!

There are several small animals in tanks and aquariums inside. Clarissa got to see snakes, lizards, bugs, turtles, and birds. There were also cool things to look at under a microscope and a different magnifier. We saw most of those things in about twenty minutes.

Then, Clarissa went to the play area. There is a puppet stage, puppets, stuffed animals, plastic toys, and plenty of books to read. We stayed there for almost an hour. Clarissa would have stayed longer if I let her.

Next to the Nature Center is an entrance to Dora Kelley Nature Park. From the parking lot, take some stairs through the trees down to a paved path by a small river. Clarissa kept saying, “Are we in the woods?” We could hear animals and bugs but didn’t see many in person. Clarissa really enjoyed walking around and “being in nature.” There were a few different paths that you could take and there are multiple entrances so if you go to the right one and stay on the paved path, it would actually be stroller friendly. The entrance we went to is not because there were at least 25 tall steps to go down to get to the path.

On our way home we stopped by the shopping center near our new house to check it out. We had lunch at Duck Donuts which was new to us. And then we found some fun things at Michaels to work on until the rest of our stuff comes. There is even a small kid store called Robcyns that has clothes, educational toys, and books. Clarissa has been asking for a stuffed snake for about a month and we finally found one here! We also checked out Fresh Market for the first time which reminds me of a smaller version of Whole Foods.

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Big Bible Science Review

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Clarissa loves science, especially if it has to do with animals or experiments. Big Bible Science by Christian Focus lets us learn about both. I really appreciate any science curriculum that Clarissa can get excited about that also teaches from a Christian perspective.

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There are several ways that a family could use Big Bible Science. It could be used as a supplement for an elementary science curriculum or as a curriculum itself. There are 21 different experiments on several topics including: gravity, friction, chemistry, plants, animals, water cycle, space, and the human body.

Each experiment has it’s own short chapter in the book and includes scriptures or Bible stories, some background on the science topic covered in the experiment, materials needed, and several activity choices for each topic. I could see using this book as a stand alone science curriculum and moving through it at the pace of one chapter every 1-2 weeks. You could spend time focusing on the scripture and background and do a different activity each day for several days. Or you could use this book as a supplement to any science curriculum, pulling the experiments as they fit in with your current curriculum. I also think that this book would be a good fit for families with multiple children. You can assist younger children and let the older children do more on their own. There is even a list of which experiments children would be able to complete without adult assistance.

In kindergarten, I don’t have a formal science curriculum for Clarissa. Several experiments in this book were appropriate for her to work through. For the purpose of this review, I simply listed them for her and let her pick her favorites. Of course, her favorite was the experiment 13 on animal classification.

We started by learning about the five different classes of animals. Then we read the creation story and focused on Genesis 1:20-25. We were instructed to describe the five classes of animals in the creation story. The second activity was to write the class of animals on the top of an index card and describe their characteristics. For kindergarten, she drew them instead. Clarissa then cut and glued animal pictures to the correct card. The last activity was to create a venn diagram comparing two different classes of animals. She chose animals and reptiles. I simply recorded her responses as we compared the two different classes. I had planned to do this in several days but Clarissa really enjoyed it and so we completed all of the activities in one afternoon!

We will go back to this book later. We usually end up doing unit studies and I think that the experiments in this book are going to be great activities to add to our unit studies for first and second grade. I appreciate that most of the materials needed for the experiments are either things that I already have in my house or are really easy to access. It makes science so much easier to plan and execute.

There were four titles to choose from for this review. To read about other books from a Christian perspective check out the other reviews here.

Big Bible Science, Elizabeth Prentiss, God is Better than Princesses,  God is Better than Trucks. {Christian Focus Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Taking your pet home from South Korea

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One of the most stressful parts of our move (for me) was making sure that Mittens could come to America with us.

Mittens, our cat, was born on the roof of a building on Camp Henry in Daegu, South Korea. At least, that is where someone found her and her brothers and sisters. Said person brought her to the Camp Walker vet, who nursed them for a few weeks before adopting them out to families on post. It just so happened that we were in the market for a cat when I saw a posting that the vet had free kittens available.

That was three years ago. Clarissa was two and Mittens was less than two months old when she came to live with us. They have grown up together like sisters. Mittens sleeps in Clarissa’s bed every night. Though we still haven’t seen how she manages to jump to the top bunk on her own.

