Here we are on Day 5 of our blog hop. Today I’m sharing my favorite tips for homeschooling on the road for Friday Favorites. Enjoy!
Click…hmmm, normally this isn’t a bad sound except when it comes from your closing car door just as you realize your keys are not in your hand where they should be but, instead, are lying on the passenger seat right where you set them as you turned around to check on the noise coming from the back seat.
I don’t know about you but I must admit to doing this on more than one occasion, both when our girls were young and now as I travel with our eldest grandson on our roadschooling adventures. Thank goodness for the auto club! (They are very handy when you forget the cooler plugged in overnight and wake up to a dead battery too!)
Aside from things like locking my keys in the car, there are definite challenges to homeschooling on the road. On one hand, you don’t like to pack many extras that will weigh down the car and take up space. Going with a completely online curriculum can help with this but then there are times we don’t have connectivity. Over time, I have found that a mix of the two works best for us.
I remember our first road trip and packing totes full of books, math manipulatives, notebooks, duotangs, binders, etc, etc. We made sure there was room for the school stuff and only then made room for our suitcases. It was crazy for sure. I even had a small printer/scanner with us. Not necessary since most hotels have business centers for printing and you can always take a picture of something you need to scan. Or you can visit an office store like Staples where you can print and scan at a reasonable cost.
We have also learned by participating in programs at museums and science centers, we cover a lot of science, arts, and social studies without packing along lessons for them. As long as you have the internet, you can easily do additional research on the places you visit and the events/time periods they cover.
One thing that we’ve found very handy to have is a good clipboard folder with a pocket and spot for a pencil. These are great when your kids are doing a National, State, or Provincial Junior Ranger program. We’ve tried small binders but the clipboards make it much easier to keep their work neat when balancing on the edge of a display or planter.
EJ also has a travel journal where he keeps track of his adventures plus saves things like ticket stubs and stickers. He also takes plenty of pictures that go along with his stories and help him remember the places we’ve visited. These can be printed on plain paper and added as we travel along.
After taking care of our schooling needs, the next important piece of keeping our sanity on the road is to live as normally as we can. This means (for us) staying in long-term accommodations with kitchens (or at least a mini-fridge and microwave) so we can prepare our own meals and not have to eat out all the time. This benefits our budget and helps us create a quiet time each day where EJ can do some studying while I/we get dinner together. As with most kids, he does have his favorites and life is simpler if he can stick to them. (Another benefit of these hotels is that they usually serve free breakfast and some even have a social time in the evening. We’ve found some that serve a complimentary meal two or three nights a week.)
Of course when we camp there are fewer frills but I do insist on a KOA cabin so we don’t have to worry about packing a tent and air mattresses. We just bring our bedding and make up the fairly comfortable beds that are provided. Some of them even have televisions (great for keeping track of the weather at your next destination). There have been several nights where I was very happy to not be pitching a tent in the dark or in the rain (sometimes both.)
I guess what it boils down to is that after a few years of homeschooling we have come to a comfortable place of a more relaxed way of learning. We don’t get caught up on sticking to textbooks and worksheets, rather we take advantage of the learning opportunities that are presented to us while still making sure we cover the basics.
Our favorite homeschool resources? A good set of maps and an open road.
For more of our 5 Days of Encouragement Blog Hop you can visit our crew blog here or check out some of these other crew moms and their blogs.
Jennifer @ Dear Homeschooler
Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up Together
Kelly @ Hope in the Chaos
Kellyann @ Walking Home …
Kimberley @ Vintage Blue Suitcase
Kristen @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Linda @ Apron Strings & other things
And we’d love to have you join us on our linky!