We have had so many people recently ask us about how our homeschooling is going on the road, so I thought I’d give you a glimpse into this ‘road-schooling’ life for our family.
First, I must say that some of my standard ways of schooling over the last few years have um… gone right out the window as we’ve driven down these highways. Schooling looks different. We are constantly in a new place, we drive sometimes from one campsite to another on a week day, and I am now schooling four children, not just two!
A lot of learning takes place just by seeing something new. When we had just been on the road a few weeks we were on the Pacific coast and found some tide pools. We walked around with the kids pointing out starfish, finding hermit crabs and sea anemones. Fast forward a few months, and how fun to watch us get to the Atlantic coast this past week and hear our kids yell out, “there’s tide pools!” and watch them scramble all over the rocks and coast line on their own search. Six months ago they did not know about tide pools!
Did you know that our wonderful national parks and some state parks offer a Junior Ranger program? They offer booklets to each child that they work on while visiting the parks. While there we work on these books, and then return to show a park ranger. The park ranger then asks them questions to see what they’ve learned, and then they go through their ceremony/pledge to ‘become a junior ranger’. We have had so much ‘science’ just by learning, walking and hiking through our parks. We have loved this – we have ranger badges and pins from places, such as the Redwoods, Glacier, Boston, Silver Falls in Oregon…
We have had fun with a group of other full time families with multiple robotic stations, we’ve sketched drawings of blueberry bushes, waves crashing, ferns/fronds, banana slugs, we ‘worked’ on an assembly line at the Henry Ford Museum making Model T’s. All of this hands on work makes it that much more impactful.
My goodness, have we have been in history mode. Between the Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, to the Boston Freedom Trails, to the Battle of Lexington and Concord, to the 9/11 Memorial, we have learned a lot. Living history, Re-enactments, re-enactors, hav truly taught our kids so much! They’ve talked with Teddy Roosevelt and learned some fun stories from his time on the ranch in ND and the animals (zebras, rats, roosters) that he had in the White House, they’ve stated their case to the British Soldiers as to why we should be our own country, they’ve talked with the Alden’s and worked in the Brewsters backyard garden (people that came over on the Mayflower).
We also have several living history books which bring the time period to life. These often happen in the evening as we are settling down for the evening. We love this cozy, cuddle time.
Another special time is in the car as we drive down the road. A lot of our seeking out of God’s Word, specifically in the book of James this year, is spent while we have a captive audience and aren’t as distracted. Spending 24/7 together is good practice for a book on James called, “Boy, Have I got Problems!”.
Recently, we were at Subway and got change back, $10.57 to be exact, which got Micah thinking… is the 10 bigger or the 57 bigger. Out came my change and the kids are now ‘buying’ their snacks from me each day. And I just might be throwing in some healthy options that are cheaper, thus killing 2 birds with 1 stone – $0.8 for peanuts or raisins, $0.25 for Oreos 🙂
Now for the ‘boring stuff’ as my kids often think: the most rigorous and focused portion of our school. If I can get about 25 minutes with Noah, he can settle down with his math, writing, reading and comprehension on his own. The 3 youngers are walking through our Barton’s (Dyslexia curriculum) program. The way it is taught is through one-on-one tutoring, which means it generally takes 45 minutes with Jonah, 25 minutes with Micah and then 25 minutes with Makeda. Then it is followed up by the 3 of them doing writing, Jonah doing penmanship and the other two learning how to write their letters well consistently. After all this I can wrap up with Noah on whatever he might need help with. We try to do this 3 times a week, maybe 4 times (which doesn’t happen too often).
And if you’re still reading, here’s what we also do… when we find other full-time families with children, we go with this motto: Community is Food for the Soul. This sometimes can mean ‘tossing’ traditional school-work out the window to run and play, and other times it can mean waking up early to do the school work so we can get out quickly, and other times it might just mean an early morning hike, followed by birthday muffins at a bakery with your new friends, followed by hours of playing on the playground and getting apples from the apple tree, and then settling in with a movie and popcorn…
Life is learning. Learning is life.