In the fall, I knew we would be heading back to America sometime in 2019. I began researching the process of what it takes to bring a cat from South Korea to America. It’s actually not as difficult as I thought it was going to be. I joined a facebook group by one of the pet shippers, thinking it would help me to know what to do. And to a certain extent, it did. But it also really stressed me out because he would post horror stories about how pets were denied boarding for silly little things (and bigger things) and he had to rescue the pets and ship them home later.

The difficult thing about military or GS life overseas is that you don’t always know where you are going until right before you leave. Some places require more preparation than others. For example, to go to Japan, your pet needs a FAVN test 6 months before you leave Korea or your pet will be in quarantine until the end of the 6 months when the pet arrives in Japan. Hawaii requires a similar schedule. To go to Europe (the EU), you need 3 months of FAVN or your pet can’t even enter the country. But to go from South Korea to mainland USA, your cat just needs a health certificate and a current rabies shot.

Our DEROS (date of estimated return from overseas) was April 30 and we had no idea where we were going by January 1. I knew we were going to America, but that could mean Hawaii and so I decided to get Mittens updated on her rabies shot early so that she would have two rabies shots and would be able to receive the FAVN test immediately if we found out we were going to Hawaii.

I was relieved to find out in February that we had a tentative offer for a job in the Washington, DC area because it meant that Mittens didn’t need the FAVN test. We could also take a direct flight from Incheon (Seoul) to Dulles (Washington DC) which would make life easier for the humans and the cat.

Right before we left, Tim heard about a different pet shipper that someone from work had used with good results. Once we finally had orders, I decided to talk to her. Gina was wonderful! She advised me to book the Delta flight with Korean Air code share because Korean Air is excellent with pets and doesn’t have a flight time limit (Delta normally only allows pets on flights under 12 hours). Doing this, Mittens was able to be on our flight as excess baggage instead of manifest cargo. Her treatment was pretty much the same. However, we only had to pay the airline $200 instead of paying a pet shipper between $1500-$2000.

Once our flight was booked, I was supposed to call a phone number to book Mittens on my flight. My phone would not call the Korean number for some reason and when I called the American number, I was on hold so long the phone call hung up on me. So Gina called them for me on her phone to book her spot on the flight. Then I had to take Mittens to the vet less than 10 days before our flight in order to get a health certificate. You don’t want to do it 10 days out because if your flight is delayed for any reason, you will have to start over. Then within 3 days of your flight, you need to visit the quarantine office to get a special health certificate from them.

That part was pretty stressful for me. I knew Mittens was healthy and her rabies vaccine was current. But the vet wasn’t available until the Friday afternoon before we left. Tim sold our car that morning, so I had to bring Clarissa and Mittens from Osan to Humphreys by taxi. And for some reason our taxi driver refused to actually go onto Camp Humphreys. So he brought me to the main gate and we had to switch taxis to get to the vet. The vet was done with Mittens and handed me a health certificate within 15 minutes. I then called another taxi. This guy didn’t speak any English and couldn’t figure out where I was supposed to go, even after I talked to dispatch. So after driving around for a bit, I made him bring me to where Tim was on Camp Humphreys so we could go together. Once the guy figured out how far we needed to go, he refused to take us.

We then went to the USO, where the lady at the front desk translated the address into Hangul for me with directions. She advised us to take a taxi from off post because they were usually willing to go farther. So we called another taxi to take us from One Stop to the front gate. Then, we got into a new taxi who was happy to take us to the Quarantine Office at the Port of Pyeongtaek. This guy didn’t have amazing English either, but our translated copy of the address made it super easy for him to know where we needed to go.

After we arrived at the building, we asked him to wait for us so that we would have a taxi back to our hotel at Osan. We walked in to the building and took the elevator to the fourth floor. From the elevator, take a left and go through the double doors. I presented the worker with my health certificate, rabies certificate, and flight information and filled out a form. In about 10 minutes, he handed me a health certificate for the Quarantine officers at both the Korean and American airport. I was instructed to bring Mittens to this place, but the worker didn’t look at her, just the paperwork. The taxi driver then took us back to Osan Main Gate so we could get to our hotel.

The next hurdle was to get to the airport. Osan offers a bus from the air base to Incheon Airport. However, pets are not allowed on the bus. I tried talking to a pet taxi, but he wasn’t convinced that he could carry the three of us, our luggage, and Mittens in his van. It was the same crazy price to just send Mittens with him as to send all three of us with our luggage.  The day before we needed to go to our airport hotel, a friend of Tim’s offered to drive us to the airport hotel in his van. We fit comfortably in his huge Japanese van and had great conversation along the way.

