Homeschooling Your Children on the Road

If I’ve learned anything about homeschooling in the past couple years, it’s that there are as many ways of homeschooling as there are families doing it. Each family has its own unique set of circumstances, needs, wants, strengths, and weaknesses. We are no different from any other family out there.

What I can do is outline here what our basic beliefs are when it comes to educating our children, and I can explain a bit of what we do. I hope there will be something in my babblings that you can use!

John and I have learned a lot in our combined 41 years in the classroom. The most important thing we’ve learned is that kids are naturally curious and have an innate desire to make sense of the world around them. In other words – they want to learn. Have you ever seen your child out digging in the ground, trying to pull earthworms out of the dirt? And then that same child proudly shows you all the segments and explains how the worm wiggles to move? She is simply trying to put the pieces together to make sense of what’s around her.

Unfortunately, our school system tends to beat that curiosity out of kids. We take “learning” and make it boring, repetitive, and irrelevant. And that is a pity indeed.

On our journey, we have made a conscious effort to capitalize on our boys’ natural propensity toward learning. We go out of our way to visit historical and/or scientific sites in order to arouse that sense of curiosity in our children. And our kids have learned the joy of learning.

To an extent, we’ve directed our kids’ learning – to an extent. But mostly, we simply allow Mother Nature to be the boys’ teacher, and she does a much better job than we could ever do. Mother Nature has taught the boys about the evolutionary forces of the earth, the physical layout of the land, and the vast diversity of wildlife. She’s bombarded them with ferocious winds and frozen their fingers with plummeting temperatures. But she’s also shown them miracles only she can show – the grand panoramic vista when we crest the top of a pass or the discarded shell of a cicada.

When Mother Nature isn’t teaching the kids, our journey, itself, becomes their teacher. We take advantage of our journey to visit places we know the kids can learn from. We’ve visited Mayan ruins in Mexico and Belize, national parks in the USA and Canada, and coral reefs in Central America. Whenever we are in one of those locations, we spend a fair amount of time working with the kids to help them understand what they are seeing.

But even so, we recognize that neither Mother Nature nor our journey will teach the boys certain things – things we consider essential. For those, we carry materials with us and take advantage of time in motels or the tent to work on them. We carry math books in our panniers and are steadily working through them. The boys write in their journals on a fairly regular basis. They read voraciously.

Are there holes in their education? Maybe. But what are holes? If they were in public school in Boise, would they learn the same things that they would learn if they were in school in New York City? Or in Kaohsiung, Taiwan? Our goal is to encourage the boys to learn how to learn – that way they will have the skills to fill in any hole they may find!

 

Roadschooling ideas from other traveling families:
30 traveling families share their most educational moments (part 1)

30 traveling families share their most educational moments (part 2)

A global curriculum

A ten-year-old's take on roadschooling

Teaching the one room school

Roadschooling highschool: You CAN do it!

Round the world schooling

Family world trip and schooling

A roadschooling day

Our world school: An end of year report

Exploring Unschooling-Part 1: Interview with life learner, unschooler Peter Kowalke

Exploring Unschooling-Part 2: Interview with Canadian unschooling mom

Exploring Unschooling-Part 3: Interview with Eli Gerzon, an unschooled adult who decided to direct his own education at the age of 15

A Parent’s Guide to Unschooling on the Road

What is Unschooling?

The World is Our Classroom

Is it really that hard roadschooling early primary?

Problems with teaching on the road

On the road school

 

 
Exploring Coral Reefs in Honduras