Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Enriching Family Travels and Trips

Something our family began doing and have really reaped benefits from is enriching our family travels with information and preparation. I love to glean knowledge from wherever we go and be organized when we finally go to do it! We like to travel on "creation vacations" which we call the places that exhibit God's greatness and also "historical" areas which bring all our homeschool learning to life. We strive for wholesome and educational experiences rather than seeking high-paced amusement. Life is fast enough and we prefer to slow down when spending time together.

Here are some ideas that we utilize when planning out lengthy trips:

Mapping Out Your Travels:

Something that you can enlist your young men (or maidens) in is mapping out the route that you will be taking. Have them research and print out directions and highlight potential routes on photocopies of the atlas or maps. This aids in teaching your sons the necessary geography skills every young man should have (girls too!). Older children can also investigate opportunities for any local areas of interest around the main destination you will be visiting. This is good to do in advance because a few times we realized we were really close to some neat places but only found that out after the fact. That is always a hard pill to swallow.

Auto Maintenance:

Sons can also engage themselves in checking to make sure the fluids in your vehicle are at the right levels, check tire pressure and make sure there is enough windshield wiper fluid. These measures are important for young men to learn and they will be an invaluable helper to your husband so that he can focus on other things prior to the trip.

Packing & Food Preparation:

Another suggestion is to put an older daughter in charge of food for your road trip. Have them write out a menu and prepare it a day ahead of time to allow you extra peace for packing. This also serves to give your daughter a practical lesson in home economics. This is a great opportunity to teach them about packing appropriate foods for the road which are full of protein and packaged for easy handling.

If you will be camping out and providing food for a longer trip, it helps to create a master meal list in advance.

I also have saved in the computer, a list of items to take with me on all family trips of lengthy time. This helps me so that I don't have that nagging fear of forgetting something each time we leave home. Once the "master list" is made up, I can just print it out for each trip which makes it so much easier and stress free!

Rest Stops:

I would encourage you to use rest stops to let the little ones out of their straight jackets and have them toddle around. Have your children do a few quick sprints around the restroom facilities to encourage them to get out any "wiggles" that they may have been storing up.

Education on Vacation:

Something we like to do is bring media (books, audio books, etc.) which pertain to our destination with us on our travels. The purpose of this is to enhance the experience of our trip by giving ourselves more information about the place we are going to visit. Sometimes it is a chapter book, another time a picture book and it is many times a non-fiction source. I also write a dedication inside the books I bring which includes the date of our trip, ages of everyone at the time of departure and a message relating to the subject matter of our vacation. This makes a nice keepsake since we do not spend money on souvenirs but rather invest in these types of educational mementos. Every time your child takes these books from the shelf once home, they will be reminded of the time you spent together.

For example, if we are going to the zoo, I would bring Jonathan Park Goes to the Zoo: A Creationist Audio Guide to 100 of the Most Popular Animals at Your Local Zoo! [Audio CD]. This adds a wonderful learning element and brings to life what we are about to embark on. If we were going to visit some historical areas, then I would bring along books and audiobooks that take place in those time periods. 

As I have mentioned before, audio books have been a blessing when travelling distances. We bring ones that offer Biblical and character development. Once we have heard the story, we have family conversations which elaborate on "what would you have done in that situation" and so forth. We can discuss the important issues of that particular book and how it applies to our lives today. Hence, you have a beautiful Scripture lesson on the road and before you know it, you are finally "there yet"!

I would also bring some "new" type of toys and rotate them if you have any toddlers. ("New" can also mean a favorite toy you removed from their use for a few weeks to make it special again.) It is also fun to find a picture book to engage their minds in which pertain to your trip. If you are visiting an aquarium, then bring along a sea animal board book. When they see the creatures in real life it will be that much more exciting because they can relate to what they have seen in the pages.

I hope these ideas will provide you with an enriching time together which will create beautiful bonds of fellowship. I will be sharing some of our family trips and what we did together in future posts in order to present more ideas. I hope to see you there… It is refreshing to the mind, body and soul when we reflect together on the "good things" and take a break from this "million miles a minute madness" that many of us live in.

"And he said unto them,
Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while:
for there were many coming and going,
and they had no leisure so much as to eat."
~ Mark 6:31

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  1. I still have very small children. We just started homeschooling my preschooler this past January. My husband and I have often said that we want to be very intentional in our travels as our children age, and make it a learning experience. This only made me want to do it more! I found your blog by way of a comment you left under a post of mine, "Thinking Twice About Disney Movies." Thank you for drawing my attention. I am now following you and look forward to reading more!

    Lindsey @

    1. That is so nice to hear! Homeschooling has been a real blessing in our home. It is actually a way of life in everything we do and we just love it. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. I love this. I'd love to take the grands on some road trips. They are all homeschooled. We've always wanted to rent a "Rock Star" bus (that's what My Cowboy calls them and drive up and get the kids and then go to the Dakota's and Wyoming. That trip was our favorite when the kids were growing up! Thanks for sharing this. You brought back pleasant memories.


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