Our family loves to travel. We’ve driven almost coast to coast, in Canada, and can’t wait to see what the future holds. Homeschooling offers the flexibility to trek out on our own schedule with our own curriculum goals in mind.
If you are thinking about traveling with your gang, spend some time considering what their educational experiences will look like. You may wish to use the library or the Internet to explore your destinations ahead of time and/or after your arrival home.
When we set out on a three-month RV trip, I faithfully set aside a “school” cupboard packed to the gills with all of our curriculum and supplies. Truth be told, the cupboard was barely opened. So much unexpected learning happened that I never felt their education was lacking. Here are some ways to successfully combine homeschooling with any vacation.
1. Make Learning Come Alive
Your kiddos have read the books and watched the videos, but will they remember the facts? Seeing costumes, hearing stories, and walking in the replicated time period can leave an imprint on a student’s mind long after the test is over.
2. Learn New Languages
Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, and other language software can be a great base for learning a new language, but imagine how fluent you can become by immersing yourself in a new language environment.
3. Get to Know Your Family
If you have far away relatives, typical school calendars can make it difficult to visit and spend time together. Flexible schedules, especially when parents work from home, can help break time and distance barriers.
4. Engage Your Students by Capitalizing on Their Interests
Many state, province, or national attractions will appeal to your history buff, science nerd, or budding naturalist. Before you leave, ask your child to make prioritized lists of places they would like to visit on your trip.
5. Participate in Service Projects or Missionary Trips
Build gratitude and change stereotypes by visiting and helping people in developing countries or areas impacted by natural disasters. When we see the way others live, it can really change our perspective on what we have at home.
6. Build Memory Banks
It’s always fun to bond as a family by looking back at travel diaries, notebooks, and photographs of each trip. Blogging or creating interactive websites can be excellent for incorporating technology and engaging others along the way. Just be sure to research Internet options before you leave, as campground Wi-Fi is spotty at best.
7. Develop Literacy Skills
From preschoolers to grads, all children can benefit from writing about memorable experiences, and there are so many ways to keep their memories alive. Traditional homeschoolers can take their regular language arts curriculum on the road. Others may choose to use journals, notebooking, or destination-based research projects to practice skills and solidify learning. Reading aloud and listening to audiobooks are great ways to pass the time in your vehicle.
8. Build Faith
As a new Christian, I remember driving through the Rocky Mountains, in absolute awe of Our Creator. Now, my children constantly express their wonder and amazement as they explore creation and learn about unfamiliar plants, animals, and geography.
9. Expand Horizons
Traveling allows children to encounter interesting cultures, discover unfamiliar places, and enjoy novel experiences. For older students, travel may help with decisions about future career directions.
10. Incorporate Your Vision for Homeschooling
Whether you have chosen home education for faith-based reasons, to increase family time, or to accommodate a child’s special needs, traveling allows many opportunities for discussion, bonding, and creating unique experiences together.
If you plan to do culminating projects when your trip is over, take lots of photos, and collect maps and pamphlets. Try to record highlights of each day, such as weather, accommodations, people you met, attractions you visited, etc. Journal as quickly after sight seeing as possible, before events are forgotten. Additionally, keeping detailed records of expenses is a great help when planning future trips.
Remember, if your kids are involved with travel plans, packing, budgeting, meal planning, and other trip-related tasks, they will learn important life skills in the process. Don’t forget to take advantage of teacher or homeschool discounts that many attractions offer.
Finally, when you are thinking about travel, remember your reasons for homeschooling. Consider your family’s priorities in every aspect of trip planning. Setting goals that are important to your family will ensure your travel becomes an adventure you will never forget.
Copyright 2019, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of The Old Schoolhouse®Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.
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