Travel trumps the classroom.
Yes, I realize that might sound strange, coming from a former teacher…but the idea is that travel fosters new experiences, new perspectives, and new real life learning. And yes, fine…there is learning is most classrooms, and I am a supporter of public school education…BUT… there is no substitute for the education that comes from travel.
Not everyone would agree with me. In fact there are those that believe that taking kids out of school for travel is a bad idea. They believe that children should never miss school unless they are sick, because the learning that happens day in and day out is crucial to a child’s development.
To which I shake my head. Although I do believe that being in school is important for a myriad of reasons, I do not subscribe to the notion that school learning is the only type of good learning. There are things that are taught in schools that are valuable, maybe even crucial for children like socialization and cooperative and collaborative learning. But beyond the classroom, the world has SO much to offer when it comes to educating our children to become 21st century thinkers.
Which is why I did not feel bad when I took my daughter out of school to go to NYC for a day last fall.
Why I did not think twice about taking out of school for five days for a family ski trip.
Why I believe that two days spent at Disney World for the Disney Social Media Moms Conference will be just as educational and impacting as two days in school.
Benefits of Taking Kids out of School for Travel
Every trip has the potential to be educational. While I grant you that trips that bring history to life, like visiting the ancient ruins in Rome, or Independence Square in Philadelphia makes for a very different learning experience than skiing in Colorado or a trip to Disney World, teaching our children that there is always something to learn is a skill that teaches them to embrace life long learning.
I know why I think travel is such a powerful educational tool…but what do other moms think about taking kids out of school for travel?
Travel teaches perspectives
Jeannette Kaplun of Hispana Global and Mamifesto thinks “travel not only teaches you about different cultures, people, languages. It allows you to experience them.” Not only is travel educational, but Jeannette believes that family travel is a great investment.
TravelingMom, Mary Heston, a passionate world traveler and believer in exposing children to life outside the United States, believes “School is great but I think the real world lessons learned when traveling cannot be replicated in the classroom.”
Travel teaches real world lessons
Traveling Mom, Teronya Holmes is of the belief that “travel opens up worlds of experience, education, and exposure to other cultures, languages, history, and especially people, that could never be experienced in the classroom.”
Melanie Nelson uses travel to teach her children things that they cannot learn at home. “I took my kids separately to NYC to teach them how to navigate things like subways and airports (we don’t have subways in Oklahoma). My son was 13 and he had to fly from NYC back to Tulsa by himself, navigate the Chicago airport by himself, and get to his gate.” During her trips, Melanie’s children were involved and responsible for figuring out how to get around the city while there, which trains to take, when to leave for activities, and more.
Travel reinforces academic concepts and areas of study
Tech Savvy Mama, Leticia Barr believes in the practical applications of travel as learning tools, reinforcing geography and map skills by having her children help navigate during their family trips. Children can engage in critical thinking by planning out activities with time schedules, which involves prioritizing, budgeting, and using elapsed time.
Monica Sakala of Wired Momma, uses travel, even to places like Disney World, as a tool for learning by having her daughter “write in a travel diary – and write about her day and include details beyond it was “fun.” I know she won’t get to it every day but want her not only to have this to look back on but teach her now to pay attention to the details in a trip – because those are often the best part, right?”
Amiyrah Martin says about an upcoming trip to Disney World for the Disney Social Media Moms conference, “we’re using this trip to increase my son’s love of science, so we’ll be doing quite a bit at Epcot. Lucky for us, the Flower and Garden Festival will also be going on, so we can incorporate learning about particular flowers, making arrangements, and even the life cycle of a butterfly in there. My goal is to have him do a video or write a report on it and share with his class when he gets back.”
Just like any other parenting decision, decisions around taking kids out of school for travel is a personal decision. Each family has to decide what is right for them. I just know that I am thankful for my parents having made travel such an important part of my childhood, and that I have the ability to do the same for my daughter.
What about you? Do you take your children out of school for travel? Why or why not?