How much can you learn in a day?

I’ve been avidly following the White family’s round-the-world journey ( My latest favorite post is by teenage Alex, describing how she approaches bargaining in a Vietnamese market. It resonates with me as I reflect on work I’ve been doing with middle school teachers who insist their students just don’t understand measurement (a notoriously low score on PA’s state assessment).

Read Alex’s discussion of bargaining in which she describes the value of Vietnamese dong as compared to the US dollar and “tourist” vs “real” price (value) of the article she wants to purchase. If I were to align her experience to academic standards, I’d find connections in mathematics (measurement), social studies (economics), science (she describes the origin and quality of the silk), and language arts (communication, listening, speaking). Not only is she understanding the concepts, she’s applying them as well. (The know and do, the concepts and skills) She is gaining massive enduring understandings, not just in terms of economics, but in global cultural awareness.

And my analysis would be pretty “teachery” of me … rather, I like to think about the life skills she’s gaining: confidence, communication, worldliness. How well do you think she’ll do when she applies to college, to a job? Wouldn’t you want to hire hire someone with her confidence and skill?

What kind of price can you put on this form of education? Do yourself a favor and visit

(Full disclosure: I am affiliated with Small World Travel that planned the White family’s round-the-world journey)