I will always remember that look.
She was filled with judgment or jealousy. I do not know. But for the space of a few seconds, she made me doubt my decision. Fortunately, that gaze bounced against the armor that protects my values and all that I hold most precious in me.
That look was that of my daughter’s teacher when I told her I was taking her out of school for two weeks because we were going on a trip:
“Mrs. Lessard! It’s really a disservice to your child to take her out of school for two weeks! ”
And that’s when my guilt machine kicked in:
“Have you thought about all the material she’s going to miss? ”
“Have you thought about the delay you are going to cause her?” ”
“What if everything is delayed made her miss her year?” ”
First of all, my daughter is doing really well in school. If not, obviously I wouldn’t have thought to take her out of school for two weeks to go on a trip.
Second, when I go on a trip with my daughter, it’s not to stupefy her. On the contrary, I know how to travel to educate her.
Third, as an organized mom, I know what to do and what resources to contact to get my daughter back from travel, at the same level, if not higher, than her classmates.
My goal was not to nag her teacher, or even to change her mind. Still, after telling her everything I’m about to tell you, her gaze shifted from judgment to curiosity.
Why missing school to travel
Learning from a book about living animals in Africa does it. But to see these animals in their real habitat, that… it does it A LOT! Learning in context, there is nothing better because each of the senses is stimulated and the more they are, the more the learning binds and seals. This is why I believe that travel is about providing a favorable and unique learning environment for your child.
Besides this reason, traveling is:
- Discovering new cultures and aim for life in order to open up to the world and welcome what is different from us.
- Develop our kid’s autonomy by calling on their resourcefulness and their ability to enter into solution mode when the unexpected occurs.
- Communicating in new languages, rich in stories, which help to bond and develop empathy.
- Boosting their confidence, esteem, and curiosity. These three resources are, in my opinion, the pillars of every human being.
- Getting to know yourself to better define what is of value to you which, in my opinion, is a precious gift to give to your child.
Now that you know why, it would be interesting to know how! Here are my 3 tips:
Establishing a game plan
The first step in making a game plan is to get in tune with your child’s teacher. Many teachers are collaborative and even enthusiastic and will be able to suggest ideas so as not to lose an ounce of learning. It can be:
- By providing you with the material she will have to see during her trip or to review before the trip.
- By establishing with you an equivalent way of seeing the material (such as asking her to write an account of her trip and prepare an oral presentation on her return)
If you plan to see the material in a more “conventional” way during the trip, establish with your child, before leaving, her schedule. Ask her when is the best time to do her learning (morning, afternoon, evening) and how much time she wants to dedicate to each learning (15-30-45 minutes). You will be amazed to find that the more you involve your child in the process, the more collaborative they will be.
Now everything can be done online. Take advantage of technology to bring in online tutoring companies such as Entre-guillemets. Thus, a teacher can pass the material to do with your child during the trip. There is also the Allo-Prof site where you can find many resources or even sites like Quizziz or J’accorde to review the material.
Make of Every Occasion an Opportunity to Learn
Are you at the restaurant? Have your child do math by calculating the price of the meal and even converting the price to Canadian currency. Ask the waiter to show you a typical local dish and name the ingredients. Are you at the beach? Ask a fisherman to name the types of fish you can catch and explain the phenomenon of the tides. Are you going to buy bread at a bakery? Ask the shopkeeper to explain or even show your child how to make bread.
The learning opportunities are endless! It’s up to you to show your imagination and, above all, to enjoy it. This way you are smart and let your child see the material without her realizing it.
When you return from your trip, you can add a pushpin to each destination you have visited on one of my customizable world maps. Because immortalizing your travel memories is also precious learning.
Hoping that this article may have made you too, from judgment to curiosity. I wish you wonderful adventures around the world and take every opportunity to learn.