March 11, 2020
How to Create an Awesome, Inspiring & Fun Family Learning Project
FIRST OF ALL --- WHAT IN THE WORLD IS FAMILY LEARNING?
Oh, dear! Forgive us for throwing out stuffy educational jargon! It couldn’t be helped!
Our definition of family learning is when parents and their children co-create projects that matter to all of them. Then they work on these projects together. Of course our version of family learning takes place as a family explores destinations around the world! Anywhere works; it doesn’t matter where!
SECOND OF ALL --- WHY DO WE THINK FAMILY LEARNING IS A COOL THING FOR FAMILIES?
Well, anytime parents and their kids share anything that makes them both happy it’s a gooood day! But it’s generally accepted that when parents show an interest in what captures their children’s attention, learning becomes greatly enhanced. Other reasons we love it are that it allows kids to take some agency for family experiences and it facilitates good team-building and cooperation (not bad skills to have!). Then when you add-in anywhere in the world as the location for your family learning, you add mystery and anticipation to the mix.
THIRD --- HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT CREATING A FAMILY LEARNING PROJECT (ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD)?
Ok -- Here are 6 steps that have worked for many of our client families. Have a look and see what you think:
- Begin by asking each person in the family to think about what matters to her/him.
- Is someone passionate about cooking? Perhaps someone is interested in the written word? A budding author maybe?
- Or an avid reader? Libraries and bookshops around the world can be fascinating!
- Maybe someone in the family is curious about the way people live around the world? Thatched roofs are really an incredible accomplishment, you know!
- Is someone interested in clothing design?
- Is a family member concerned about the extinction of a certain animal species?
- Perhaps the whole family is already involved in collecting something special?There are many, many possibilities!
- Think through, research and discuss which of these topics might actually be available at the destinations you will be exploring.
- Decide which of the ideas presented might offer sharable experiences? Can everyone get involved?
- Put all the above information together and decided on a project that feels right for your family. It does not need to make sense to anyone else. It does not have to seem noble or grand. It just needs to suite your family! Projects that are the most fun are those that are personalized, relevant, contextualized and socially embedded. These always make for the most fun and inspiring experiences!
- Next you need to discuss how you will undertake the project at your destinations. In short, this is the plan for who will do what, when and where. It needn’t be in depth initially. But please do some good, focused planning on this before you set out to explore. Or, you might want to reach out for help. This is an important step!
- Discuss what you will do with the results --- Of course, you don’t have to do anything at all with the results! But, there just might be a genuine need for the information you learned doing your family project. And this information just might turn out to interest or be of help to other people. Maybe even to a lot of other people!!
EXAMPLES OF CO-CREATED FAMILY LEARNING PROJECTS
- Designing fabric and wallpaper based on trees and flowers found in the South Pacific during a month-long visit there. Then presenting the resulting designs to a local designer for help making them come-to-life.
- Visiting several countries to learn about efforts to make sure kids and their families around the world have clean water. Then deciding how to get involved.
- Learning to prepare one new kid-favorite dish that’s unique to each destination visited during a six-month travel adventure --- Peru, Morocco, Egypt, France, Denmark, Croatia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka --- as a way to begin to understand each culture. Each time leaving behind one of your family’s own most favorite, kid-friendly recipes.
- Learning to play cricket. (Wouldn’t it be great to see photos of this experience!)