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As you can tell from the title, this is not our first round world schooling.  In previous blogs, I have explained exactly what world schooling is and what adventures we had.  In Round 1 I discussed New Zealand.  In Round 2 I discussed Germany.  In Round 3 I discussed England.  In Round 4 I discussed Hawaii.  Well, Round 5 is Canada and specifically the Banff, Alberta area.

Canada was not a new experience for my husband and I.  I had the privilege of taking many trips to Canada as a child growing up in Wisconsin.  In addition, I have a familial connection to Canada due to my mom’s grandparents immigrating from Ireland to Canada before arriving in WI.  And, we have several longtime family friends who were born in Canada.  In addition, Canada is America’s neighbor to the north.  Thus, Canada does not seem foreign to us.

Here is what we experienced during our 8-day adventure in and around Banff:

  • Calgary
  • Banff
  • Banff Visitor Centre
  • Bow River
  • Lake Louise
  • Lake Louise Visitor Centre
  • Lake Louise Gondola
  • Buckhorn Wildlife Interpretative Centre
  • Bow River Valley Dr.
  • Johnston Canyon
  • Junior Explorer Program (4 different badges)
  • Jasper National Park Icefields Visitor Centre
  • Athabasca Glacier Adventure
  • Skywalk Adventure
  • Saskatchewan River Crossing
  • Moraine Lake
  • Consolation Lake
  • Vermillion Lakes
  • Bow River Falls
  • Sundance Canyon
  • Cave & Basin National Historic Site and Visitor Centre
  • Enemy Aliens, Prisoners of War Museum
  • Banff Hot Springs
  • Luxton Museum of the Plains Indians
  • Banff Park Museum National Historic Site of Canada
  • Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
  • Mount Norquay Ski Area
  • Two Jack Lake
  • Lake Minnewanka
  • Transformer Building (first site of electricity in Banff)
  • Park Administration Building & Cottage Gardens
  • Banff Centre
  • Tunnel Mountain
  • Canmore
  • Smith-Dorrien/Spray Trail Road (numerous stops)
  • Spray Valley Provincial Park – Kananaskis Country
  • Spray Lake
  • Buller Pond
  • Peter Lougheed Park Discovery Centre
  • Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
  • Upper Kananaskis Lake
  • Bow Valley Provincial Park – Kananaskis Country
  • Beaver Ponds
  • Mount Lorette Ponds
  • Canadians Brew House
  • Telus Spark Science Centre

Here are some phrases my son learned:

  • Sortie (Exit)
  • Centre (center)
  • Washroom (bathroom or restroom)
  • Texas Gate (cattle guard)
  • Pop (soda)
  • Merci (Thank you)
  • Bienvenue (Welcome)
  • No Worries (your welcome or no problem)
  • Eh? (common phrase heard, but also common in parts of the Midwest of the US)
  • Brown bread (whole wheat bread)
  • The bill (the check)
  • Poutine (french fries covered with cheese and gravy)
  • Mountie (police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police)
  • Loonie (1 dollar coin)
  • Toonie (2 dollar coin)
  • Ya know? (common phrase heard, but also common in parts of the Midwest of the US)
  • Chinook (warm wind that comes in over the mountain, raises temperature)

Travel to Canada was actually easier than any of our other international trips because it was a 3.5 hour non-stop flight.  In fact, travel to Canada was easier than many of the domestic trips we have taken.  And, Canada is very similar to the US in terms of speaking English, similar stores, and having free WiFi in many places.  Like remote areas in the US, you don’t always have cell reception in the remote areas of Canada.  The difference in Canada is that signs and packages are in both French and English.  And, the people greeting you often spoke both French and English to you until you speak.  If you spoke in English, they would not continue in French.  My son had put French into google translate so that he could play with it on informational signs and on food packages as we prepared him for this fact. Travel to Canada in late September also meant a true experience of other seasons as he got to see fall colors and experience accumulating snowfall.  He even had his first snowball fight as we don’t get that kind of snow in Houston, TX (it gets ice and grapple every few years).  Travel to Canada was a great way to physically experience and learn about: mountain ecology, mountain geography, mountain weather, Canadian culture, First Nations culture, foreign language (French), Canadian National Parks, provincial parks,  historic sites, different signs, use of the metric system, accents, and currency exchange.

I strongly believe that travel is a great educational tool.   Remember that travel could be local, regional, your own country, or foreign countries.  And, if you can not physically leave, travel can be via “armchair” with the use of books, videos, and computers.  Exposure to the world is so important for children.  Please, be inspired and go explore!