Many parents debated on whether or not they should be taking kids out of school to travel. This has been a hot topic in many school systems and cities around the world lately. What I am learning about is that other school systems in the world have very strict guidelines and rules about taking your children out of school for travel. Some of the penalties include fines, detentions and some going as far as expulsion if the child misses so many days of school. Do you take your kids out of school to travel?
We often take our kids out of school to travel and where we live in Canada we don’t have any fines, detentions or expulsions, but the “unwritten rule” that your child should not miss school for vacations or travel. What our school tries to convey is that we should try to arrange our family vacations around the school calendar. If our child misses school, they will need to catch up (which I am fine with).
What I do not understand is how the schools are not advocating for children to travel and encourage their learnings. Do they need a few reasons? If so, this is why I think the world is the best education my child can ever have.
- Learn about something by visiting it, seeing it with your own eyes versus reading it in the textbook. It will stay with the child and be more memorable than just reading it in a textbook. Try this on for size, ask you kids what the most memorable day at school was last year… chances are it was a field or day trip that they thought was the most memorable and/or made a lasting impression on them.
- Acceptance and understanding of people and their differences. Without dipping our children into other cultural spaces, kids will not truly understand how to act, react or be around people who are different. The first step to accepting other differences is to understand them.
- Everything you do travelling can incorporate traditional learning.
Reading: Try having your kids read the travel brochures, information, menus, etc.
Math: Have your kids handle small amounts of money to learn about currencies, exchange rates and math skills. Identify the different amounts and ask what is different than their home currency.
Social: Have your child plan an activity on your trip; such as visiting a museum or surf lessons. Where they plan everything from start to finish; a school project type activity.
Writing: Have your child make notes or observations on what they did that day. For younger kids, you may want to have queued up questions OR have them draw what they did that day.
Language: Get your child immersed in the language with basic conversations skills and have them utilize the language while on your travels. People LOVE when kids try to speak the languages and focus their attention on helping kids.
Culinary: Have your child make observations about food, what is typical and traditions for other cultures and what may be similar and different. Our kids have to try everything at least once and give it a try, expect maybe the extremely spicy foods.
Art/Photography: Have your kids take photos/videos of what “they see” and get their perspective on what they saw. It will be very different from yours!
Religion: Investigate into the different types and most common types of religions. Visit temples, churches, etc to learn about different types of religions around the world.
The bottom line is, there are so many opportunities for children to learn so much while travelling that I have a very difficult time understanding how school systems don’t feel the overall benefits and longterm education for a child outweighs the missed classroom days in a traditional school system.
Let children learn from as many people, places and environments to enable their education to be enriched with diversity. Let children be enlightened by the vast amounts of information that can be shared around the world with them. If you are not exposing your children to these types of learning opportunities this will hinder their abilities to learn in different ways.
What do you think?
Have you ever taken your child out of school to travel?
How do you deal with your school system if they have hard rules about your child missing class for travel?