world travel

World Travel: The Ultimate Learning Experience For Kids

world travelParents know that learning does not start and end in the classroom. Raising your kids with an awareness of the world around them, its many different cultures and the wondrous variety architecture, art, society, religion and of course foods outside of their comfort zone is a hugely important learning experience. World travel is not just a fun adventure, it’s an integral part of raising a child to be an enlightened adult. The rise in digital technology has enabled kids to get a tiny snapshot of life in other countries from the comfort of their home but there’s nothing more formative than immersing one’s self in a completely different culture.

world travel

Yes, I know, I’m a teacher and also advocating for taking kids out of school for travel. While a vacation is useful in gaining an understanding of different cultures there’s really no substitute for living among them for a few weeks or even months; some parents take their kids out of school for a short time to live and work abroad. I’m continually impressed with the students I meet who are brought to our town by parents studying at the university, or relocating in search of better life opportunities. If world travel or moving abroad is something that you’re considering there are some key considerations:

The benefits for kids

All kids have a combination of different learning styles and total immersion into a foreign culture can appeal to them on a visual, audial and kinesthetic level. What better learning experience is there than being surrounded by different styles of architecture, new languages and a whole new range of foods? I love watching my kids take chances on new foods and living situations!

world travel

Many parents use their kids’ summer break as an opportunity to undergo this travel experience but if you’re taking your kids out of school, you’ll need to find appropriate activities to supplement their learning. Finding galleries and museums through which they can absorb some local culture and history is always a good idea; learning to converse with locals in their own language is not only a great way to get kids to learn by doing, it is hugely appreciated. 

Keep your home safe without compromising your finances

Cost is a prohibitive factor for many parents when it comes to taking their kids overseas, but don’t let it put you off. This family of four managed it on just $130 a day. However, nobody wants to compromise their travels by worrying about how the mortgage is going to get paid. Many families rent out their home to a tenant and keep their stuff in storage while they’re away. Getting in touch with a local company like MyBekins local moving services will help to make the arrangement less stressful. Most companies will even come and collect your stuff, too! Of course, it’s important to ensure that a secure lease agreement is established between yourself and your new tenant for everyone’s protection.

Plan around your kids

world travel

Since world travel requires you to take your kids away from their school and social circle for months you owe it to them to tailor the experience to their particular needs. Your choice of locations should be age appropriate for your kids and allow them to engage with the culture with confidence and in safety. Given how negatively developing minds can react to change you can mitigate this effect by selecting countries that your kids have an interest in. It is surprising to me when my students share that they had absolutely no participation in (or knowledge of) their travels- planning the trip is such an important part of the experience!

WIth proper planning and consideration, not only will your kids learn a great deal from world travel, you’ll become closer as a family for the experience. It’s a win-win!

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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True Beauty

“Now we make you ugly, my mother said. She whistled. Her mouth was so close she sprayed my neck with her whistle-spit. I could smell beer. In the mirror I watched her move the piece of charcoal across my face. It’s a nasty life, she whispered.”

~ from Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement

What is the definition of true beauty? I’ve often written about beauty; the beauty found in nature, the beauty of motherhood, and the beauty of simplicity populate this blog on a regular basis. I find my soul searching for beauty in the everyday moments of life, my heart clinging to those images that I fear will be simply flashes in an overly full life. Beauty, in my world, is found in the landscapes that surround me, the spirit of my children, and the thought that right now, this moment, is everything it needs to be.

But after reading Prayers for the Stolen, the opening quote above has lingered in my mind. What does true, human beauty look like, and how does it influence how we see the world, and how we interpret the moments of our lives?

Mary Wollstonecraft believed that “Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman’s scepter, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.” Does physical beauty hinder a woman’s ability to be seen as an entity onto herself, trapping her in some sort of self-imposed prison? Our media would certainly have us believe the contrary; daily we are barraged by messages of power and strength born through a beautiful exterior, with intelligence and inner fortitude taking second place to air brushed images of ‘real women’ on our social media feeds.

A few years ago I wrote about Iran’s banning of the Barbie doll, and in some ways, I agreed with their attempts to squelch the stereotypical image of westernized beauty – in my own home, I had experienced a similar ‘banning’ of Barbie for my own daughter. Although not a fan of censorship in any form, their alternative to Barbie did seem more physically realistic. As a mother, I’ve attempted to create a home where strong, healthy bodies are honored and valued over what type of clothing or make up we adorn those bodies with. I’ve hoped that these words for my own daughter echo those of Eckhart Tolle when he reminds us that ‘If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” I want my daughter to harness the power of her inner beauty,blooming into a woman who is seen first as a beautiful human from the inside out.

I hold onto the hope that together, we can teach our girls that physical beauty is not the end goal of womanhood, and also that physical beauty doesn’t have to hinder us or force us into fallacious roles adopted out of some perceived societal expectations. I hope that our daughters will learn that true beauty burns from within, that beauty is no indicator of intelligence, and to truly grow into woman hood, as Mary Wollstonecraft reminds us, “[I]f we revert to history, we shall find that the women who have distinguished themselves have neither been the most beautiful nor the most gentle of their sex.” Beauty, in my world, has no bearing on success, happiness or an ability to chase our dreams. True beauty, in my world, comes from the inside out or the outside in. It really doesn’t matter how we get there, as long as we eventually find it.

This post was inspired by the novel Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement.  Ladydi was grew up in rural Mexico, where being a girl is a dangerous thing.She and other girls were “made ugly” to keep protect them from drug traffickers and criminal groups. Join From Left to Write on February 18 we discuss Prayers for the Stolen. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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