If it wasn’t for travel and countless lessons it teaches, I don’t know how I would have convinced my kids that school is important, learning can be fun, being responsible isn’t a chore and made us all realize the most important thing…
Learn the ABCs
»Who cares about letters! Mom, you read what it says?« In a nutshell this summed up my daughters’ position on reading. And it worked fine for a while, more specifically until we got to Japan. Suddenly neither Mom nor Dad could decipher a word. After getting lost and feeling quite helpless on more than a few occasions, the kiddos finally realized the importance of learning to read. As it turns out the parents are not as smart as they originally thought. Besides they certainly don’t want to look as weird as we did in Japan ever again.
Trying pays off
“Danke.” That’s how you say thank you in Germany. When we set to explore a country, we try the food, see the local sights, read about the history and attempt to learn a few words of the local tongue. Fun words like: it’s delicious, I want four of those, sorry, beautiful, spoon… We laugh at each other when we attempt to get the words out right, but the locals appreciate the effort and girls see how far a bit of trying can get you.
Numbers – make all the difference
The family as whole is not really big on Math, so the kids shouldn’t be the ones to take all the blame when it comes to adding and dividing. Who can fault them, when on paper 3 plus 3 looks so boring and unimportant? But it all starts to make sense when we get to the ice cream parlour in Italy with 5 euros in hand and we need to figure out how many scoops it can get us. Then the kids suddenly become the world’s best Mathematicians.
Imagination is awesome
Being born in the 21st century certainly has its perks. From a young age kids have all the cool gadgets at their fingertips like: smart phones, computers, tablets… They can never be bored again, right. Wrong, because on the remote Scottish coast far up in the North there’s no decent Wi-Fi and too much exploring to remember to charge the plethora of modern day devices on time, leaving kids at the mercy of their own imagination. After the initial shock wore off, they realized they had one and get this – a pretty awesome one. Maybe more often they’ll stick to it.
Tick, tack, tick, tack
I was perpetually a couple of minutes early to all the engagements. Then I got kids, who take the concept of time as arbitrary and never treat it as set in stone. These days I too have learned to take in stride, we’ll get there, when we get there, what’s the hurry. Except when it comes to travel, we are all pretty serious when we have planes and trains to catch or risk missing the ferry leaving the island. Nobody dares to go against the clock here. I am just hoping we can gradually transfer it to other expects of life as well, so I can go back to being just a bit early.
I take care of what is mine
Leaving things scattered around in the room only to find them in about a month, purely by accident let me add, might work when we are at home. Otherwise not so much. It took a return from one trip sans one of the favourite toys to make the girls understand this does not work on travels. Unless you make sure you have all your belongings safely stored in the bag upon leaving the hotel room, it’s gone. Pure and simple.
Wonders of Nature
No matter how many things they have at their disposal, my kids get bored really fast. Five minutes of coloring, 10 minutes of their favorite cartoon, 3 seconds of flipping through a book, a bit of sandwich and the repertoire of entertainment is depleted in about an hour, while we still have 5 more to go. That’s when they resort to just aimlessly looking out the window and we have to play I spy, excitedly acknowledge every farm animal we notice, flower or unusual building we pass. Who would have thought boredom on long roads can be such a great teacher and the world the best thing to watch?
School DOESN’T suck
Sitting in the classroom learning about trees, sheep or boats is not the most exciting thing in the world. But chase the sheep in Wales, brave the waves of the rough Atlantic Ocean on a small boat or sit in the shade of the magnificent hundred-year-old Maple tree, that’s when the school teachings magically spring back to mind. My kids are suddenly so smart and proud to share the knowledge with us. They can’t wait to get back and tell all about it to their friends at school.
Keep an open mind
Without pleading, followed by threats I rarely get them to try anything new. But in Japan, Scotland, Germany or Canada, it’s a matter of eating or staying hungry. So, while they might hope they’ll get the same food as they do back home, they realize the chances are pretty slim and are ready to try out new things. It shows them how unique and diverse the world is, but they are also quick to note that McDonalds’ restaurants are everywhere. Why can’t we just eat there?
All we have is each other
In general, my girls don’t get along too well, in fact most of the time I feel like I am a referee in their game of who’d done what. On our travels however, all they’ve got is each other and the two of us. Suddenly sharing a bucket is doable, letting the sister on the swing isn’t the end of the world, and waiting for one another is OK. They create many great memories on such occasions, I keep hoping it will eventually change how they treat each other when we are not away. One can certainly hope.