Road Schooling

By Lissette F. McNair ... a homeschool mom in Virginia



We consider ourselves road schoolers and travel quite a bit during the year while homeschooling. Our kids learn so much casually when we are traveling that we try to hit the road as frequently as possible.


Most of our learning is done through conversation although we have to do tabletop math and writing because otherwise we would never finish our curriculums.


Here are some examples of what we talk about:


✅ Beach vacation: we talk about weather patterns, ocean geography, ocean life, main industry and economy of the area, history of the area, indigenous cultures from that area, climate change, etc.


✅ Lake or mountain trip: same as beach but adding elevation differences, changes in vegetation, etc.


✅ City Trip: we always make sure we visit a few sights where they can learn something (museum, theater, etc). We also talk about history of the city, economy of the city (what people do for a living, main industries, homelessness, etc), architecture, etc.


Conversations are not forced (since it is a vacation) but we are all having such a good time that it flows easily. Lots of questions arise which make it easier.


The only vacation we don’t do any actual homeschooling is when we visit family because there is much to learn from just spending time with grandma and other family members.


Because we travel so much, being able to jump back into homeschooling when we get home is very important. To do so, I take stuff we have done during our trips and incorporate it into their learning at home.


For example:


✅ I let the kids take pictures of whatever sparks their interest or whatever they have learned with the goal of having them do computer presentations (computer skills) and/or or oral presentations (speech) and/or written reports when we get home. It makes it easier to jump right into school when they are still excited about what they learned.


✅ I also let the kids take one or two books (books they like but mom approved) to read during downtime for them to work on book reports when we get back.


✅ We focus our science and history units based on locations or things that we have seen or will see while we were/are on vacation. For example, we just got back from visiting the Joshua tree national Park where the kids learned about volcanic rocks so I started my geology unit before we left, and will finish it next week so they are still engaged because of what they saw.


✅ We also have the kids write letters/emails/postcards to family members about what they have seen and learned so they can keep up their descriptive writing skills. Sometimes we do this while on vacation. Depends on how much time we have.


✅ I keep mental notes Of questions they ask during the trip for us to research more when we get home.


I will be honest, it’s hard to re-engage in school after you’ve been away, but I find that doing some of these things while on your trip has helped us get back on track quicker than the times we simply did not do any focused learning at all. Like I said, most of the learning is done through frequent and constant conversations over dinner or when we’re in the car, and then I take the opportunity to reinforce what they have learned when we get back.


For two or three days after we get back (depending on the length of our trip) we turn to media (documentaries, YouTube videos, etc) for relaxed learning while everyone recuperates from the trip and gets back on a regular sleeping schedule. If I try to do official schooling immediately upon return, everybody is grumpy and it doesn’t work. Lesson learned the hard way numerous times.


Hope this helps! Reach out if you need anything. I hope you have a fabulous time!


By Lissette F. McNair ... a homeschool mom in Virginia


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Roadschooling is a topic we will be touching on during tomorrow's "Teaching and the Future of Education" Demo Day! You can watch the event live on our YouTube channel.