Taking your family on the road in an RV is one of the best ways to have a safe and fun vacation, or it can be one of the most rewarding ways of living your life. However, being out on the road for extended periods of time can come with certain challenges. One of the most important is how to get your kids the schooling they need.
Homeschooling, also known as roadschooling, is a great way to teach your kids all that they need to know. Before you take that homeschooling on the road, you might wonder how to make it work. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at homeschooling your kids on the road and discuss some lessons learned from folks out there doing it. Let’s dive in.
Choose Curriculum Model That Works For Your Family
Another thing every parent who is interested in homeschooling should think about is the curriculum. A lot of people wonder what they would teach their kids and how they will teach it to them. There are many curriculums out there for you to choose from.
It’s tough to say one curriculum is better than others, but the types of learning your kids can do will likely fall into one of three types: online programs, all-in-one workbooks, or unschooling.
As you might imagine, online curriculums are varied. They allow your children to learn at their own pace and are often guided. There’s a proven plan behind the good ones, and you can often be sure your kids are learning what they need to. Two that seem popular are Time4Learning and Khan Academy, though there are many others. You’ll need an internet connection for your kids to complete these assignments, which can be a challenge on the road sometimes.
Workbooks are another great option. There are dozens of all-in-one workbook programs out there. If you don’t have internet access all the time but you want your children to follow a proven plan, then this is another great option. Some all-in-one workbook options include Brain Quest, Sylvan, and Flash Kids. Another good thing to do is look to see if your state recommends any learning workbooks or tools.
Last but certainly not least, is unschooling. This is where you use life experiences to help your children learn. It’s more child-led learning and doesn’t use a set curriculum. There are tons of resources and books out there for this type of education, and you’ll find it’s popular among roadschooling RVers. Some good books on the subject include The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World as Your Child’s Classroom by Mary Griffith and The Unschooling Unmanual edited by Jan and Jason Hunt. These can serve as a good introduction to the topic.
No matter what program or curriculum you choose, you still need to be involved in your child’s schooling. Ana Willis of They Call Me Blessed, said in Episode 74 of our podcast that you don’t actually even need to know the types of things your kids are learning. “You’re learning alongside them,” she said. “And when you make that change in your mind that you don’t need to know it all to do it, it changes everything.”
As you can imagine, a good curriculum removes some of the burden of you, the parent, to be the teacher. While having a good curriculum or plan can be important, it’s not everything. When homeschooling on the road, you have the flexibility to let your child’s education branch out and blossom with their interests.
As Jessica of Exploring the Local Life, said in Episode 45 of our podcast, “We aren’t necessarily the teachers. We do introduce concepts but a lot of what we do is child-led learning, so we follow their interest because we’ve found that when we’ve done that, it means a lot more to them.”
That seems to be something that most RVers homeschooling their kids on the road like about the process. It allows for flexibility that a regular school curriculum will not.
Embrace That We’re Born Natual-Learners
First and foremost, it’s important to note that homeschooling can be dramatically different than a typical school program. This is a good thing! It allows for so many opportunities that a typical schooling experience simply can’t match. However, it’s something that you need to embrace.
Ana said parents need to de-school themselves. “We were programmed into this mentality that school needs to happen eight hours a day, and it only happens through textbooks. That’s not true. We were born natural-learners, and we learn a lot more from experiences than from just reading about it.”
Homeschooling on the road, or rather learning on the road, allows your kids to embrace this natural tendency to want to learn from experience, and that means you need to seek out opportunities that let them do that. How cool would it be to learn about America’s early beginnings while actually visiting the places where Europeans first landed on the continent? What about instead of reading about specific animals, you actually went on a hike to spot them in the wild? With homeschooling on the road, this is possible.
The beauty of homeschooling on the road is that you can visit the amazing places and do the wonderful things that other students will only read about. In essence, every trip becomes a learning experience. Life becomes your children’s education.
Connect With Other Families
Despite what some people think, there are plenty of families out there homeschooling their kids on the road. While these families might not all use the same curriculum or be in the same place at the same time, they do often connect.
Ana said that her own blog has a Facebook community of over 3,000 very supportive moms. Ana also has a membership you can join, but you certainly don’t have to. She’s just one of the people out there offering an online community for homeschoolers.
Jessica of Exploring the Local Life, says you can also find more people to connect with at RV rallies, local homeschooling meetups, RV homeschooling meetups, local community centers, and other gatherings. If you start looking for a homeschooling or roadschooling community near you or near where you’ll be traveling, you’re bound to find something. Having other people in the RV community who are also homeschooling their kids can help make the experience even more enjoyable.
Make Sure You Abide By the Homeschooling Laws of Your State
Homeschooling is regulated on a state level. The laws and regulations vary greatly between states, so it’s tough to make recommendations here other than saying to check what the laws are in your state. For full-time RVers, you’ll need to establish a home state or domicile if you don’t have one. This will allow you to ensure you’re meeting the homeschooling rules and regulations.
The good news is that if you’re a full-time RVer and don’t like the laws in your home state, then you can change that. It takes some doing, but it’s not too difficult to change your domicile. According to Chelsea Gonzales of Wonder Wherever We Wander, Texas is a common state people to choose. She does say that everyone is different, and you need to think about your specific situation and what’s right for you.
No matter what state you have as your domicile, just make sure you’re sticking to its laws surrounding homeschooling, and you’ll be fine. In most cases, this won’t be an issue.
Do you homeschool your kids on the road? What have your experiences been like? We want to know. Leave a comment below!