Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book Review: Little Girls Can Be Mean, Part 1

I wanted to try something different with my book review -- I'm typing up my thoughts as I read the pages. This could go very well or this could go very badly, but I'm willing to take the risk! I'm going to do this book as a series, so I'll just quote and comment until it seems sufficient length for Part 1.    

The book I've decided to "live blog" is called Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-Proof Girls in the Early Grades. I picked this book up because it was right next to The Core (which I need to read for Classical Conversations next year -- hooray!) on the library shelf. It looked intriguing for a few reasons:

1. Naturally, the book assumes that all children will be immersed in a classroom environment that, by its nature, is less supervised and consists of a lot of peer dependency. I know my kids won't be in that kind of a situation on a daily basis, but I suspect this book is talking about how group dynamics play out in general with little girls.    

2. My almost 4 year old is already experiencing this to a mild degree (whether she fully realizes it or not) when I have to drop her off for functions and she is put with several older girls. My daughter's personality can mislead people because she is VERY outgoing to adults, but she has certain follower tendencies around kids she perceives as older. I watch her back down quickly when an older girl rejects her ideas as "dumb" or tells/implies her ideas are not important. Honestly, it's hard for me to know what to do when I see it because my daughter can't put the pieces together yet for herself or even express what she's feeling. My other daughter is much more physically aggressive and physically active. I wonder what to make of that as she gets older. I want to show grace to other children, knowing that my daughters could easily do the same thing.   

3. The book's title talks about cutting off this "mean girls" mentality (whether it's intentional or not) in elementary school because the longer those tactics and attitudes persist as a strong influence in a girl's life, the more it contributes to low self-esteem as she heads into that mishmash of hormones known as middle school (which is a time in our lives I'm sure we can all recall with less than fondness).  

On to the book... 

In the first chapter called "The Rise of Social Cruelty" the authors (both of which are moms who have a Ph.D in developmental psychology and two daughters) assert that many school anti-bullying programs tend to target boy tactics (physical aggression) and largely ignore more subtle girl tactics (relational aggression).
"Despite the blossoming of bully-proofing courses around the country, issues of girl meanness and female friendship struggles fall outside the scope of a majority of programs...It's one thing to prepare yourself against the backstreet bully, but what do you do when the bully is your best friend?" (11-12)
The authors insist that elementary age is the time to start dealing with these issues because a girl is old enough to be independent, but young enough to still be influenced heavily by adults.

My two cents so far: Readers, I think you all will be surprised by what behaviors the authors consider girl bullying. Things like certain girls making "exclusive clubs" or hurtful whimsy like being someone's friend one day and not the next (known as a yo-yo friendship). The authors say that usually in the K-2 years girls unintentionally hurt one another, but that the behavior still can't be dismissed by adults. Too many of us write off these things as "what little kids do" when they're trying to find their way or that our kids should just "shake it off" and find another friend, but if you go here to this blog you might rethink those platitudes. The blog shares the author's personal perspective as mother when her daughter, Kylie, was tormented by her best friend for close to 2 years. This started when Kylie was in 1st grade:
"Sherrie was Kylie’s closest friend, and—at first—her strongest ally.  But a destructive power dynamic soon developed. It was amazing the hold Sherrie had over her—the power she had to take something wonderful and make it dark and fearsome to Kylie. Kylie was an avid believer in fairies, and (in the beginning) the 2 would laughingly imagine they were visited by fanciful fairies in the backyard.  But when things changed, Sherrie took Kylie’s passion for fairies and used it to terrify her—telling her about fairies that were evil and would harm her...
Kylie tried to speak to her teacher about her struggles midyear and was met with disbelief (“She’s such a nice girl; you must be misreading her intent”).  When she persisted, she was told to “thicken her skin,” which left her feeling more confused and alone.  It was only when I happened upon a scribbled note of loneliness that Kylie opened up and shared her isolation." 
Let me tell you, the scribbled note she found is heart-breaking for such a young girl to have written. Have any of you been victim of or have you witnessed your children going through some of these things? How did you handle the situation? 

Stay tuned for Part 2...  

