What is Road Schooling?
As the name suggests, road schooling is the practice of instructing your children while you are driving. Many families have decided in recent years to forgo conformity and pursue their dreams of driving a van or an RV throughout the US.
However, they still want to ensure their child receives an education. Road schooling combines curriculum with learning through travel experiences, unlike world schooling, which suggests learning through life events as you tour the world.
A Road Schooling Curriculum
The programs and resources that families can use for homeschooling come in a huge variety. Of course, each family wants to select the ideal road schooling curriculum for their child. However, not all programs are suitable for learning on the road. When choosing a curriculum, road scholars must take several factors into account, such as:
- How much storage space do the materials require?
- How much room will you need to finish the academic work?
- Are all the necessary supplies provided, or will we have to buy more while traveling?
- Can multiple children use the same curriculum or materials?
- Will we have access to the internet while traveling for online courses?
Most full-time families like a select few tried and proven homeschooling curricula. Given how numerous people adore these choices, there is a decent possibility that one of them will meet your requirements.
Many road students prefer using an online curriculum because it is portable. These curricula typically cover everything, so you don’t need to add anything in the way of supplements. These programs are also primarily self-directed, giving you the freedom to pursue other interests.
However, they can also be time-consuming, so you should investigate your options carefully before making a decision, especially if you plan to go sightseeing during the week. Additionally, an online program would necessitate constant internet connectivity, so consider that when making your choice.
Time 4 Learning is one of the most effective and popular online curricula available today. However, many people also succeed with the Khan Academy’s free lessons.
All in One Workbook
There are a ton of all-inclusive workbooks available. These are an excellent solution for folks who require something portable and easy to store yet won’t always have access to the internet for online learning. They also provide a great deal of scheduling flexibility because there isn’t a “guide” outlining the timing and sequence of each activity.
These workbooks keep students on track academically quickly and painlessly, giving road schoolers plenty of time to read, talk, and explore their surroundings as they further their understanding of the material.
However, this “quick and easy” method frequently leaves teaching gaps that the student must actively fill. Some of the top all-in-one workbooks available include:
- Flash Youth
- Brain Quest
The final but most crucial choice is unschooling. This approach to homeschooling does not rely on textbooks or assessments; instead, it leverages the student’s life experiences to educate them in a relaxed and child-led way.
Experiencing different places and cultures naturally goes hand in hand with this teaching strategy. Unschooling, though it may sound a bit crazy, is very common in the homeschooling community, and many families find it very successful.
Homeschooling on The Road
How does road education operate? A rising trend involves families packing up their stuff and traveling while homeschooling. Many families that live this way include their observations and experiences in their children’s homeschooling lessons. Homeschoolers can increase their education and engage in discovery by using the sites and places they come across.
Students have access to the original Constitution as well as readings about it. They can spend a day exploring caverns and concentrating on echolocation, bats, and rock formations. Even getting a slice of pizza can be a teaching opportunity for fractions and pepperoni pie. These are just some of the benefits of road schooling.
Numerous families find home school while traveling appealing, which contributes to the expansion of road schooling across the country and offers an opportunity for experiential, hands-on learning. Although every family’s experience with road schooling is unique, it is a strategy that works for those who value:
- Unplanned and spontaneous learning opportunities
- The capacity to link travel to the topics and ideas they are studying
- A willingness to assist kids in making connections between their schooling and the outside world
Homeschooling Laws in the Road Schooling Context
Discovering your state’s road schooling laws and regulations is the first step. The enormous differences across states can significantly impact how your family conducts road schooling lawfully.
The website of the department of education in your state ought to include this information. The homeschool legal defense association (HSLDA) also offers thorough summaries, visual explanations, and other pertinent data.
States That Don’t Require Notice
Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Texas are among these states. There is minimal to no regulation of homeschooling in these states, and no mandatory tests are necessary. Since you are not required to appear in person, which might be challenging when traveling, this is highly useful for road schooling.
These states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Apart from the requirement to file paperwork with the state informing them of your intention to homeschool, these states often have few legal requirements or prohibitions.
It might be necessary to file these papers yearly. However, some states with little regulation require assessments, so be sure to research your state’s requirements. Road schooling is quite simple for residents of these states, but they must be mindful of local regulations.
States With Moderate Regulation
Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia are some of these states. These states have stricter rules governing homeschooling, many of which require regular evaluations or assessments.
Although expectations differ, make sure you know the expectations in your state of residence, as they have greater record-keeping requirements than many other states. Residents of these states can attend road school, but you will probably need to spend some time there each year.
States With High Regulation
Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont are among these states. Road schooling is challenging in many states because of the strict regulations that apply to homeschooling (though not impossible).
You must maintain meticulous records of attendance hours, lesson plans, grades, and student achievement because you will need to appear in person frequently. These restrictions act as a barrier to road schooling by many families.
