I'm one of those people who is constantly finding new interests… and I can't let them go until I've read and studied and experienced them, to the point where everyone in my life is sick and tired of hearing me jabber on as if it's the only thing in my world. That is until I discovered a great way to get everyone in my family involved.
One of my many, I suppose you could call them obsessions, is the story of the Grand Duchess Anastasia. Ever since I saw the musical cartoon with that kooky Bartok the bat and spooky Rasputin I found myself looking into the life of the real princess. It seems that along with a fascinating, and sad true story, there is also a series of stunning sites definitely worth a visit. So that's what I did. I pulled my kids out of school and dragged the hubby away from work and we went to Russia! Impulsive? Maybe, but it was one of the best vacations of my life.
photo by Peter Hamza
Now, since we took the trip during the school year the kids had school work they were required to make up. One of the projects that my son had to do was to actually write a paper about the history of some of the places we were going to visit to present to his class when we came back. He was bummed at first… who wants to do school work on vacation? You know what though… in the end he loved hearing the history of the places we went. In fact I think he talked about the Winter Palace more than I did after we arrived home. The Winter Palace, St. Basil's Cathedral, the fountains at Peterhof… he was so very excited to learn, which pretty much thrilled me to the core. From then on every vacation we took, as a family we did a little digging into the history of some of the locations we planned on seeing. Found out the sad history, the happy endings, sometimes even found out about a few lingering ghosts. I honestly think it helped heighten the anticipation, and anything that can get kids like mine excited about learning is fine by me.
You may think your kids are too young to appreciate the history of the places you want to visit but they may surprise you! So the next time you plan a family trip, maybe avoid the standard amusement park vacations and try something historic. If it's during the school year ask your children's social studies or history teachers for ideas to bring the history around them to life and make it easier for them to grasp and get excited about. They probably have some good tips and your kids may even get school credit for it.
What are your favorite places that bring history to life right before your eyes? And better yet… have you brought your kids?
Until next time… Do svidaniya!