School is almost out, but that doesn’t mean that your kids have to stop learning. Today I’m giving you an excuse to hit the road or board the plane: it’s for your kids’ education.
It’s a well-known fact that traveling equals learning. Anytime you travel with your kids, you’re giving them experiences that will help them better understand the world they live in. Are you planning on taking a family vacation this summer? Then, you’re already guaranteed to give your kids a bit of summer education. But there are some of you that are overachievers and will want to know how to squeeze as much learning into your vacations as humanly possible. Don’t worry, I’m here to help. Here are some ideas on how you (I’m talking to the mommies in the front row taking notes) can make education the focus of your vacations.
- Get acquainted with what your child will be studying in her next few years of school. You can consult with your child’s teacher, your educational parenting books, or you can Google it. For example, if you’re a California parent just type in these search words: California content standards. This will lead you to the California Education Department website page listing all the different subject standards for kindergarten through 12th grade. Don’t be alarmed by the sheer wordiness of these documents, you can easily interpret their meaning. Just don’t read them too late at night, I can’t guarantee they won’t put you to sleep. Pay particular attention to the social studies and science standards, these are naturally the easiest subjects to learn while on a vacation.
- Pick at least one standard that your child will find interesting and will be learning about the next school year. So if you child digs all things dinosaurs, you can work on second grade earth science standard 3d: “Students know that fossils provide evidence about the plants and animals that lived long ago and that scientists learn about the past history of Earth by studying fossils”. He doesn’t have to know that you’re secretly teaching him something so wordy, all he has to know is that fossils are real and not some figment of his teacher’s imagination. Last summer I purposely planned a stop at the La Brea tar pits while we on our southern California vacation because I knew that my son would study all about fossils in second grade. I’m sneaky like that.
- Make it seem effortless. The trick for making education the focus of a trip, is to make it fun. If your kids hate museums, don’t force them to march through historical exhibits. Maybe, they’ll be more excited about finding the constellations-while gazing at the sky with bellies full of s’mores-on your next camping trip.
Just remember that summer is supposed to be more about relaxing than completing tasks. There will be plenty of homework to do come fall.