Education and Travel (Italy) – Part 7

Education in Italy

So we have not have much formal education during our eleven days in Italy, but that is OK. We reviewed materials on our way to Italy, learned Latin Root Words and practiced some Italian on the airplane and in the hotel. Once in Italy the learning happened without my assistance.

  1. We have to convert dollars to Euros. Dad was having a hard time understanding the man behind the desk. Lightning was a little confused. Once I explained to her different currency from different countries has a different value depending on the economy of each country and the more money you exchanged the better the rate, she was all over it. She added the numbers in her head to ensure we received back the right amount of money. During our entire trip she was on the lookout for exchange locations (which, by the way seem to be everywhere, but in Sorrento they were closed on Monday, not Sunday) and she would check the rates to see if they had gone up or down and advise us accordingly.

Here is a website where kids can practice currency conversion:

  1. We stood outside the Coliseum. Is there more than that? To me that was just amazing and could have been enough (not really, but it was impressive) but we had a tour set up. I definitely recommend a tour. Stefano with I Love Rome Tours was awesome. We had him for the tour of the Vatican also. Being part of a tour bypasses the very long lines to get in and they explain so much to you that really you would have likely bypassed and not recognized on your own. Next we went to Palentine Hill. I would not have known to visit it if we did not have a tour guide or the book we bought in Rome, A Child’s Guide to Rome.   Needless to say Lightning read the entire book about the sites in Rome and the history behind the sites without any prompting by me. Frankly we carried this book with us in Rome to assist us with identifying historical locations or finding them.  Here’s a link for the book.

  1. The Vatican, Basilica and Sistine Chapel. I repeat everything from #2.   Need I say more? I must emphasize the benefit of the tour here too. The lines were incredible. We bypassed them and started the tour fairly quickly. Again, without a guide we would have missed so much or we would have been in there forever trying to figure it out. Lighting has a good grasp on the Bible but not on the Catholic faith. This was a great education for her in learning about the Pope and the Catholic Church. (I am looking for a curriculum on different religions that compares and contrasts them if anyone has any suggestions please comment and share.) As for the art work, we had already studied several of the artists and pieces of artwork we saw, she unfortunately didn’t remember much about the artists but I hope seeing all this incredible artwork in person cements their meaningfulness a little more. Here is a link for a video of inside the Vatican in case you can’t make it to Rome and a link for a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel.

  1. We went to a train station and learned how to read the train boards. Times for the trains are given in military time so she again engaged in math activities trying to figure out what time it the trains arrived. Here is a link to a clock that shows the conversion to military time on a clock.

5.   We were dropped off at our hotel and were told it was 100 meters up the hill. She is           slowly               picking up the metric system. We purchased drinks in liters. We are still a little weak on it but she is seeing the importance of the metric system.  Following is a link to videos to help learn the metric system.

  1. She made a friend. She learned language is not a barrier, but if she knew her Spanish better it would have helped. She kept running over to her dad or me and asking us works in Spanish to see if they were the same in Italian to help facilitate conversations. Fingers crossed this will spark her desire to learn another language.  We actually borrowed from our local library books and CD’s to help us understand Italian a little better.
  1. We went to Pompeii. We purchased a book about Pompeii, which my wonderful reader snatched and although has not read thoroughly yet used it as a guide on our unguided walking tour. There was a map inside that we tried to use to help us navigate through the city and she took over several times remembering seeing things in the book to be our guide. It was pretty incredible to be inside an entire Roman City and to see how Mt. Vesuvius, which seems so far away to wipe out an entire city. We also visited the museum there and she saw how some bodies were actually still preserved by the ash and nature.
  1. Capri – she read about St. Michael who appeared to a boy in Anacapri and gave him a bell to keep him safe. We looked for a bell as a souvenir and she converted the price to dollars to see how much it would cost. The legend of St. Michael can be found here:
  1. Transportation and lifestyle. Transportation is quite different here in our minds. The cars are smaller and they drive really fast, apparently the laws are a little lenient on speed, staying in your own lane, cutting people off, etc., yet we did not see one car accident. The bathrooms are smaller and the rooms are smaller. We are used to large bathrooms and spacious hotel rooms/suites. Their idea of a third bed is a cot or a couch they put a sheet on for sleeping. Not everyone has a car and the children travel by themselves on the bus (I know this occurs in the states too just not typically where we live).


Not only do I hope she learned her history while we were here, among so much more, but I hope she has an appreciation for the different way people live. Whenever I go overseas I appreciate living in the United States and am thankful for what we have, but it also places things into perspective for me that we have more than we need and sometimes live a life of excess. Other countries live in much smaller spaces and have great lives. They appreciate the outside more than the inside, their family life more than electronics (we rarely saw children with a phone, Ipad, Ipod, etc. anywhere) and socialization in person.

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