Ten years ago Candice and I made the momentous decision that we would homeschool our kids. Over these first 10 years we have read many books and had many conversations about education. There are of course questions about whatour kids should learn and howthey should learn. But I've come to realize that the most important consideration is why they should learn. It is possible to teach a child all the right things and accomplish it through the most effective method and yet fail at educating them. This is because a child must learn to own their education, and to become a lifelong learner, by acquiring a desire to learn.
My first air travel occurred when I was 16. I flew from San Francisco to Brussels by myself to visit my brother for 2 weeks. During this trip I was able to see 7 countries. This experience opened my eyes to many important life lessons that you can't simply understand through a textbook. I realized how big the world is. I realized the small significance of my own little world back home. I realized how little I knew about the rest of the world and all that had happened before me. For the first time I saw an important correlation between my education and my own personal satisfaction in life.
Upon returning home my whole outlook on life was different. I thought about things differently and eagerly desired to know more about the world around me. I found that I took the initiative to learn new things without someone else telling me what to learn or when to learn it. I was excited to learn and that has forever had an impact on how I live my life.
Candice and I want that for our kids. We took Brooklyn to Israel and Bosnia in 2017 and she has become quite the bookworm ever since. She has Bosnian phrases taped up all around the house and she is itching to get back once more. Even a smaller trip to California last September prompted great discussions about the new surroundings our kids were being exposed to.
Last Spring Candice and I set our minds on getting our entire family of 7 to Europe. Since then we have spent many hours of planning this trip and counting the costs and how we would pay for the very expensive trip. One afternoon last Summer Candice and I walked into a used bookstore and our eye caught hold of a book on display called "Take Your Kids to Europe". We promptly purchased the book and I began reading through it. This book, written by a mother who travelled with her husband and kids to Europe for several months, gave me many additional reasons for taking our kids to Europe. There are certain life lessons that cannot be learned well without experiencing a trip like this. The author, Cynthia Harriman, includes the following:
1) Europe is the seat of Western culture. To understand where American society has come from, you must study European culture and history.
2) Europe is a living museum of history. What better way is there to learn, for example, about the French Revolution than to stand in Concorde Place in Paris.
3) Family culture is enriched. A trip like this with shared experiences draws a family together. Various experiences, inside jokes, and the many moments that will be remembered by our family for years to come.
4) You will get to know your family members very well. I know that our time with our 5 kids living with us is brief. I look forward to the 6 hour train rides with no electronics, and just having good deep discussions about anything and everything. Connecting to our kids mentally and spiritually is something Candice and I greatly desire.
5) Coping skills are developed. I am sure on a trip like this our kids will miss their friends, "normal food", and a slower pace. But sometime in life things get busy and this will be a testing ground and opportunity to learn new life skills in how to cope in sometimes uncomfortable circumstances.
Finally, one thing we greatly look forward to on our trip to Europe is to connect with some friends In France and in Bosnia and to make new friends along the way.
Going to Europe is an excellent educational experience but very expensive. We are not a super wealthy family and many sacrifices had to be made to afford a trip like this. I hope that by sharing our experiences with you that you can see the value of traveling, even if it is just one state over, or even to the local museum. Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Those who learn from the past are destined to improve upon it.
In the coming days and weeks we will be sharing with you where we plan to go and what we will be doing. Then as the trip begins we will be sending you updates here on this blog and on our instagram accounts: