Wishing you were lying on a sandy beach right now?! We were doing just that at the end of October, and no we didn’t go at Half Term! Even before we homeschooled our son we took him out of school in term time. Oh yes, we are demon parents who selfishly prioritise our belief in the benefit of a good holiday, when we can fit in leave, and how it will work given our special needs, ahead of the diktats of government!
What a relief then to be able to travel to Crete out of the school hols without criticism, having to write grovelling letters to the Headteacher, and run the gauntlet in the playground. Not to mention worrying about being fined when we got back.
How has this week worked out for us? Fantastically. We were able to choose flight times that would work well for us, when the airport would be quieter and travel to a resort out of high season, when it would not be too hot or too busy. On the flight there were no other children! just two very quiet babies. There were actually a lot of children at the hotel, but they were mostly German or Danish, which was a good experience for our son, and gave him the opportunity to socialise and play games if he wanted to.
We continued to read on holiday (under protest), but there was no formal learning. There was however, a heap of informal learning going on.Here is what I listed:
trying new foods
counting out in Euros
learning about more planes (got to visit the cockpit – thank you Ryan Air!)
being independent around the very safe and child centered resort
enjoying the sea and swimming every day
some history – WWII and the Venetian and Greek Empires
some geography – rocks, mountains, climate
some religion – Greek Orthodox and Christianity, visited a shrine to St George
even Greek dancing! (not his favourite thing!)
Actually for us this was the holiday we thought we might never have. Our last holiday, at the same time last year, turned into a disaster as our son was sick on day three and quite poorly. He is very anxious about being sick, and would not then leave the room again until we had to make him get on the airport transfer coach. It sent him into a spiral of depression and anxiety which has taken months to right. We feared he would never fly abroad again, as the journey back was so traumatic for him. However, as he began to get better, he began to ask about going away again and we began to make tentative, then firm plans. He began to be anxious as the day approached, but with the support that has now been built around him, he was able to get on the plane and then really enjoyed the flight – much more than I did as there was a lot of turbulence! But this did not bother him. He loved the hotel so much that he gave it 200/10 and wants to return next year.
After coming back we completed two related projects, one on Geography and another on Sense Of Place. We really valued the rest at a time when we benefitted from it the most, and came back with lots of energy.