Archive Post: Lunch på Ikea

Hej!
We had a fun morning at Ikea with a Swedish friend. It was horribly busy, but after we’d finished lunch, my friend showed me the shortcuts through the store so we could escape without dragging the children all the way round.

We reminisced about all the things we missed from Sweden (that you can’t buy at Ikea!): päronsoda and sockerdricka are my two favourites, but I consoled myself with a couple of cans of Kopparberg non-alcoholic pear cider and a big block of Daim chocklad! Mumms!

We also talked about how hard it is to buy Swedish books abroad, even online, since most Swedish bookshops require a Personnummer (well I do have one, but I don’t actually know it… I probably have a card somewhere, but it goes against the grain to use it really) and most of them won’t actually ship utomlands. Ahp! (with a sharp intake of breath)!

Just for fun, I’ll leave you with a video on pronouncing the Ikea product names!

 

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Archive Post: Dagens Nyheter – Flodhäst

Archive post from the Svengelska Hemskolan blog

I got a notice from blog.co.uk telling me that I hadn’t posted in 30 days. Wow, 30 days! I knew I hadn’t posted recently, but I didn’t realise it had been so long. Well, apparently, that’s because I haven’t had anything Sweden-related to relate.

I did meet my local Swedish-Finnish friend briefly in passing and had a quick samtal på svenska, and we both agreed that we must meet again for coffee, but didn’t make a date.

We’re not actually actively learning Swedish for school at the moment, so I don’t focus my thoughts on Sweden and Swedish as I would if we still were. Perhaps we’ll try again another time, but at the moment it’s a struggle just to do the ‘three R’s’.

I do have a poster map of Sweden up on the wall alongside a post-card of Mamma Mu (the singing cow) and a beautifully painted calligraphed Swedish alphabet including the three ‘extra letters’: å, ä and ö, and these caught Pony-rider’s eye a few days ago, so that prompted a little conversation, but no real interest in learning the language.

When I get round to it, I will post some reviews of Sweden-related things that we enjoy.

In the meantime, I thought I would give you a Swedish word to try on for size:

Flodhäst – Hippopotamus

(literally, river-horse) Dragon-tamers is just telling me, “that’s what Hippopotamus actually means!”

pronounced: flowed-hest

When we lived in Sweden, there was a children’s television programme about horses entitled ‘Hippo’.

Don’t ask me why I chose that word, no reason at all that I can think of. Just a word I like the sound of. 😀

Archive Post: Sommaren i City

Archive Post from the Svengelska Hemskolan blog:

The summer school holidays are officially upon us, and all of the children’s activities are finished until the new school term starts in September: swimming, gymnastics, trampolining, Irish Dancing, Girls’ & Boys’ Brigade, German and Hebrew. I’m really relieved as actually that level of activity was beginning to create burnout for me, as well as costing way too much, and I realised that we were hardly managing to get anything done at home – both in terms of housework and schoolwork.

I’m weighing up whether or not we should take a long summer ‘holiday’ from homeschool. We have a lot of work to catch up on, but I am *so* tired! So I’m not planning to go back to most of the activities in September, and I’m thinking of getting the book “Homeschool Family Fitness” and trying to do more ourselves, and I’d like to do a bit more with languages at home. Still not sure how – I may use some of the money we’re saving on more curriculum items. I’ll post what I’m planning to use later.

In the meantime, here is some Swedish vocabulary connected with the summer:

Sommar – Summer (en) definite = sommaren
Sommarstängt – closed for the summer (see the original post on this blog)
Jordgubbe – Strawberry, (literally, earth chap) plural = jordgubbar
Smultron – Wild Strawberries
Grädde – cream (to go with your strawberries)
Sommarstuga – summer cottage, typically on the
Skärgården – the Swedish archipelago
Sol – sun (en) definite = solen

I’ll leave you with some very typically Swedish pop-music:

Sommaren i City – Angel

Archive Post: Gunga och Rutschkana på Parken

We met our Swedish-Finnish friend Tieja again for our monthly coffee date, this time at the park by the lake (we thought we’d reserve Ikea for rainy days!).

It’s funny how you remember words you haven’t thought of for years when you hear them – like the word ‘gunga’ – swing (noun and verb, just like in English), and ‘rutschkana’ – slide (just a noun, as far as I know).

When we lived in Sweden and Dragon-tamer was little, the ‘rutschkana’ was their absolute favourite thing in the playground. I can hardly believe it was 10* years ago now.

