Learning while Traveling – Tooth Fairy in Spain

Tooth Fairy in Spain – Learning while Traveling

White rat with grey face markings, Learning While Traveling, www.theeducationaltourist.com

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Learning While Traveling – Learn in more ways that you think.

Everyone agrees that traveling is educational. You expand your horizons when you travel and see new people, hear new languages, and experience new cultures. You practice your math skills when you exchange money and use a map to find your destination. You learn about history when you visit museums and learn about food when you eat out. But, did you know that travel is a real life way to use the boring sound skill from school, “Compare and Contrast”?

When the kids are in school you often hear from them, “Why are we learning this?” and “When will I need this in the REAL world?” As parents, we often have trouble answering that question. We know they need to learn things but being able to come up with an answer as in “Well, Jonny, you need to know if those parallelograms are similar because one day in real life_____________”

Truth be told, that is the ONE thing I have yet to find a real life need for. Why do we need to be able to tell if parallelograms are similar…in the real world? If you have an application, PLEASE, I beg of you, enlighten me.

Here is your answer to the question, “Why do we need to learn how to compare and contrast for the real world?” and won’t you feel smart giving it! Teach Hub, an online resource for teachers sums it up this way,

“To students, knowing how to ‘compare and contrast’ sounds academic, not real-world, but we teachers know most of life is choosing between options. The better adults are at this skill, the more they thrive in the world.”

There you have it, learning to compare and contrast, whether they are comparing two pieces of literature or two pieces of candy or dare I say it – two parallelograms, they are using critical thinking skills. They are seeing how things are similar and how they are different.

Take our world conflicts at the moment, wouldn’t it be nice if we could all spend a little more time thinking about how we are the SAME and stop concentrating on the small ways we are different?

We understand that learning while traveling makes a lot of sense, but you can always ‘learn while traveling’ before you even go! Start researching and thinking about your trip before you even leave the house.

This brings us to Ratoncito Perez, the tooth fairy in Spain.

Learning While Traveling – Start learning before you even leave!

If you have a child young enough to lose teeth and wait for the tooth fairy tell them about the tooth fairy who collects teeth in their vacation destination. If you are headed to Spain, tell your child about how children in Spain wait for Ratoncito Perez to come and get their teeth. Are you headed to Greece? Boys and girls in Greece toss their lost teeth on the roof. Children in France are visited by le petite souris. Find the tooth fairy traditions from lots of countries here.

Besides the obvious fun in discussing such a topic, it also gets kids thinking about how children all over the world are really similar. They all lose teeth and they all have traditions surrounding what to do with those teeth. How else are they alike? We are a global society now with airplanes that can get us anywhere in hours and with technology that can send messages from one part of the globe to another in just seconds. It is high time we focus on getting along so teach our children how to do that!

Learning While Traveling – Read before you go!

Even the most math or science or other ‘non language arts’ career involves a  LOT of reading. Never mind the reading during the  education you’ll need to get there. Once you are a math career person or a science career person or a famous athlete, there are emails and legal documents and fan club information and nobel peace prize papers to read. Reading and communicating with reading and writing are VITAL to each and every single career.

So, as parents, we want our children to have the best foundation possible. Are they reading is school, YES! Woohoo, but can they do even better with our help = YES!!

Reading before a vacation is an excellent way to get the kids thinking about how their lives and the lives of the people who live at your destination are alike. What sort of things do you have in common? Religion? Food? Soccer?

I’ve researched and created destination specific reading lists for you! Click on your destination for the list of books already put together! Canada, Hawaii, New York, Italy, London, Paris  and coming soon  – Greece.

Read about Tooth Tairy customs all over the world for fun!

Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World by Selby Beeler 

Tooth Traditions around the World by Ann Malaspina 

Tooth Tales from around the World by Marlene Targ Brill

Learning While Traveling – PROOF for the school that your holiday wasn’t a waste of school absences.

I taught public elementary school for years and so I know the system doesn’t like you to miss school. Why? There are a few reasons the school wants kids to be present everyday:

The first reason is that public schools get paid for every child that is present every day. If your child is absent, the school gets less money.

