When summertime rolls around, it’s likely that you, along with 82% of Americans, have summer travel plans! Usually, summer travel includes relaxing in the sun or eating diverse foods; and for students, it distinctly means no school. However, now more than ever, students are academically behind and mentally exhausted, pulling into question the importance of traveling and taking an academic break.
In the post-pandemic era, students continue to suffer from the consequences of learning disruptions and mental health issues. As parents or caretakers, you may be wondering what to prioritize this coming summer; extra academic support to catch up or time to relax and play?
The good news? You don’t need to choose! In fact, you shouldn’t. Fun and engaging learning isn’t a luxury. Students need to balance the progression of their academic skills with play and fun in order to develop their lifelong love for learning. The best thing about travel is that it is the best real-life example of experiential learning!
What is experiential learning?
Simply put, experiential learning is an approach to learning that involves immersing students in carefully chosen direct experiences that are then supported by reflection and critical analysis.
The benefits of experiential learning are endless! Students get to participate in meaningful real-life experiences that involve active engagement such as asking questions, investigating, experimenting, solving problems, and being creative and curious.
When it comes to experiential learning, there is perhaps no greater opportunity than summer travel! Traveling is one of the best forms of education for your kids. It allows your kids to expand their knowledge outside of the classroom into real-world experiences. Here are our suggestions for how to encourage summer learning while traveling. All it takes is a little creative planning and a destination!
The English language is the most widely spoken language globally. Being able to travel with family allows you to expose your children to other languages and encourage them to learn new words and phrases from different languages. You can also find audiobooks, videos, and apps to help your child learn a new language and put it to practice in real life!
Learning About History
Your child has studied about this great moment in history in their books, so how cool is it to bring them to an actual place they’ve seen? Very cool if you ask us! History books can only give a taste of what a historical site is like and experiences provide a whole different perspective on how certain people may have lived. Level up the summer learning experience by having your child reflect on their experience of seeing historic sites outside of the classroom!
Practice Writing Skills: Use a Daily Travel Journal
Writing is one of the most effective tools for channelling children’s creative energy into something productive and meaningful. One of the best ways to encourage this while traveling is to keep a journal. Write about your daily meals, your setting, or how you got lost trying to navigate a new trail. Look up prompts to get you started and try writing in a creative way such as through poetry or comic strips. With a little creative thought, you can inject fun into even the most practical of writing activities.
You might even discover that your children experience reality in a completely different way. Maybe they saw or heard something that you didn’t. Journaling is one of the most powerful summer learning experiences, as it encourages both introspection and creativity!
Listen to Educational Podcasts
As digital learning increases, many people are turning to podcasts as a fun and educational way to keep kids engaged without using a screen. Nowadays there really are podcasts for everyone! From mindfulness to science, history, politics, and music, there really is something to feed every educational appetite. For kids, the most beneficial podcasts should spark imagination, teach new ideas, or make them laugh!
Some of our recommended kid-friendly podcasts are: But Why?, KiDNuZ, WOW in the World, Noodle Loaf, and Peace Out. For teens and young adults, we recommend: Stuff You Should Know and 99% Invisible.
Engage in Local Activities
For those traveling and staying in a specific location, local classes and tours are great ways for students to experience another culture while simultaneously learning. Classes such as painting, cooking, language, and snorkeling are just some of the exciting options for your student to test out. With tours, whether they be guided or self-planned tours, students can dive into topics of geography, history, religion, or music.
Visit a museum or Cathedral, or even take in a local concert! Or, embrace the science of everyday life by watching a sunset or classifying any animals you run into.
Your Child Will Have Compassion For Others
When you travel to other areas around the world, your child is exposed to the way in which others live their lives compared to their own. This deep immersion helps develop your child’s understanding that despite cultural differences, we are all living people on this earth. Traveling can be your child’s best teacher about the world and what it has to offer!
Summer Learning Program with Novel Education Group
If you’re looking for something more structured, with learning outcomes and assessments, try a Novel Education service. What makes our learning experiences so special is that we incorporate place-based educational learning. What does this mean? It means students can learn about and experience the world around them through structured lessons and experiential learning. Not only does this establish a sense of place where they travel, making their location more meaningful, but it also allows students to put learning in context and see how it is a universal experience beyond the confines of the classroom. This is achieved through personalized curriculum, expert teachers, and your student, whose passions and interests impact the execution of daily lessons.
Learning happens every day and it doesn’t have to come from teachers, textbooks, or tests. That being said, it also doesn’t just happen by chance. There are several opportunities for learning while traveling, parents just need to take a proactive role in seeking them out because having an educational experience outside of the classroom is invaluable! Traveling to learn or learning that is relevant to your travels makes education a natural, exciting, and explorative part of your child’s life. No matter how you choose to learn this summer, make sure it’s enjoyable!