View Full Version : Weekly Poll: Do you try to make your family vacations educational?

06-24-2010, 12:33 PM
When our boys were in the elementary years, I'll admit that I felt the need to schedule at least SOME educational tours or activities when we were vacationing. Now that they are in their teen years, we have plenty of vacations where we just "chill" (although, having a learning-all-the-time mentality, there are definitely still opportunities for growth in our downtime!)

What about you...what do you think about when you plan your family's vacation destinations??

06-24-2010, 12:36 PM
No multiple choice poll this time?

In answer, I've never much worried about making vacations educational in the past...I figured that school was for education and vacation was for relaxation, but now that I'm homeschooling, all aspects of life have become relevant to education and we are planning some trips with a lot of historical educational value this summer.

06-24-2010, 12:37 PM
No multiple choice poll this time?

In answer, I've never much worried about making vacations educational in the past...I figured that school was for education and vacation was for relaxation, but now that I'm homeschooling, all aspects of life have become relevant to education and we are planning some trips with a lot of historical educational value this summer.

You were just too quick, Shoe!! Still trying to publish when you piped in!!! ;)

06-24-2010, 12:41 PM
You were just too quick, Shoe!! Still trying to publish when you piped in!!! ;)

Well, I've got to be quick, to get those 700 posts (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/threads/851-Out-of-town-for-a-few-days?p=7878#post7878) that I need to catch up to Nathalie this week ;) ...just kidding-you called it right when you named her "untouchable".

06-24-2010, 01:06 PM
I chose option 3 as the closest, but in reality learning always occurs on every vacation (even before we had Kiddo) because DH and I are big ole geeks and take educational tours and visit historical sites and talk to park rangers and consult nature guides etc. anyway.

06-24-2010, 01:06 PM
We don't set out to make any trip educational but it's often hard not to. We have the advantage of being stationed in great places all over the world and we would be terrible world citizens to just ignore what's at or feet. When we lived in Spain we learned so much about the Spanish culture, the Moorish influence. We went to Tangier for a day and learned (though not much, bad tour) a bit about the history of the area. We stopped for a few nights in Italy and took in Pisa and Florence, the Tower and David. (Upon seeing David, my DD mentioned that he had a butt crack. You never see that in pictures. Never thought to look for that.) Living in Germany we have seen some wonderful castles and have learned some about them. My DH and the kids went to the Maginot Line and saw history firsthand. We went to Paris and had the pleasure of seeing Venus and Mona at the Louvre (Mona's disappointing). And plenty of other sights that we just learn about in books. My kids are great travelers and really enjoy learning about things. they have so many questions that we refuse to leave unanswered. They were, unfortunately, too young to remember Guam and Australia. I guess we'll have to go back!

Even when we are in the states we end up learning a lot. Even a week at Disney can lead to learning. But we don't usually set out to learn anything specific. That may change when we live there again and as we continue the homeschool journey.

06-24-2010, 01:14 PM
I never plan our vacations based on the educational value of them....but I always look for the educational value in them for our portfolios!

06-24-2010, 01:28 PM
I put the third choice, but my kids are pretty young still (the oldest of 4 kids is Kindergarten age in the fall). Plus, pretty much all of our vacations have been cross-country trips to visit our extended family 2,000 miles away (Dayton, OH to Seattle, WA). The next trip planned is at Christmas when we are going to drive(!) out for the holiday and my brother's wedding. I am going to plan lessons as part of the trip, plus continue with some regular school activities to keep everyone busy in the car. Unfortunately, I can only plan so much geography type lessons specific to the states we are passing through since we aren't totally sure of the route we can take (depends on the weather). I am hopeful that one day we'll take a vacation that doesn't involve going to see family. I'm already plotting trips to historical places, and can't wait until we can take the kids to D.C., Boston and such.

06-24-2010, 01:43 PM
I don't try to make them educational but learning seems to happen anyway.

06-24-2010, 06:27 PM
Right now our "vacations" pretty much entail visiting relatives we left when we moved to FL from MI, but when we are up there we usually always go to the zoo, and this last time we visited their Science Center also. When my kids get a little older (they are only 4 and 7) I hope to drive when we go north and take detours to interesting and hopefully educational places.

06-24-2010, 06:37 PM
I picked the third, but it was hard to pick between that and the first. We *love* all things history, so our vacations ALWAYS have some historical component. It's not that my hubby and I force it, but because we all (especially our son) enjoy it. Our first trip to Hawaii last year was to Oahu so our WWII buff son could visit Pearl Harbor. Most of our vacations are mini-vacations, but even they nearly always involve a visit to some kind of historic site, museum or the like.

06-24-2010, 06:54 PM
I picked the third option. My kids are so young that just about anything is educational - we always are hiking and talking about nature, or go to a zoo, museum or aquarium. Even a trip to Disney or Hershey could be considered educational. ;) I'm holding off on the big educational vacations until they are older - Washington DC, Williamsburg, etc.