The second reason is it is a paperwork headache for every person the child come into contact with at school – teachers, speech person, librarian, cook – they all have things perfectly planned for a certain number of kids and if yours is absent it messes up the system.

The third reason is that each teacher has to make sure your child is caught up and on even footing with the other kids who were present the day your child was absent. See how an absence would create havoc at school? This is why schools are so hell bent on kids being there every single day and we can understand that.

However...

You knew that was coming, didn’t you? Well, with all due respect to the system and the people that work in it, their headache and paperwork really is none of my concern. MY concern is my child and their educational foundation. So, if we have an opportunity to see the world and add to their education in a way that no school every could – you better believe we will take it and too bad, so sad, to the headache and paperwork concern at a public school.

I’m sure I created enemies with that last paragraph. Sorry! In an effort to have my cake and eat it, too, I always meet with the teachers before a travel absence. I discuss what the child will miss in great detail. We discuss how we can accomplish those educational goals while we are gone. Sometimes this means I have to work with the child on the exact thing that the class is doing in our absence, but usually if we address the educational goal and not the class assignment then what we do on vacation ‘counts’.

Be certain to use terms like ‘educational goals’ not ‘assignments’ when talking to school administration.  If the class is studying comprehension for example, it really shouldn’t matter in an educational sense whether the child does page 12 in the textbook vs. something you read about your vacation destination, right?

For example, if the class is working on compare and contrast by comparing and contrasting two books (or whatever). I ask the teacher, “Are you working on the two books (or whatever) or are you working on comparing and contrasting?

If compare and contrast in the goal, then I ask if my child can give a talk/presentation or do a paper/worksheet on the similarities and differences between the country we live in and something related to the country we are visiting?

Offer suggestions to the teacher: Can your first grader write a short paper and draw a photo of Ratoncita Perez and the tooth fairy of Spain? Can your fifth grader draw a Venn Diagram (two overlapping circles used to show similarities and differences and used often in schools) about food differences?

This is a Venn Diagram and teachers love to use them. You can create your own to show the teacher as ‘proof’ that your discussions on vacation are really educational.

Perhaps your ninth grader created a power point presentation of cultural differences between our country and the other. Use educational methods to make your case that travel is educational when you talk to school professionals. Speak their language.

Learn While Traveling – Travel Guides JUST for kids

Travel guides can be a great way to learn while you travel. They give information on history, art, culture and so on AND they can be woefully boring. Have you read some of them? Yikes! You are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime!! How is it that most travel guides for adults manage to make wonderful adventure information sound that boring?

Travel guides for kids are not common and some are really empty. They have one or two photos per page and a sentence or two. Really? A curious kid is going to be done with that in minutes, learn very little, and then what will you do???

My travel guides are different. I created them for my own kids when I couldn’t find anything on the market that was going to be interesting, hold their attention, and let us all learn something really cool on this once in a lifetime vacation! The kids are fascinated by art history – you just have to give them the right story…and in their language. My guides are written at an elementary school aged reading level so kids can read them all by themselves! They also serve as cliff notes for adults if your knowledge of history is a little rusty!

Click on your destination to order your travel guide just for the kids! It will be the BEST $3 you spend!!!

Vatican City, Galleria Borghese, France, London, Nassau, Austin, New York, Canada, Spain, The Louvre Museum, The Prado Museum,  and Rome.

Reading while you are gone is a great way to relax before trying to sleep in a new bed. Relaxed kids sleep better! Don’t lug all your books… use amazing Kindle! We LOVE this!! Books are even better when read aloud by a pro.

Travel is a GREAT way to add to your child’s education and make memories that will last a lifetime. Travel with the WHOLE family and make travel memories!

The Educational Tourist at the prayer wall at Mary's House in Ephesus, Learn While Traveling, www.theeducationaltourist.com

Happy Educational Travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

The Educational Tourist logo

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2 Responses

  1. Kristi says:

    Personally, I’m glad we have a tooth fairy here in the U.S.!

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