Last day of school.  The kids were excited about that, especially since it is so much later than what they were used to.  Six weeks of vacation is nothing like 12.  Already, they’re wishing it was six years.  They have not realised that they may be involved in lifetime learning and now’s not the time to bring that up.[ad#ad-1]

Because summer vacation (or holiday) is so much shorter than in the US, I hope they learn to appreciate the time and make it worthwhile.  Though we had a TV in the US, it was one of those old analog models that cannot pick up signals very well without the use of cable or satellite.  So, it was only used to watch videos or DVDs.  Now, we no longer have a TV, but we do have laptops.  And they are hooked on YouTube.  I would hope they do not waste their time with that for the duration of this break.  But, they did mention they wanted to go to Nanny’s tomorrow because there was a movie on TV they wanted to see.  Sigh.

The school year is divided very differently from the US, and despite the half-term and end-of-term breaks, the number of days off for holidays is still far fewer than in the US.  It is so hard to gauge whether the increased school days translate into more or better education. 

Things have changed so much according to my husband and critics have complained that education has been dumbed down.  The method of teaching using various historical themes is very different.  This year, it has been WWII, the Tudors, the Romans and Anglo-Saxons.  For each period, they made “topic books” and they brought them home at the end of each term.  However, the last one is to be returned at the beginning of next year so that their new teacher can see it.  The topic books contain everything they did related to the period and it looks almost like a complete scrapbook.  It makes it so easy to save and store for future reference.[ad#ad-1]

The themed study made it fun and interesting for the girls and I’m glad they had that.  I have to say that I have been impressed with their writing.  I cannot comment much on their reading skills as assessed by the school.  I know they both have great reading skills but I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in the lack of teacher-assigned reading as well as requisite reading for their level.  Let’s hope that the summer reading program will make up for that.

We have a timeshare in Orlando that we have been trying to sell for over a year now.  Of course, the recession doesn’t help, but timeshares are notorious for not retaining their value.  More people are trying to sell them than there are buyers.  Makes you wonder, then, how some resorts manage to rope people into their resorts when private sellers can’t get rid of their property fast enough.[ad#ad-1]

I’m sure other Britons have the same issues with timeshares, whether in the UK or internationally.  Timeshares are not “bad”, they’re just not for us.  We have a wonderful 2bed/2bath condo that can accommodate 8, is extremely spacious, overlooks a lake and Disney beyond.  We can see the fireworks display from our balcony.  The kids loved it.  In fact, Buppa doesn’t want to give it up.  But, we didn’t use it last year – partly because we were moving.  And partly because we’d rather not sit around a swimming pool all day, or go out to the beach.

Now, the last time we used it, we went to a wonderful dinner show and horseback riding.  But we’d rather that the resort can offer those things to us for free.  We had to drive into or out of town for these events.  Of course, at that time, the resort was starting up with plans to build a waterpark for the free use of the owners (whereas, guests had to pay an entry fee).

We’ve (the adult portion) learned that we’d rather spend our holiday camping out or doing outdoorsy stuff.  We also didn’t like the heat and humidity – very appealing to some, but not good for me.  Had we been of a different disposition, we might consider holding onto the timeshare.  Everyone in my family has a timeshare somewhere.  But it is just not part of our lifestyle, so we’d like to sell it and get some money back.[ad#ad-1]

I just wish there was an easy way to sell it without getting ripped off and scammed left, right and center.  So, if anyone is interested in a timeshare, please let me know before you accept any deals directly from the resorts.  (Oh, by the way, the week is perfect for holidays whether you’re in the US or UK – August.)