R-O-A-D schooling 101

Ashley White | July 07, 2022

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Before we became brave worldschoolers, our family tried roadschooling first.  It was a smart way to “get our feet wet” and we learned a lot along the way.   Roadschooling also allowed us to embrace a nomadic lifestyle but still have a homebase to come back to after months of learning on the road.  

Have you ever thought about trying to roadschool with your homeschooling family. 

Here’s a few tips that might help you plan and prepare your future roadschooling trips.  

R - Research

Once you determine your destination...research! research! and do some more research!

My husband and I would sit down, just about every weekend, months before our trip and ... you guessed it ...research!  

He had his iPhone, I had my laptop and we'd bounce ideas off each other.  

The best way to start is simply looking at maps of your destination, with your budget and travel dates in mind. 

Try to set dates (if you homeschool) during the "off-season"... like after big holidays.  It's so much cheaper!

Keep in mind...

*How long is your drive going to take? 

*What types of stops will you make along the way? 

*Where will you stay and for how long?  Camping, friends/family or Hotel?  

If you start your research early enough, you should be able to book some really cheap rentals for your stay.  

For example, we began researching for our April road schooling trip in January.  We found a cheap condo using Vacation Rentals By Owner in Florida for only $70 a night.  We reserved it so far in advance AND it was the month after the Spring Break rush!  SCORE!

O - Optimize

From clothes to curriculum...optimize!  My husband and I have learned that we tend to over pack for  just about every occasion.  That's any parent's tendency, right?  

As for clothes, our rule is 3 of everything.  3 shirts, 3 pants/shorts, 3 undies...even for the adults!

If you are going somewhere cooler - add a hoodie and/or a long-sleeved shirt!

Take a trip to the laundry mat or use the hotel's washer and dryer.  It makes for a fun adventure!

Trust me!  Kids don't care what they wear.  And is the purpose of your trip to look good or learn?   And the less laundry there is to get done, the more time you'll get to spend with your family, learning.  

As for curriculum - instead of bringing BOOKS, listen to audiobooks or podcasts in the car.  Use map apps, download documentaries or YouTube videos about your final destination instead of bringing workbooks.  Bring Washable Window Markers to write on the windows of the car.  Play word games or practice spelling using these fun markers.  Magnetic cooking sheets with magnetic letters or magna tiles are always a winner too!  

Before my kiddos were all writers, I would buy cheap spiral notebooks.  We would create a story, through drawings, by passing it around the car.  My oldest would start by drawing the setting, my middle would add the characters, then I might add a problem.  Once the drawing was finished, they would verbally tell me the story while I wrote down each word they said.  Also known as "Jot It Down" which is a Brave Writer technique created by Julie Bogart. 

Now, I use notebooks for their daily journals.  This is a place for them to write down the adventures of the day.  These journals will be priceless when they are all grown!

Use your travel time to learn about your destination - because once you are there, THAT is going to be their classroom. They will have some background knowledge and will be ready for the "ed"venture.   

No WiFi in the car?  We HIGHLY recommend purchasing a "hot spot" with your cell provider for your road school trip.  Then cancel it once you get home.

A-Adjust

If a part of the trip doesn't go as planned...don't stress, just adjust.  The way you react to the unpleasant situation makes an impact on your children.

Maybe the museum is closed due to renovations (that they didn't mention on their website! UGH!) so use technology to ... adjust and adapt.

We wanted to go to this museum but discovered that so did EVERY public school in the area.  So we went and explored downtown until 2pm and by then the museum was all cleared out!  We had the whole place to ourselves and even got a discount on our tickets for afternoon pricing. 

Flat tire?  Adjust and turn that into a teachable moment!

Keep in mind, the way YOU react to a problem will affect the attitude of the trip.  Show your children that together, as a family, you can all adjust, reevaluate, learn and move on!

D - Don't over plan!

Don't over plan your schedule or road schooling curriculum.  There!  I said it!

My husband and I have learned it's important to have a "skeleton schedule" but to leave room for some "meat and muscle" on the trip.

The first year, I loaded up a file box FULL of stuff like meaningless worksheets and workbooks, our wall calendar with each month of the year, pencils AND markers, glue bottles AND glue sticks...the list could go on!

In all honesty, I was so terrified about how I was going to keep my kids busy in the car for multiple hours.  And more concerned about not having "proof" that my kids were learning while on the road.

After each trip, I came back with empty workbooks, unused glue sticks but an iPhone FULL of pictures! That was "proof" that we'd learned so much more than what I had planned and prepared for on paper.

Inviting your children to write daily in a journal is also a fun, educational way to document learning.

I love taking my kid's writing, adding pictures that we took and create a memory book of the trip. 

It took me a few times to get the hang of how to pack and plan.  And each roadschooling trip looked different because each trip happens at a different season in your homeschooling journey...embrace it.  You will look back at your many memories of your road schooling trips and smile!

If you are a beginner and a little unsure of this idea, try a day trip.  Invite a friend or a family member to come along and help.  Take those baby steps until you become comfortable to plan a longer trip.

If you are a veteran roadschooler, keep traveling and pushing yourself to go bigger.  Maybe your next move will be to launch into worldschooling!

That’s exactly what happened to us.

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