The other night our kids' school had a fundraiser spaghetti dinner. We walked in and our older two kids' fifth grade teacher walked in right behind us. She sat with us for dinner. So we chatted about the day, weather, etc, until she asked us how our weekend was last weekend. She knew we had taken the kids out of school on Friday (she is their teacher) and the kids had told her we went out of town.
She isn't the most friendly of people to begin with so I was glad she asked and was interested in our trip. I told her that we had gone to the Udvar Hazy museum and then on Saturday we went to the American History Museum at the Smithsonian. We talked about some of the exhibits we saw and all. She seemed interested but mostly I talked and she ate. She didn't ask many questions about what we saw. But I can talk so I did and filled the time.
Then she asked us if we were going anywhere for spring break. Uh, YEAH!! We are going away. It is a whole week and we wouldn't want to "waste" it by not doing something fun. So I told her we are planning a trip to Florida to see the Space Shuttle launch. We are also planning some time in St. Augustine to see the oldest city in America and then hoping to get some National Seashore time in where the kids can work to get their junior ranger badges there. Then she asked "well are you going to go to the beach at all?" Yes, we do hope to spend a day at the beach too. We finished eating and the kids wanted to go look for a book in the book fair that was going on too. Thus ended our visit with the teacher.
Since then it has got me thinking about some things. I know we aren't the most "normal" of families. We have considered selling everything and living on the road, roadschooling the kids for a year, and other "odd" ideas. We travel a lot. More than many families. We love to explore new places, learn about stuff, and have fun doing it. The kids are great in museums and they love to look at things as well as touch them. They are explorers too.
The beach is fun and we will enjoy a day or two at the beach but we aren't the kind of family who can go to the beach every day and do the same stuff over and over again. I know that some families love the beach and being on the beach every day. Don't get me wrong, my idea of a good relaxing time is at the beach with a good book and an ice cold diet Coke.
But for us having a busy day filled with fun and learning and exploring is fun for us. We look forward to it. I love to plan the days and my family loves that we see some really cool things. The kids will talk about these trips for the rest of their lives and I think about that when I am planning them.
Yes, sometimes we need a vacation from our vacation. But isn't that the fun of it?
So back to the teacher. She didn't at ALL seem impressed that we go to some really neat places. She didn't seem impressed that we are taking our kids all the way down to Florida to see a launch, to see the oldest city. She didn't seem impressed that we took our kids out of school one day and took them to a really cool museum about all kinds of airplanes and that the kids learned about some really interesting times in history where planes became important to the story. She didn't seem impressed one bit. Now I know I shouldn't be out to impress anyone but I just would have thought that she might have said, "wow what a really cool day you had" or engaged my kids by asking some questions about the planes or what they saw, or even if they enjoyed the day.
It seemed to me that she was more upset that the kids weren't in school and not in her class that day. Hmmm.....
Now I am a teacher and I know that kids learn differently. I also welcome the opportunities where parents are able to be facilitators of learning, particularly by participating in learning activities, like going to museums with their kids or going places to learn together.
But there is more that bothers me. We have members of our extended family who also don't understand why we are "always on the go". They complain (for lack of a better word) that we are "never home". They don't seem to understand our excitement about traveling. They don't seem to understand or appreciate why we want to show our kids other places. This bothers us, but it doesn't stop us. We know what we are doing. And we also know the many reasons why we are doing it. We love that we spend time together. We love that we are given the opportunities and we take the opportunities to explore new places with our kids.
Do you have people in your life who don't understand? Do you try to explain it to them? Do you try to help them understand? How do you handle this?