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!

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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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There Is No Controlling Life: Poetry by Donna Faulds

Last summer, my son and I made our third adventure to Nicaragua.

If I tried to tell you why I keep going back, I don’t know that I could.

It isn’t an easy trip, physically, emotionally, or mentally.

It isn’t a place many people travel as tourists or find their hearts pulling them towards – unless you’ve experienced the magic.

The first time I decided to go, back in 2010, I couldn’t explain the pull. I brought my children and traveled as part of a group of strangers. Everything about the experience was pushing me outside my comfort zone.

And when I came back, my life changed.

I discovered this poem that comes the closest to expressing the visceral pull I felt, and still feel, to travel to Nicaragua. Each trip I’ve wondered if it will be my last time gazing out into the green mountainsides, the final time walking the dusty roads. I wonder if I’ll ever wake under mosquito netting to the sound of roosters, church bells, and fireworks at midnight, or if I’ll ever again taste the sweetness of a freshly picked mango after hiking through a finca.

I know there is no controlling life, but boy, do I hope I find my way back again.

I share these words as a gift of beauty, tenderness, and hope amidst dark times in our world. May you always remember the extraordinary, ordinary moments of every magical day.

 

There is no controlling life.

Try corralling a lightning bolt, containing a tornado.

 

There Is No Controlling Life

Dam a stream and it will create a new channel.

Resist, and the tide will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry you to higher ground.

There Is No Controlling Life

The only safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear, fantasies, failures, and success.

There Is No Controlling Life

When loss rips off the doors of the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice becomes simply bearing the truth.

There Is No Controlling Life

In the choice to let go of your known way of being, the whole world is revealed to your new eyes.

~ Donna Faulds

I found this tender poem on the website, A First Sip.

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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remind us to be brave reflection

Remind Us How To Be Brave: Poetry From Rosemerry Trommer

Remind Us How To Be Brave:

I discovered these beautiful words to remind us how to be brave on A First Sip.  After this week, the uprising in hate group empowerment, the reactions of our president, and the murder of an innocent woman, many of us are struggling with how to be brave. What does it mean to stand up, to use our voice? How do we speak out against the unspeakable? How do we go back to school, to classrooms, next week and use our position to help kids understand and process and learn to love?

I struggle, as do so many, with the answers to these questions. I wrote about my initial reaction to the hate in Charlottesville here. I hope this poetry and my words not only remind us how to be brave but helps us ACT out our bravery.

One of my most often used reminders in my classroom is that stepping out of our comfort zone is where the magic happens. As an introvert, I find this practice exhausting. I know I need to push myself and others forward, to remind myself of the need for solitude, and to gather momentum from taking risks and being adventurous. That’s one reason I travel to Nicaragua, one reason I write, and one reason I think amazing things happen in my classroom.

remind us to be brave church
Ciudad Dario, Nicaragua

But at the end of the day, I’m weary. I’m spent and retreat into solace. I release the demands into the soil of my garden or the sauces simmering on my stove. I walk in meditation, stopping to notice the bloom beside me or the reflection on the water.

remind us to be brave reflection
Lake Tahoe reflection

To remind us how to be brave, we must slip out of the world we know and into the world of quiet contemplation.

remind us to be brave garden quiet
A quiet moment in my garden.

I hope you enjoy this peaceful poem by Rosemerry Trommer – and remember you have all the power you need right inside.

When her voice is weary
it means it is time to listen.

When her armor is heavy,
it means it is time to be soft,

time to slip out of her certainty
and her battle songs,

time to retreat from the lines
she has drawn, time to unknow

the world she thinks she knows
and to find herself in the world

that knows her. She lets the darkness
penetrate her, it caresses

her universal curves. Her quiet
joins her to an infinite quiet—

she is everything, nothing at once.
She relearns how vulnerability

transforms us in ways
ferocity can not.

She is her own fertile seed.
She is her own desert rain.

She’s her own cocoon, her own inner cave.
Sometimes it takes the darkness

to remind us how to be brave.

~ Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Words are the spark that ignites my soul. I am a collector of language in all forms, believing the extraordinary beauty of the written word must be shared.

These monthly posts, inspired by another’s words, are my gifts of beauty and spirit, shared with love.

xoxo, Jennifer

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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small life open hands

I Don’t Want To Live A Small Life: Poetry by Mary Oliver

I don’t want to live a small life.

Open your eyes, open your hands.

small life berry fields
Summer berry picking, near Carmel, CA 2007

 

I have just come from the berry fields,

the sun kissing me with its golden mouth all the way

(open your hands) and the wind-winged clouds
following along thinking perhaps I might
feed them,

but no I carry these heart-shapes only to you.

heart shaped cloud small life

Look how many small
but so sweet and maybe the last gift
I will bring to anyone in this
world of hope and risk, so do

Look at me.

Open your life, open your hands.

~ Mary Oliver

 

small life open hands
Cameron adventuring in Nicaragua, July 2013

This thoughtful poem about taking risks and living life openly by Mary Oliver found its way to me via A First Sip. It brought back memories of berry picking when my kids were little, gazing up at the sky and marveling at the minuteness of our existence when we’ve traveled through the lush and isolated mountains of Nicaragua.

I don’t want to live a ‘small life’ – I want to adventure and step out of my comfort zone. I want to teach my children to open their life, to open their hands, to open their hearts to all life has to offer. That’s one of the reasons I’ve found myself bringing my kids back to Nicaragua every few years – here we can push ourselves outside the small life we live every day – in Nicaragua, we realize that the world has so much beauty and love to offer when we push ourselves to pay attention.

What kind of life do you want to live? Please share your thoughts in the comments, and spend some time today thinking about the small and sweet gifts the world has to offer you.

Words are the spark that ignites my soul. I am a collector of language in all forms, believing the extraordinary beauty of the written word must be shared.

These monthly posts, inspired by another’s words, are my gifts of beauty and spirit, shared with love.

 

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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