So you’ve decided to hit the road and travel the country in an RV with your family–that is such an amazing, life-changing, and positive decision! So many memories are to be found while exploring new territory with your family.
While a lifelong vacation may sound like a great concept, we all know that just isn’t reality. For most people, work goes on. For all of those with kids, school absolutely must go on. No matter where you’re parked, class is in session every day.
Regardless of your schooling style or philosophy, a few different supplies for roadschooling will make learning all the easier on the road. Outfit your roadschool classroom with everything from basics (like pencils and scissors), to more creative (like watercolors and sketchbooks). Even knowledge-gaining like field guides and books are a must while you travel and teach.
Basic Roadschool Supplies
Pencils, paper, spiral notebooks, scissors, crayons, map colors, markers, rulers, and the list goes on. Just because you’re deciding to go tiny doesn’t mean you don’t need the basics like you would in any other classroom. Though many days your classroom will be the great outdoors, you will still need a pencil and paper at some point. Fortunately, all of the above-mentioned basics are pretty weightless and compact so finding storage for them isn’t really that big of an issue.
Another great addition to have with you is a printer. I know I know, a printer? Isn’t that bulky and doesn’t it add extra weight? Yes, yes it does. However, time and again I’ve found myself needing to, or wishing I could, print something off (like worksheets, or articles) and been so glad we’ve made room for a printer on the road with us! So definitely bring a printer on board.
Streaming educational resources are a big part of homeschooling remotely, so a laptop or tablet for the kids is another must. Whether you decide to do an online math course, a live-streaming language arts class, or simply want to watch Youtube videos to enhance your location-based learning–giving your children access to a laptop is essential. Downloading E-reader apps to a tablet allows you to access books from anywhere, even your local library.
Books, Books, and More Books
There are so many times online resources simply do not compare to holding an actual book in hand. Figuring out how to store these items in your rig, all while avoiding clutter, is absolutely key! Investing in some baskets that can slide under the couches, be put away in cabinets or sit on the floor next to the couch is a wise purchase. In each camper that we’ve owned, we’ve found perfectly sized baskets to hold books and supplies that can be put away when we’re not using them.
Speaking of books…..which books are necessary to have on the road with you? Great question!
First, any workbook or physical curriculum you need for your road schooling experience is necessary. While many times you can utilize online services there are also many subjects that will require a physical curriculum. As you plan your learning for your time on the road you’ll figure out which subjects that may be.
Location Field Guides
Next, we love location-based learning living books. These books are written in story form while teaching the reader about a subject. As we visit each area of the country we purchase a few books that we can read together to enhance our roadschooling experience. We also access online books, and videos, to help bring more location-based learning to life.
Some great book investments are location-based field guides. Field guides are available for subjects such as American Birds or Animals and even more location-specific to states and regions. Nature-based illustrated books are found in abundance online and provide a great way to pique curiosity in your children as you travel. For instance, reading ocean-themed nature books when camping by the beach piques children’s curiosity. It’s so exciting to look at the pictures and watch as they realize they can see these things as you explore coastlines!
It goes without saying that this can be said of all areas of the country. It just requires a little pre-planning on your part to make those books accessible for your kids.
Online storefronts are a great place to purchase field and nature guides but we’ve also found that visiting the bookstores in Visitor Centers in our National Parks are also an excellent place to find location-based field guides and books. Each book in those stores has been specifically selected to teach more about each park.
We’ve discovered that these books make the absolute best learning as we travel across America.
A Well Rounded Library
When considering which books to purchase keep in mind to truly get a well-rounded learning experience about each location you’ll want books that will cover the history of the region including the native peoples, the climate and biome found in each area, the plants and animals located there and what life has been like over the course of history for each area of the country or specific region.
Reading and learning about each of these different topics will really bring your learning alive as you visit!
If you have younger kids, try searching online platforms like Instagram, which can be a great source for finding digital downloads to learn more about nature as your travel. This is also where the printer mentioned above comes in handy! Worksheets or pretty printables for location-based learning can also bring learning alive for your kids.
Another must-have in our family is watercolors, colored pencils, and sketchbooks. As we visit places the kids draw or paint out what we’ve seen. This helps teach them the discipline of observing their surroundings and also provides the most beautiful “scrapbook” for after your visit to each location is over. These are great to throw in backpacks as you hike and provide a nice little break while you’re out exploring.
Since you’re living tiny, size is important. Our favorite watercolors sets are compact and provide a place to store the brush in one set. They’re also a really great price point and don’t require much of an investment.
I also mentioned regular pencils and colored pencils above.
Tip: Spend money on the high quality pencils (both colored and regular). It’s worth it. They break less often and last longer. In turn you’re not having to replace them as often.
And speaking of pencils no one wants pencils lying around everywhere, so you’re going to need some sort of storage solution for those, too!
Our favorite way to store pencils is in a utensil holder. You can find these online, or at any store that sells kitchen items. They have divided sections that are intended to hold various kitchen utensils but by repurposing this you can use it to store your homeschool supplies like pencils, scissors, glue, and even watercolor sets! This can be put away in a cabinet when not being used, or set on a shelf for quick access.
You don’t have to have an overabundance of “things” to learn on the road! Take advantage of a few books, online sources and, of course, our National Parks Junior Ranger programs, and you will be providing your children (and family!) an amazing learning journey as you travel America!