Road Schooling and Affordability
Few of us have limitless funds; therefore, we must monitor our expenditures. So how can someone on a tight budget pay for road schooling? Learn how to save money and keep your road trip for road school free or inexpensive.
Free Roadside Education Activities
Courses Versus Classes
Preschool through 12th grade, you will find Khan academy a big hit with your 10-year-old. It is simple to follow and self-paced.
Many accredited universities and schools, such as Columbia, MIT, Stanford, Georgia Tech, and Johns Hopkins, offer free online courses. Though many of these MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) won’t grant college credit unless you’re enrolled and paying tuition, you can still take them.
But frequently, the knowledge and material presented correspond exactly to the class or course required for credit. It’s a fantastic option for those who want to learn or are up for a challenge but are not interested in or ready for a degree.
Every time you talk about Road schooling, think about libraries. They are simple to locate and always feature free activities for kids of all ages. Go beyond the realm of stories. Homeschoolers and road schoolers can attend many after-school programs.
You should not overlook weekend shows and free movie nights or days. Some are more conventionally educational than others. Think creatively if it worries you that it won’t be educational.
Talk about the film’s production. Where was the movie shot? Learn interesting facts about the location they selected. Perhaps look into why it made a nice location for filming, etc. Your school is the entire globe!
Nature walks are possible practically everywhere. Grab some rocks, trees, and other naturally occurring vegetation, and presto! On a nature walk, you are. A special time for one of your children to go on a walk with just mom or dad can be now if you have many children.
Nature walks are a terrific way for families to bond. Plan to discuss what you observe. For instance, pause and make mental notes on things you wish to research later (or pull out your phone and make notes there). Or perhaps you undertake an on-the-spot picture session while carrying a camera.
Give the youngsters the camera and let them choose what to take pictures of. You won’t get a greater glimpse into what intrigues them other than what they catch on “film.” Be imaginative.
Although this is a fancy term for a nature walk, a hike is what you are doing if you are on a designated hiking trail or venturing off the usual path. Many of the activities listed in the section on nature walks are also available to you.
Additionally, you can carry your map with you and keep track of your location, or you might make your map with your points of reference. For example, you could notice a patch of cacti or a group of mushrooms every quarter mile or every bend or drop-off.
Put it on your map when you get back to your RV. Depending on your child’s age, you might explain the location using the scientific names of the cactus or mushrooms you discovered.
You can create scavenger hunts and finish anywhere! Every time you take a hike or a walk in the woods, you would like to utilize them. Because you anticipate it would be “boring,” you started creating scavenger hunts for your children. For them, it dramatically altered everything. They are now eager to go and eagerly anticipate the lists you make.
Your youngest would ask you to create images when she wasn’t reading. Now that they both receive written lists, the oldest has more specific items, such as whether the rock is igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary. Because you may scale for your child’s proficiency, these are truly fantastic.
Thus, even if you have teenagers, you may make things for them based on what they are studying or finding interesting. How about roadside scavenger hunts if you are on the road all day? Have everyone glance out the window and point out something obvious, like a certain car or a black Tesla X. Scalable once more according to reading level and age.
Even better, have the older children make them for the smaller ones or let them all make one. There are countless options!
Free Days or a Free Trial
You can take advantage of free days or trial periods at various locations. There used to be a gymnastics facility offering free tumble and play on Fridays when your children were still in preschool. The museums of the Bank of America are on us. Zoos and art institutions often offer free days.
However, there is no hard and fast rule for locating these. Wherever you are going, it is advisable to search for “free events” or “free things to do” to see what pops up. Some of them will be fantastic, while others will truly stink, but hey, it was free, right?
Local Art Galleries or Studios
Here, these refer not to art galleries but galleries and studios run and owned by regional artists. They are frequently found in old downtowns and are free to the public to explore. If you want to support the artist, they often have affordable products (prints, cards, postcards, buttons, etc.) available for purchase.
They also always have the artwork for sale (s). One of our favorite alternatives to visiting art museums is this method of art exploration. You can enjoy the artwork without being silent or worrying about security. You can enthusiastically discuss the artwork, and on rare occasions, you could even meet the artist in person and ask them questions.
Community History Centers
History centers will be present in historic downtowns. They aid in local history education and are free. Although most of them are minor, they provide intriguing and distinctive facts about the town. It might pique your Road School student’s curiosity in the area’s history and inspire further investigation after you depart.
If there are any additional historical monuments or sites in the area that you and your Road school student might find interesting, inquire with the center’s staff.
Low-Cost Road schooling Activities
You all know about these from your local community. Now that you are on the road, you can participate in community events.
Whether it’s The Georgia apple festival, Florida spring fest, annual national shrimp festival, world championship punkin chunkin, or the Scarecrow fest, you are bound to find one your family will enjoy and can enjoy learning about the local community and the history of the festival.