At the airport, I was worried that there would be a problem with our paperwork or that they would say Mittens didn’t have a spot on the flight (because of all the things I read on the other shipper guy’s facebook page). Gina assured me that Mittens should be fine, but if for some reason they denied her on the flight, she would send one of her workers to get Mittens and she would ship her to me later in the week. So I at least had a back up plan going into the morning of the flight.

When we checked in for our flight (you can’t do online check in with a pet), I told the check in lady that we had a cat. She asked for my rabies certificate and health certificate. I then had to put Mittens on the conveyor belt for her to attach paperwork and stickers to. Her crate had metal screws and a water bottle attached. There were puppy pads at the bottom of her crate to absorb any messes and make her more comfortable. I also had to write Live Animal with arrows (like this side up) on the crate and attach some cat food to the outside of her crate.

Then the check in lady called someone who came to get Mittens in her crate and put her on a cart. They immediately took her to our plane to load her into the cargo area (the other pet shipper guy said they just fling the crates with the luggage and you never know what will happen). After we finished checking in our suitcases, she gave me a note to pay the $200 at a different counter to pay for Mittens.

After our flight, at US Customs, the border patrol agent asked us about Mittens. He just wanted to see her current rabies certificate and didn’t care about her health certificate at all. From what I was reading, health certificates are required by many airlines but rabies certificates are all the USA requires to enter the mainland. We then went to pick up our suitcases and saw that they had put Mittens off to the side in a different section. We showed them that our baggage tag matched Mittens sticker and they let us take her. That was it.

Please note that to bring your pet from the United States to South Korea, the requirements are completely different. This post explains the process we used to bring our cat from South Korea to the United States in May of 2019.

Nothing Book Review

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Clarissa and I are always looking for good books to read. I get especially excited if the book points Clarissa to Jesus. This is one reason we were very excited to review Nothing by Natalee Creech published by Worthy Kids, an imprint of Hatchette Book Group.

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Nothing: Nothing Can Separate You from God’s Love! is a wonderful book based on the scripture Romans 8:38-39, “Nothing can separate us from God’s Love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.” The publisher recommends it for ages 4-7, but I think the age range could go wider than that. It’s a great book with a lovely message.

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I love that the simple words in this book remind my daughter that there is nothing that she can do or anything that can happen to her that will make God stop loving her. The pictures are fabulous. There are pictures of space ships and the deep seas, crazy weather, and normal kids.

At the end of the book, I was ready to talk to Clarissa about the message. That it doesn’t matter what she does wrong or what kinds of crazy things happened in her life, God would always love her. And she got this silly look on her face and she said, “Mom! I know that God will always love me!” We didn’t need a long discussion to convince her and that was good for this mama’s heart. If that’s the only thing she learns before she leaves my house, I’ve done my job. I look forward to sharing this book with friends and her Sunday School class at church.

Nothing (Nothing Can Separate You From God's Love) by Natalee Creech {WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

What a PCS really looks like for a civilian

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Monday was our third move in four years. This is pretty normal for an active duty military family, but we are civilians. Some of the process is the same, but other things are very different, so I thought I would share some of our experiences.

In the military, they often tell you where you are going and how long you will be there. This can change, but at least you have an idea of how long you will be in a place before the military moves you again. The military will pay for you, your family, your personal belongings, and a vehicle to get to your next duty station. You are usually authorized a week or so in a hotel before you leave your current duty station and when you arrive at your next duty station.

Government civilian life is very different. First, if you land a federal job in the United States, it is usually permanent. So you can do that job (unless they decide your position is no longer necessary) as long as you want. Theoretically, you could do the same job or at least move up in the same organization your entire career in the same location. However, there are rules about moving overseas. Most jobs are two or three year contracts and you can extend after that for a total of five years overseas before you have to return to the United States. At which time, you must complete two years in the United States before returning overseas.

Generally, if you have a job overseas, the government will pay for your move, just like they would an active duty service member. You receive a document called “orders” that tells you what you are authorized. Generally, the government will pay for the employee, spouse, and dependents under age 21 to travel to the new duty station as well as to ship one personal vehicle, household goods, and unaccompanied baggage. You can even use nontemporary storage at the government’s expense. There are also allowances for hotels before you leave your home of record as well as temporary lodging in your new location. There is a transportation agreement so that if you leave this position before a full year, you have to repay the government for the cost of your move. They did change the rules recently so now you will be taxed on the move however.

