Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why I Blog {Blog Hop}

I've recently been asked to answer a few questions regarding Why Write a Blog, as part of a blog meme. I was tagged by Claire, of Angelic Scalliwags, a heartfelt homeschooling blog with inspired ideas that I love to read. Since I enjoyed reading her answers, and it led me to reading various others, I decided to bite the bullet and write this post. Plus, she did ask so nicely :)

What am I working on?

Other than the family business my husband and I help run, this blog is what I consider myself to be working on. Part of that means I'm working on including the cultures we explored prior to beginning this blog - though this has proved more time consuming than I initially thought it would be. I have been toying with the idea of putting together an activity/informational book (something similar to Klutz books) that focuses on cultural exploration, but frankly, I have no idea how I would go about it!

How does my blog differ from other blogs in its genre?

I believe this blog differs in its focus. Though various blogs include posts about discovering world cultures, this blog almost exclusively posts about multicultural exploration. Which is because this blog is an effort to chronicle our immersion into one culture/country each year - though we do dip our toes into other cultures. I work better, am more motivated and more organized when working within a theme, and this blog reflects that. I have also found it challenging to find hands on multicultural activities online geared towards older kids, which I hope to bring to this blog as well. 

Why do I write what I do?

This blog is a chronicle of our family's year long immersion in a country/culture. This virtual exploration began many years ago, when I was a single mom to a darling girl who at the age of 6 wanted to travel. At the time, there was little money to pay for gas just to get to the beach nearby so travel wasn't (and still isn't) in the cards. I believed it was important to nurture her desire to learn about the ever shrinking world around her. Learning about various cultures encourages respect and empathy for others, appreciation for diversity, recognition of universal human emotions and needs, while (if done properly) dispelling stereotypes. Ironically (for this blog) our first country was China. As Pea grew up, our learning became more in depth. When our family became a foursome with Elle and Hubby, we took them along for the ride. Together we've "been" to Mexico, India, Scotland (Pea's heritage), France (Elle's heritage), Greece, and China (since the girls were older, and Elle didn't share in our first experience and had been asking for years). One of the reasons we explore for an entire year is to allow for the time to get a better sense of each culture, to learn and enjoy while getting past generalizations. Kids also tend to view their year in terms of holidays, often looking forward to the next celebration - I wanted them to experience cultures in this sense, getting to know and celebrating their festivals and holidays. Logistically, the girls aren't homeschooled, spending their days in school with all of its demands, and as a blended family spending time with their other parents- a year still seems to give us just enough time to scratch a little below the surface. 

This blog is written partly to look back on of some of the activities we do, and partly as a resource for others. I also enjoy the challenges it presents - the greatest being my reluctance and discomfort in writing and expressing myself and my ideas (This post is a challenge). I am also regularly learning (or struggling with) something new in relation to the technological aspects of keeping a blog, and the opportunities it offers for creativity.

For all of Pea's 15 years, I've been taking pictures of most everything we do as a family, yet those pictures rarely leave the memory card. I am not nearly as organized as I'd like, and at the moment it would be difficult to find and look back on the activities we did when exploring various countries prior to this blog. In relaying our activities, I am creating a scrapbook of sorts to look back on. Especially since there are many empty scrapbooks laying around waiting to be filled :) Our Weekend posts are as much for us to look back on, as to share with our family and friends we live far from and don't get to spend time with as much as we'd like.

I also really enjoy the research involved in learning about a new culture, but there is much research to be done. It seemed time to put together this research, in a way I can look back on, and as a resource for others. I like the idea that this blog can be a resource or inspiration for other families to explore a new culture. My friends have started their own families over the last couple of years, and they have often said that when their kids are older, they would like to learn about cultures like we have, but wouldn't likely have the time to pull it all together. With this blog, I hope to make it easier for anyone interested. 

An added, unexpected benefit of writing this blog is the blogging community I have found myself in. I've made connections to like minded parents whose blogs, insights and support I truly appreciate and look forward to every day. 

How does my writing process work?

I do lots and lots of research, and sometimes I manage to pull it all together in a cohesive way :) I am a gatherer of information, and while I gather I pull out relevant bits the girls might be interested in and add them to drafts. I basically take notes with titled draft posts. When I feel I've gathered enough information to properly learn about a subject, I go over it with the girls, either through conversation during our day to day, while trying out an activity, after reading a relevant book, or sometimes in a structured way showing them images and/or videos gathered online. Then I pull our experience of it together into a blog post. On occasion, the opposite is true - especially if there isn't an activity related to the subject - I turn my draft notes into a (hopefully) properly informative post, add photos found online (usually through flicker creative commons), then go over the post with the girls. I write with the hope and intent that a parent could read the posts and share with their kids, as well as for kids to read themselves (should they ever be inclined). 

Well, there you have it! As a blog hop, I am passing these questions along to three other bloggers whom I've had the pleasure to "meet" through blogging. 

Becky at Kid World Citizen is a mother and educator who blogs about various ways to explore our world.

Frances at Discovering the World Through My Sons Eyes, a mother who blogs about her multicultural family, heritage and bilingualism.

Phyllis at All Things Beautiful, a mother and homeschooler who blogs about her beautiful family's homeschool and ways in which to learn about science, history, culture and geography.


  1. These have been very fun to read.

  2. Ha!! You did it! I wasn't sure you would, but I'm so pleased you did! Very interesting, I didn't know you'd been doing this virtual travel for so long - no wonder you're so good at it!
    Thanks for sharing, Marie

    1. I wasn't sure I would either :) Thanks for the challenge Claire!

  3. I really enjoyed reading this!

    1. Thanks Phyllis, I hope we get the opportunity to read about your process :)

  4. Marie you have a wonderful blog (been reading your posts over a year now) and I have always been amazed at the amount of work you put in to make this blog where it is today :) These are memories for sure, but more than that its such a wonderful journey! Looking forward to reading more :)
    -Reshama @ Stackingbooks

  5. I relate to so much of what you say. Especially about the challenge of writing and the pleasure of creating a resource for others.

    This was so interesting to read, and to find out a bit more about you. I think everyone can benefit from what you write about. You make learning about other cultures so much fun and so accessible. And you say you're not as organised as you'd like, but I'd say if you can create an amazing body of knowledge like this blog, you're doing pretty well! Thanks for sharing :-)

    1. Thank you Lucinda, that's very encouraging - sometimes I need that!


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