06-24-2010, 06:57 PM
Our vacations are usually to Disney World and I don't really plan on anything being educational really. But we do encounter some learning experiences and sometimes come away with ideas for projects at home. On our last trip Talena showed an interest in totem poles, while we were in the lobby at the Wilderness Lodge. I'm still trying to find a time to sit down and read a story about them, and make one with a toilet paper tube.

06-24-2010, 08:02 PM
We don't really do vacations, we do day trips. We go into neighboring cities & visit museums, zoos, historical sites, etc. We find those kinds of things to be great entertainment.

06-24-2010, 09:29 PM
we also only go to see family. usually there is a trip to a museum in there somewhere, but its not a focus.

06-24-2010, 09:35 PM
Vacations? What?

LOL j/k! Most times when we can take a vacation we see family. We never really set out to make them educational but if it happened that way then wohooo. And if not.....woohooo lol! Like we went to Homestead Fl for Christmas to hang out with my hubs aunt. We spent a day at the Everglades which ended up being one hell of a science lesson that day. And we weren't even homeschoolers then!

06-25-2010, 12:37 AM
For the most part, travel is educational IMO. Although, we live in the land of theme parks, so I would never in a million years take a vacation to say, WDW. I guess that would count as non-educational. Even when we go to visit family (lots this year), we go to museums and the like, because otherwise, we're just staring at our family.:eek:

06-25-2010, 01:58 AM
No, I do not at all. I see a vacation as a VACATION, from everything, including the work and stress of homeschooling. LOL I just want to relax and have fun. Although we so rarely take a vacation it doesn't matter anyway. The last time we went on vacation was fall of 2008. I don't see another on the horizon any time soon either.

06-25-2010, 06:42 AM
Every experience in our lives provides some form of learning for everyone in our family.

So we do not intentionally plan a vacation to specifically learn something, but we do plan to learn something from every vacation!


06-25-2010, 10:19 AM
Well, we're on vacation right now! While it's not a specifically educational trip we enjoy doing things that, as Fat Albert would have said, "...if you're not careful, you may learn something before it's done." We did the university geology museum (which had a cool glow-under-UV-light display,) but for the most part it's just been spending time outdoors catching various bugs, lizards, salamanders, etc., along with building dams in the stream and the like.

We love history, so we're apt to take trips to historical sites; however, I don't see these trips as educational spinach. I'm not going to take a vacation that's not fun! Life's too short for that!

06-25-2010, 12:00 PM
, as Fat Albert would have said, "...if you're not careful, you may learn something before it's done." I used to love Fat Albert (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WT-fxBNKs8&feature=fvw)!

06-25-2010, 12:39 PM
A child will learn something no matter what the vacation is, but with that said it is a little difficult not to think about what the learning opportunities that could be possible when presented with different vacation options. Our last "vacation" was a 2 week mediterranean cruise, that one is kind of hard not to be educational. On vacations such as these, where education is on the heavy side, we really go out of our way to aim for "fun". We don't consider seeing family as vacations, that's more like work! lol, you don't know my in-laws or my family!

06-25-2010, 03:06 PM
I picked the first one, only because LIFE is educational. We get something out of everything we do, no matter where we are or what the "focus" is. DS is interested in practically everything and has a million questions and things he wants to explore further from everything we do, whether we're on vacation or hiding away at home. We travel a lot and to him it's all interesting and "educational". We don't necessarily seek it out, but learning happens anyway, anywhere we are. (hmph--I'm starting to sound like an unschooler! interesting...)

06-28-2010, 11:17 AM
I chose "We don't plan our vacations based on educational value, although learning sometimes occurs." although my ideal answer would have been "(...) although learning ALWAYS occurs." I just love museums, science centers, historical sites... while I love going on vacation to relax, we always find something to do that is educational, sometimes by design (on our recent trip to Sanibel we visited a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, a Nature Refuge Visitor Center, and an Aquarium) and sometimes by happenstance (on the same trip we spent hours on the beach on our hands and knees observing hermit crabs, shellfish, anemones, and more...). When Greg and I actually PLAN a vacation, we always include visits to historical sites (battlefields, museums...) mixed with pure fun activities. I can't conceive of a vacation where I wouldn't try to do something educational.

06-30-2010, 09:06 AM
We chose our vacations based on one of two things: (1) what do we want to see/do, or (2) where is my husband going on a biz trip that we can tag along on. So we don't purposely plan vacations based on the educational value, but like many others here, we are learning regardless. The last trip was to DC for a week--how could we have NOT learned anything?

Most of our vacations have been out west, hiking mostly. Through Junior Ranger programs and simply talking to park rangers, the kids have learned history, geology, botany, geography, etc.