The process that went the most smoothly was the first move from Norfolk to Daegu. I really think the reason is that the Human Resource people in charge of the move were in Korea and so they are used to dealing with this PCS (Permanent Change of Station- Move) process. Tim received a tentative offer and a list of things to do like paperwork and a drug test. Then about a month later, he received an official offer with a travel date about six weeks after that. I don’t remember how quickly the orders came, but we had plenty of time to get flights and movers scheduled. Other than it being my first overseas move and our first big move as a family of three, it wasn’t a mad dash to get everything done on time (unless you count the snow…).

The other two moves, from Daegu to Pyeongtaek and Pyeongtaek to Arlington have been more stressful. I really think that part of it is that Human Resources is in America and they don’t deal with PCS as often. They don’t understand that the government won’t book your flights or movers until you have orders and so you really do need them quickly if your start date is less than 30 days away. Either that or they don’t care. I’ve never met them in person, so I can’t speak to that.

A government PCS is really a lot of hurry up and wait. Tim has been applying and interviewing for jobs since June. For the job he starts next week, he interviewed around Thanksgiving. The tentative offer was at the end of February (on our four year anniversary of landing in Korea) and the official offer came April 4. At which point HR gave us two options for start dates, April 28 and May 12. We chose May 12.

When applying for a government job (usually through usajobs), there is a section that talks about relocation. Overseas jobs and some stateside jobs say that relocation can be authorized. Many jobs say relocation is not authorized, so if you want to take that job, you will need to move yourself there. Tim was only applying for jobs that said relocation was authorized.

We were told that when you move from overseas to a stateside job, the receiving agency is supposed to pay for certain moving expenses, like hotels when you arrive back in the United States. This job said relocation expenses were authorized so we weren’t worried about it. After accepting the offer, Tim immediately asked about how long it would take to receive orders and how long we would be authorized a hotel in the US. It took a week for HR to respond and say that they would not be paying for the move itself. So of the four weeks we had, one week was wasted.

Tim completed his full contract with this job overseas, so they owe us a pcs as described in our travel agreement. This means that Tim’s Korea job will pay for flights, shipping, household goods, and a personal vehicle back to our home of record which is Norfolk. They will also pay for hotels before we leave Korea. But that is where the money was supposed to stop. The gaining agency was supposed to pay for the PCS from Norfolk to Arlington as well as some hotel time in Arlington. Our Korea HR ladies were pretty confident that the new job would pay for this, as it is the common course of action.

Two weeks into the process, the new job said no. We still expect you to be here, but we’re not paying for anything. The posting says “may pay for relocation” so we’re not going to…Lesson learned. Before you accept a job offer, ask if they are paying for moving expenses. Just because it is listed in the job posting doesn’t mean they will actually pay for anything.

It got pretty stressful at the end of our time in Korea. Our lease was up on our Korean apartment on April 30 so we needed to move out before then, but we couldn’t schedule movers until we had the orders. The week before, Tim asked someone in HR about expediting his orders and the response was, “We process them in the order we receive them and it’s not fair to people who have travel dates before yours.” I was curious how many people were ten days out like we were.

April 30 was a Tuesday. Tim had unsigned orders the Friday before which let him tentatively schedule movers but the guy in charge wasn’t happy about it and wanted him to come back with the signed orders on Monday morning. He did have signed orders on Monday morning but they were incorrect because they said we were moving from Daegu to Arlington instead of Pyeongtaek to Arlington. But we were able to move out on time. The corrected orders came on Wednesday so we could book our flights. That gave Tim three days to run around on base getting all of the out processing done and sell the car. I had to take multiple taxis Friday to get all of the paperwork done for Mittens to fly with us (I will post more about that process next week).

By the time we knew we were moving, the hotel at Camp Humphreys was full. It was really hard to find a pet friendly hotel near Camp Humphreys so we ended up staying at Osan for the rest of that week before we left. It was kind of fitting to end our time in Korea there because Tim was actually stationed on Osan Air Force Base from 2005-2007, so that is where his Korea dream began. Tim had his favorite Thai, Sawatdee, three days in a row before we left.

