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Earlier this week my daughter and I took a very quick trip to Boston in order to join my extended family for a portion of their longer trip in the area. We seriously couldn’t have asked for a better trip to Boston, and even though our time there was very short at only 36 hours, we managed to see and do a lot, which of course only left me wanting to go back and do more.
A post about heading out on our trip drew a fair number of comments about the merits and drawbacks of missing a few days of school each year for trips. As a four-year-old, my daughter is still just in a private Pre-K, so the drawbacks of missed days are minimal (though we did still have two days worth of assignments to do), but it is an interesting topic to consider as she gets older.
The best advice is to take all the trips you can outside of school days to avoid absence related issues as much as possible, but this post isn’t about missing school, as much as it is about the learning that happens on trips.
Not every child has the opportunity to not only read about Paul Revere, but also walk through his house, go to the Old North Church where the lanterns were hung, and get a real feel for that turning point in our country’s history. If your child, like mine, does have that ability, they are so lucky (as are you), because some magic can happen when the world of classroom learning meets hands-on learning.
My daughter at four is learning to read and write. She has historically had a bit more interest in “doing” rather than seeing or reading. Her interest in books and reading has been increasing, but sitting still and reading or practicing writing hasn’t always been the highest ranked activity on her list. Prior to our trip to Boston she had heard of Paul Revere, but during and after the trip she was so taken with the whole story that she wrote her own book about our trip to Boston.
This wasn’t something we asked her to do, or really even helped with at all. While I was unpacking our clothes and cleaning up the day we got home from our trip she kept asking me how to spell certain words, which I did without thinking about it. I knew she was drawing in a notebook, but I didn’t know what she was doing, and honestly at the time I didn’t really care as long as she was safely occupied as I had to get us unpacked and re-organized for the week.
A while later she asked if we could read the book she wrote together. I sat down to “read” her book with no expectations, and ended the story almost speechless.
She had retold the highlights (to her) of our day in Boston complete with pictures and words. She could have done this any other day about any other event, but she picked our day in Boston. This was important enough to her to sit and write down.
She drew Boston Common and wrote “tree”, well technically it was more like “traaee”, but close enough.
She drew Paul Revere’s house, including the fire place that she stood in (and got in trouble for) and wrote “house”.
She drew the Old North Church and told me “The British are coming”, as she read that page. The book was filled with our entire day, and she loved reading the adventure back to me. Personally, the lobster rolls and chowder would have made my “highlight reel” of Boston, but this was her story, and it was a good one. It was one she wanted to remember, and one that I bet she will remember.
Learning in the classroom is invaluable.
So is learning by experiencing the world for yourself.
I’d love to hear about the role that travel has played in your child’s learning experience!