They will learn to add, multiply and divide, read and write, recite poems and memorize the periodic table, find the seven continents on the map and amaze you with facts about Ireland, bugs and gravity to name just a few. But to truly understand and value the lessons learned, take them beyond the stuffy classrooms and show them the world. The following things kids won’t learn in school, but through travel.
- All they need to know about trains
“Two trains, 200 km apart, are moving toward each other at the speed of 50 km/hour each… When will they meet up?” This type of math problems used to drive me insane. Travel finally taught me that the only thing you need to know about trains is how to get on the right one, at the right time.
And that each one is heading towards an adventure – for now that’s what I want my kids to associate with any type of transportation.
- Good things are worth the wait
“I want it now.” I hear it all the time. My kids suck at patience, because I most certainly excel at being at their command. It comes as no surprise that taking them to theme parks gives me great pleasure. Why? Just imagine all the cool rides, but there’s line for each one and nothing I can do about it. Of course I too have to wait it out but it’s a small price to pay to show them – some things are worth waiting for. And I hope it’s a lesson that will stick.
- Make them feel
“Ireland covers an area of 84,421 km2. There are some 2,500 paintings, drawings and pastels that have been attributed to Impressionist Claude Monet. Sheep are pregnant for around 148 days.” I could go on for days. Looking things up on the Internet. Facts I knew and my kids will have to know by heart.
I want what only travel can give them.
To walk a kilometer in the Ireland’s bucolic landscape. Stand in Monet’s garden and see what captivated his attention for so long. Chase them while they chase the sheep in the field.
Then they can remember the facts, because they will mean something.
- Math is money, money means adventure
“Math sucks.” I know kiddo. 5 minus 1 on paper is plain boring. I get it. In life Math tells a story. You have 5 Euros and you buy an ice-cream that costs 2, how much do you need to get back? Or the aquarium’s entrance fee is 15, we have 20 will we have enough for the ice-cream when we leave? Travel makes Math a prerequisite.
It’s not numbers, it’s adventures, it’s possibilities, it’s ice-creams.
- Nobody cares what your name is
“Hello. My name is…” Every time you start learning a language that’s lesson number one. But it’s surprising how rarely you actually get to relay this information to anyone. Especially if you are just traveling through. Imagine asking for direction and going through the entire first lesson before.
I teach my kids how to say good morning, thank you, bye in the language of the country we are visiting. And how to order a croissant in France. That’s a priority not I am 35. Unless you are after 35 of those yummy treats.
- Being on time matters
“Please hurry. I am going to be late.” After a few years I have realized that to my kids this is pure white noise. Even though she needs to be in school on time, it’s really not much of an incentive. Nothing really happens if she is a bit late. School will still be there.
Planes, trains and buses generally won’t. If we are not there on time, they will leave without us.
“Let’s go!” While schools show them how to run track, jump hurdles and lift heavy balls, travel makes them realize they must do it all at once, if they want to win. Chasing whatever is a sport that has serious consequences if they lose and it’s messy. It’s not just running, it’s running over an airport full of people, full of moving items, it’s carrying luggage and pushing strollers and rooting for our each other to keep going…
But sometimes it’s just a sport the two of us play when we are chasing our kids around, trying to keep up.
Schools are important, because they teach many valuable lessons about the world we live. But by traveling and experiencing the world kids truly learn about themselves, about being open and flexible, friendly but smart, about adopting and dealing with problems, about enjoying life to the fullest…
[tweetthis]Schools are important but there are some things only travel can teach kids. Go travel.[/tweetthis]