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Pictured is Tim standing where is old dorm room was when he lived on Osan.

Then we had to figure out how to get to the airport. There is a bus that will take you from Osan to Incheon, but it doesn’t allow pets. I tried hiring a pet taxi, but he wasn’t sure that he could fit the three of us, Mittens, our suitcases, and her crate into his van. Plus he didn’t have base access so we were going to have to take multiple taxis to the main gate to meet him anyway. So the day before we left, we found a friend with a van (who actually used to work with Tim in Daegu but is at Humphreys now) who took us from Osan to our hotel near the airport. It was a little tricky because hotel check out at Osan was at 11, but check in at Incheon wasn’t until 2 so we spent a while moving our six suitcases, three carry ons, the car seat, Mittens, and her big crate from where we were staying to the hotel lobby so that we could be in air conditioning while we waited for our friend to come.

I was glad that we went to a hotel near the airport the day before. We had a morning flight so we wanted to be closer. Plus I didn’t want Mittens in her crate longer than she needed to be since it was already a 14 hour flight. We arrived to our hotel with all of our stuff, and they didn’t have a record of our reservation. Thankfully I had my reservation email from hotels.com. The hotel was actually pretty bad. The air conditioning was not turned on in the hotel yet even though it was over 80 degrees “because it’s not summer yet.” So we were really hot and the beds were Korea hard.

The hotel advertised that they had a shuttle to the airport. That was only half correct. There is a bus stop across the street that will take you to Terminal 1 of the airport. So we had to get our six suitcases, three carry ons, Mittens, her crate, and the car seat across 6 lanes of traffic…Thankfully it was 6 AM so it wasn’t super busy and there was a median. But it wasn’t an easy experience.

Once on the bus, someone took interest and said he would help us. He helped us cart our luggage from this bus to the next bus stop that took us to the bus for Terminal 2. He then helped us bring it into the building and then we parted ways. We found out he was actually former Korean Air Force and was a pilot for an airline now. I was so thankful for him. I don’t know how we would have gotten everything there on our own. It took 3 luggage carts and Clarissa had a hard time pushing it.

I was really stressing about Mittens being rejected for the flight, but she was fine. At check in someone came to get her and put her on the plane. We were allowed in the priority line through security because of Clarissa. The flight itself was pretty uneventful, just really long.

Once we landed at Dulles, I was concerned about how we were going to get everything where we needed to go. But the immigration line was really short and they had Mittens ready for us when we got there. She seemed pretty terrified but she was in one piece. One of the managers was like, “Do you need a big luggage cart?” and told one of the workers to help us. He carted all of our luggage to the rental car shuttles and helped us get on the rental car bus.

By this point, Mittens was crying because he wanted out of her crate. The ladies on the bus thought she was funny. Tim went in to pick up the rental car and Clarissa and I stayed outside with all of our stuff. I was able to move Mittens from the massive hard crate she hates into the smaller carrier and she calmed down.

We went to my aunt’s house to pick up some mail and sim cards for our phones. Tim’s worked fine but mine didn’t. Clarissa wanted McDonald’s so I went in to order her a happy meal. Happy Meals have different options here than they do in Korea and I had been awake for almost 24 hours at that point. The lady spoke excellent English but had an accent so I really didn’t understand her and had to keep asking her to repeat herself so I could order Clarissa’s food. I was so embarrassed. Tim and I had Chickfila for lunch and then we headed to the hotel.

The first day was the hardest. We lasted until almost 6 PM and then were up before 1 AM on Tuesday morning. We headed to Denny’s for breakfast about 2 and then were at Walmart by 3. People aren’t as judgmental about bringing a little kid out in the middle of the night as you might think. At least I didn’t see any dirty looks and no one said anything, even if they were thinking it.

We looked at a house on Tuesday that we really liked but decided that the commute would be too far for Tim. Wednesday we bought a car. It was actually going to be difficult because we don’t have a permanent address yet, but since we used USAA for our loan, it was fine. We saw two houses Thursday and applied for one of them. The rental application is tricky though because online applications want a bunch of information that doesn’t work if you’ve spent the last four years overseas. First of all, Korea isn’t an option for location and I don’t know how they would follow up with my Korean landlord anyway.

There are a few areas that we have been to multiple times and decided that we like to hang out there. There is so much to see and do. Tim finally started to get answers from the new job about how to report. You can’t just walk in to the pentagon…We’ve been asking questions for weeks and now that we’re here they just decided to call him to answer some of his questions.

