Planning a European vacation

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

I spent my twenty-first and twenty-second birthdays in France. I lived a year in Bordeaux, studying and perfecting my French skills. My husband and I honeymooned there. At 22 years of age, I considered myself a world traveler. And I fully intended to spend every birthday in Europe.

But, as we know… life is subject to change.

In those last eighteen years since my feet set ground in la belle France, our family has welcomed six babies, moved cross-country and back again, and fought our way out of consumer debt. It’s not like we were sitting around twiddling our thumbs when we could have been globe trotting.

However, earlier this year, after watching a series of France-based films, my husband and I looked at each other and said, “Why not?”

  • Why not take the kids to France? 
  • Why not make the investment of time and money to travel to Europe with SIX kids?
  • Why not expose them to a culture that was once near and dear to my heart and a huge part of my everyday?

So, we’re committed. At least publicly.
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4 weeks on the road

Written by contributor Rachel Wolf of Clean and Lusa Organics

My son once mistook Lake Michigan for the ocean. So we sat down with a map and found the Great Lakes. And then we found the Atlantic.

Lake Michigan is big, but the ocean is immense. He wanted to see it for himself. So did his sister.

And so did I for that matter. After traveling the world in my teens and 20’s, I hadn’t left the Midwest for nearly a decade.

It was time for a little sand between our toes.

At four and eight years old, my children were ready for a road trip. Why not take a month off and head to the beach?

And so we did.

Two kids, one grown-up, four weeks, and 3000 miles. My husband would stay behind to run our business and I would take our homeschoolers on the road. Alone.

We were excited, but I was also nervous. Could I swing it – even on the hard days – without the support of my husband and the comforts of home?

There was only one way to know. In early October we headed south, anticipating sand and sea within a week.

While there is no formula for the perfect road trip, this is how we pulled it off.
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Gearing up for a month overseas

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Something exciting is happening in our family tomorrow. We leave on a trip we’ve been planning for years –a month in England.

Why England? Well, my husband Steve is British. All of his family (my children’s grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles) still live there. Before having kids we visited frequently, and we took our firstborn, Jonathan, when he was nine months old to meet the British side of the family.

We’ve always had a dream to travel the world with our children. But then one child turned into two, and two turned into three. The idea of journeys overseas with toddlers and preschoolers in tow didn’t appeal to me, so we decided to wait until everyone grew up a bit to venture across the ocean together.

With my youngest having just turned seven, that time of life (that once seemed as if it would never arrive) is suddenly upon us! As a homeschooling family, we thank our lucky stars that we can nip off in the middle of the “school” year to let our kids encounter some real-life learning.

Here’s what we’ve been doing to prepare and make the most of our learning during the trip ahead. You could of course apply the same principles to anywhere you may be visiting or to just create a unit study about an area of interest.
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Sarah’s Biggest Homeschooling Mistake: Not Traveling More

Written by contributor Sarah Small of SmallWorld at Home

One of the things that really aggravated me when our son was in public school in first grade was being told that we shouldn’t go on trips that would make him miss school.

Really? So being in a classroom is more culturally valuable than going to a Greek festival? So he’ll learn music better if he’s jingling bells than if he is at a symphony? History is more likely to come alive for him within the four walls of school than at Gettysburg?

When we decided to homeschool, I knew that much of my children’s education would consist of hands-on learning that included going lots of places. I imagined us taking the Civil War trail along the East Coast, following Lewis and Clark’s adventures out west, digging up dinosaur bones in Utah, ogling masterpieces at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I even had it calculated that my husband would be eligible for sabbatical when our oldest was in high school, so we would spend six months somewhere far away (and per my husband’s career, botanically interesting), like Australia or South Africa.

The best laid plans, eh?

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Following Your Child’s Lead: Learning About Edible Wild Foliage

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

It all started with a little red berry. A little red berry and a toddler. I had taken my children to the park to play. My daughter, a toddler at the time, was roaming about the playground, just a few feet away, and then disappeared from my view around a corner.

I was after her immediately, only to find her in a clump of red berry bushes, saying “Eat. Eat.” Not knowing what they were or if she had managed to eat one or not, we grabbed a few twigs off the bush and loaded up in the car.

We stopped at my husband’s work, a mere 1/2 mile away where he went to the landscaping department with a twig to identify. I headed to the nearby City Hall and Library.
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