Monday, May 20, 2013

"It's Okay to Not Like Reading"

Came across a post the other week called When Your Homeschooled Child Doesn't Like to Read. This was a good and challenging blog post for me to read. I often think about the possibility of my youngest daughter or future children falling into this category. How would I react given that my husband, myself, and my oldest daughter adore reading? How much pride do I put into reading = intelligence, reading = worth, reading = success that I am unwilling to admit? Would I harbor resentment? Would I be overbearing? The author says this about her friend Stacey's advice:
"Stacey’s words helped me realize that I harbor a prejudice against non-readers. And it’s silly. I can let her not like reading without interpreting it as a failure on my part or thinking she’s less intelligent. 
My daughter has other talents and passions that are equally as important as reading. Instead of harping on her distaste for reading, I need to invest in her love of art, music, and foreign language. (And I do!) I need to build her up as the creative, brilliant young woman that she is instead of worrying about reading as if it is the single factor of academic success."
Now if you go to the blog post (which I recommend you do) you will see that she does NOT let her daughter just not read just because she doesn't enjoy it (like my triple negative, there?). I think this is necessary even if your child is a slow reader or more auditory-inclined. Growing up, math and science were difficult for me, but that did not (and frankly should not) have given me a free pass on it. Work at your child's pace and modify, but don't give up! In the blog post, she describes her daughter as more of an auditory learner, so she is given audio books or is read to some for her classes. Her curriculum gets tailored to her which is a huge benefit of homeschooling, alleviating frustration that would most likely come in public or private school when she could not be accommodated well due to class size. However, it's not always a death sentence for those taught en masse. Many of the books I taught 9th, 10th, and 11th graders were available on CD at the local library and homework could be done by listening to the story and writing down thoughts and answers at home. Nowadays you can use an iPad, Kindle Fire, or audible.com. The physical book could be used for looking at key passages during class time. How I wish parents would encourage alternatives like audio books for their children rather than give up completely. Giving up on your child's experience with taking in information is not the way to go! 

Back to the original discussion of fueling passions and finding success beyond reading, it seems that I am never more awed and humbled than when I hear a college friend's original piano music. He's not much of a reader, but the creativity that comes out of his fingertips blows me away every time. He is on another plane when he gets going and articulates emotions that the most renown novelist couldn't touch. What if someone had said to him constantly, "Quit wasting your time playing that piano and read some Hemingway!" When I think back to my middle and high school days trying to play the flute, I see now that I didn't feel music like my college friend; that's not what I was passionate about. Hence why I have the ability to be an English teacher and he has the ability to compose movie soundtracks in his head and we can both appreciate each other's talents. God makes us wonderfully unique and as parents and friends we have to make room in our hearts and minds for that truth even when it frustrates us to do so.  

The book I got for Mother's Day had some discussion from the author's father who said he biggest regret was going to college when he was so mechanically inclined. He wanted to go to trade school so badly, but he also felt he needed to please his mother by using his G.I. Bill and pursuing his education. It was a good reminder that this confusion of what constitutes "intelligence" and "success" has been going on long before I was born.  

Now, Justin and I are still very much in favor of our girls going to college (a discussion for another day) and reading is still VERY important in our house, but these thoughts about intelligence are certainly something to chew on and to give us pause in dealing with things more compassionately. The author of the blog post gives a very level-headed discussion on the topic that involves compromise on both parts (hers and her daughter) and a willingness to examine her own prejudices in regards to "non-readers".  
Have any of you seen these scenarios played out in your life or in the lives of others? How do you handle "non-reading" situations in your classroom or home? 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Shared Experiences

For Mother's Day Justin ordered Rod Dreher's new book (we've been salivating over it for a month or so now). It's called The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, a confessional memoir style book about his sister Ruth who stayed in their small town in Louisiana and Dreher who moved out at an early age to pursue the big city. Here are some of the reviews posted by Amazon: 

If you've ever felt an outsider in your own family, you've got to read this book. If you have ever had any "sibling-issues" you've got to read this book. This true, powerful, deeply-moving, and masterfully-told story is nothing less than a gift. And yes, indeed: it will change lives.

-- Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

If you are not prepared to cry, to learn, and to have your heart cracked open even a little bit by a true story of love, surrender, sacrifice, and family, then please do not read this book. Otherwise, do your soul a favor, and listen carefully to the unforgettable lessons of Ruthie Leming.

-- Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

This is an authentic and deeply touching memoir, which honestly asks many of the best questions about the things that matter. Interacting with this story will change you!

-- Wm. Paul Young, author of The Shack and Cross Roads

This book will make you feel hunger pangs for what you didn't know you even missed. And then it will feed you, line upon line, soul bread. As the Israelites ate manna in the desert, Dreher's evocative prose gathers the unforgettable manna moments of Ruthie Leming's life.

--Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

Rod Dreher tells a tale of dear things lost and dear things restored, but also, and unflinchingly, confronts some harder truths about old wounds that never fully heal and old misunderstandings that won't quite go away. This is a book that strives for truth more than beauty-and is all the more beautiful for it.
-Alan Jacobs, author of The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction 

Dreher is a Christian, but his book has got critics from the far right and left singing his praises. To me, that's a sure sign of a winner if you can get people with totally different ideologies and worldviews seeing the value of a story.

I admit it's a bit strange for me to get so excited about a gift because by nature receiving gifts is not high on my love language list. I much prefer quality time or words of affirmation. However, as I was doing laundry today it occurred to me why I love when Justin gets us books. I say get "us" books because we get to SHARE the experience together. 

When both spouses are working two different jobs, being able to SHARE experiences can be a very difficult thing to come by. For example, when I taught high school Justin always used to say it felt like we were living two separate lives because he couldn't relate to the specific kind of discouragement I found with absentee students and parents. Likewise when he would have "desk job" complaints, I had a hard time understanding the management "totem pole" and protocol.

Just recently we had to make a difficult decision to turn down an opportunity to take a 10 day trip to Greece to visit a missionary couple we support. We have a lot on our plates coming up in September and the timing felt wrong to add one more thing amidst a host of new responsibilities I am going to take on with homeschooling and insurance. I told Justin he could go by himself, but he said he was not going to go on another emotionally difficult trip without me. He said it was too hard to have a life-changing experience and not have me completely understand his heart because I wasn't there. Based on past experience, he's right. Several years ago, it was hard for us to even have a conversation for about a week when he got back from Haiti.     

All this to say, reading the same book and being able to discuss it deeply really brings us together when our daily grinds work to keep our hearts apart. I believe Justin knows this about our relationship which is why I am thankful he buys me gifts like these. He's trying to show how he wants to lead our family by protecting our marriage through the written word.    

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day Tribute, Temple Grandin, and Insurance Rates

One of the biggest trends in the medical world right now is the rise of autism. Some would say it's the rise of diagnosis, not a huge mass of actual cases. But whatever way you look at it, one thing is very clear -- there's still a lot we don't know about it. There are people we meet as adults every day who exhibit distinguishable symptoms of being somewhere on the autism spectrum, but weren't diagnosed and whose parents were told by professionals that their child was destined for a life devoid of meaning or purpose.    

If you are looking for a good movie about this topic, look no further than the HBO made-for-TV movie Temple Grandin. It features the life of Dr. Temple Grandin, who because of her Asperger's was able to change an ENTIRE industry's way of thinking. If you're unfamiliar with Asperger's Syndrome, it's considered a form of high-functioning autism where it's difficult for individuals to have meaningful social interaction with other people. These indivudals tend to lack the ability to pick up on normal social cues. For many with Asperger's, it makes school (where you have to interact with everyone constantly) a traumatic experience. In addition, individuals with Asperger's have a tendency to lock in on something that fascinates them and they learn every minute detail about it, sometimes causing them to neglect other studies. They can memorize facts exceptionally well and won't forget them. Animals can be of comfort because they are capable of receiving love, but don't require all the subtleties of body language and speech like a person who expects appropriate give and take. In Dr. Grandin's case, she was empathetic to the cows on her aunt and uncle's ranch.  

Dr. Grandin learned by observing and spending most all of her time with cows during her summers. Out of that passion, she was able to save ranchers thousands of dollars by her acute sense of order and efficiency (due to her Asperger's) and sensitivity to cows. She designed a complex system to help herd cattle gently to slaughter to ensure a humane death which would produce better meat. However, her path to success wasn't an easy one. People (men in particular) told her she was a crazy and that her ideas had no merit. Everyone wanted to stick with the "the way it's always been done" even if even if that meant it cost them some cows and they had to hire some extra hands. Temple saw a better way to deal with cows and that led to some of the biggest reforms the cattle business has ever seen. Temple went on to eventually got her doctorate in animal science from the University of Illinois and has written many books about autism.       

