Learn what it means to roadschool your kids and how you can set-up a homeschooling system that suits you.
Homeschooling became a popular topic in wake of the pandemic. As learning became virtual, parents and kids explored a new way of learning that opened up many new avenues of education. Full-time RV families have been homeschooling their kids for the longest time. For families that travel frequently, homeschooling is the only way to make sure their kids' education doesn't get affected by all the moving.
But what does homeschooling on the road look like? What resources do you need to roadschool your kids and is it even worth it? Read on as we explore what it means to roadschool your kids and how you can set-up a homeschooling system that suits you.
What is Roadschooling?
Roadschooling refers to educating your child while you are on the road as a full-time RV family. A lot of RV families prefer homeschooling their kids as this gives them the opportunity and flexibility to travel without comprising on their kids' education. Roadschoolers or RV schoolers come in many shapes and sizes; some prefer teaching their kids independently of a local or private school while other use the virtual school system to get a public education on the road. Regardless of what you choose to do, roadschooling takes some getting used to especially for new RV families.
How to Homeschool Your Kids Successfully
Homeschooling is daunting in itself but add constant travel to the mix and you have an even more unnerving task at hand. Here is how you can make the process more streamlined and manageable.
Take Care of the Legalities
Every state in the US has their own laws and restrictions when it comes to homeschooling. Even if you're on the road constantly, you need a permanent address on your domicile which will determine all the legal aspects of homeschooling. In most states, you need to notify your school district of your intent to homeschool your kid/s
and submit monthly or annual grading and testing. Some states have more lax rules and regulations than others, if you are true nomads you can change the state on your domicile and get one in a state that has more flexible homeschooling rules. Check the state homeschooling requirements here.
You also need to check if the public school in the state offers remote learning programs so your kids can still have access to public education. If you're planning to camp/park at a state for more than a month you might have to check their laws on homeschooling as well. Some states and homeschool associations require you to follow the rules of the particular state you plan to camp in rather than the state of your permanent residency. Take care of all these legalities first so that the homeschooling process goes smoothly.
Choose Your Homeschooling Style
Once you've settled all legal aspects of the process, it's time to choose your homeschooling style. Many RVers choose the traditional homeschooling approach which mimics the traditional school experience. Remote learning programs offered by the public school system are the most common way to go for a traditional homeschooling experience. This approach is also adopted by parents who have traditional 9 to 5 jobs as it is pretty hands-off.
However, many RVers also embrace the flexibility that comes with being on the road full-time and choose teaching styles like unit studies (focusing on a single subject at a time) and unschooling (child-directed learning approach). You can take a look at the different homeschooling styles and choose one that aligns with your goals and resources. You can also try out an eclectic homeschooling approach that combines different homeschooling methods based on your kids' unique needs and your availability.
Pick the Right Curriculum
Public school remote learning programs follow the same curriculum that is followed in public school. You can however, choose to add other resources to complement the subjects your kids are studying online. If you've chosen a different homeschooling style then you have the freedom to set the curriculum yourself. You can use the many online learning resources available and collect different types of mediums for learning. If you plan to boondock or dry camp in areas with spotty wi-fi you can download resources like e-books so that the learning doesn't stop.
Set Up Appropriate Resources for Learning
It is important to set-up a proper place and resources for learning so your kids can have a holistic learning experience. You can set up a desk in the living area of your motorhome where your kids can sit and work. Assigning an area on your dining table can also do the trick. Invest in a storage cubby where your kids can keep all their learning supplies. Hang worksheets and artwork on the walls of their learning area to give it a more traditional classroom look. The idea is to make the learning process interesting and fun for the kids so that they are engaged and focused.
Build a Routine
It doesn't have to be similar to a traditional school routine, but building a learning routine for your kids is important. A set routine will teach your kids the importance of time management, patience, and hard work while helping you manage all your daily chores efficiently as well. You can turn your daily RVing adventures into teachable moments as well but make sure your kids have a set time when they sit and learn specific subjects whether it is online or otherwise. You can throw in nature walks, visits to specific places like museums, and other fun activities to make the learning experience more fun and interactive.
Explore Different Learning Opportunities
The main advantage of homeschooling your kids on the road is that you can look for new and unique learning opportunities. A trip to the Grand Canyon can turn into a geology lesson, a tour to the battlefields at Valley Forge can be a great way to understand revolutionary history. Every state has a bunch of national parks, museums, historic landmarks, natural attractions, zoos, planetariums, and many more places and activities that can easily be turned into teachable moments. Be flexible enough to embrace new ways of learning and creative enough to employ them.
Don't Forget Extracurriculars
Roadschooling does not mean your kids will miss out on extracurriculars like sports and other activities. You can still use the many resources available in different RV parks and campgrounds like swimming pools, golf courses, basketball courts, and more to help your kids develop new skills. It is also possible for your kids to join sports leagues back in your hometown, all you need to do is register your kid to the local league and park at a campground nearby for the season. Your kids can also take part in independent plays and other activities held by homeschooling associations and other private and public organizations.
Less Stress, More Creativity
Homeschooling your kids on the road is more about developing a different mindset and approach to learning. The focus needs to shift from grades and more formal milestones to nurturing and developing self-paced learning and unconventional education. The idea is not to stress on meeting certain goals but explore new ways of teaching your kids so that they are prepared for whatever future they choose for themselves.
Pros and Cons of Homeschooling on the Road
Here is a look at some of the pros and cons of homeschooling your kids on the road.
Homeschooling your kids is a unique learning experience for both the kids and you as parents. This highly interactive way of learning helps you connect with your kids on a deeper level and create lasting memories. While your kids may miss some of the more traditional school experiences, the experiential learning they do on the road may be just worth the sacrifice. Happy Learning!