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Carschooling is a great way to take your learning with you wherever you go, whether that’s on a weeklong summer road trip or a drive across town to the grocery store.
One of the great advantages of homeschooling is that we get to bring our children along with us as we do the tasks of daily life, but all those errands and appointments can take a big bite out of your homeschooling day if you’re not prepared to bring school on the go. The good news is with a little forethought and planning, you can stock your car with a few simple things to keep your kids engaged and learning while you’re on the road.
Our Carschooling Essentials
I like to use a sturdy basket or large seat organizer to store our carschooling items. If I leave the same items in the car for too long, no one touches them. A storage container that’s easily portable increases the likelihood that I will remember to bring our carschooling basket back inside from time to time and refresh it with new items. I try to mix things up about once a month or when I notice my kids are getting bored with the contents. It usually takes me about 20 to 30 minutes to clean out my organizer and restock it with fresh items. In my opinion, that’s a small price to pay for peaceful, quiet car rides!
Some of my most successful carschooling experiences have been on days when I have a long list of errands to run, and I make our first stop the library. Our library let you put books on hold, so if I’m really on my game, I’ll go online a few days before and request a bunch of books I know my kids will love. Then on errand day, we swing by the library, pick up our armload of books at the front desk, and go about our errands. Once I’ve given each kid their stack of new books, they’re usually more than happy to be along for the ride.
Nothing makes time in the car fly by like listening to a good audiobook. I try to download a few for free from our library’s listening app if I know we’re going to be spending time in the car. Some of our favorites include the Penderwicks series, anything by Beverly Cleary, the Little House books, and all of E. B. White’s children’s books.
We love listening to podcasts in the car (also during read-aloud time when Mom’s voice needs a break). No matter what your current topics of interest, you can probably find a podcast on it.
These are some podcasts we’ve enjoyed in our family.
- Naturalist Kids
- No Sweat Nature Study
- Masterpiece Makers
- Circle Round
- Grim, Grimmer, Grimmest
- Young Ben Franklin
- Classics for Kids
- Wow in the World
Favorite Items to Use for Carschooling
These are a must for the preschool crowd, but with so many different options and themes for these mess-free “painting” books. Just use the spill-proof pen to apply water to the sturdy pages and watch as hidden images and designs appear. In just a few minutes, the water dries and you can do the pages again.
Wikki Stix are perfect for kinesthetic learners or kids that need something to do with their hands. Made of yarn with a touch of wax, you can shape them, mold them, make designs and pictures. They are endlessly reusable and best of all there’s no mess.
Whether your child is practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or even algebra, Wrap-Ups are a great way to practice math on the go. Perfect for kinesthetic learners, once they get the hang of them, your children will be able to use these over and over again to independently learn their math facts until they have them mastered.
There are lots of different sticker books on the market, but these reusable ones from Melissa & Doug are the best we’ve found to use on the go. Each book comes with sturdy spiral bound pages filled with colorful scenes perfect for imaginative play with chunky stickers that are easy for little hands to manipulate. With themes like Riding Club, Vehicles, Jungle Safari, and Pet Place, there is sure to be at least one that grabs your child’s attention.
Flipping through these decks of colorful cards on topics like U. S. Presidents and ancient Mythology is a great way to pass the time. Filled with colorful graphics and fascinating stats, you can’t help but learning something new.
I’m not a big workbook person and neither are my kids, but if the car ride is long enough, they sometimes enjoy have a workbook to go through. The ones from Kumon are my go-to for engaging, colorful content.
If you’re always on the go, I invite you to give carschooling a try. Let us know if it works in your homeschool and what you like to bring along with you.
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