Pathway to Liberty Review

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As we are getting ready to move back to the United States after being in South Korea for the past four years, I have been thinking about what Social Studies I wanted to work on with Clarissa. I thought that something with US History and Geography would be a good fit so she could learn about her home country while we are actually living there. This is one reason I was so excited to review Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum by Pathway to Liberty.

Pathway to Liberty has four different history curricula to choose from: Universal History, The Middle Ages, US History, and World History. We chose US History Level 1.  There are multiple levels of each curriculum so that families with multiple students can use the same curriculum with independent work at each student’s level: Kindergarten to third grade, fourth through sixth grade, seventh through ninth grade, or tenth through twelfth grade. If I had multiple students, that would be something that would definitely draw me to this curriculum since it would be less preparation for me and my children would have common lessons to talk about together.

I did like that there was a Teacher Guide and a Student Guide. The Teacher Guide was helpful because it showed a lesson plan that you could use for all four levels of curriculum. Since we have level one, I had the answer key for level one work only. So if I were going to use this for multiple ages, I would probably go ahead and buy the Teacher Guide for each level that I was using. But it was helpful for me to see how it would work to use the same curriculum for multiple ages of children. The Student Guide was laid out almost identical to the Teacher Guide except that there were places for the student to fill in the blank. The text was also larger for younger eyes and bigger handwriting. I also liked that both guides were spiral bound which makes it easier to flip the pages and keep the material together. 

The first two weeks are a foundation of history and it seems like they would be the same in each of the four curricula. You learn about what history is, creation, Moses and the Ten Commandments, as well as Martin Luther and the Reformation. There is vocabulary to learn for each lesson depending on grade level.

The actual US History itself started with Jamestown and Plymouth Rock. Then it went on to the Great Awakening before the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and the events leading up to the Civil War. So US History would end after the Civil War with this curriculum. But I like that it shows history from a faith perspective instead of what I learned of US History in public school.

I will say that although they advertise level one as kindergarten through third grade, we were nowhere near ready for this curriculum. The content was great and meaty. But it was pretty writing intensive and my kindergartner did not understand much of the content. We did the basic foundations lessons and I think we will go back to this content when she is in second grade to really study the history. There are plenty of maps and pictures in both the Teacher Guides and Student Guides. There are also youtube videos that go with several of the lessons.

To learn about using multiple levels of the curriculum together, or one of the other history curriculum, you can read other reviews here. Their website says that they offer a 20% discount to active duty military families.

Universal History,  The Middle Ages,  US History & World History Curriculum {Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum Reviews}

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“You can just let your daughter draw on the walls…”

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I have been dreading moving out of this apartment. Not so much because I love this apartment. But because I knew that we would have to pay a lot of money in damages when we left.

Our house in America had painted walls. It was very easy to clean. In Korea, all of our walls have either been stone, concrete, or wallpaper. Only in Korea, it’s not just wallpaper. It’s called a paper wall. So you can’t just replace a small section of the wall. If you have a hole the size of a quarter in your wallpaper, you will have to replace the whole wall. The other reason for this my realtor explained is that Koreans are serious about the aesthetics of their wallpaper. So they make wall paper for a season and then it goes out of print. So next year, you can’t find this year’s wallpaper anywhere.

Mittens was very stressed by our move to Pyeongtaek and took it out on the wallpaper. She scratched the wallpaper near almost every doorway in the house. With the paper walls, that means that almost every room of our house needs new wallpaper. I told our realtor about this before our final inspection so that she could have someone come and estimate how much it would cost to repair before the move out date and they wouldn’t be surprised.

The estimator came and it actually will cost less than I thought to wallpaper most of the apartment. Apparently wallpaper is more expensive in Daegu! One of the walls that needs to be replaced was a Clarissa original instead of Mittens damage. While the estimator (who will be the one who comes back to do the work when we move out) was here, he said to me, “You might as well let your daughter draw on all of the walls that need to be replaced. Just don’t put holes in the walls because that will cost more to fix.”

Clarissa didn’t need to be told twice. She had some fun being allowed to draw on the walls. Though she understands that when we move out of this house, she will no longer be allowed to draw on the walls.

Thankfully, Mittens seems to have grown out of clawing at the wallpaper. But just to be on the safe side, as we are house hunting in America, we will be sure to look for a house without any wallpaper…