Raising Children Who Feel at Home in the World

With globalization, international travel, and the internet it seems like the world is getting smaller.  Businesses are seeking out people who feel comfortable working with those of different cultures and backgrounds, and people willing to travel and live in other countries. Besides the world is just becoming a more complex place, and it is more important than ever for us to get to know our neighbors and understand where they are coming from. So, how can we prepare our children for entering into this global society?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

- Don’t be afraid to travel with your children. Take them places, expose them to different cultures, different foods, different languages, different climates, different terrains. We have travelled extensively with our children – our oldest has been through museums in London, on safari in South Africa, in the Vatican and Coliseum in Rome, through the Uffizi museum in Florence, snorkeling with dolphins, fish, and turtles in Hawaii, and through Roman and Crusader ruins in Israel, and he is just shy of his sixth birthday (okay, I know we have been very lucky to do all of this, but even one trip can make a lasting impression).

- Seek out ways to learn more about the different cultures represented in your area. Look for cultural center events, go to authentic restaurants to experience different types of food (and maybe meet the owners), put in effort to meet and get to know your neighbors who are from different backgrounds.

- Make studying world geography an important part of your homeschool curriculum. You can really immerse yourself in this type of study – read about it, look at picture books, make cultural costumes, watch a documentary on the region, prepare and eat local styled food, learn a few words of the language, read folk stories from the area, study their art, listen to their music, plan an international cultural day with your local homeschool co-op or group.

- Use resources on the internet, such as National Geographic’s My Wonderful World, and for older children expose them to international news on websites such as BBC and CNN international (not CNN on TV,  I was surprised to realize, upon moving back to the US, that the CNN aired here is not the same as the CNN that the rest of the world sees).

For more ideas look through the book “Growing Up Global: Raising Children to Be At Home in the World”. It is filled with ideas on how to learn about and become comfortable with people and cultures from around the world.

Kami can be found raising her two little world travelers at Nurturing the tender years.

Comments

  1. Wow! I love the ideas above. I hope in the future to be able to travel the world with my children. I love the idea of exploring new things WITH them, as opposed to always telling about stuff I’ve already seen and experienced.

    If I may suggest a small, visual stimulus to get children interested in the world before one is ready to travel, hang an EarthBall in their room. An EarthBall is an inflatable globe, but it is realistic…it looks like the earth from space. No colored countries or borders. Nothing telling our children that we are different from them.

    I have one at home. I also have a standard Repoggle globe. Once in a blue moon we will use the Repoggle globe to look up some country we’ve heard about on the news, but we can sit and stare at the EarthBall for hours. Its a real imagination stimulus.

  2. Fantastic post. I think it is so important to expose our children at a young age to the world around us. I say this and have yet to truly implement it into our curriculum. I just need to figure out how to squeeze it in between math, science, speech, language art, and…..you get the picture. Fortunately, I do realize how essential it is for their homeschool experience. Thanks again for the gentle reminder.

  3. great ideas. my son is two (almost three) and a friend told me last year how much he appreciated that I take him to all different restaurants. he (my friend) said he doesn’t go out to eat with his family because they will only go to places the kids will eat at and the kids will only eat burgers so its usually red robin.

    we all went to thai last week and my son was NOT happy that I ordered noodles for him, he wanted soup and when he got it, it was the hit of the table (he let everyone try it) it was very similar to pho and even though it was a touch spicy he gobbled it down.

    I think we don’t give kids enough credit for being open to new things.

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