Stealing holidays is a bit of a habit. I don’t mean holidays where we go stealing, I mean holidays where we relied on our dear friends and relatives for accommodation so we could go away regularly whilst we were home educating. Although more than holiday, it was an opportunity to extend the kids education by varying their experiences and learning venue.
That’s what so crazy about schools penalising parents for taking their children away during term time; travelling is such an educative experience it beats most of the mundane stuff that goes on in a classroom. And the fact that the schools – and politicians who make the rules – get so het up about it leads me to believe that there is more of a commercial/political/control interest on their part to keep kids bums on seats than interest in the personal development of the young.
Travel broadens the mind and has enormous educational benefit. For example, here’s some educational topics children experience when you go away; location diversity, map reading, orientation, geographical comparisons, distances, habitats, languages/dialect, local biology/natural history, inspiration and stimulus for creativity, museum and gallery visits or sites of specific interest, architecture, local industry and how/why it evolved, population, transport…the list goes on.
I’m not suggesting you turn a holiday into an educational slog. Please; no writing holiday diaries or anything like that (unless they want to, of course). All you have to do is wander about and talk. Observe, notice, analyse, pose questions, discuss. This gets the kids thinking and into the habit of doing that wherever they go. Thinking is the foundation of all other learning, academics included. Travel, even short distances, gives you lots of new things to look at, think and talk about, it’s fuel for the mind. Get the mind working and learning inevitably follows. Throw in new physical activities and skills like erecting the tent, packing cases, swimming, rock climbing, exploring, building sand sculptures or any other activity (away from the telly!) you sometimes do on holiday and it increases the brain’s development too. But relax and enjoy it. Kids learn more with relaxed parents than with pushy ones.
Then when you get back, you parents will need to have a rest! For me this time, I’m going without that home educational agenda I always took with me. But I’m not saying we won’t be learning anything. With life, you just can’t help it.