On Holiday: History, Geography and Record Keeping

At the moment, my son Callum and his wife are away from home, enjoying their honeymoon. I suppose they’re on holiday, a very special one.

My husband Andy is also on holiday. It’s the end of the official school term and because he’s a school teacher, he’s now home for the next two weeks.

What will we do during the school holidays? We could pack our bags and head off on an away-from-home holiday. But where would we go? How about Chernobyl?

Did you know anyone can take a tour of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone? It’s quite safe to visit this nuclear disaster area for a few days as long as we observe the rules. We could stay at the Hotel Pripyat.

It is located in the town of Chernobyl, in the Polupanova Street. All the rooms are simple, in the Soviet style. All the visitors are provided with the ironed starched linen stamped by Chernobyl special industrial complex, some soap and a towel. In quite a Soviet-style there are faults with toilet paper. Occasionally the hot running water might be off. The rooms are furnished with Soviet simple furniture…

But then again, I’m not sure I want to risk ‘faults with toilet paper’. It might be safer for us to have an at-home holiday. We could be tourists in our own town. We could visit all those interesting places that are on our doorstep, the ones we never seem to get round to seeing.

Or perhaps we could travel overseas without actually going anywhere. We could visit galleries, museums, exhibitions and even natural areas of beauty.

In this week’s podcast, I talk about at-home and away-from home holidays, and how I record all these rich and enjoyable experiences in my homeschool records book. I also share lots of interesting history, geography and science resources. Perhaps you could use them to travel the world without leaving home.

But before all the holiday talk, my daughter Sophie joins me to chat about The Wedding! And Imogen sings a little sample of the wedding music. (It was hard to capture a recording which does justice to her voice. The high notes threatened to knock the microphone over, her volume went off the scale, and she was lacking her accompanist. I’m sure you’ll take into account all these technical difficulties when listening!)

Podcast Notes

Blog posts

How the Girls and I Take a Weekly Trip Overseas
An Education at the Museum
A Perfect Method for Keeping Homeschool Records

History, Geography, Science Resources

Museums, Galleries, Science Centres

A History of the World in 100 Objects
The book by Neil Macgregor


Google Collections


Travel Videos

Discovery Channel’s Ultimate Journeys
Ultimate Journey Videos on Youtube


On Location Cooking Show

(episodes of their shows can be found on Youtube)



Amazing unseen photos from the Chernobyl disaster

Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail: 3 part series
There are full episodes and also clips on the PBS website (if you are fortunate enough to be in the ‘right’ country for access!)
Veritasium Youtube channel
Google Map of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Also, check out local tourist information websites, and tourist information videos on Youtube.


60’s Quiz Show by Podington Bear(CC BY-NC 3.0)


Thank you for listening!

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    • Fliq
    • September 21, 2015

    I had to listen – I'm homesick! I wonder if Imogen has any stand-alone recordings of her singing? I've been telling all my friends just how beautiful her voice is, and I'd love to show them properly instead of just repeating: "She sounds oh so wonderful… believe me!"

    I love you all! xx

    1. Reply

      Hi Felicity,

      We're missing you!

      Imogen plans to record some music very soon. She's been waiting for some free time. Now that she's only studying part-time, she hopes to move forward with her plans to record a music video. I'll let you know when she records something worth sharing. She does have a couple of videos on my Youtube channel, but they were recorded quite some time ago and her voice has developed a lot since then. Her singing is unaccompanied too. I should have recorded the music on the day of the wedding. It's a pity I forgot the recorder. Too much else to think about!

      Lovely to chat with you! Sending you lots of love. xxx

    • Chris
    • September 21, 2015

    You kill me…vacationing in Chernobyl!! I burst out laughing….Timmy had me read your post to him. He's across the room doing math. Great HS mom that I am, I'm ignoring him while I catch up on my fave blog posts! LOL ….we're listening to your podcast when we get home from his violin lesson later!! THAT is funny Sue You're too much.

    The pics are awesome. I love every one of them!
    Love ya

    1. Reply


      I was surprised to find out anyone can have a tour of Chernobyl. I bet it would be a very interesting experience but not exactly my idea of a holiday! Still, I'm fascinated by the thought of seeing the ghost town. I wonder if the atmosphere would be sad and disturbing. I hope you enjoyed my podcast.

      It's lovely to share the happiness of the wedding with my friends. Thank you for looking at my photos! xx

    • Wendy
    • September 23, 2015

    I really enjoyed this podcast, Sue, it sounds like the wedding was wonderful. And Imogen's voice is astonishing! There is an angelic quality to it – what a gift! How marvelous to have the whole family together for such a happy occasion!

    Enjoy your holidays! Here when we say "holidays" we usually mean Christmas and New Years, and we use "vacation" to mean a break from work. Often it means going away, but it can also mean just a pleasant break. I am hearing "staycation" used more now for staying home on break.

    1. Reply


      Thank you so much for explaining the difference between holiday and vacation. That explains why some Americans say 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas'. We don't hear that greeting here. Even non-religious people say "Merry Christmas'. I find all these differences between our countries very interesting. I'm so glad you stopped by to explain!

      Even though I said we would probably have an at-home holiday (or staycation!), we've just returned from a mini 3 day holiday in the Blue Mountains. We had a wonderful time. I'll probably share some stories in next week's podcast.

      I'm glad you enjoyed my podcast. Thank you so much for the kind words about Imogen's voice, and for listening to this week's episode!

        • emily
        • December 26, 2016

        “Happy Holidays” is a politically correct greeting in America that is supposed to be inoffensive to people who don’t believe in God/Jesus. *rolls eyes* Sounds to me like Aussies have more sense. 😉

        Easter is also considered a “holiday”.

        Sue, I must say THANK YOU THANK YOU for sharing all those wonderful resources. I am keeping a list of them all and plan to, one by one, “strew” them in front of my son. I’m SO glad you didn’t quit producing your podcast way back when. 🙂 🙂

        • emily
        • December 26, 2016

        PS – It sounds to me like the Hairy Bikers are from Ireland or Scotland. All I can get out of an online search is that they are “British.”

        1. Reply


          I love sharing resources so I’m glad you’re finding them useful. I hope your son enjoys some of them.

          I remember talking about the Hairy Bikers with one of my English friends. Her comment must be on another post. I think she told me that the Hairy Bikers come from England. I did a quick bit of googling, and yes, they are English. Dave comes from Barrow-in-Furness in North West England, and Si comes from Newcastle in North East England. I find the Northern English accents a bit hard to understand but they are so interesting to the ear!

          Thank you for listening to my podcasts. It’s good to know they are helpful. I’m also glad I didn’t stop making them. I guess I will soon have to start thinking about my first podcast of 2017.

          Merry Christmas!

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