[This will be the one of several subjects we examined. Look for future posts which will deal with Tech, Science and Math, PE, and more]
Short Synopsis: Smart technology is here to stay. We are all hooked and future generations will be connected to it one way or another. The access to these tools will be a part of every day life for most young kids. As a means to bridge the gap I will take 5 important subjects from school and show how travel combined with these new modern day tools can lead to a positive education and growth for kids and adults alike.
This subject is a no brainer when it comes to travel. History is all around us. If you are looking for older history find the places with the oldest literature. I told you Language Arts and History collide. Learning about historical people, structures, and places is one of the best educations kids could get. History in school usually consists of memorizing dates, wars, and dead presidents. History while traveling transcends time. When you get to step foot into a concentration camp in Germany your heart sinks as the situation floods your mind. You can feel the sadness and pain many Jews went through. I never had that feeling in school reading a textbook.
History in different countries opens our eyes to patterns of society. Wars happen because of such and such, but in hindsight it all seems so crazy. Hopefully that craziness resonates, so that we can prevent repeats. There is also good history that we should study and learn how to follow. Great men all over the world create, invent, and improve human life every day. Visiting some of the places these people lived and worked in gives a perspective from their shoes. I never thought much about architecture until I went to Barcelona and saw Gaudi's masterpieces. He was a symbol of excellence that is worth learning about and following.
History while traveling easily expands into social traditions and cultural identities. Learning about the way other people live is fascinating and eye-opening. We always think everything is the best in America because we are the "dominant" country. However, after eating Gelato in Italy, drinking Gluhwine or beer in Germany, and shopping at the biggest mall I have ever seen in London, I can tell you that there are precious gems in every corner of the world. If you're ever lucky enough to be in a foreign place for some holiday or festival you can really get a glimpse of what makes their lives tick. For example, Christmas in Germany is like going to Santa's workshop for the whole month of December. The Germans love Christmas and everything about it. They celebrate the season for a whole month or more with markets and events.
Whether you are looking for it or not, you will find history lessons when traveling. I guarantee World War I or II will make a lot more sense to your kids if they step foot in the countries that held battle grounds. Soak every bit of it in and take the free lessons life gives us within history.
History books may put you to sleep, but now there are some great tools out there to spice up a dense subject like History.
1.) Podcasts- This is basically the new book on tape. Just like you could download stuff for languages, you can download great history lessons. I would have never picked up a book on the history of the Khans, but an awesome series called Hardcore History held my attention for 4 hours of a road trip. There is something for everyone; search the podcast world and you shall find!
2.) Digital camera- Cameras these days are cheap! Let your kid take pictures of history, so they can remember standing on the Great Wall of China as their teacher reads about it in school. This tool could easily be turned into a fun project for them, and they will love having the control of snapping pictures.
3.) Leap Frog Learning Tablet - This is a kid's electronic gadget that had great potential for learning. Mainly for ages 3-9 this hand-held tablet is a child's iPad that can be loaded up with all kinds of educational games and trivia quizzes. Just looking through some of the applications and games they have out, I think even I would be entertained on a long road trip. It keeps them quiet but keeps them learning.