Well, maybe we don’t have to take it to the extreme here:), but our own experience from traveling with our kids for extended periods during many years has shown us how awfully much kids learn during travels. And most of the learning takes place in ways which a normal school situation never would be able to provide to them.
Of course traveling isn’t, for many reasons, something that suites everybody, and also in view of how our society is constructed, schools still fills a function. Nevertheless, what I really want to point out is the huge amount of learning that takes place in a child (and adult as well of course) when you’re out there traveling the world.
We have run across many parents who are concerned about what would happen to their kid’s education if they’d follow their desire to go on a longer journey. Would they fall behind? Would they not be educated “enough”?
Well, what’s the meaning of education in the first place? Is it not to learn about the world we live in and to prepare children for life? To educate them about how to function and how to survive – and thrive? How to socialize and cooperate and how to make this world a better place?
Anyway, the other day this was a subject for discussion in our family. It began with someone reminding us that they, the kids, learnt their basic English – in Spain! The discussion continued about other experiences they’d had while being on the road that provided them with lots of learning and the list got rather impressive.
Here are a few of the things they mentioned:
- Being invited to a family in India who had he most amazing herb garden you could ever imagine with all the medicinal herbs in the world
- Going on the train from Tanger to Marrakesh for eight hours and discussing life with all the Moroccans who shared our compartment
- Assisting friends with the olive harvest in Spain and then taking the olives to the mill to be cold pressed and bringing our own super tasty oil back home to Sweden
- Chatting with a local in Akaroa, New Zealand, who was a descendant from the French colonizing ships, and hearing all about the history.
- Participating in a Bar Mitzwah in the old town Augsburg, Germany, in the only synagogue that survived World War 2.
- Volunteering at a children’s book festival in Nanaimo, Vancover Island BC, Canada, with friends
- Traversing the USA by train and interacting with a whole carriage full of Amish
- Being stopped by a police in New Zealand for speeding and listening to him telling us all the local Maori legends
- Gossiping with the locals on a small island in Fiji while making baskets out of palm leaves
- Visiting a SOS children’s village in Kerala, India, which we are sponsoring and meeting the mothers and the children who live there
- Entering Australia with a phobia for snakes and being cured by hearing Crikey – Steve Irwin – himself telling you all about these “beautiful” animals
- Going on a whale safari in Vancouver, Canada, and experiencing the Grey Whales just a few meters away from our little boat
I was happy to hear the kids talk about these memories with such joy and passion and I’m convinced these experiences will be with them for the rest of their lives.
By the way, what would you like your kids to experience and learn when you’ll go traveling the world?