Day One of our Not Back to School Blog Hop and I’m finally getting today’s entry posted. We’ve been traveling almost full time since the third week of May and it can be tough staying organized, especially when you are going back and forth from camping in your travel trailer to staying in a hotel. It never fails there is always something forgotten at home or left in the trailer that you could really use right now.
This issue is multiplied when you are also homeschooling. We try to stick with Kindle books and electronic curriculum to keep down on the heft of carrying around a bunch of books but there are still times when the particular language arts or social studies come in a printed book form.
Of course, there are always challenges to be faced when you travel. In the past, we had to worry about forgetting a toy under the bed in a hotel or in the playground at our campground. Now that EJ is more responsible for his own things we need to watch for notebooks and tablets being left in hotel business centers where he was using the internet or even out by the pool while he was doing some reading.
There was a certain peace in knowing what had to be packed when the grown-ups were responsible and in charge but, of course, it’s important that kids learn to take responsibility and learn ways they can help with the families travels.
The first lesson we all need to learn is to NOT OVERPACK, yes I raised my voice for that one. I am still guilty of this although less so than 10 years ago. So how do we make sure to have what we need without overpacking, think about where we are traveling and what we will be doing while we’re there.
So let’s get started with a plan for our next big road trip. I still find it easiest to have one member of our group carry the passports and keep track of reservations. Everyone else keeps a cop on their smartphone (or tablet in the case of EJ). This was when we arrive at the border it’s quick and easy to pull out our case and provide the travel documents to border security.
Next, I’ve created a checklist that each person can use to help them with their packing. It includes some questions to help zero in on what we need to bring with us. Here’s a snap of it after EJ has added a few notes:
You might notice that items like sunscreen and bug spray are not on EJ’s list, that’s because there are still a number of items that get packed for the family as one group. It’s nice that he can take care of his own packing plus help us with the general packing of the car now that he is older. It makes it a lot easier on the adults in the group.
So now that we’ve taken care of the basics the next step is to decide which homeschool items we’ll need along the way. One of the things I like to do is check the area we are visiting for homeschool days, kids programming, and junior ranger programs in the national parks although I do find EJ is aging out of several of these. If I find one that looks like it will work I schedule it in place of other schoolwork that day. This helps us not get bogged down with so much work that we can’t take advantage of the hands-on-learning. We can always make up things like math and language arts on quiet days but we may never opportunity to repeat the experience in front of us.
So basically I look at the time frame we will be traveling in my daytimer (I use a paper one, it’s just the way I roll) and schedule lessons and assignments around our road schedule. Some days will be more suited to listening to an audiobook and then working on the study questions before heading out on the road the next day or planning time in the afternoon for paperwork. The key, I find, is to be flexible and if that means doing questions verbally while driving that’s what we do.
With everyone working together we somehow manage to stay relaxed and organized in our homeschool on the road. I hope some of these ideas might be of help on your next family road trip.
Be sure to click on the links below to catch up with some of my fellow crew members who will be sharing their wisdom and experience with you this week.
CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew – 2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses – ABC of Homeschooling
Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag – Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day
Erin @ For Him and My Family – Large Family Homeschooling
Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens – Learning Life Skills
Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling – Homeschooling the High School Years