The “formula” for travel planning with your children can be outlined like this:
1. Consider your childrens’ personalities and incorporate those characteristics into the itinerary. Are they athletic? scouts? artistic?
2. Have them each choose a country they are interested in. You can pick a region of a continent and connect the dots from there.
3. Have your children research their specific country by checking out books.
4. Meet together at the dining room table (or kitchen table) and work together daily to keep everyone on track. Leave the materials together one place for accessibility. Build a bibliography from their favorite books.
5. Make quizzes for your children to take from their books information.
6. Each child is the docent for their specific country so when you tour those countries, treat that child as an actual “docent’ by letting them explain monuments, architecture, cuisine, historic facts, etc.
7. When you arrive to that country, let the child/docent who studied that particular country be the first to “step” onto the soil as a a celebratory arrival. You may enter that country by airplane (so let them be the first off the plane), by ferry boat, bus, rental car, etc.
Re: #1. above—if your children are athletic, you might pick a destination where there are many excursions and adventures. (hiking, rafting, skiing, whale watching, zip lining). If your children are scouts, you might pick a camping destination. If they are artistic, you might pick a country with many art museums. One year, we bought a live auction trip to Scotland for two. It included a Robert the Bruce tour and golf, etc. We decide to upgrade it to take along our three sons. When they found out we were going to Scotland, our oldest son said, “we always said we would go to Ireland where some of our ancestors are from….” So we thought, “Ireland is close to Scotland; let’s do both! Any other places you want to go to?” and our second son said, “Let’s go to Spain …..to Valencia–for the tomatino festival ” (Because he had studied this tomato-throwing festival in Spanish class). When I heard Spain, I said, ‘Let’s go to Southern Spain and ferry over to Northern Africa–to Morocco!” and VOILA–our trip itinerary was set–Ireland, Scotland, Spain and Morocco.! Kind of an unusual route but one that fit our family and our interests at that time.
This is an original idea of mine. Our sons were the students to try it out on and so far, it has worked out great!