But there's an even larger picture to her contribution that I was only able to understand after I started studying insurance

Two months ago as I studied for my property and casualty test under the farm section I was reminded of how many times innovation and efficiency can contribute to an overall good. Because Dr. Grandin was able to save the farmers from loss of livestock and having to hire extra hands, that meant less liability and fewer claims submitted for dead cows. That means that the insurance companies don't have to pay out as much which means everyone's costs stay lower. So not only did she improve the physical job and lessen insurance claims for ranchers, she improved the financial situation for the entire commercial industry. Underwriters and insurance agents were probably dancing in the streets thanks to her! Talk about a legacy!

But here's something you may not know about Dr. Grandin: she had an extremely supportive and tenacious mother. Dr. Grandin's mother was told by doctors that her daughter's problems were her fault and that she needed to take her to an institution. Through much sacrifice and ridicule, her mother disregarded those who told her Temple's life was worthless. Dr. Grandin's life is a tribute to mothers everywhere who know (in Dr. Grandin's own words) that their child is different, but not less.  

Do you know someone like Dr. Grandin's mother? Share your inspiring mother or might-as-well-be-my-mom stories in the comments!     

Monday, May 6, 2013

Around the House Games and Activities For Children

This is a post is to help you find things around your house that can be used as supervised learning tools for your child. One thing you always have to keep in mind as you do these activities is this -- you don't have to look for mastery, just for learning!

Cutting Expired Coupons -- My daughter loves scissor practice for at least 30 minutes to an hour (one of the few things I have found to occupy her while I am cleaning or working on dinner). If you think about it, it's a great way to let them practice fine motor skills without having to spend any money on workbooks. Even if you don't buy a newspaper for coupons, places like Publix have in-store flyers that have TONS of rectangular dotted lines for your preschooler to enjoy. 

Collages From Old Magazines -- Don't recycle your magazines until you've gone through them! You can do all manner of collages with your child. You could let your child find, cut, and paste all "B" words and pictures he/she finds. You could do an animal collage and let them find, cut, and paste animals. Or you could combine the ideas and do all animals that start with a certain letter. The possibilities are endless, so the bottom line is, don't let this free resource hit the recycle bin just yet!    

Placemats - I've been seeing a lot of Pinterest ideas lately that involve using placemats. I think these are one of those great tools that are practical (they help keep your table from messes), but can be used to any degree of learning you want. They are conversation pieces when you're waiting for dinner to be on the table. Right now all I do with our 3 1/2 year old is talk to her about the US in terms of where we live, where I was born, where her dad was born, where her grandparents live, the biggest state, the littlest state, etc. She remembers those states well and some of their capitals, too. When we look at the planets placemats (in which Pluto has been relegated to a dwarf planet along with Ceres and Eris -- see I learned as well!!) we talk about the legend in the corner and the orbit of the planets. I never feel pressured to give a science lecture (because she's, you know, 3 1/2), but I do sometimes have to say, "Your dad will explain to you about black holes and shooting stars when he gets home, okay?" when she has a genuine interest. Many of them are also multilingual so if you're working on Spanish or French you can incorporate some of the words they might know. Obviously, you can do much more complex concepts with the placemats as they get older.The placemats we have currently are: handwriting/ABC, addition (up to 10), map of the US, map of the world, American presidents. Those alone could last us years!             

Bananagrams - If any of you have this game it's great for emerging readers. You can do a number of things with it. Today I built words and had her sound them out phonetically while she worked on picking out her own words to make. We built our words just like the game (looking like a crossword puzzle). Hers were 3 and 4 letter words. Obviously mine were more challenging words, but she still tried to sound some of them out. This game is good investment for a range of reading -- from your child's first experience with blends and phonics to an experienced reader. 

Bunco, Dominos, and Dutch Blitz - If you're like me Candyland gets WAY old after about a week of having it in the house. I always seem to win unless I covertly stack the deck for my daughter, so Justin and I started looking for some other games to play with her. We were surprised to discover that a lot of games for adults work quite well for a 10 minute break or an hour before bedtime. With Bunco all your child has to do is roll the dice and look for specific numbers. No strategy to this game like in perhaps Yahtzee-- all luck here. She loves rolling the dice and getting the big fuzzy die when she rolls a 1-2-3.

