As anyone with more than four days in the adult-slash-parenting world will tell you, there is no better teacher than experience. It just does something to our brains that allows us to connect with lessons in a way cooler and way more advanced level. Think of it like this: are you going to learn more about how much a fire ant’s sting hurts in a classroom or in real life when you accidentally step on one. Exactly.
Of course, school is super-duper important. Of course it is. It’s where our kids learn (measurable) things like math, science, languages, history, social studies politics and all that other stuff that qualifies them to get into college. But vacationing can enhance that knowledge like you wouldn’t believe, which is going to be music to most parent’s ears, especially those that are worried the school holidays are so long their kid may actually forget how to use their noggin.
So, without further ado, here are some ways travelling can seriously boost your kids learning abilities:
- History is one of the coolest subjects out there. In a practical sense, it’s learning what happened in the past to ensure the future is better but, in a child’s eyes, it’s learning about some wild times. But while learning about the Romans in a textbook is kinda cool, having your kids see the Colosseum in Rome with their own two eyes is going to blow their mind and make those lessons stick. Historic sites do that.
- Languages is another great example of how vacationing somewhere can reinforce what may have been learned in a formal classroom. Graci. Prego. Buona Sera. It is all important, but it tends to be forgotten the moment they leave the room. However, signing your whole family up to the best Italian language course while you are all staying in Milan is going to make what they learn stick. It will encourage your kids to use what they have learned and that is the best way to improve. Period. Fact. The end.
- Nothing is more amazing than immersing yourself in entirely new cultures. It’s that way of letting your kids know that everywhere is different. Different languages, different foods, different greetings, routines, arts, philosophies, methods of transportation and histories (even if every McDonald’s is the same). By immersing yourselves in this culture shock, you teach your kids the two most important lesson there are: empathy and tolerance. It is broadening their minds in the most powerful way possible.
- When you are actually there, you can encourage your kids to put what they have been seeing and hearing and learning into practice too. You could be in a museum in Paris and ask them to find the Mona Lisa, or get them to send a postcard to grandma, or ask for a Pizza ai Funghi and then ask for the bill, or have them to get you back to the hotel using the subway, or tell them to go and take a picture of Big Ben when you’re in London. It’s fun. It’s engaging. It’s educational.