I asked them if they still had any memories of Dagis (short for ‘daghem’ – day-home; in other words ‘nursery’). They hardly remember it at all really, apart from a favourite toy – an amazing water track contraption. I wondered whether the Dagis teachers were still there. It would be nice to go back and visit. I thought we’d do it last year, but we still don’t even have passports, so it’s looking less and less likely that we’ll even manage it this year, but you never know.

Homeschool is being drowned out a bit by ‘life’ at the moment, but I keep thinking that I would like to try and teach the children some Swedish so they’d be able to speak a little if and when we do visit. They do recognise the sound of it, which is good, I think – they can tell it apart from French or German or Hebrew.

Well, we’ll see how we go. I’m looking out for any good teaching materials for Swedish as a second language for children. If I find any, I’ll let you know.

 

 

[This post was originally published on the Svengelska Hemskolan blog, * it is now 20 years ago!]

Balancing Curriculum with Interests

unschool bus

In our more than 15 years of home education, we have moved through various seasons of more and less formal learning. We never quite qualified as bona fide unschoolers (although I was quite attracted to radical unschooling as a philosophy) but nor did we fully qualify as traditional homeschoolers, since we often had very relaxed periods and largely went with the flow depending on the children’s interests, but with formal book-learning available as a foundation.

This post, originally posted on the Svengelska Hemskolan blog, details the ebb and flow of projects-based learning in this flexible framework.

“If anyone asks, we use Sonlight curriculum, which is an American, literature-based curriculum. Originally designed for American ex-pats and missionaries, with a ‘big world’ focus. In practice, we often go off at tangents to study areas of interest which capture the children’s imagination, or to cover UK history, or (more often than not) because I’ve been snared by other literature selections (Ambleside Online, Tanglewood, Winter Promise, to name but a few) and can’t resist adding to our library.

Sonlight grade 5 which I’m using with Dragon-tamer is entitled “Eastern Hemisphere” or “Non-Western Cultures”, and as part of our Sonlight studies, we’ve looked at the Pacific Islands, Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, North and South Korea and China.

The way I deal with this cross-curricular study which,, being aimed at grade 5 and designed to be suitable primarily for ages 11 or so+, is to break it up into areas of study (easy with Sonlight 5 as it is already neatly divided into countries, but I’ve done it with the lower grades too) and do projects, themes or ‘unit studies’ so that all the children can get involved to whatever degree they’re interested. In addition to reading Sonlight’s literature selections, we take out additional books from the library, we make maps, sometimes 3D models, dress up in national costumes, cook and eat traditional foods, sometimes write little books or make lapbooks and other incidental activities.

Some of these projects have been really popular, especially with the younger children; notably, Australia and New Zealand. Dragon-Tamer was particularly interested in Japan (and scared me for a while talking about wanting to learn Japanese!) Others I have really struggled to get any interest going. Hence, I realise, Sonlight 5 (designed as a one-year curriculum) has now taken us 2 years, and we are only on week 18 (out of 36 – a US school year)! I have been talking for months about finishing up on our China project and moving on to the next projects, but for some reason we’ve all really dragged our feet. We still haven’t finished all the Sonlight books on China (though at the beginning we took extra books out from the library). Right now we’re reading a biography of Eric Liddell – Olympic champion and missionary to China. All the books have been fine and good and we’ve enjoyed them, but somehow I don’t think I can face another book about China! Should we skip the rest, save them for later, or take a(nother) break from Sonlight?

When a friend suggested doing a project on Rivers (which, actually I had wanted to do for years but for some reason had never got round to) I jumped at the chance! I have spent most of my free moments over the last weekend brainstorming and planning how we might cover a Rivers Project. We have one of England’s longest rivers running close by, my maps are prepared, and I’m keen for any plan of study that will take us on a trip to the sea! Ah, but now Pony-rider has announced that she actually wants to do a project on South America, please, so it looks as though the river we’ll be looking at is the Amazon. Okay, back to the drawing board…”

And so we proceeded to develop a new project of our own on South America that created memories that still resonate with us all even today.

It is possible to purchase a pre-packaged, prepared unit study that has joined all the dots and made all the connections between the subjects for you. But we found that this kind of fluid way of learning suited us well, and when you see the ‘dots’ and make the ‘connections’ for yourself, the information is that much more deeply learned and remembered.

john holt quote

Studying Health and Nutrition the Fun Way, and Swedish Välling

We are on a bit of a ‘health-kick’ here right now – we’ve invested in a juicer, a manual grain-mill, and we are sprouting seeds, making coconut yoghurt and kefir, brewing kombucha, and having all sorts of fun! My 12yos is even growing wheatgrass to juice (they love the whole process! Though I am the only one who is willing to drink the stuff!)

