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Travel is one of the most powerful ways to teach our children. There is a big difference between reading about it and being there. Our family has been very blessed to travel to many places together. Whether it is a mission trip to Mexico or Costa Rica or a family reunion to the Caribbean (thanks grandma and grandpa!), we have had rich learning experiences and unforgettable memories!
Below are Hal & Melanie Young's, thoughts on the value of family travel. RaisingRealMen.com
“It’s sad the way parents do school projects for their children,” said the grandfather at the history fair. “There’s no way that little boy did that for himself.”
“Why don’t you ask him?” said the mother nearby.
“Why, I think I will!” said the older man, who strode up to quiz the five-year-old.
A few minutes later, he walked back, amazed. “He answered every question and told me all about it,” he said. “I guess he really did do it himself!”
And Melanie smiled quietly to herself . . . because our five-year-old son had just come back from a family trip to Virginia, and he hadn’t just heard about the Battle of Manassas—he’d walked on the battlefield and imagined himself as a young soldier on that very hilltop. He’ll never forget that part of American history!
There is a special power in the impression you get from actually “being there.” Travel is such a powerful way to teach our children about history, geography, culture, and natural science, and it brings to life so many details of biography and literature; it’s worth the trouble and expense to bring the kids along—even on a business trip!
How can you make the most of even a short trip? Here’s what we’ve learned:
Look ahead – Research where you’re going. Even small towns often have interesting historic sites, local museums, and other opportunities. And don’t overlook the overlooks, either—sometimes the scenery along the road is significant. We were driving through southern Wyoming when Hal suddenly pulled off the highway. “Look out there, children,” Hal said. “This is just what Lewis and Clark saw when they came through here—there’s nothing in sight more recent than 1800!”
Check your memberships – Often museums, zoos, and parks have arrangements with other attractions. National Parks, for instance, have memberships which apply to the entire national system. Members of your small municipal zoo may have discounts at world-class zoos and aquariums around the country. And, of course, auto clubs like AAA and Good Sam often have perks for members.
Embrace the impulse! – We were driving along a secondary highway in Ohio when a small brown sign announced, “Indian Petroglyphs.” In one voice, we shouted, “Field trip!” and made a totally unscheduled left turn. We were rewarded with a close-up look at ancient inscriptions and artwork, free to visit, and completely uncrowded. Historic markers and points of interest abound, and smart phones make it easy to get the backstory quickly.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says that God’s people should talk of His commands “when you walk by the way,” as well as at home. There is a world full of lessons to learn along the highways and byways, and it’s great to have your family there learning with you!
Yours Along The Way,
Hal and Melanie
We’ve found that travel with your family can be surprisingly affordable, if you have the mindset and know a few tricks. Click over to our website for a free download of our tips on Cheap Family Travel!
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