Thursday, May 17, 2012

Five Days of Traveling With Kids Part 4 - Homeschooling on the Road

***I'm so sorry that my day four post is late. Unfortunately life happens and it certainly had happened the past day or so.***

One nice thing about homeschooling is the freedom. You aren't tied down to school schedules or calendars. You can come and go as you please. Being missionaries requires us to go quite often. The bad thing about it is that school must go on. Oh, there are some homeschoolers that are year round and homeschool through the summer, but, still, if you travel a lot, you must do some homeschooling while you travel.

An obvious choice, and the choice for many, is to take your books with you. We've done that with not much success. When we're busy with running around to and fro, you tend to forget to set time apart to hit the school books. Besides, it's not much of a vacation for the kids if they have to have their nose in a book all of the time. Instead, I have sly ways that use to educate my kids on the road. So secret and so tricky that they don't even know what is happening. Fortunately for you, it isn't so secret that I would have to kill you if you found out. In fact I'm going to come right out and tell you right now.

Here's how we homeschool on the road:
Obvious Ways:

  1. Books or books on tape. Have a book that needs to be read? Get the book on tape and use it to pass the time away while riding in the car. I mentioned in Part 2 of this series that on one trip I read a whole book to the kids. It was one of those trips where Sarah's mom came along and shared the driving while I was regulated to one of the middle seats with the rest of the kids (but I'm not bitter!). Anyway, we all enjoyed the book - even Sarah and her mom.
  2. Make sure the places you visit have historical or cultural value. Even homeschoolers are entitled to field trips every once in a while. Tomorrow I'll be talking about some of our most memorable vacations/trips but I'll tell you now that we love visiting state parks, museums, historical sites, zoos...and, of course, you can count them all for homeschooling!
  3. Music and art class. Listen to classical music. Have your children draw pictures. You have a captive audience when they are in the car. There may be some moans and groans, but, if you are enthusiastic about listening to Mozart then they will be as well.
I'm sure there are many more obvious ways that I can mention, but why accentuate the obvious?

Not so Obvious Ways:

Here's where the fun begins. I get to talk about the sneaky stuff.
  1. Geography - John Allen loves maps. Little does he know that while he using his pocket atlas to follow our route he is learning map skills, directionality, state identification...a myriad of things!
  2. Geography - remember the license plate game I mentioned in part 2?  Why not give your children a map of the United States with just the states outlined and labeled with the state name and have them color each state in when you see a license plate instead of just writing the state's name down?
  3. Social Studies - Do your children know what road signs mean? Do you talk about what they see on billboards? What about just plain old site seeing out the window? When we traveled through Arkansas last summer we saw planes parked right next to houses. We had a great time discussing crop dusters and watching them in action.
  4. Language - Think those rhyming games, word games, memory games, etc. are just for fun? Think again! Especially with younger children, those things are all part of their development.
  5. Cultural Studies - Ok, I'll admit it! We come from small town Tennessee. There isn't an extensive foreign food section in our grocery stores. When we visit my sister in New Jersey, however, we can visit huge grocery stores that have huge foreign food sections. Have you ever bought a snack from another culture? What about a Mexican soda? We always buy something from another country to taste whenever we are able. Just a couple of weeks ago we were someplace that had an Indian store so we purchased some snacks from India. Great lessons!
  6. Nature Studies - Remember that post where I talked about stopping at interesting places to eat lunch? State or local parks are great places to stop and learn about nature.
  7. Nature, U.S. Studies, History - Take the scenic route. Often, on our way home from visiting my sister in New Jersey we'll take it in two (or three days) and drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. We try stop some of the historical exhibits, scenic overlooks, and cultural centers along the way. It has become a favorite for thing for us to do. Why not look on the map and take it easy on the way home from someplace. Find an "off the beaten path" drive to travel on. Stop a lot. Have fun. It's also very educational as well.
I think you get the picture. There are so many things that you can do while you travel that is also educational. Count it as homeschool. Be creative! Did your child make a craft at the conference you attended? Did you collect shells at the beach? Did you have your child keep a journal of the highlights of the day? Did you allow your child to take pictures? Don't be afraid to count those things as homeschool! Hey, if the public school teachers pretty much shut down for about a month after the standardized tests, then you can count a bunch of things like what I mentioned above for homeschool.

Do you homeschool on the road? What are some of the things that you do? Leave a comment and tell us all about it. We'd love to hear from you.

Also, don't forget to check out Day One, Day Two, and Day Three of this five part series "Five Days of Traveling with Kids". Just click on the links and they'll take you straight to each article!

This series is part of a huge blog hop called "The Five Days of...". There are over 65 bloggers participating. Click on the banner below to find out all of the interesting things that they are blogging about.



  1. We try to include visits to "educational" attractions - especially living history type museums - on our vacations. I called the visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame a field trip too! ;-) And my younger kids love the National Parks Jr Ranger programs.

    Great series!! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  2. This is a great post! I love all the ideas. Thanks!