I’ve been going through some old posts in preparation for moving my blog to WordPress and came across this one (below the photo) from two years ago as we were just beginning our homeschool adventures. Some things have changed; the first being how much we pack along with us, online curriculum has become more of a friend these days as we travel. One thing that hasn’t changed is the admiration I have for my mother who taught me to read before I was old enough to begin school and continued to urge me along my path of learning even when my teachers would tell her I was “getting bored because I was too far ahead of the other children.” Her response was always the same, “She loves to learn and I’m not about to stop her.” I lost my mom way too soon but I can feel her influence as I continue to homeschool our grandson and I know he is reaping the benefits of having such a wonderful great-grandmother, even though they never had the fortune to meet.
These days EJ loves to map out our road trips on Google Earth
Here we are, two weeks into the new year and people are getting back into the regular routines of life. For me, it is a new routine of writing my blog full-time. I’m finding there is a great community of bloggers out there where I can find support and suggestions on how to keep things on track. I have also found a community of blogging homeschoolers, many who travel and “roadschool” as we will be doing for much of the next year. There are a few things I’ve discovered in getting ready for our latest trip. A, there are a lot of things to pack for an eight-year-old who homeschools and B, my mother was an amazing woman. There were times in my childhood when our family traveled where it wasn’t practical for us to attend a bricks and mortar school. When this happened, our mom took over our teaching duties and made sure we didn’t fall behind. She did a wonderful job and even helped me stay ahead of my grade. I wonder how she managed to pack all of the books and things required into our 1971 Town and Country station wagon and still have room for luggage! This was before the time of ebooks and email so she had to carry along our textbooks and readers plus pens, pencils, notebooks…you get the picture. I loved learning this way and benefitted from visiting historic sites, art galleries and National Parks in person; so much more meaningful than only reading about them in a book.
Discovering the Lewis and Clark Trail
Getting back to our trip, it began in cold and snowy areas so we had to brave the elements as we drove along a portion of the Lewis and Clark Trail in Montana. Our grandson was fascinated and couldn’t wait to learn more about their expedition. At one site the information boards talked of Sacagawea so she was added to the list of books to find. I really like the Grosser & Dunlap “Who was…?” and “What was…?” series. They are written at a grade 3-7 level so they are perfect for our needs and will be for some time. Picking them up at Barnes and Noble with my home educator discount makes them affordable plus the boy can look through the shelf and pick one for himself, always a treat.
Our new books
We continued on through Idaho and Utah and had a lovely drive through Zion National Park where we saw big horned sheep and wild turkeys along the side of the road. There was a lot of discussion about rocks and formations since this is something we are studying right now. We made sure to get our National Park passport stamped. We want to see how many we can get to in 2016, their centennial year.
Zion National Park
Our next stop was Las Vegas for the Continental Cup of curling. It seems a little odd to hold a curling event in a desert town but they put on a great show. We also spoke with some local curlers who are working to build a curling rink in Vegas. This way they can develop a junior program. Our grandson loves to curl in his local group and it’s a great way for him to interact with other kids since he is homeschooled.
Curling competition in Las Vegas
After Las Vegas, we decided to travel on from there to the Tucson, Arizona area (warm weather, no snow!) There are a number of National Parks here that offer Junior Ranger programs that fit in with school curriculum. Learning about things hands-on is always so much more fun, and memorable, than simply learning from a book. I treasure my childhood memories of visits to The White House, Stone Mountain, and Kitty Hawk, to name just a few. I want our grandson to have these memories too.
This week we also celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Again we were able to find a “Who was…?” book that begins at the very beginning of MLK’s life. It is fun for a child to see how an average little boy from a normal family can grow up to do great things. It is good to have role models and dreams.
A great read for MLK Jr. Day
We’ve had a great start to our journey and look forward to traveling and learning as we travel North America, one highway at a time.