**This post is an updated version of a post written years ago.
You wake up, look at the alarm and realize the bell rang 20 minutes ago. Do you panic? Do you rush your offspring out of bed, toss them a granola bar, and dash madly out the door? NOPE. Today you will enjoy the luxury of waking when you want, eating a leisurely breakfast and spending time with your offspring. No more bells, bad lunches, bullies and boring teachers. You don’t just read about the Oregon Trail, you travel it, mile by mile. You walk in the footsteps of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Chief Joseph and Harriet Tubman. You hike, swim, climb, run, walk and bike. Every day is a new place…a new adventure. The world is your playground and life is your curriculum.
You are a roadschooling family.
Our family spent 2 months traveling last summer. We visited Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming. Each day the kids would complete a page of their Summer Bridging workbooks.
The rest of the day was spent playing, hiking, swimming, visiting museums, local attractions and events. We covered Geography, Science, History, Math just by living. Reading and Writing was covered by reading books instead of TV or computer games. Writing happened when we wrote in daily journals. Grammar and spelling were corrected during writing. We were learning and living at the same time. The memories are priceless!
Roadschooling – a recently coined term combining traveling and homeschooling – is becoming more and more popular around the world. Excerpt from ”Educate Your Children While Traveling: Roadschooling” Nancy Sathre-Vogel. travel.infonex.us 3.1.10.
With over 2 Million (“Homeschool Population Report 2010” National Home Education Research Institute. Brian D. Ray. 1.3.11) homeschoolers in the United States, homeschooling is becoming more acceptable. Today, some families are learning while traveling. The benefits are numerous: deepened family bonds, hands-on learning experiences, and cultural immersions to name a few. So just what is roadschooling?
Opportunity to explore. Through exploration the child learns. Instead of reading about the great Battlefield of Gettysburg, they experience it for themselves. They stand on the very ground the battle took place. They read the words spoken by Abraham Lincoln as he stood in the very spot they stand. They close their eyes and visualize the soldiers coming up the hill. It’s WAY better than any book. This is real-life learning that sticks with them long after the day is over.
Opportunity to grow. Our country is obsessed with growing diverse, tolerant adults. I think that is a very good thing. Still, it’s hard to happen when one sits in a single classroom, in a single school, in a single state, in this single country. It’s difficult to get an actual worldview that encompasses the entire world when one does not move from their location. Children grow character-wise when they are exposed to different cultures, ideas, peoples, events and places.What an amazingly diverse world and culture our country has!
This summer we experienced what racism felt like in Arkansas.When we became the minority (as in the only Caucasian around), it was an eye-opening experience for ALL of us! It challenged us to change how we treat others around us who are different. It challenged us to question our society’s culturally accepted norms. And it challenged us to make a difference in our own backyard!
Opportunity to learn. Learning is no longer limited to the classroom. We as a species are born to learn. From the moment our eyes open we are learning about our world. Roadschooling provides an unique opportunity to learn…at the speed of life!
Like homeschooling, roadschooling will look different for every family. Our family used a combination of books (math & grammar) and hands-on learning (science & social studies). We utilized books on CD and our e-book readers. We made use of the National Parks Jr. Ranger programs. We visited historical sites and read required information. We took our time exploring and understanding what we were experiencing. When possible, we avoided the “commercialized” attractions and stuck to natural or educational places. We made learning apart of our life, not life apart of our learning.
Our years traveling and learning on the road are some of our most precious memories. Although we are now stationary we do not miss the opportunity to travel to new places, try new foods, listen to new languages. Life is learning. Roadschooling is just one small piece of our life.
See you on the road!
Want to learn more? Visit these sites:
- Families on the Road – Website dedicated to families who leave the conventional life and live on the road full-time! Has great information about traveling and roadschooling.
- Family on Bikes – website of a family traveling and learning on bikes.
- Wandrly – An Introduction to Roadschooling – Great article for those wondering how to accomplish school while traveling.
- Roadschooling Families – a Facebook page dedicated to these families.
- Roadtrippers – a place to plan your next road trip!