Sunday, August 21, 2016

Give Your Child the World Wrapup!

Here we are at the end of summer... and what a summer it's been! We tried our hand at 2 different book clubs, and had weekly Progressive Park Playdates (where we met our friends at a different park around town each week) in addition to our normal weekly things (church, friends, etc...). So even though we didn't travel anywhere, I still feel like we had a full summer. And given that this is little girl's 4th summer ever, I'm going to say she probably feels the same (though she has little to nothing to compare it to!)

But yes, while we didn't physically travel anywhere, we did travel nearly everywhere through the Read the World bookclub that SimpleHomeschool and Read Aloud Revival co-sponsored. I loved doing this book club this summer as it really gave us a mission and a purpose to going to the library each week. And we found books that I would have never thought to read or even look for because of it. So to my friends with kids (loosely defined as any little younger than 13) - I highly recommend getting Jamie Martin's book and using it next summer (if not this school year... cuz, why wait?)

If you'd like to see the books we read this summer, there's a post here and more pics here (in amongst some other pics...). But to close out the book club, every family who participated has been asked to share what it's like to grow up in their little corner of the world. So, for those who have never been to my blog before (welcome!!) and to friends/family alike, here is a little of our story...

– Tell us about your family.

At the California Missions Museum
My name is Sara. I was born and raised in northern California. My husband Paul was born and raised in the UK. We met when his job moved him "across the pond" (as they say) and now we have 2 little ones: Evelyn, who's nearly 4 and John, who's 19 months. We continue to live in my hometown which is smack in the middle of wine country.

– What do you think is unique and special about living where you do?

I love where we live! We are in a bit of a valley, so we can see mountains around us: "yellow hills with broccoli trees" as one of my friends said when she visited. They have a lovely grassy/oak smell when things warm up in the summer. If we go to the west just a 1/2 hour's drive we hit the Pacific ocean. If we drive south a bit we're in San Francisco. If we want to see snow in the winter, we can drive a few hours east to Lake Tahoe (and then come home when we're all "snowed out"). And if we go just a little bit north (or even west) we can be in beautiful Redwood forests. It's truly beautiful and the variety, I think, is what makes it unique.

Our yellow hills (with some of those "broccoli trees" in the background)

– What languages are spoken there? If it’s different from English, can you help us learn a few common phrases?

English is the main and official language, but because there is a large Latino population here (nearly 30%) you can often hear Spanish spoken wherever you go. So knowing our "please and thank yous" en espaƱol is helpful! (Por favor and gracias, if you didn't know!)

– What are some traditional foods there?

I don't know if this counts, because really, do Americans have "traditional" food? :) But along with all the wine in the area there is a lot of farming as well. In particular, the Gravenstein apple is unique to our area. It is well loved - so much so that there's an entire fair held for it each year!

– Tell us about the climate where you live.

Our climate has been described as "Mediterranean" which means the winters are warm and wet, while the summers are hot and dry. That said, where we are it never stays too hot for long as after we've had a few really hot days the fog will build up at the coast and then move inward and cool everything down. It's our own natural "AC". However, it's pretty particular to our area, and other folks in northern California (I'm thinking mainly of those places in the Central Valley) don't get this benefit of being so close to the coast.

Poking around the Redwoods

– What does school look like for the majority of kids where you live?

Public school is the most common among families. Our town has 5 public high schools (grades 9-12), 5 middle schools (grades 6-8), and a plethora of elementary schools (grades K-5). High school is big with a school population of close to 2000. Before having my little ones, I taught mathematics at our town's oldest high school (which also happens to be the 8th oldest high school in the state)!

– What does school look like for your family?

We are just dipping our toes into school this year, with our little girl attending preschool 2 days a week! So we have yet to see what that will look like. It's a new adventure for us all... :)

The book that's helping us prepare... ;)

– Are there any special festivals or traditions you’d like to tell us about related to where you live?

In addition to the Gravenstein Apple Fair (mentioned above), the County Fair is a big yearly happening - with carnival rides, fair food (I guess there's our "traditional" food! Ha!), and the special Hall of Flowers exhibit. As a family though, we like smaller events - like seeing the special Christmas light displays near our home. We invite our friends over for cookies and hot cocoa then we walk over to the display. It's our favorite tradition!

– If you ever had to move away from where you live, what do you think you’d miss most?

It's very easy for us to be outside whenever we want, regardless of the time of year. Just put shoes on (and maybe a jacket) and go! I know it's not that way everywhere... I think especially about where my parents live and how snowy it gets there in the winter... and how to go outside would become a big ordeal. So yes, I would miss the temperate climate (and all that comes with it).

Sometimes we can't wait until we're dressed to go outside...

– Do you have a favorite book that takes place in your region/country?

Gosh! I can't think of books, but I can think of a couple authors: Charles Schultz (of Snoopy/Charlie Brown fame) and Jack London (author of Call of the Wild and White Fang) both made their homes in our area. And while I know that Jack London did write about our region a bit, all I can remember reading is White Fang and that took place in Alaska! So I guess after all our reading of books from around the world, we will have to look up books about our own hometown next.

So where are you from? Will you share in the comments, or if you came here from the link up, will you share your post so we can come "visit" you too? Thanks for reading!