There are many free nature centers, but some have a small entrance fee. Does your family love nature centers? They tend to have an indoor interactive museum or display area and have outdoor hiking and nature walks.
They address general environmental concerns and specific concerns in the immediate area. While the indoor areas are more geared to elementary school-aged children, the outdoor hiking areas are for all ages and provide plenty of learning opportunities.
ASTC Travel Passport Program
Suppose you and your family enjoy touring more traditional museums around the country but hate paying the high entry fees. In that case, you should consider purchasing a museum membership from a museum that is part of the ASTC travel passport program.
This program will allow you to visit other ASTC travel passport program participants at no additional fee (in some cases, there is a small fee, you have to read the fine print). These include:
- Museums (art, history, nature)
- Children’s Museums
You don’t have to be a part of a local homeschool co-op to participate in homeschool classes for your road schooler. Many of the places already listed offer some sort of homeschool class. Some offer a series of classes, and others offer a la carte classes. More of a stationary RVing family? You will probably be able to sign up for classes or camps in your local area.
The biggest thing with homeschool classes is that you need to plan. There is a homeschooling boom these days, and classes fill up quickly.
You will rarely be able to join a class at the last minute, although if you do arrive in town and find something starting the following week, call and see if there are any last-minute cancellations or know if you can get on the wait list – you might be able to get in the class!! So, find out where you are going to be heading and research homeschool classes in the following establishments:
- Science Centers
- Nature Centers
- Art Museums
State Parks/National Parks
Not only are there many opportunities for outdoor discoveries, but many state and national parks have visitor centers full of educational materials and displays. Staff and rangers are also there to help answer your questions or take you on guided hikes and other cool, family-friendly activities.
Kids of all ages can find something of interest here. National Parks, of course, have the junior ranger program, and anyone can participate. It excites rangers and staff to speak to road-schooled kids. They often get atypical questions from road schoolers and can surprise them with the level of detail kids can get down to.
Kind of the same but kind of unrelated. Do you have a teen that would make a great junior ranger but think this program is not advanced enough for them and you will be somewhere long-term? See if there are other programs around the country, like the Junior Ranger program in Boulder.
While homeschool groups are free, some of their activities are not. Maybe you will be sticking around an area for a few months; you might be able to join the local 4-H homeschooling group for a project. Or perhaps you join a group just to go on one of their field trips. These won’t be free but will be available at a discounted rate.
Whether the symphony orchestra is having a concert the weekend you are in town or there is a music festival, you can help your musically inclined (or not) Road schoolers experience music they may not usually have access to. Learning about various local artists or different types of music is a great experience for kids of all ages.
Events at Universities
If you are traveling through cities with universities, go ahead and see if they have any upcoming activities for families. My alma mater has summer camps for “gifted” students and an instrument petting zoo.
Not only do universities have these local events, but they have concerts, on-site museums and galleries, and beautiful architecture and walking paths—all fantastic ways to spend a thrifty afternoon learning in a very natural way.
How and Where to Store Road Schooling Supplies
This query is surprisingly frequent, and every household may have a unique response. Due in large part to the fact that your son is still so young, your family may have a pretty liberal attitude to education. You may, therefore, not have a lot of storage space. But what you have may just fit perfectly.
Although you may have a basket of books to choose from in your tiny house, you can also go to the library as much as possible to reduce the number of books you own. A kindle fire tablet, which is full of educational games, books, and podcasts, comes in handy while traveling for long stretches by automobile.
Additionally, you can have a cupboard specifically for pencils, paper, and craft items. In addition, you may use ordinary encounters and adventures to further your child’s education. Some families with older children can store all of their children’s coursework online.
Other families get a bigger RV so they can have a separate classroom. There are several strategies for making on-the-go learning successful, and no one method works for everyone.
Making Time for Schoolwork
Create the Right Setting
To help your youngster focus, establish a peaceful environment for homeschooling while traveling. Limit distracting your time spent. Ensure that the radio and television are off, and ideally, put any mobile phones on silent. It will be beneficial if your youngster has a quiet area to work in, a desk or table to sit at where there isn’t much going on around them. Read our article and find out RV TV Mounting Ideas.
Select a peaceful area where your child will feel at ease, such as their bedroom or the couch if you read to them.
Little and Often
When it comes to homework or learning at home, it’s often preferable to do it frequently, predictably, and regularly throughout the week. If at all possible, avoid doing it at the last minute. Ensure your child gets lots of learning practice in brief, enjoyable sessions by having them read for ten minutes daily or master times tables on the five-minute commute to school.
In busy households, breaking homework assignments into short weekly sessions can be more practical than sitting down for extended periods. They are more likely to remain enthusiastic and interested.