I discovered that grain is easier to store for longer than flour, and there are advantages to milling your own grain in that the nutrients present in the flour begin to dissipate following the first 48 hours after milling. I’m reading a book called “Nourishing Traditions” which talks about the necessity of soaking grains the old-fashioned way, so we’ll try that some time too.

nourishing

This got me to thinking about Välling – the staple drink for babies in Sweden. I assumed it was something you had to buy ready-made, like rusks (does anybody remember having Farley’s rusks for breakfast?!) But then I found a really simple recipe:

Skrädmjölsvälling 1port

Ingredienser

Skrädmjöl 2-4 tsk
Vatten 2 dl
Salt

Gör så här

Koka upp tillsammans under omrörning och söta gärna med honung eller fruktsaft. Önskad mängd vatten kan naturligtvis bytas ut mot mjölk.

Basically, what you do is boil 2-4 teaspoons of flour, it can be wheat, whole wheat, rye, or oats, with 2dl water or milk. Stir constantly. Add salt and sugar (honey) if you want to and think the taste requires it.

Basically, I don’t recommend it – paediatricians in the UK and the US (and, I suspect, the World Health Organisation) don’t recommend wheat for babies under 8 months old, and don’t recommend putting any cereal, no matter how thin, in a baby’s bottle due to the risk of choking. Not to mention, don’t ever give babies salt! (And no honey before 8 months either.)

Another interesting fact that I discovered when my brother was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease is that it is a disease commonly found in Swedish people among others, and the suggestion at least on the Swedish side is too early introduction of wheat – before a baby’s digestive system is mature enough to stop the wheat particles from entering into the bloodstream.

Nevertheless, Välling is something so homely and comforting I can’t imagine Swedish people giving it up any time soon!

If you’re in the US, you can try and buy Välling at http://www.scandiafood.com/ (Just don’t give it to your kids) 😉

 

[Originally posted on the Svengelska Hemskolan blog]

p.s. Although I do love the book Nourishing Traditions, and I’m completely sold on the idea of the necessity of raw fermented foods in our diets, NT also advocates the ‘old fashioned’ eating of meat. I accept that there’s a valid health argument in the book for questioning our modern diets (the chapter on fats makes really interesting reading), but I reject its conclusions on ethical grounds.  So if you’re vegan/ vegetarian, you might want to be aware of that before thinking about purchasing the book.

The Very Hungry Princess

hungry-princess

Birthday week

We made the fatal error of saying to Pony-rider “what would you like to do for your birthday – you can do anything you like!” Now that I think about it, I realise that we got off lightly. She could have asked for a trip in the Virgin Space Shuttle!

Instead, she asked for:

1 trip to Grandma’s,
1 trip to a Farm,
1 trip to Toys ‘r’ Us,
1 Swimming Lesson,
1 Party,
1 slice of Swiss Cheese
1 Ice-cream Cone and
1 Slice of Salami
(just checking to see you’re actually paying attention).

So instead of a birth-day, we ended up having a treat every single day for an entire week: Monday was a trip to a farm and a swimming lesson. (More about the Farm later).

Tuesday was a trip to Grandma’s (actually we had to go Monday evening because she particularly wanted to wake up at Grandma’s on her birthday – we obliged.)

Wednesday was a trip to a favourite local place which provides an outdoor play-area positioned conveniently close to picnic tables where mums can chat over coffee (a treat for me too!);

Thursday was playgroup, followed by the girliest girly birthday-party imaginable (it was so great – maybe more about the Party later too!).

Friday was play at an indoor play-centre (while the mums had coffee) followed by lunch at the unspeakable McD’s, and in the evening a surprise visit from some friends from out of town who took us to Pizza Hut!

And finally, on Saturday we shared the birthday cake with her best friend (who couldn’t make the party due to not actually being a girl).

On Sunday, I laid in bed with a headache, neck-ache, back-ache, leg-ache, etc., the result, I think, of party-stress and way too much icing, coffee, chocolate, cake, McD and Pizza Hut. I did eat one nice green leaf, and after that I felt much better. 😉

.

Originally posted on the Svengelska Hemskolan blog.

Birthday Fun

starwars7

We have a birthday coming up this week, and we’re heading out to a second showing of Star Wars as one of the birthday treats. It’s always a challenge to organise presents and parties for birthdays so close to Christmas, and it’s difficult to make them memorable, as they’re normally quiet, family affairs.

When birthdays fall during the ‘school’ week, though, it is nice as home educators to have the freedom to take time off from academics to go on outings, or just to chill out for the day.

