As a military child, I grew up surrounded by the intangible. There was always an element of mystery surrounding my father’s deployments. Bosnia, Serbia, Korea, and Afghanistan all seemed like mythical worlds, far away from the safety of our walled-in installations.
My mother worked hard to educate my sister and I about the geography of these tumultuous regions in Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. She attempted to make each experience feel more real, always searching for ways for us to relate to our father even though he was miles and miles away. While the educational tools available to us were limited, my mother exerted tremendous effort to give us in-home education about our father’s campaigns.
Time and time again, I would run into other military brats that didn’t have the same worldly awareness my mother had given us. Kuwait and Iraq were unfamiliar to them and the whereabouts of their loved ones was still drenched in mystique. Local schools shifted educational plans away from geography, relying solely on history books to give us a glimpse at the world around us. I vowed that this would not be the case with my children.
While we are not an active duty family any more, the nomadic lifestyle has not left us. Because I don’t have the option of homeschooling my two children, I’ve searched high and low to find a product to aid me with instilling this worldly awareness in our household – the perfect supplement to their Montessori foundation.
When I became a part of the DryMaps team – a company dedicated to educating without frills and reliance on screens – I knew these dry-erase maps were the perfect way to continue the legacy of my mother’s education.
DryMaps focuses on getting back to the basics of learning, allowing my children to familiarize themselves with the world in a fun form of learning. Their location is not surrounded with mystery and they’re keenly aware of the physical journey in which they have traveled so far in their short lives. We have been able to provide them with tangibility through geography and, in that regard, I know my mother’s educational legacy is honored.
Posted by: Alexa Smith, Strategic Outreach Director at DryMaps