The Other Way to Learn

I love books! I must love books, because I’m a writer. Books entertain and educate me.

Books are a great way for our kids to gain some of life’s most important information.

I respect teachers. Like books they teach our kids key information and provide lessons that will help them through life. I will soon respect and love teachers even more, because my daughter is studying to be one in college. As much as I love books and appreciate teachers I still always think back to something important my boss told me some time ago.

My highly educated boss from Germany gave me an important piece of advice.

He often traveled with his daughter. On occasion, she would even miss school to travel with him. His reasoning for bringing her along made perfect sense to me.

He told me “I bring my daughter along, because you can’t learn everything in life from books and school”. He encouraged me to do the same thing for my daughter.

My boss was right and I made sure to follow his advice. My daughter has benefited from traveling with my wife and I. She has gained experiences that will stay with her always.

Children may learn from books, teachers and computers, but some things can only be learned through real life experience!

You can’t feel the power of Niagara Falls from a book. The nuances of a Monet painting can be best seen in an Art Museum. The trials and tribulations of building an airplane like the Wright B Flyer can be better understood when you stand next to that plane at the Air Force Museum. Music is enjoyed most at a concert or when you hear it on a street corner. Buildings are more majestic when you look up at them in the big city.

The hard work a farmer goes through is best understood when you watch them bale hay or rustle cattle. Tasting and smelling an ethnic dish gives you the best appreciation for how delicious that food can be. Books can take a child to another world, but real life lets your child use all of their senses! The world becomes more vivid and vibrant to them.

When you have a chance to travel make sure to plan out a day for an art museum, natural history museum, children’s museum, aquarium or zoo in the city you’re visiting! When your kids experience these places, they will almost always learn something new and the visit will enhance what they have learned in books.

If you have a chance, take them on tours of a city, to special festivals or even to an ethnic restaurant or neighborhood. Kids are far more adventurous than we think and will be mesmerized by Chinatown or a Renaissance festival.

If you can’t afford to travel far away we have most of these places right here in Dayton or in cities close by. The Dayton Art Institute is excellent and affordable, as is the Boonshoft Natural History Museum. The Air Force Museum is free and one of the best you will find anywhere. Cincinnati, Columbus and Indianapolis all have great zoos. The Newport Aquarium is close by and the short trip to Newport’s river banks will allow your kids to see Steam boats and the Cincinnati skyline.

Make a point this summer to have your kids experience a new museum or take them to a county fair, street festival or a fireworks show. Don’t stop there. Remember no book can give you the feeling you get when your stomach drops on a roller coaster or how it feels to zoom down a water slide.

Summer is the time to escape books, teachers, computers, video games and the indoors.

It’s the time for kids to learn about life another way, by experiencing it first hand.

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