I dropped off my son at school this morning for a four-day experiential education “week of wilderness” excursion to the nearby backcountry mountains. The WOW program is just another one of the many reasons I am such a fan of the school they attend.
The WOW program is part of the school’s experiential education department with a goal of enhancing students’ awareness of their relationship to self, others, and their environment.
During this trip, the group lives in the mountains self-sufficiently: camping, preparing meals, and planning their days as a self-contained unit. An emphasis is placed on outdoor safety, student involvement, leadership, problem solving, and teaching students independence and how personal responsibility plays into the success of a group.
Experiential Education Complements Classroom Learning
These experiential education trips provide the students a rare opportunity to disconnect from their everyday lives. Without the influence of electronic devices and their regular activities, students are free to explore other interests while learning skills that can be used both outdoors and when they return to their daily activities.
In addition to outdoor learning, other components of the experiential education experience include participation in community service activities and environmental sustainability efforts.
I participated in the experiential education program as a student. And although it has evolved since that time, I still fondly remember those trips as some of the most significant learning events of my life.
Investing in Education Pays Long-Term Benefits
People sometimes question whether spending thousands of dollars for a private education is worth the expense. In fact, I’ve asked that very question right here on this site, Private School, Worth It or Not?
But just like much that you experience as a child and young adult, I did not fully grasp the value of the experiential education experiences at the time. It’s not until much later looking back on decisions I made and actions I’ve taken that I realize how those experiences have influenced me.
A quality education encompasses teaching a much broader array of knowledge and skills than simply learning to regurgitate facts. The outcome of a quality education instills a desire for lifelong learning, self-confidence, and creative problem-solving ability. The student graduating from a quality educational program understands and appreciates the responsibility of the individual, the group, and taking care of others and their surroundings.
My recommendation is to seek out the very best education you can find for your children even if it impacts your standard of living or delays your retirement. That quality education can come from the public school system, a charter school, a religiously based school, a college-preparatory school, or even home schooling.
No matter what the form, there are few things you can provide your children that will benefit them as much as a good education.
Readers, are you willing to sacrifice your financial independence to pay for private school? What about moving to an area that has good public schools even if it’s more expensive? How about quitting your job to stay at home and home school your children?