Interested in roadschooling, but don’t know where to start? We’ve got roadschool planning tips to get you started with your learning adventure.
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Bitten by the wanderlust bug? You’re not alone! A new trend among families is homeschooling on the road…road-schooling.
Families pack up their belongings and hit the road, integrating studies and life experiences. Roadschooling looks different for every family, but is usually centered around real-world learning experiences and integrating travel with school.
This unique lifestyle – because it really is a lifestyle, more than a curriculum style – gives students the chance to engage with their studies.
For example, instead of just studying the American Revolution, they can visit the Iron Furnace where the patriot cannonballs were made. They can walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, breathing in the history of that momentous Civil War battle.
Roadschool Planning 101: What You Need to Do to Take Learning on the Road
So, how do you actually make that in-person, up close learning happen? It all starts with roadschool planning.
While the specific steps needed will vary from family to family, these steps will help you create a roadschooling plan that works for YOU!
1. Do your research.
For most families, the hardest question to overcome is ‘how will we pay for this?’ The first question you should ask, though, is how long you want to be on the road.
For some families, an extended vacation is more than enough, while others want to go it full-time. Full-timers have a variety of options for finances, including working remotely, getting sponsors, or even selling off everything and going for the minimalist life. In today’s interconnected, digital world, it is SO much easier to go remote than ever before!
Before hitting the road, you’ll need to study the roadschooling law. In spite of your current location, your homeschool laws are dictated by your home state, so if you currently live in New York, you need to follow the New York homeschooling laws.
If you’re giving up your home and will primarily be living in an RV, you need to establish a home state…perhaps in a state with laxer homeschooling laws. Check with HSLDA for each state’s current laws.
2. Choose homeschool resources for your adventure.
There are many options for homeschool curricula, so first decide whether you want to go digital, physical, or a blend.
Library books and textbooks can be downloaded to an e-reader, freeing up precious space in the cargo hold. Workbooks tend to work better in their physical form.
You’ll also want to take into consideration that internet connectivity is not consistent across the country. Download books when you have good WiFi, just in case.
As you decide which curriculum to choose, consider the amount of space needed for materials, the amount of time needed to complete the work, whether the curriculum can be shared with multiple children, and (if you’re only going for a week or two), whether curriculum is even necessary.
Some families will be happy taking several day trips and using helpers such as Zoo Studies or Cooking Around the World to inject a bit of roadschooling into their school weeks, rather than committing to the whole enchilada.
Some of our must-have items include a three-ring binder for each student, divider tabs, graph paper, tablets (and chargers!), and a set of headphones for each kid.
The three-ring binders were small in the elementary years, but have grown into 4” thick ones as we hit middle and high school. Our tradition is that each child decorates their binder on the first day of school, personalizing it to his taste.
Divider tabs separate the binders into different subject areas, with graph paper in the math section. Whenever we check back in at home, I take out old work to file and replace those pages with fresh sheets of notebook and copy paper.
With visual kids, we use some video-based curriculum, so I like for each kid to have a set of headphones. This allows one to be watching an assignment quietly while I’m working with the other one.
We typically spend an hour or two each morning doing work before heading out to…wherever we’ve landed…for an adventure! In the evening, we do another hour or two, making sure to complete our 3-Rs each day. As the kids grew, the school days naturally got a bit longer.
3. Make a learning plan for each child.
The most important thing I do, as the teacher, is to plan a schedule for each kid.
If I know we’re going to be gone for five weeks, I’ll plan five weeks of schoolwork and be sure to pack all materials necessary. Something may pop up on the road that prevents a few of those days from happening, but I want to be sure we have everything needed for a successful school experience.
Roadschooling and Field Trips
That planning also includes incorporating field trips. I’ll research the areas we’ll be visiting, looking for museums, events, festivals, factory tours, and anything educational to see what we can incorporate.
When the boys were in elementary school, we did unit studies around the places we visited, which is a fantastic way to get kids excited about learning! In high school, we have to stick more to the curriculum, but you’d be surprised at how many activities you can find related to the subjects they are studying.
Do you know which teaching style helps kids learn and retain more information than any other? Life!! Psst…if you’re concerned about roadschooling with older kids, these travels and experiences also look great on a college resume.
In closing, remember that your family’s roadschooling journey may be only week or last several years, but it will create a lifetime of memories! If you’re wondering if it’s time to plan that trip, the answer is YES!
Yvie spent five years roadschooling across the USA, and enjoyed every moment of it!
Now, she practices the art of simple living with her chickens, goats, cows, dogs, rabbits, and house full of boys in rural America. She loves acoustic guitar, historical novels, and anything with dark chocolate!
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