We love travelling, and we can go for months at some new place that we’ve never been before living from one new place we call it home to another. It was started when we’re exploring option to homeschooling for Max. He was 4,5 years old at that time. We thought that travelling with young kid will be just as wishing for disaster, so we started short and nearby. But surprisingly enough, Max really enjoyed it and even went all out about it. So we thought, why not try longer and further?
Now if you’re being sceptical about travelling with kids, then no doubt you are already inviting trouble board in with you. Believe in your own kids! But of course we have to do our best part with all the preparations.
But if you’re questioning, why should you travel with young kids, as they may not be able to remember the moments, then believe me when I said kids, no matter how young they are will get the full benefits of travelling with you. Do you aware that significant brain development happens before the age of five?
These are top 15 of the benefits that kids will enjoy, based on Max and Zac experiences:
1. Responsibility builds Independence
We start small with responsibility, then eventually it gets bigger. As simple as carrying and taking care of his own daypack, decide what to bring inside his daypack when we’re having a day out during the travelling, and bear every consequences with it. Never underestimate kid’s judgement, I advise. They’re actually have stronger survival instinct than we are. Once self responsibility become a habit, independence will surely follow.
2. Confidence and Bravery
Many people questioning about social life of homeschooler. They worried homeschooler will not get enough exposure to be in a real society. That’s the least of our concern when we start homeschooling, and travelling has been very helpful in backing us up upon it. Max has his own more-natural-flow process of socialising with other people. He starts up conversation when he’s ready and stops when he thinks he had enough. Nobody force him to talk or express himself in front of other people, let alone crowds. And that builds up more confidence in him. He can easily blend in any situations at any age groups without any fear. He would even ask two stranger with big surfing board waiting for their flight at the airport “Excuse me, where are you guys going for surfing?”~true story. That’s also probably have something to do with point number 3.
Creativity starts from curiosity. Often the elder we are the less creative we are. Homeschooling itself gives great deal on maintaining kid’s curiosity. Travelling while homeschooling takes curiosity to the next after next level. We let Max and Zac went crazy to pacify himself quenching their own curiosity thirsts. Whenever Max has questions, we always try to get him the answer he needs. The more he see things the more questions he has. And that makes him contented, amused, addicted of new things.
4. Cultural Awareness
Whenever we touched down a new place, we always tried our best to blend in with locals. Observing surroundings, catch a glimpse of how other people on the other side of the world living their lives, or even involve directly in their customs. Eventually Max could tell the different between our world and their world, and the stories behind every differences.
5. Logic Through Kid’s Eyes
We are constantly generate our itinerary upon discussion with Max, what he likes to catch and where he wish to drop anchor. And so far has been fabulous! He took us to great experiences. He slows us down but in return we were able to see lots of details that we might missed out should we went too fast. He once said: “I love feeling the cold striking my toes then goes to my legs” when he first dipped himself on the super cold water of Eaton Canon waterfall in Pasadena, while I couldn’t even stand for 3 seconds . He literally stood still and waited. He had all things that never crossed in my mind, and that’s truly a bless for us, to see things through his eyes.
6. Up to Challenges and Competition
Another homeschooler thingy that we would have to counterstrike from other people’s opinion is that homeschooler doesn’t get what it takes on challenges and competition, because unlike mainstream-schoolers, homeschoolers don’t get grades. But let’s not generalise motivation to battle up. Homeschooling itself invites many different challenges everyday. Travelling while homeschooling takes the challenges to the next after next level. Every challenges emerges from as real as life supposed to be. No doubt the competition is real too. Not just a theory on a made up case, but the one that can make direct impact into our lives, from a life-or-death matters to a silly-and-fun challenges, and he craves for it. No doubt case by case precedently toughen him up.
Bouncing around from one places to another, trains Max to become more flexible to adapt, readjust, modify and replace himself into the current situation. He didn’t mind sleeping on a leaking tent under the rain. Haven’t I mentioned about kid’s survival instinct yet?
8. Empathy, Generosity and Compassion
We’ve travelled in so many terms and conditions. Sometimes it was enjoyably pleasant, but not often it was also sourly unpleasant. But hey, the good side is that Max could really appreciate every shakes, the goods even the uglies. And that built up his empathy to then cultivate his generosity and compassion for other people around him. He knows when to ask or to give anything in any kind of situation. In another word, he’s never as burdensome for us.
9. Be Grateful
Pleasant or unpleasant travelling moments, both gives great balancing impact to teach kids to be grateful for what they have. Let them understand that life doesn’t always on top, that sometimes we may hit the rock bottom to just let us learn that everything happens for a reason.
10. Sensory-Motor Activities
The foundation of growth, development, and learning in a child starts with sensory and motor interaction with the world. They smell, see, hear, feel, and taste everything they encounter during travelling. Tracking the hills, swimming the lake, capturing the scenery, and many more activities stimulates his sensory-motor skills in a non-obligated circumstances. They starts and stops at their own pace.
Exposing kids to travelling as young as months old enriches their vocabulary. Not only our own terms but also local’s terms. Expect as minimum as 20 new terms for each trips. And the earliest their age is the more things they can remember. It’s true the sayings that it’s so much easier to content an empty glass compare to a glass full of water. And kids, they absorb things very fast. I can sense Max’s as a walking-wiki already.
New places, new geographic. It’s good that we’re living in the world of virtual updates. Everywhere we go, we often depends on Google Maps to show us the way, and in most chances we let Max to navigate us through Google Maps and that let him visualise our whereabouts. I gotta admit when I was his age, I don’t remember I can read maps, while Max able to translate maps into real orientation. Thumbs up for his cognitive maps. He can even tell why Los Angeles has different clock time from Singapore. I explained to him once when we stayed in Los Angeles for few months. The basic concept sticks on his mind as he felt it made sense because he experienced it for himself on his face-time moments with his Grandmother in Indonesia.
Kids love to observe things. Where the water comes from, why the sun has to rise in the morning to then has to set again in the evening, how an ugly caterpillar transforms into a gorgeous butterfly and so on. Imagine how great it is if they know about it from nature itself. There are lots of moments of science that Max can really remember like it was just yesterday. And it’s kinda a cool way of learning, isn’t it?
14. Open Up their horizon
Being in so many different places, seeing so many interesting things happened, let kids understand that the world is more than just home to school and vice versa. Haven’t you heard, the world is like a book, and one’s who never travel only seen the cover. Travelling opens up kids on diversity. They hear different languages, smell different scents, observe different sceneries, see different color and shapes of landscape and architectures, feel different surfaces and wheather, festives with different religions and beliefs, and so on… They’ll notice that all those diference makes the world so beautifully colorful. And we can educate them that to keep it beauty, we have to respect and be tolerant about all those differences.
15. Disconnect to be connected
With more outdoor activities, kids had chance to be disconnected from their gadget. Screen time often limited, due to different site condition. It’s however let them to be more connected to their surroundings, and it’s always a good thing.
Nothing is more important than to make yourself confident and comfortable when you’re travelling with kids. Kids are basically love to travel. If he can give up everything he has for travelling around the world, he would! The world will be his classroom.