School vs life experiences

Mark Twain once said “Don’t let schooling get in the way of your education.” I think he might have been on to something here. Now I’m not saying that school isn’t important because it is. Reading, writing, math, and history are all important. To a degree we need them all to live an independent successful adult life. School is typically the first place we learn to socialize and make friends which is another pretty important life skill but school isn’t everything, it doesn’t give you real world life experiences like traveling does.

So far this school year we have taken one vacation however, there will be at least one more before it’s over. Our oldest is the only one currently in school and for him I think these experiences are extra important. If you’ve read previous post then you may already know he is on the spectrum. School is a huge stressor for him. It radiates from him, we all feel it and it’s hard. He tries his hardest but there are still struggles. Five days a week of attending 7 different classes, listening to 7 different teachers talk while trying to understand the work he is given on top of all of the noise and kids, it’s enough to stress anyone out but him even more so. When we take our trips he’s almost like a different kid. His first trip to Disneyland was last summer, change and people are a huge thing for him but he handled it well. He pushed his limits by talking to cast members, something he wouldn’t have done anywhere else. His first experience was with Ariel, one I’ll never forget. She told him she knows how confusing the human world can be and he related to that more than she will ever know. He’s learning how to deal with crowds and noise with just enough fun to make him want to push through. Our now five year old is learning to do things even if they’re kind of scary. They’re learning about flying and what it’s like to be somewhere new. They are making memories that they will carry with long after we are gone.

A few years ago, we pulled Dominic out of school to drive out to Montana. He got to visit many states along the way. He experienced the beauty of the mountains and learned what real snow is. Our boys have already been more places than I have when I was their age. Now a fire inside them has been lit, they want to visit Paris, Japan, even Egypt. They want to learn about Pharaohs and pyramids and see the Eiffel Tower. There’s so much they want to see and learn and experience and we will. Sure they can sit in a classroom and read about these places but given the chance wouldn’t you rather see them for yourself? Now that my kids are starting to understand how big the world really is, now that they’ve flown on planes and realize how far they can take you they have an interest in seeing it all. I’m a strong believer in experiencing life and culture outside of the little corner of the earth we call home. I think it forces us to open our eyes and be accepting of differences among us. It teaches us appreciation and drives us to be better.

There’s no denying that school is an important part of our children’s lives, our teachers work tirelessly for our kids. I could never do what they do but there is so much more to education than just school. I strongly believe that life experiences are really important, I also believe in making memories as much as possible. If you don’t agree leave me a comment and let me know why? If you do tell me one of you favorite memories you have from traveling.

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