Everyone stresses on the importance of formal education for children. Getting a child into a good school is a big deal. Holidays and events are planned around the school’s schedules lest the child misses out on learning if school is missed. But doesn’t a child learn otherwise as well? It may not be structured as in a classroom, there may be no teacher, but who needs books or a tutor when our world is a classroom?
I recently realised this myself! Our family flew to the breathtakingly beautiful atolls of Maldives for a holiday. My son’s curious mind posed queries about marine animals and everyday life on these remote islands. To fuel his curiosity, I began researching for answers to his questions. Only then did it hit me how I was teaching him 5 subjects, much like how his regular school day consists of 5 classes!
Learning during travel is so enriching. So to resonate my ethos of 'how much kids learn during travel' and to exemplify a mum as the best teacher, I wanted to showcase how a typical day during vacation is almost like a school day.
Learning Geography: After we boarded our flight, my son and I conventionally pulled out the airline magazine and towards the end, we stumbled upon a map. I showed him the exact location of Mumbai and where in the Indian Ocean was Maldives located. He learnt about the capital city Male and saw what the country flag looks like. We also discussed nearest cities such as Colombo, Lakshwadeep and Kanyakumari. How’s that for geography class?
Number play with Maths: My son wanted to know how long we would take to reach Maldives and what the duration of the flight was. There were many numbers and concepts thrown at him such as 2 hour layover between flights, 20 minutes sea-plane transfer and the time difference of 30 minutes between India and Maldives.
Later during the holiday when we were at a cooking session with his friends, my son flaunted his newly acquired subtracting skills saying that as we had five cakes but since two kids didn't turn up, we get to decorate only three!
Language Power: During the holiday, my son picked up many new words such as archipelago, lagoon and reef among others. He will now be able to use them in future with ease.The new words brought about a confidence in him to ask anyone the meaning of many new words he comes across, even if it was something as simple as, 'famished'.
Science: There were so many science lessons along the trip right from the biology of the whale sharks with their anatomy and size, to how the sea- plane evolved as an alternate mode of transport. The reason why a snorkel mask could make one see inside water and the physics behind how the fly-boarding works. Phew!
He got a chance to observe the coffee manufacturing process from roasting to filtration. Industrial science to moral science, he had lessons in them all!
Art: We had a big doodle maker perched in our room throughout the trip. My son loved to draw what he saw everyday throughout our holiday right from fish to corals to clouds. Additionally, he had to tie a wish on the Tree of Wishes and since he couldn't write his wish he decided to draw a rocket to indicate he wished to be an astronaut.
My son learnt so much in one holiday. Doesn’t every child get such a learning opportunity on travel? Not only him, but I too have learnt new things myself by way of the research I had to do to feed his curiosity!
Looking forward to exploring together!
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