Most significantly, it helps your youngster develop healthy study habits. Regular 10- or 15-minute homework sessions are less intimidating for kids who are more reluctant to complete their assignments than sitting down for an hour.
Choose Your Time Wisely
You should use bribery with caution because it’s important to prevent kids from seeing learning as a chore. However, you might find it simpler if homework or other at-home learning is over before a child’s favorite television show or a play date rather than suggesting it. In contrast, the child is already engaged in something fun.
Be Available to Assist
Be willing to assist others. Even the most motivated learners occasionally need assistance, despite the desire of all parents to foster their children’s independence and sense of ownership over their education.
To avoid interfering with their style, try to stay nearby if they have questions. Finally, remain composed! When doing schoolwork, tensions can rise, but if you can control your temper, everything will go more easily. Praise them profusely for their efforts.
Before starting, ensure your youngster has everything they need (or, for older children, encourage them to do these themselves). This way, your youngster won’t have to interrupt a good activity to look for a ruler or an eraser.
When it comes to homework, it pays to read the assignment to your child as soon as you can (or, even better, to encourage them to read it out to you), even if they aren’t going to start working on it for a few days. There may be a conflict if there is a last-minute panic because there is more work than anticipated!
The Pros and Cons of Road Schooling
Pros of Road Schooling
- Road schooling broadens the child’s learning environment beyond the classroom. Every location you visit and every encounter offers you the chance to learn.
- Road schooling gives kids the chance to learn by doing. Your kids experience things firsthand rather than reading about them in textbooks.
- Road schooling fosters family unity and improves the parent-child dynamic. Your relationship with your child becomes stronger when you spend daily with them in a close environment.
- Road schooling provides parents a big say in shaping their kids’ education. You get to choose what you expose your kids to and what you teach them as a parent and teacher.
- Road schooling enables parents to shield their kids from a negative school climate and outside influences like drugs and bullying.
- Road schooling enables you to be innovative with your children’s education, experimenting with different approaches to see what works and doesn’t.
- Road education instills adaptability in your kids. They will gain experience dealing with delays in transportation as well as meeting new people, relocating, trying new foods, and experiencing other cultures.
- Your kids will learn minimalism through road schooling. They’ll be able to practice being content with what they have and learn to survive on less.
- As opposed to spending all of their time in front of technological gadgets, road schooling encourages kids to spend more time playing, hiking, bicycling, and just being kids outside.
Cons of Road Schooling
Even while road education is fantastic, not everyone should do it. Every parent should know a few risks with road schooling before beginning.
- Children may have difficulty socializing because of the continual travel, which makes it difficult for them to develop lasting friends.
- Youngsters who are road schooled “may” miss out on the chance to socialize and develop relationships with other school-age children. This isn’t always the case, hence the inclusion of “may.”
- Road education in some states forbids students from participating in extracurricular activities with children enrolled in school. This reduces their ability to develop talents in other areas, such as athletics or the arts.
- Road schooling lacks a thorough organizational structure compared to traditional institutions.
- Road schooling restricts the celebration of significant accomplishments to primarily close relatives. Students miss out on school-sponsored awards, graduation, and recognition ceremonies.
- Compared to students who attend school, road schoolers may have fewer learning tools at their disposal.
- Traveling families may find it too difficult and stressful to combine parenting with teaching.
How to Start Your Child on Road Schooling
You can make a road schooling plan for your children through various methods. You have a range of possibilities once you determine every rule you must follow in your state’s DOE (as well as with your neighborhood school system).
Purchase a Curriculum
For each grade level, there is a wide range of curricula that you can purchase. As an illustration, the master class “Ready to road school” by RV life. This course will guide you through the process of being ready to educate your children while on the go, including details on the homeschooling regulations in each state.
It will also show you many possibilities for a homeschool curriculum and explain how to create a special homeschooling style for your children.
Develop a Unique Curriculum
You can create your curriculum for your kids based on the recommendations of your DOE. This can entail using diverse learning resources and formats for distinct components. For instance, you may use a portion of the curriculum from Khan Academy’s online courses and course materials.
Kids may learn the fundamentals of all subjects (at all levels!) via Khan Academy, including math, science, economics, language arts, history, and much more. You might also learn a language using a program like Duolingo. Or maybe you’ll locate a guitar-teaching lesson on YouTube for your kid.
By assembling your curriculum in this manner, you can ensure that you meet all state standards required for homeschooling traveling families.
Use an Online School.
Online schools adhere to all or nearly all state educational standards. This is another choice if you’re confident you can offer a reliable internet connection while traveling. Though you’ll have to follow a schedule, this decision might be challenging. Your children would spend hours each day “attending school” online, which kind of undermines the goal of road education.
Wherever you plan to hit the road, you have no reason not to keep your children busy with their studies. We are certain that this article has been of great help to you, and you have all it takes to start your child with travel homeschooling.