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UPDATE IN OP** Traveling to Europe next summer (hopefully!) and looking for things to study before we go!


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My parents are hoping to take our family on a river cruise in Europe next summer, though they haven't decided on which one yet. Options will be portions of Seine, Rhine, or Danube. Next school year my kids will be in 8th, 6th, and 2nd. I'd love some suggestions for a curriculum to follow or books to read together as a family in preparation for our vacation. I think it would be great for kids to recognize or already understand some of the things we'll hear/learn/see while we're there to be able to make all of those interesting mental connections! Does anybody have suggestions??

Thanks!!

 

UPDATE (kind of!): We’ve narrowed it down to a cruise on the Rhine, starting in Basel, Switzerland and ending in Amsterdam. Also considering a week-ish in Italy before the cruise. I’d love some suggestions or tips for these, and also a recommendation on what time of summer would be best!

Obviously, we’ll focus some learning on Ancient Rome, as well as the Renaissance. And then focus on France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Read-aloud suggestions would be great!

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How fun!

My parents took us to Italy a few summers ago. In preparation I read out loud all of the Italian history portions that we had covered in the Big Book of Lively Latin, and I did monthly chronological art units covering important artists that I was planning for us to see. Once you have your itinerary settled it will be easier to find specific resources. You might also consider music highlights for the area you will be floating through. If you will have time (and interest) to visit art museums I've found that many have things online that you can peruse to give you an idea of what to expect and what you might most like to see. You could also do a culinary pre-tour of some of the signature dishes and perhaps drinks. For read-alouds I made sure to cover some historical fiction set in Italy focused on some of the important historic figures. For me personally I spent a year working on Duolingo so that by the time we got to Italy I was functional enough to speak with the apartment host, pay for take out, ask for and understand directions, that kind of thing.

I used to feel like the novelty of the "thing" was important. However, when I started taking my dc to see Shakespeare I realized that for them a big thing like that was more enjoyable if they had some idea of what to expect. Truthfully I found it more enjoyable myself. So for our big trips abroad I try to do the same kind of thing. Here is where we are going, this is a bit of what it will look like, this is some food we might find there, here is some music you might hear and art you might see.

A side note relative to family trips, which may not be needed by you: I have found that it is critical for me, my family, and for my extended family to have some daily time apart. It goes more smoothly when I set that expectation from the very beginning.

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I have a young (elementary school age) numismatist who was thoroughly interested in the history of European coinage / the euro / exchange rates / history of monarchies as told through legal tender / even the Uncle Eric books for terminology. (In case you're looking for off-the-traditional-scope subjects; he's a card-carrying junior member of the American Numismatic Association at money.org, a great starting place for kids interested in coins, both American and foreign. It's not curriculum, per se.)

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While you are waiting to find out more details, you could watch Rick Steve’s travel videos to whet your appetite and start making hooks for those mental connections. 
 

also, as a BTDT tip - sometimes the books you pile up to read in preparation for the trip can be just as meaningful , if not more meaningful, when read upon your return.   Some people *ahem* fail to execute their grand reading plan before the trip and thus read lots after the trip ... or on the flight over ...or on the train in the middle of their trip. *cough, cough*

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18 minutes ago, Lovinglife123 said:

I have around the world in picture books part 2 from beautiful feet.  The book recommendations have been great!  Part 2 covers Europe.  Most of the books are at the library, so I could have done well with just the guide.  For France alone we found about 25 picture books to read.  We are all learning a ton!

Thanks for the tip! Are all those 25 listed in the guide, or just a collection you came up with on your own? I think time in France is likely so I’d love to hear what your favorites are!

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I’d suggest using Give Your Child the World by Jamie Martin. It lists literature from around the world by country and age.  I used it along with Beautiful Feets Around the World like the PP suggested to add literature for my older kids (6/7th).  
 

Before we went to Europe we studied more specifically about the countries we were going to. We read a lot of literature, my history buff dove in more to the history and we also learned about the culture. It was interesting for them to compare what we read to their actual experience. 

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Castle and Cathedral are great books to read before (or after) if you are able to see a castle or cathedral. 

If you know what countries you are going to there are some great castles that have horses to ride, arrows to shoot, etc. so reading up on knights and so forth would be fun. 

We also really like the Geopuzzles. There is one for Europe and it will help your kids visualize the area they are in. 

Learning a few words in other languages before going is great too. Doesn't need to be much, but will help your kids listen closely to the different sounds they hear. 

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4 hours ago, lulalu said:

Castle and Cathedral are great books to read before (or after) if you are able to see a castle or cathedral. 

If you know what countries you are going to there are some great castles that have horses to ride, arrows to shoot, etc. so reading up on knights and so forth would be fun. 

We also really like the Geopuzzles. There is one for Europe and it will help your kids visualize the area they are in. 

Learning a few words in other languages before going is great too. Doesn't need to be much, but will help your kids listen closely to the different sounds they hear. 

Great ideas, thanks! My kids actually randomly started doing DuoLingo last week. 

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  • three4me changed the title to UPDATE IN OP** Traveling to Europe next summer (hopefully!) and looking for things to study before we go!

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