Road Schooling — Nature is Our Classroom!
I never envisioned being a homeschool parent. In fact, I thought it was a strange concept, until one of our children was struggling to read, yet was receiving top grades in reading comprehension. After months of prayer we decided to bring all our kids home (except for our oldest who was a Junior at the time) and have a go at homeschooling. From there, I could never have imagined the changes in our lives!
Today we are what is called a Road Schooling family, we do all our school on the road and quite honestly the kids are learning more than they ever did while in school or while at home. Our goal as teachers and parents is to travel to as many places as we can, learn in and about as many different localities as possible and make education one big field trip.
In effect we are intentionally using nature and this beautiful country of ours as our classroom. Of course we use textbooks, Reading, Writing, Religion and Math are core subjects that we “study” regardless of whether the opportunity arises. Our children read a book a month, this month Kerry is reading The Lord of the Rings, Kenny is reading The Outsiders, Dally is reading Stranded, Cardy is reading The Time Garden, Maddy is reading Pippi … Rowdy, Emmy & I are reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales. What are Grady, Brody and Kady reading? They are at a kayak camp … not devoid entirely of education either … they must blog once per week, they have to give speeches once per week … the speech idea is foreign, I think I might take a cue and run with it beginning in September!
Additionally, our oldest blog for us and their sponsors, they write gear reviews, they write creative stories, they write technical papers, book reports, etc. And math … Cardy, Maddy and Rowdy use Horizon’s math and the older kids all use Saxon. Religion is Seton all the way.
But, most importantly, in our everyday life the opportunity for education is staggering. It’s amazing how many opportunities for learning appear even in the most fun activities! It simply takes a little shift on our part towards optimizing the opportunities of the moment you are in! For instance, caving brings about studies of bats and rock formations. Fishing brings about fish species and where they live and how they thrive. Even kayaking brings forward an opportunity to learn about water and eco-systems, the engineering of man-made wave shapers and the complexity of designing a kayak.
Everyday creativity is spawned in the form of new inventions to make this easier or that easier. Kenny and Dally, just today, made a “utility” bottle, essentially a pretty amazing tackle box made out of a water bottle! It’s pretty epic really! Our life as a traveling family means history, geography, government comes to life when we visit places like Washington, DC, Williamsburg, VA, San Antonio, TX … and the amazing thing is even though I hold two bachelor’s degrees, I’m learning more than I did in all my years in school!
Our goal is to foster a love for learning and creating and to encourage the wheels of thought in every activity. We aren’t raising children who are good at tests, we are raising children to be free thinkers, creative thinkers and to grow to be business owners, employers — job creators! We want them to be in control of their destiny with the goal not to be to go to college, land a job, buy a house and car and work their tails off to make the payments and support a family. Our goal is to encourage our kids to think outside the box, to figure out what makes them happy and have the tools and education to make it happen.