With travel, the world is your oyster. And with your children by your side, the world is their oyster, and you are the catalyst leading them to the pearls of the earth. Whatever your reason for traveling, the journey can and should always be a learning experience!
When considering how travel can be educational, it is paramount that a parent understands this unspoken law of Mark Patterson, “The best education you’ll get is traveling. Nothing teaches you more than exploring the world and accumulating experiences.”
Educating the Young Learner During Travel
Travel presents us with so many life lessons. Even if you haven’t laid out specific learning objectives for every moment of your travels, your child is still soaking up the environment to which they are being exposed. Here are some ways to be intentional about your child’s education while you travel.
1. Implement Learning Objectives Into Your Planning
As you are planning your travel itinerary and deciding on activities you will do and the stops you will make, consider the age of your child and what you want them to glean from the trip. For example, if you are traveling to a National Park with a child between the ages of 5 and 13, your child can participate in the National Park Service Junior Ranger program.
Find out what your child is learning in school in order to more effectively combine fun with learning.
2. Let Your Child Help with the Budget
To help your child to establish a sound economic awareness, no matter their age, allow them to help with the creation of a budget for the trip. For elementary-aged children, you can allot a specific amount of money for them to spend on souvenirs, while older children can work with you on a meal plan and grocery budget or on finding the best lodging within a designated price range.
When children take part in the budget-making process, it can also increase their appreciation for the trip and any purchases made along the way. Who knows, you may even notice fewer requests for trinkets in the gift shop when your child has a deeper understanding of the costs associated with the trip.
3. Practice Math Skills
While on the road, there are plenty of opportunities for your child to practice their math skills by counting the number of red cars you pass or adding up the miles traveled. As you browse gift shops, you can ask older children to calculate how much items will cost if they are twenty percent off or how much the tax will be on a given item.
4. Help History Come to Life
Travel is a great time to learn about historical events that took place in the towns through which you are traveling. Ask questions such as:
- What happened here?
- What historical significance does this place have?
- Is there a famous historical figure from here? What did that person contribute to the world?
- Did any battles or wars take place here?
Many times, children will learn facts during their travels their textbooks may not have offered. When a teacher mentions a place a student has already visited, the teaching may be more meaningful, and the child will likely retain the information long-term.
5. Research Your Destination Beforehand
Consider having your child research your destination before your trip begins. They can learn about the history of the area, the typical weather in the region, significant sites or tourist spots, the dining options, and whether there is a dish or type of food for which the area is known.
If you are traveling abroad, have your child study the culture, language, currency, transportation system, and other information that may be beneficial while you are exploring a new place.
6. On the Road
If your child is learning to read, have them sound out road signs or play the Alphabet Game and see who can be the first to find every letter in the alphabet among the road signs and license plates. If your child is already a reader and getting close to driving age, have them look at traffic signs and discuss what they represent. It’s never too early to teach safety on the road.
If high school graduation is around the corner, and you're on a lonely highway with nothing but unlimited data, have your teen research the colleges and universities in the area.
Ignite Learning Academy Makes Education While Traveling Simple
Even without much effort, travel is an excellent opportunity for impactful learning. Ignite Learning Academy (ILA) is a fully accredited online independent private school for students in grades PK-12. For families who want to continue traveling throughout the school year, ILA allows for a flexible schedule and continuity of education from anywhere.
For more information about Ignite Learning Academy or to partner with us in order to ignite a passion for learning within your child, contact us today!