We are told by the school authorities and the government that taking time of school is damaging to a child's education. We are told that we are destroying our children and their education by taking them out of school for a holiday. Well, that is the biggest load of bollocks EVER!
We flew to Turkey, to a fabulous hotel called Alba Queen, near Antalya. I was very nervous about going on my own with a child but they welcomed her with open arms and actually treated her like a little film star. But what did my child actually learn whilst we were away?
Of course, when you go to another country there is often a different religion. Tilly was able to visit the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia in the city of Istanbul, She learned about the religion first hand and she has come away from the holiday with the yearning to learn more about the Muslim religion. She would never have had this much enthusiasm for learning in the classroom because it isn't real to them there. When you go to a place, you soak in the information so much more and as Tilly is a sponge, she absolutely took this all in. She knows what a Mosque is now and how they call people to prayer because she saw it all first hand.
Tilly is extremely lucky because many children do not even leave their hometown. She is Quite a little traveller but she has never ventured further than Europe with me. Not only did she learn about where Turkey is on the map of the world but she also learned about the cities in Turkey. She has learned about the towns around the resort that we stayed in and she soaked in so much about Istanbul when we were there. She has learned about how other societies live and she has seen different kinds of buildings first hand.
The hotel has holidaymakers from all over the world, she was learning and speaking German, French, Russian and English. She also made friends with kids from Ukraine and The Netherlands. She heard the languages and spoke back with some basic words, I am not saying she was fluent, by any means but she was able to understand with a bit of help. The staff is all from different parts of the worlds and Tilly even befriended someone from Palestine. She also had an understanding of the Turkish door signs and could read some of the Turkish words.
Not only did she have the opportunity to make Turkish cookies, but she also saw different foods being made like Turkish flatbread in the restaurant, as well as witnessing street vendors making pancakes as they sat on the ground. She was able to try all of this food as well as different foods in the restaurants in the hotel. I don't recall the local schools ever giving kids different foods to try like this! So how would she have learned all of these life skills?
Well, as Turkey is filled with history it is obvious that she is going to learn some of it. She learned about the history of Istanbul and how there is now an Asian side and a European side to the city. Tilly saw ancient monuments in the town of Side and saw an amphitheatre first hand. In Istanbul, she was able to spend time in Topkapi Palace, where she learned some of the Turkish histories.
She used 3 different currencies, Turkish Lira, Euro's and Pounds. She also saw things in shops priced up in $ too. She has awareness of what the different currencies are and that the Turkish Lira was worth less than the Euro or the pound. £1 is worth TL5. She tried to help me with the conversion of the money and she was happy to use it confidently. She also learned about Kms rather than miles. She learned about time differences and how England was 2 hours behind us.
Tilly learned about Turkish art whilst she was on holiday, something that would never be introduced to her at school.
Tilly arrived in Turkey scared of water but left Turkey as a confident swimmer and even went out into the sea by herself on a banana boat. She was so scared of water being splashed on her face and the pool was too deep for her. She had a swimming jacket to help her feel confident but within 7 days she had removed her jacket and she was swimming on her own. NEVER would this had happened at school because the school kids are only allowed 6 weeks worth of lessons a year, that's is not enough for a child to get confident and learn to swim. Now, not only can she swim, but she can swim confidently under water.
All of these lessons that she has learned since she went to Turkey, lead to life skills that she has learned. I would rather that she knew about different ways of life than grow up ignorant of different cultures like some of the population of the UK. I would rather she knew there is nothing to be scared of in different parts of the world and that she gained confidence and was never scared of anything.
Yes, I could have kept her in school, but she would never have learned any of what she has learned in Turkey. So it wasn't conventional, it wasn't as the society would have me be and it wasn't what the government wanted from us - but we did it because I know my own child, and I know that these memories and the things that she has learned will stay with her more than something she would listen to in a classroom.
Would I do this again? Yes, I would. It is a rip off that holiday companies charge so much in the school holidays and something needs to be done to cap the price of holidays. Something needs to be done to stop holiday companies getting greedier and greedier. It' not all about profit, it's about customer service too.
I have been told that taking a child out of school is breaking the law! WHAT? Taking a child and offering an alternative education for 2 weeks, where they will learn much more than in the classroom, is breaking the law? Well if that is the case, I will actually break the law more often to ensure that my child learns as many things as possible.
What is your opinion?