A learning holiday from home

As I noted in my previous blog, Home-Schooling an Academics Diary, I am an academic at The Open University. I am also a father to 3 children aged 14, 12 and 7.

If like us, you visited more places abroad than before your children were born you might have the opportunity to have a learning holiday at home.

One of things we will really miss this year is going on holidays.  We like to take our children to places where they can go to the beach and also experience some local culture. We think it’s important to help our children learn about the traditions and beliefs and practices and history of other countries when we visit them.  I am not suggesting our holidays become field trips but rather that occasionally we might take our children to see a well-known monument or site and explain its significance.

During one holiday we went to Cairo and visited the Cairo museum.  Just outside the museum we bought this picture.

The picture has some interesting facts about it that tell a story of ancient and modern Egypt and we explained this to our children:

  • At that time (2004) we had been told Egyptian archaeologists had just learned how to create papyrus paper, which was apparently a lost art. So, the picture was painted on paper similar to that used by ancient Egyptians.
  • The painting used Hieroglyphs which was the way ancient Egyptians used to communicate i.e. in pictures.
  • The painting shows the Egyptian God Anubis judging the weight of a man’s heart. If the heart was as light as a feather the person could enter the afterlife.

It’s not exactly a holiday to Egypt but it shows how you can use things you have at home such as pictures, memorabilia or ornaments you brought back from other countries to teach your children about other cultures.

You might also find the Open Learn course Art and visual culture: Medieval to modern, interesting.

Kieran McCartney


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