How I Found the Best Airfares for Our Taiwan Adventure

When purchasing overseas plane tickets for a family of five, sticker shock can be overwhelming. The price per ticket doesn’t seem exceptionally high until you calculate the final price. A difference of $200 per ticket instantly translates to $1,000. For our upcoming flight to Taiwan, we patiently sought the best possible deal within our travel window.

I initially tracked prices using the Kayak website. They emailed me when fares for my chosen dates changed. After a few weeks of fluctuating fares, I became restless and began seeking new strategies to find reasonably-priced tickets. Ultimately, I discovered Google Flight Search, which made it simple to determine the optimal travel dates. Figuring out how to purchase the inexpensive fare was challenging, but I finally succeeded. Read on to find out how we did it.

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How Will We Homeschool While Visiting Taiwan?

A few months ago, I informed my parents that we are planning to visit Taiwan for six weeks. My dad posed an important question: “What will the girls do for school while you’re in Taiwan?” When I went on a family vacation during the school year as a kid, I either had to take work along with me or make it up when we returned. The beauty of homeschooling is that we can incorporate a broad education wherever we go without relying solely on textbooks. With that being said, we are planning to leave our formal curriculum at home (or perhaps at Grandpa’s house).

Instead, we will focus on worldschooling—helping our kids to learn by experiencing the world around them in a different culture. As the girls are immersed in a foreign culture, I don’t want textbooks to keep us from experiencing all Taiwan has to offer. Our primary “curriculum” will be everyday life.

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Planning a Homeschool Family Expedition to Taiwan

While studying the Far East last February, the twins were captivated by Chinese culture. Finding an affordable week-long tour of China, I asked them if they’d like to go. “We’d rather visit Taiwan,” they replied. After all, that’s where their dad grew up, and their grandmother still lives there. Even their oldest sister has traveled to Taiwan three times.

Over the next several weeks, an idea grew in my mind. What if we went to Taiwan? To get a full sense of the culture, we would need to stay in Taiwan for several weeks. That would benefit the girls more significantly than the whirlwind week in China I had previously proposed. Would such a trip be feasible? I spent several days praying about the possibility.

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Review of Britfield & the Lost Crown

Because my twins appreciate novels full of adventure and suspense, we leaped at the chance to review Britfield & the Lost Crown. We could choose the ebook, audiobook, or traditional softcover edition. My daughters, who love the smell of new books and the feel of flipping actual pages, requested the paperback.

Britfield provided the perfect warm-up for our homeschool year. Set in present-day Britain, the fictional novel incorporates aspects of British culture and history. An 83-page study guide, available for free online, outlines eight weeks’ worth of literature lessons based on the story. Since we hadn’t yet started school, I read the book aloud so the twins and I could enjoy it together.

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Encountering the Arab World with Sonlight

Last year, the twins and I enjoyed using the first twenty-one weeks of Sonlight Eastern Hemisphere curriculum to explore the cultures of Asia. Since my husband grew up in Taiwan, and his mother still lives there, that area of the world fascinates us. We learned about the geography, history, and culture of countries like China, Japan, India, Mongolia, Vietnam, and Russia. In the final fifteen weeks, which we began this month, we will focus on the Middle East and Africa.

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Review of My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping

For ten years I relied on the same homeschool recordkeeping software. Then one day my computer died. Although my husband was able to rescue my files, the program couldn’t run on my new Chromebook. I created a temporary solution with an online database app. When I finally upgraded my computer, I reinstalled my favorite software. Using it once again felt like coming home.

Last month, I had the chance to review My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping, a website designed for planning and keeping homeschool records. Even though I was happy with our current solution, I decided to try out their Annual Membership Plan

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Review of CTCMath - Promoting Progress in Algebra

Last year, my high school daughter struggled to learn Algebra 1 using two different programs. Having little success, we set both of them aside. By the end of the year, I had no idea how she would be able to get through three years’ worth of math before she graduates in 2021. While chatting with a homeschool couple, I learned about their family’s positive experience using CTCMath. A few weeks later, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this online math program.

In July, We received our 12-month Family Membership for up to 5 students. I created accounts for my 3 students and assigned them short diagnostic tests. It gave my twins, who are now starting Algebra 2, a chance to review what they learned last year. At the same time, my high school daughter could demonstrate what she knew and earn that evasive Algebra 1 credit.

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Starting Our Homeschool Year at the Speed of Life

Since most kids in our area start school on August 1, we planned to do the same. As the appointed date approached, however, we were overwhelmed with craziness. Returning from a fun weekend in the mountains, we dealt with a bug infestation in our home. An itchy rash on my arms turned out to be my first ever case of poison ivy. In addition, our kitty, Paul, was behaving strangely, prompting multiple vet visits and treatment for diabetes. With all that was going on, should we start school anyway or wait until life calms down?

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