Since the beginning of 2020, education looks very different than it ever has. More parents have stepped up to the plate and taken the reigns in regards to their children’s education that ever before. They have made some very difficult decisions, and have sacrificed much in their love and care for their kids. The last few years have taken a toll on our nation’s youth, from mental health to everyday normalcy, as the country and the world have tried to navigate the Covid pandemic, more often than not, unsuccessfully. Families have found themselves frustrated and left soley to their own devices by both the public school system and, unfortunately, private schools. Homeschooling, as a result, became the norm. What used to be considered outside the realm of possibilities for many, has become, by necessity, a new normal.
Many families, like ours, take homeschooling to another level and choose to roadschool our kids. Roadschooling is very similar to homeschool, as parents are the main teachers, but differs in the fact that roadschooling is done while traveling. Personally, as a mom to 12, I find that roadschooling offers a plethora of supplemental education that would otherwise not be possible in a either a brick and mortar school, or even homeschooling. This is the case because traveling, hands down, is the best education a child can be given. It
Roadschooling, like homeschooling, can take on many different forms and no one method is better than the next. You just have to find out what works best for your family. Do you have one child or several children in several different grades? Are you an RVer spending lots of time on the road that needs a very light and portable curriculum? Or do you travel sporadically throughout the year? Do you like the guidance and ease of working from an out-of-the-box curriculum or do you like to develop your own course of study? Maybe you want to allow your children to develop their own (student-led) course of study? It sounds like a lot, but once you have figured out how you want your homeschool/roadschool curriculum to look, it will be smooth sailing from there.
So, what doe roadschooling look like?
A Portable Curriculum
Our family, like many homeschooling families, enjoys the convenience of having a curriculum for each of the subjects that our boys are learning. However, when you are taking your schooling on the road, you want it to be as light and as portable as possible. That is where you have to get creative. Since we have three boys in three different grades, carrying all that curriculum is just not realistic in a small space so we have chosen to use some online curriculum that they can do anywhere. We also use an online homeschool planner so that I can stay organized and keep a record of their work online. It has also been helpful that subjects like history can be shared across grade levels. I take advantage of that by gathering them for “read-alouds” and making sure that my youngest understands the information on his grade level and my oldest can have a conversation about the topic on his. Regardless of what curriculum you choose, make sure that it is as light and as portable as possible.
We plan our trips well in advance so that we can guarantee that our RV has a great spot at the campground. We also encourage our kids to scout out places of interest along our route. For example, our boys have always had an insatiable interest in science, which means that they want to visit every science museum across the country. However, somewhere along the way one of my boys has developed an interest in art, so art museums may be added to our trips in the future. As a history fanatic, I will always look for little-known historical landmarks, history museums, and historical reenactments. The rest of our roadschooling adventures may involve visits to our national parks to study nature, participating in the junior ranger programs, going on factory tours, or touring each of our states’ Capitol buildings and learning a little more about the state that we are visiting.
Destinations that are Educational
Honestly, our kids are constantly learning no matter where our travels take us. I think that is a unique feature of homeschooling on the road. It brings out the natural curiosity in all of us. The fact of the matter is that education is everywhere! It is hidden in every experience that we have, every turn that we make. My boys are learning while meal planning, preparing food, and adjusting the recipes to feed our family. They are learning when assisting in the trip planning for our adventures by calculating the miles, travel time, and gas required for the trip. One of the most amazing ways that they feed their own educational needs is by meeting and talking with the people that they come across in our travels. While traveling, they are exposed to a variety of cultures and religions, people with various occupations and hobbies, and a variety of things that they couldn’t see or experience by staying in our town. It just lends to their natural curiosity. They are learning organically through their experiences and this type of learning really makes an impression on them. This is one area that you cannot assign a grade to, but I can see how it has benefitted them as they talk to their peers when they return after a trip. They are always excited to share where they have been and what they learned with friends and family. Sometimes we are blown away by the conversations that they have about our roadschooling trips.
Our family loves the freedom that homeschooling and roadschooling provide us. We use that freedom from the traditional school calendar to plug education into all of our roadschooling adventures. Education in our home is very eclectic, which allows for us as parents to guide much of our boys’ curriculum while still allowing them some freedom to pursue their interests. It also introduces them to experiences that they may have never imagined if we were just educating them at home.