~

I thought I would share this birthday memory from the Svengelska Hemskolan archive:

We’ve been gearing up for a birthday this week, so we have managed only to get very little formal ‘schooly’ work done. On Tuesday we received a CD of stories and nursery rhymes from a toddler-group we used to go to (produced and recorded by the group and the Library service), which proved to be really popular. It reminded me that we used to sit down everyday and have music-time with nursery rhymes and action songs, but we haven’t done it for a long while.

On Wednesday, the birthday boy got to choose all our activities, so we ended up watching “The Blue Planet” on DVD (one of his presents) most of the morning, and in the afternoon we went for a walk in Salcey Forest with a group of friends. The children particularly enjoyed running and jumping along the tree-top ‘Elephant’ walk and jumping in muddy puddles! (Mummy was slightly less enthusiastic!)

~

More recently, I have tried to re-introduce music time or circle time as part of our ‘Morning Time‘ (see Cindy Rollins’ lovely Ordo Amoris blog for details.) But right now all our music books (we love the books from A & C Black such as ‘Okki-Toki-Unga’ and ‘The Jolly Herring’ amongst others) are all in storage so I’m not sure what shape our music time will take from now on. Dragon-tamer has discovered that he loves the Beatles, so we may learn some of their songs to sing, just for fun. I remember learning ‘Yellow Submarine’ at school myself. Thank goodness for the internet! I don’t know how we ever coped without it!

Barnkammarboken

barnkammarboken

When Stora Pojken was little, we were given a beautiful book called “Blå Barnkammarboken” which roughly translates the Blue bed-time book.

When we went to lessons at the Swedish school, one of the teachers was using another, Silver bed-time book of songs which included a CD, and a few weeks ago when I was looking for resources for learning Swedish, I discovered there is now a whole range of books in the series, ranging from anthologies for very young children right through to ghost stories for older children.

When we got our copy of Blå barnkammarboken, they didn’t include CDs, but I have found a place online where you can listen to samples and buy MP3s here. [note, that’s not the link that was in the original post, but that’s lost, can’t find it again.]

Track 3 is a little song called “Små grodorna”, and it goes like this:

“Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se,
Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se,
ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar havar de,
ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar havar de,
ku-ack-ack-ack, ku-ack-ack-ack, ku-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack,
ku-ack-ack-ack, ku-ack-ack-ack, ku-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack!
Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se,
Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se”

And the translation:

“The little frogs, the little frogs are funnny to see,
The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to see!
No ears, no ears, no tails have they,
No ears, no ears, no tails have they!
(And then they sing the Swedish equivalent of ‘rebbit’ or ‘croak’ or whatever it is that English frongs say – ku-ack-ack-ack!
The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to see!”

It’s an absolute must-learn traditional Swedish Dagis nursery rhyme, and you’re really not culturally literate in Sweden without knowing it!

Roligt, va!

Over to you:

Which language(s) are you learning / teaching in your homeschool?

If you or your children are learning an obscure language, how and where are you finding resources and community to help you learn?

Homeschooling in New Sweden

newsweden

I discovered recently that my home town is twinned with – amongst other towns – Wilmington, Delaware in the USA. My immediate thought was to wonder whether it would be possible to get into contact with homeschoolers there (everybody homeschools in America, right?)

Imagine my surprise then, when I discovered this week that the town of Wilmington was founded by Swedish pilgrims! The town is so deeply influenced by its Scandinavian foundations (its architecture, for instance, is recognizably ‘Nordisk’, known particularly as well for a Finnish style of building) that it really is known as ‘New Sweden’. I was astounded to learn that over a million Swedes emigrated, suggesting that there are probably more descendants of Swedes in Wilmington than in the whole of Sweden itself!

My attempts to contact homeschoolers in Wilmington has fallen flat on its face so far, but I was so thrilled to discover the connection that I thought it would be worthwhile to try and encourage some interest in our twin towns (or ‘sister cities’ as they are apparently known in the US).

If you would like to know more about Wilmington, and Swedish migration to the US, take a look at these links:

http://colonialswedes.net/History/History.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Sweden

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilmington%2C_Delaware

When I was doing my year abroad in Stockholm as part of my Scandinavian Studies degree, I met lots of American students, but never thought to enquire where they originated.

For anybody who might be interested, here is 2015’s list of the best universities / colleges offering Scandinavian Studies degrees. http://colleges.startclass.com/d/o/Scandinavian-Studies

Hopefully more on this to follow!
Hej, Hej!

Originally posted on the Svengelska Hemskolan blog on blog.co.uk