Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What my child learned on vacation

It's our goal in general (but especially moving from the amazing school district we were in to a state who is 49th out of 50th for education) to supplement our children's education at home. I think that my children learn as much (or more) when they travel as they do in a week of school so even though it goes against the teacher in me, I am learning to be OK with pulling my children out of school once in a while to travel (note: if they get to a point where they are struggling in school I wouldn't do this, but while they're young and able to excel in school despite being absent, I've learned to be OK with it). My husband has no qualms with this but I still struggle. So to justify myself this is what I came up with:

ELA: Reading - signs, brochures, books to his sister, teaching Ella how to read (this is awesome, he's trying to teach her simple signs out in public like EXIT and STOP by showing her how to sound them out, etc.), reading about animals in the zoo, asking us questions about words he sees (this happened a lot this week) and trying to sound out strange looking streets and cities.

Writing - Making lists of things he wants to do, writing down a bit about our trip to keep with pictures as a keepsake

Math - Budgeting - our child saved money for the past couple of months and he spent time counting it, thinking about how he wanted to spend it, checked prices to see if he could afford it and if it was worth the price, came home with almost half of what he brought which showed some good choices.
Time - worked on telling time in general, talked about how long until we'd be places.
Fractions - dividing treats up between 2, 4, or 6 people.
Basic addition and subtraction is something we have him do pretty much all the time in daily life. He even did some multiplication (plus he's done a lot of math with the board games - and while he was home with strep right after our trip we had a lot of fun playing Monopoly and Dominos).

Science - Learning about weather in different places - seeing how the mountains we were driving through affected the weather, climate, and landscape of the area. Of course the zoo taught him a lot about natural habitats, he read about eating habits, he LOVES to learn at zoos and museums, he eats up all the info that is posted and will stop to read every sign he sees!

Geography - Map skills - my boy loves maps and he is getting very good at reading them. He figured out where we were going sometimes by himself, other times with help, but I can see how much better he's doing with this over time.

Culture - Going to a different state and comparing and contrasting it with both AZ and the North East. Seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time (and running in the FREEZING cold water - but both kids loved it).

PE - My father-in-law wore a pedometer and measured the steps we took each day. Pretty much each day (other than driving days) we walked at least 20,000 steps. Plus, if you've ever been to the San Diego Z00, you know that MAJOR hills were a part of this trip. We also climbed down and up a cliff overlooking the ocean, and he's just a boy who loves to run, jump, dance, and play! :)

Music - There was actually a lot of live music at Downtown Disney. Plus he loves to sing and play around with music some when it's just silly.

Art - it doesn't take any work to ask my child to be artistic. He drew pictures, created his own maps, colored Christmas pages, studied how people created things out of Legos, created some cool things out of these glow stick connector things (pretty sure he's going to be an engineer when he grows up - figuring out how to make things work right is his passion) and just had fun in any artistic way presented to him.

We also got brochures in German because even though we're not great at keeping his German up he's still fascinated by it and we're trying to nurture that. Plus I got some in Korean so I can practice reading the Korean (even though I don't know what I'm reading...). ;)

Just a portion of the things we did on vacation and I know that this enriches his learning a lot, even though I still feel a bit guilty about taking him out. :)


  1. Good stuff here! Don't feel bad about him missing school. The lessons learned on vacation will likely stick with him longer than whatever he missed in school. (And it was surely much more fun!)

  2. I traveled a lot as a kid and learned far more while traveling than I did in a classroom. One of my brothers and I were called liars on more than one occasion by a teacher because they didn't believe that some of things we experienced even existed (like the 1000 islands!).