Have you ever dreamed of selling everything you own and living life full-time on the road? I know some days I do! Some homeschooling families are doing just that. With the adaptable nature of homeschooling and today’s ever-increasing opportunities to work remotely, the nomadic lifestyle has fresh appeal. This unconventional approach to school on-the-go is referred to as “roadschooling.” Those brave enough to take it on cite reasons such as impromptu learning experiences and being able to connect curriculum-learning to the real world as reasons that roadschooling is worth pursuing. Even though we haven’t gone completely rogue, in my family roadschool happens any time we are traveling, but not completely shutting down school. Since we travel quite a bit, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to make the most of mobile schooling.
Here are a few tips for taking the show on the road:
Simplify: Try to pare down materials as much as possible. I picked up a good method for this from Taylor’s parents. When they were “roadschooling,” the kids recorded most of their work in basic spiral notebooks. In addition to the math and English lessons, their notebooks included drawings, scribbled notes and pages of journal-style writing about what they were doing at the time. Now those notebooks are a great way to look back on what was happening in life and school during those years. Writing is one of the subjects that I don’t feel I have a perfect method for teaching yet, but one of the ways that feels the least stressful for me is letting the kids journal. Then I can pick and choose a few places to discuss grammar and writing technique, trying to guide them without ripping apart their work. Travel seems to make words flow easier from even my stubborn writers.
Listen to audiobooks: Audiobooks are a great way to take learning on the go. When I first tried audiobooks, I had in my mind that we would spend the hours on the road killing two birds with one stone. We would complete the classics while covering the miles! Some of you may be able to achieve that, but let me describe how this has really played out in my van. I can usually get my kids to not talk and focus in blocks of about 15 to 20 minutes. This is often the length of a chapter, so we will listen for a little bit and then stop. If they are actually engrossed, I might go for a second chapter, but that is usually our max. Then we spend a few minutes discussing what we’ve just listened to. I love this because I feel like everyone gets a lot out of hearing what different people take away from the reading. Honestly, we rarely finish a book on a drive, but I’ve learned to let that go and be happy with whatever we can accomplish.
Be flexible: Part of the travel experience is that things will not always go according to plan. Sometimes that works in your favor with things such as a great unplanned detour, but it can also mean major disappointment if something you have been looking forward to does not turn out the way you thought it would. I know this is hard for my kids. They can get super focused on a particular plan and feel really discouraged when it doesn’t work out. I try to preemptively remedy some of that by talking about it before we go. I remind them that we cannot control everything, and that this is especially true when we travel, but that isn’t a reason to give up. We can always try to make things happen!
Traveling and teaching is not always easy, but the tough stuff usually comes with memories and lessons you just can’t get at home. Happy Trails.