With Dutch Blitz we've shown her how to set up her deck like adults do but we don't get all fast and furious with putting the cards down. She looks through her "wood pile" for 1's to place while my husband and I go super slow putting our cards out there. We've done it often enough now that she can somewhat multi-task and look for where she can place other numbers. Again, just looking for learning -- number sequence and so forth.

Dominoes are good for all kinds of things. Just by playing the actual game you reinforce counting, skip counting, and being able to visualize a number. My friend Sara, also had a great idea where her son had several dominoes set up and he made them each into math problems using a dry-erase placemat. For instance, if a domino had 3 on one side and 4 on another he counted and wrote 3, wrote a plus sign, counted and wrote 4 followed by the equals sign and 7 as the answer.      

I should add to make sure you don't overplay these games. When your child is ready to stop playing or is getting really frustrated, don't push your luck. The idea is for learning, not for you and your child to shelve these games out of several bad experiences.  

Baking Together -- As I said in a previous post, I love baking with my daughter. She doesn't get to do every step of the recipe, but now that she can read she will list several of the basic ingredients, she has learned what the BIG T and the little t stand for in a recipe, she is familiarizing herself with basic fractions. It's not mastery (does anyone ever master cooking?), it's hands-on learning by repetition. The biggest benefit I see is learning a certain appreciation for providing something our family needs multiple times a day. Ironically, I find we are making memories of the best kind by learning through what many would call the mundane -- doing the "daily grind" together. 

Some of you are already doing a lot of these things or something more creative than what I have here, so I want to encourage you to stop and assess learning from the activities you are doing with your child. I suspect you'll find that you are teaching them FAR more skills than you initially thought! I hope that is an encouraging thought for you all today :)   

Feel free to share some things around your house that you use with your children in the comments. We can learn from each other!          

Friday, May 3, 2013

You Talkin' To Me?

Who have I been talking with this week? Today I'm going to feature the EPB man. Let's just say some unlikely encouragement about education came my way.

Let me ask you readers a question. When someone comes to wire your house for faster internet do they usually try to give you solid biblical marriage advice? I'm guessing your answer is no. In my experience, when people come to fix things around here they don't engage in much talk beyond some wild tales from the trenches of whatever their specialty is. 

On Wednesday I was taken aback when the middle-aged EPB guy started telling me (and my close friend) how he was on the brink of divorce at one time, but the Lord brought him back. To be fair, my friend and I were talking on the patio while our girls were playing in the backyard and he didn't have to strain to hear us. To be honest, I didn't even remember he was there. We were talking about when things get intense in our marriage and how we as believers know how God has called us to honor our spouses, but obedience to the Lord is so *stinking* difficult when we feel wronged. He started out by saying, "Now I'm not trying to pry, but I overheard you ladies talking..." Such a Southern way of saying things. I am so thankful that I live in a place where we can still start conversations like that. Small talk is a natural part of doin' business down here.   

He proceeded to tell us: 
  • that he was from a broken home where his dad was a good provider, but not a great father. 
  • that he has been married for 20 years and has 3 children.  
  • that the Lord has been faithful to him even when he was about to call it quits. 
  • that -- and this really blew me away because our culture COMPLETELY shuns this idea -- he realized that he knew God was telling him he needed to work on HIMSELF when he was tempted to criticize or blame his wife.  
  • that he regularly talks to his 17 year old daughter about virtue and he has a very close relationship with her. 
  • that the best advice he could give me was to seek out older women to receive mentoring from in my church.
Again I say, does your electrician share these kinds of things with you?

Am I weird that it totally did not bother me? I know some people would recoil in indignation. As he got ready to leave, I told him how much I appreciated his humble courage to give countercultural advice to a stranger. He overrode whatever apprehension he must have had to try and encourage someone with theology. What a ministry this man has! Experience and trust in the Lord had been this man's teacher and allowed him to break the generational cycle of brokenness he experienced.  I wonder how many other times people have told him to butt out or to keep his religion to himself? I wonder how much easier his message would be accepted if he decided to say, "I get into arguments all the time with my spouse, too. You just have to do what makes YOU happy. If you're wronged, then wrong them right back! You don't have to put up with that! Your kids don't need that, etc..."      

