WorldSchooling & Cross-Curricular Learning – 9 ideas to take your travel adventures further
Travelling is one of the best things that can provide enabling environments. You go and see places, meet people, and experience the whole world of cultural, religious and linguistic diversity. What we have to realise now is that each and every experience can offer a lot of learning!
Your children naturally perceive every single experience as a perfect opportunity to learn something new about the world. You as parents can help squeeze out from these daily adventures even more substance. You can extend the context, talk about it with your kids, point to the things they may not have known, seen or noticed before. You can take your kids’ adventures to a totally different direction. Any direction that feels the most appropriate and inspiring!
When you think “beach” there is a lot more to it than just sandcastles. There is wind, waves, habitats, geography, coastline, rocks, plants, species adaptation, climate, fishing, species protection, environmental issues, tourism, gravitation… and much more. You can take the beach experience even further! This is exactly what we mean by cross-curricular learning on the go!
We’ve been world schooling our son for 13 years and Natural Child-led learning has been the only way we follow! Since our background is assessment in education we find it easy to cross-reference naturally occurring experiences with potential learning including skills, attitudes and multidisciplinary learning. Sometimes, we offer gentle guidance and further contexts that helps our son take his experiences to the next level.
With the following example activities you will be able to offer your children further contexts to explore certain topics on a daily basis no matter whether you are traveling or not.
…history, geography, science, biology, numeracy, literacy, communication, creativity, construction, reasoning, arts & crafts, ecology, technology, safety, culture…
A historic city trip, local museum visit or even a day spent on the beach can inspire you children to pretend they are pirates, medieval knights or princesses, famous kings, scientists etc. They will try to imitate the real world, people they met, use or create objects they saw. This is a perfect opportunity for parents to smuggle some extra knowledge about people, places, events, historical facts, offer some inspiring resources such as clothing, fabrics, tools, construction material your children can use to imitate times, people or situations.
Encouraging your kids to design, plan, construct from variety of materials (wood, stones, pebbles, sticks, plastic blocks, sand, fabrics etc) helps them discover their properties. Your kids may want to build tree houses, hideaways from fabrics or wooden planks, modern vehicles, defense towers, fantasy kingdoms. They can be inspired with pyramids you have all seen, medieval towns, animal nests, bridges that you have crossed, people’s lifestyles and use their observations of the world to integrate them in a play.
Children can use their imagination to write or tell stories filled with facts or fiction, resembling modern times or the past. The stories can be filled with details, events, historical facts, names, people that inspired your children when you were traveling. Children can create dynamic characters for their stories deciding where, when they live, what kind of lifestyle they lead. You may turn this activity into a family story telling where all family members add their own details. Your children will learn more as you gently guide them towards certain solutions, smuggle knowledge or challenge them to solve problems.
4.Arts & Crafts
Children can explore their fascinations through various arts & crafts projects. They may want to imitate what they have seen using specific tools or try new techniques. Such activities may reflect local culture, architecture or natural environment, may help children understand local customs, festivals but also their own emotions. Through arts & crafts children can also explore science by experimenting with substances such as clay, plaster, paint, sand, observe how they change from liquid to solid, how they mix and how they can be affected by sun, air, water etc.
5.Photography& Movie making
By allowing children to take pictures or make movies we help them discover what really fascinates them. They develop more attention to the surrounding world, become more sensitive to individual differences, start notice details about people, places, object. One day they may spot a tiny inscription on the wall of the castle you have just visited, other times it may be a colorful insect or a fisherman who has just caught an octopus. Such memories can later become an excellent source for discussions on lifestyles, history, geography, science, emotions and many more.
Mixing ingredients, putting things together just to see what happens is an excellent way to explore science. Maybe you have just visited a coffee plantation and after coming back to the hotel/apartment your kids want to play for a while with coffee grains smashing them just to see what is inside. Then, they will want to mix it with water, sand or whatever is at hand to check if they change their color. Such free creative experiments offer a meaningful context for learning based on children’s own experiences.
7.Books & Movies
If you have just visited a volcanic area and your kids simply cannot stop talking about it then take them to the local library to borrow some books or movies on the subject. Even if you don’t know the local language books full of colorful pictures may often be enough to learn more about the place you have seen, its history, origin etc. Finding documentaries and watching them together will be an excellent opportunity to gather more information on the topic your kids are interested in. Visiting ancient ruins and then seeing them in a movie makes the whole experience more personal, magical and meaningful.
Check out the series of our cross-curricular travel diaries as seen with the eyes of our children. You may read them together or use them to learn more about natural cross-curricular learning no matter whether you travel, home school or planning to world school. You can grab two of them for FREE and they come with visual educational presentations! They are part of our FREE World Schooling Starter Pack!
Local people are always the best source of information. If you need to know more about the history of the place you are visiting, its traditions, customs, food, animals, culture or language encourage talk to locals. You can do this by visiting small local shops, libraries, exhibitions, participating in local festivities, cooking together etc. Usually locals are happy to share their knowledge and experience. Once on the Greek Islands don’t forget to talk about popular Greek myths and legends! Local people will tell you more than you can expect and your kids will be fascinated to hear the stories the whole world knows mostly from the books from a local storyteller!
9.Music & Movement
Children love expressing themselves through their bodies. Whether it is imitating dance movements they have seen during flamenco show in Spain, pretending to be a skillful martial artists they have admired in Indonesia or moving like a snake they have seen in the rainforest this all helps children understand others and themselves better. There is plenty opportunity for parents to take it further by asking guided questions depending on children’s stage of development such as ” Why do you think snakes don’t need legs to move?” or” Would you like to find out what happened 100 year ago at the temple we visited today”?
If you would like to learn more about linking travel and learning experiences with cross-curricular goals go ahead and download your FREE copy of our Experience & Learn Book and Visual Aid Series for Parents and Educators.
These are our real life stories as they happened and each of them is cross-referenced with learning take aways to help you understand how to do it on your own. It is also likely that you may find yourselves having similar experiences when you travel as a family and would like to turn it in to learning. We’re happy to help!