I know there are a lot of parents out there that strongly believe a good attendance record is just as important as a good report card, but I’m not one of them. Yes, I know that schools need kids in the classroom in order to gain certain funding and other political and economic things like that, which is why I’m not advocating a complete disregard for school attendance policies, but I do think that there is more to education than state testing and the nine months that are apparently required to prep for it.
That is why, when I had the opportunity to take my 8-year-old son, Atticus, on a business trip to San Francisco which would require he miss a day of school, I seized it. The fact that the trip was a press junket for the Star Wars franchise was just icing on the cake. Lots and lots of icing.
Atticus was working on a school project in which he had to write a report on a famous American, and he picked Walt Disney, which was not a surprise to anyone that knows our Disney-loving family. The Walt Disney Family Museum is located in San Francisco, about a block away, it turns out, from a segment of Lucasfilm. Coincidence? I think so, but it sure was convenient.
Atticus and I flew in early, dropped our bags at the hotel, and headed straight for the Walt Disney Family Museum, and there, without a classroom in sight, he started learning. It was wonderful.
That’s not to say that he wasn’t learning the whole time. It was his first trip to San Francisco, and his first time in a taxi, both of which are wildly educational. He experienced treks on trolleys and all of the amazing things that went with being on a press junket for one of the coolest things ever to occur in pop culture. Also, we are always learning, each one of us, every day and everywhere.
But I digress.
We spent a few hours walking around the Walt Disney Family Museum and through a series of interactive and visually stunning exhibits I could see Atticus gain an understanding of Walt Disney, the man, and what it was that made him tick. In the process I could see what made Atticus tick, too. It was all so meta.
His report was fantastic.
What do you think about taking kids out of school and using the world as a classroom?
I’m for it.
The trip mentioned above was provided by 20th Century Fox and really doesn’t have much bearing on this post as I’m not actually discussing the reason they flew us out there, but I figured I should mention it in the sake of transparency. Funny enough, Disney did fly me to San Francisco a month later for a Pixar junket, and they actually took us to the Walt Disney Family Museum for a private tour. I learned stuff, too. Who knew?
Whit Honea can be found writing about whatever he feels like at his personal site Honea Express (Honea sounds like pony) and DadCentric. If you’re really bored you can follow him on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).
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