Let me reiterate, I was so shocked and thankful to hear him say I needed to examine my own heart

I need to hear that every day of my life, even from strangers.  

This 30 minute experience with the EPB man reminded me of how we are tempted to venerate missionaries and pastors as the only ones who are really carrying out any "real" ministry. We denigrate our own callings as  something less valuable, but we need more fathers like the EPB man sharing with a lost world about God's faithfulness in the hard times.

Who else have I been talking to this week? My two neighbors... both retired teachers who brought up the state of our schools since TCAP week has just finished up around here. They were sad, but honest conversations. Stay tuned...   

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Talkin' 'Bout My Education: Part 3 -- Preparing to Leave the Netherlands

This is a continuation from Part 1 and Part 2 about my friend's experience with the European school systems in the 1990's.
WARNING: This post is somewhat graphic. Truthful, but graphic. 

So what does a young child in the Dutch system do all day? Practice standing in lines, of course! Yes, you read that correctly. Lines are an essential part of life in Euro, and the education system spends much time to make sure their citizens know how to do this properly. For much of the morning my son was in school, he was being taught how to stand in the line to go outside, to go inside, to go to the bathroom, to go to the lunch area, etc. To this day, he is able to wait patiently in lines whereas many people are restless; I guess some good came from the hours of his “in line instruction!”

We made the decision to move from The Netherlands once we received the final notice that we would not be allowed to homeschool. We were asked why we “feared” the Dutch system, and it wasn’t so much “fear,” as it was conviction we were to be instructing our son. However, we did have strong reservations of placing our child into the Dutch education system and here are a few reasons.

De Morgenster School was a model school for all The Netherlands. It was started by our YWAM base and at that time, it was the only Christian school in the country. There were Catholic, church-related, and Islamic schools, but no Christian schools. Our base recruited and brought top-notch Christian teachers into this school who were YWAMers as they helped to pioneer a Christian presence in an education sphere. During my son’s time at the school, many unforeseen problems occurred, and I later learned these were actually common in all Dutch schools.

The Netherlands is known for its free sex and free drug environment. Everywhere you look, naked women are used to sell items. On buses, for instance, you would see an advert for a particular bread, and the logo was a silhouette of a nude woman. What a naked woman has to do with bread is beyond me, but this was quite normal advertising. It translated into the children’s attitudes in schooling; there was an early interest in sex, and children in the school experimented much younger than you would expect. In De Morgenster, some of the 4 and 5 year olds were having oral sex in the bathrooms. As the children grew older, sex was an accepted part of life, and it was not uncommon to realize many 10 - 12 year olds were sexually active. Although legally, the “age of consent” in The Netherlands at that time was 12, officials simply “looked away” from the younger ones who were “expressing themselves and finding their sexuality.” Another prominent aspect of the Dutch society was the interest in the occult. As a country who welcomed and embraced free sex, free drugs, homosexuality, prostitution, and all manner of perversions, the Dutch have moved further away from their Christian heritage, and the schools have moved more and more into spiritual experimentation. It was quite normal to hear of the encountering of spirit guides during classes. Teachers had closets where students could go to commune with their spirit guides, or to practice their religious beliefs from witchcraft to voodoo, and due to the large number of immigrants the Dutch allowed, the mixture of beliefs was truly staggering. All this effected their schooling. While they might excel in their languages, they were “failing” in educating in truth. The Germans found the Dutch an easy people to manipulate during the World Wars, and after living there, I can certainly better understand how that happened...

Our time in The Netherlands was drawing to a close, and it could not come soon enough! My son was 5, and he was now being required to be in school all day; I volunteered each day in my son’s class at De Morgenster while waiting for our moving date! We knew we were called to be in Euro, and we knew we were to homeschool, so our options narrowed considerably. It was either Spain (which allowed homeschooling at that time), or the UK. We packed up our rowhouse, stored almost all our household items in a storage area in Rotterdam and shipped a small bit to our next destination, which is the next stop in our education ventures.

Tartans, anyone?

 Click here to go to Part 4!