Family travel can be many things: a vacation, an obligation to see relatives, a business trip with a pleasure component, and an education for all involved. Since how we learn- and what we learn – is so individual, TravelingMom.com asked moms their feelings about educational travel.
Clearly, parents have widely divergent thoughts about what qualifies as educational travel:
How do you define educational travel?
@CulturaCercana Finding the right local people in every place, the ones with knowledge
@NomadicKids: With 3 young kids, I think every trip out of the house is educational. I answer 500 questions/day.
@sethandshannon1 any travel that has some educational benefit from history to zoos or aquariums
What kind of travel is the most educational?
@CruiseBuzz Money no object? Then Adventures by Disney tops my list for family travel with heavy learning.
@CindyRichards I love living history museums where costumed interpreters shows kids (and parents) how life used to be.
@AskMoxie “Most” depends on the kid! An experience that they can relate to, instead of just facts washing over them
@momontherise Depends on why and what you want to learn. I like to see people and worlds as they really are! No Club Meds for me.
Do you hide broccoli under the macaroni and cheese and hope your kids won’t notice? Do you sneak in a trip to an art museum when you promised a water park?
Do you tell your kids the travel is educational? Why or why not?
@sethandshannon1 I don’t think at 5 he cares if it’s educational as long as it’s fun for him. He can learn and have fun
@asmithonline I don’t, I think learning happens most when the kids don’t feel pressured
@justineickes No, I don’t call travel “educational”. I try 2 b aware of teachable moments like visit Lincoln Memorial + talk about civil rights
Trips to visit grandparents are popular educational trips, since kids get to learn about life long ago – and their parent’s childhood. Some families go further afield.
What’s the most educational trip you’ve taken?
@CascadiaKids: we went to Italy last year. My 10 yo absorbed so much history. My 4 yo absorbed gelato.
@greenwooddavis Took the kids to Peru and their interactions with local kids were an educational experience for us parents as well as the kids.
How can you make a fun trip educational as well?
@culturemomblog we keep a journal and send postcards to family members – they write or dictate
@primetimeparent point out different plants, people, food, and accents of people
Does travel NEED to be educational? Why or why not?
@dkferm I don’t think travel needs to be especially educational. Although, I think it is by default!
@FrancescaMaz Almost impossible for travel NOT to be educational. Always something new to learn/discover!
@justineickes No, travel should be fun too. Important 2 go easy on the learning. Don’t force it. Just let it happen sometimes.
Most parents agreed that taking kids out of school gets harder as the kids get older, so get those school time educational trips in while they are young. And consider what @stressfreebaby wrote: ‘that’s the bad part about teenagers–sometimes they are too cool for edu travel’
Would you take your kids out of school to travel? Why or why not?
@momontherise School is only 180 days for the most part. There are many other days to plan travel.
@FrancescaMaz Yes my parents took us out of school to travel & we turned out just fine! I’m also a certified teacher; I can get DD caught up
@culturemomblog we have taken them out of school many times – so far, it’s easy, they’re very young
You may have planned the trip, gotten the time off work, but forgotten to clear the date with school, which may not look kindly on you taking your child out of school.
If the teacher said no, would you take them anyway?
@greenwooddavis Yes. And then probably switch schools on return. J
@loving5kids: I home school for that reason – trips with hands on experience!
@CascadiaKids I would work out a compromise, somehow. Different dates, “educational” diary, whatever. I don’t need trouble!
What do you tell their teachers about why kids are absent?
@culturemomblog: told the principal before we left – she said “i didn’t hear anything” – as in, go, don’t ask me
@CindyRichards: I have never lied–I honestly believe travel is educational, good for kids, good for families.
@travelingmoms I stepped up with the truth for travel but have stretched the illness truth when my kid needed a wellness day.
Do you like educational travel as an adult?
@suerodman My rising 5th grader is starting to see places and things we’ve visited in his school bks. It makes it so much more meaningful
@loving5kids I never want to be an old dog who can’t learn new tricks! 🙂 I’m always on the hunt for new adventures!
@travelingmoms I WANT to like museums but I’m secretly as bad as my kids – I need promise of ice cream at the end.