Monday, 27 June 2016

Travelling with children

is not something for which I have ever taken direct responsibility. I don't think it is something I would wish to do. I have heard some horror stories.
There have been some occasions in my life when I have been involved with other people's children. That is enough. On one occasion I was left quite literally nursing the baby while a mother dealt with a screaming two year old in a plane. Fortunately it was a short trip. I only had to hold the baby for a couple of hours. The poor mother, travelling alone, had to hold the child. (His ears were worrying him.)
Yesterday however there was a phone call. "It's C.... we were wondering if the Senior Cat was up to a short visit?"
Of course. We haven't seen C and her family since they came back from Europe some weeks ago. C is Spanish and they decided to get the three children to Spain to see relatives before the eldest turned twelve and they had to pay adult fares and fees for everything. I had wondered how they would go. The children don't speak Spanish. Their father does not speak Spanish. As the younger two children are only eight (twins) I suspected it would be an interesting experience for all. 
Their parents spent a lot of time planning the trip. Spain was not the only destination. They went to France, Italy, Norway, England and, on the way home, Thailand. The children were out of school for seven weeks - but they were learning all the time. Their parents saw to that. They did maths and language as well as history and geography. They discovered new cultures, new food and new people. They learned about the need to watch out for each other in strange places where they did not speak the language or know anyone else. They learned about the need to take great care not to lose their possessions.
And they have, quite suddenly, "grown up" rather a lot. The twins went away as "small" children. They came back with confidence, bursting with enthusiasm. They want to go back-to see their new found relatives and to see more history, experience more new foods and find new places to explore. They had "so much to tell" us. The words tumbled out rolling over one another almost at the speed of sound.
Their father admitted that it had been a lot of work. It had, in a way, been exhausting but it had also been worth every bit of work and every cent it had cost. Their children are different now, different in the best possible way. They are excited about the world and want to know more. I hope it stays that way.



jeanfromcornwall said...

Of course, as thing stand upover, the parents would be fined and in line for a criminal conviction if they didn't pay, since head teachers are not supposed to give permission for children to miss that much schooling.
I think (fervently hope) that regulatin is in its death throe - there some funny people in charge of that ship at the moment.

jeanfromcornwall said...

Sorry for the typos - not too good this morning!

catdownunder said...

I don't think children should be taken out of school for extended periods for "just a holiday". In this case though the parents made a real effort to make it a learning experience and their children did get a lot out of it. Another ten year old I know has gone to Russia for about the same amount of time - to see family. Her mother home-schooled when they were living in another country so her schoolwork is also being kept up while she is immersed in a different language and culture. It can only be to her advantage.