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Thursday, January 14

Introduction to Road-Schooling

Our Road-Schooling Journey

Road-schooling :  a form of homeschooling that involves traveling, allowing the places and experiences to drive learning  (compatible with, but not the same as, Unschooling)

Maybe one of your New Year's Resolutions is to bring about change in your family dynamics.  Whether you're a homeschooler or have children in a regular school setting, road-schooling can bring your family closer together!  It's a bit like vacationing with a common interest and purpose.  But read on to see if this journey is the right move for your family!

My husband’s job requires full-time travel, but at the detriment of our family unit.  At least, it used to be that way.  Three years ago, we pulled the kids from school and hit the road with him!  What a nerve-wracking decision! 

Until then, our children had no bond with Daddy.  He was a stranger that occasionally showed up and “changed the rules.”  (Hey – Momma can only pick so many battles alone!)  Also, we were struggling with the public schools – in particular, our special needs child was severely falling behind, and we saw no light at the end of the tunnel.  Going on the road with him offered a change, and put both of those variables directly into our hands.

Given our experiences, we would now recommend road-schooling to all families.
There are a few caveats, however.  If I had to tell myself a few pointers three years ago…
  • Know the requirements.  Follow the homeschool requirements of your home state, regardless of where you are currently located.  To be safe, you may want to check with Homeschool Legal Defense Association to make sure that you are completing all homeschool requirements.
  •  Plan ahead.  Learn about the area you’re visiting – check for museums, events, festivals, factory tours, and anything relevant to that specific location.  Websites will often have free educational resources to help guide your field trip.
  • Keep records.  Field trips count as school days, but you want to have ‘regular’ days in there also.  One day, you’re going to be accountable for that education.  This is one of the reasons that we started our blog – it allows us to document where we’ve gone and what we’ve seen.  It also allows us to connect with families in our current location, which is very nice!
  • Don’t get a boxed curriculum.  These are great in the traditional homeschool, but take up so much space in the car.  We use (or create) materials to accompany what we’re studying.  I’ll usually share these in a unit study on the blog page.  See the record-keeping in action?  Plus, it helps other families who may be travelling to the same location.  …..and it takes up much less space!
  • Relax.  We school through the summer, on the weekends, at midnight…pretty much whenever we want.  We get more than the required days in, and that’s fine.  We have a lot of field trip days, too.  Want to know which style helps the kids learn and retain the most?  Life experiences, of course!
There are days when we are
sick of each other and want space.  There are days when we’re sick of being on the road and want to be home.  And there are days when we’re just plain sick.  Nothing is perfect.  But seeing the children experience this great country from sea to shining sea, having them enjoy the learning process, and watching them find and follow new passions is worth any minor inconveniences.  

Just remember…”Life’s a journey, not a destination!”
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