By Guest Blogger Jessica Robb
Back in January, my husband and I pulled both our children out of school for a week for a trip to Oahu, Hawaii. Some teachers and administrators dislike it when students are pulled out of school for vacation. I came from a family that loved to travel, as did my husband. As a teacher myself, I say take the vacation! Your child will learn more in that week of traveling than in a week in the classroom and the memories will be there forever!
We traveled with my sister and her family to Oahu and stayed in the North Shore. In the winter months, the waves in the North Shore are on average sixteen feet high. This is prime surfing time on the island and everyone is out to catch a wave. During peak times, the waves are much higher and you are prohibited from swimming on some beaches; however, watching those waves in the tropical waters was worth the trip itself! Whale migration is also happening during this time and spouts can be seen off the shore. The North Shore is about forty-five minutes away from Honolulu and Waikiki Beach. We were able to explore the small towns that were close by and drove to Honolulu for various activities.
We tried to take advantage of all that Oahu offers. We snorkeled in clear blue waters (Hanauma Bay is safe this time of year) that were filled with lava rock, coral, and amazing sea creatures. We walked through the Waimea Valley and swam under a waterfall (Waimea means waterfall in Hawaiian). We toured the Dole Plantation and saw how cocoa beans, bananas, pineapple, and other produce grew. We went to a luau and enjoyed a show and fabulous food. We swam with dolphins (Dolphin Quest) and learned about the research they are doing to protect these amazing animals. We ventured to Kualoa Ranch on an ATV through the stunning Ka’a’awa Valley, where many movies (Jurassic Park, Godzilla, First 50 Dates, and more) were filmed. We went to Pearl Harbor (which is free) to learn more about our country. We sailed on a boat to whale watch and saw a mom and her calf swimming slowly along the coast. Our backdrop was the beautiful Pacific Ocean with a rainbow. We enjoyed a horseback ride (Happy Trails Equestrian Center) through the forest and wild fruit orchards of Waimea Valley with panoramic views of the ocean and the Waianae Mountain Range. We also swam with dolphins (Dolphin Quest) and learned about the research they are doing to protect these amazing animals. Sea turtles watched us as we learned to surf (Ohana Surf Project) in Waikiki (actually, I’m pretty sure they were judging my skills!).
I asked my daughter (12 at the time) what I should write in this blog. She wants everyone to know that Hawaii is trying to be eco friendly. Many people have solar panels on their houses and it is quite clean. They are doing their best to preserve their reefs and wildlife. She also fell in love with snorkeling and knows that it will be something that she will continue to do.
My son (10 at the time) enjoyed talking to everyone he met. His teacher made it a point to tell me how impressed she was with everything he learned while he was in Hawaii (history, botany, ecology, geology, geography, zoology). Though if you ask him about the trip, he would love to sit down with you and talk about his snorkeling adventures and then take you fishing (a new hobby that he enjoys with his dad and friends).
The world is our classroom. When it opens back up, take the trip! Your children will learn how to communicate with people from all over. They will learn to navigate airports and cities. They will test their courage and attempt new things. They will learn to respect other cultures and try new foods. They will also pick up the language very quickly (I had no idea that my daughter had learned so many words in Hawaiian until we got to the airport to go home).
Most importantly, you will have this time together and have wonderful memories when you are home catching up on all the school work that they missed. It will definitely be worth it! Aloha!