Monday, October 23, 2017

R-O-A-D schooling 101

Our family has become the "ed"ventures in the last year.  We've found that we can hit the road and take our school (and life) with us.  What a freedom to have!!!

Have you ever thought about doing the same?  I hope this post inspires you to get planning and get going!

On our return trip from Florida, this past April, I asked my husband if he would help me come up with an acronym for ROAD that would sum up our advice for anyone interested in road schooling.

And this is what WE came up with: 

R - Research

Once you determine your destination...research! research! and do some more research!

My husband and I would sit down, just about every weekend, months before our trip and ... you guessed it ...research!  

He had his iPhone, I had my laptop and we'd bounce ideas off each other.  

The best way to start is simply looking at maps of your destination, with your budget and travel dates in mind. 
Try to set dates (if you homeschool) during the "off-season"... like after big holidays.  It's so much cheaper!

Keep in mind...
*How long is your drive going to take? 
*What types of stops will you make along the way? 
*Where will you stay and for how long?  Camping, friends/family or Hotel?  

If you start your research early enough, you should be able to book some really cheap rentals for your stay.  

For example, we began researching for our April road schooling trip in January.  We found a cheap condo using Vacation Rentals By Owner in Florida for only $70 a night.  We reserved it so far in advance AND it was the month after the Spring Break rush!  SCORE!

O - Optimize

From clothes to curriculum...optimize!  My husband and I have learned that we tend to over pack on just about every occasion.  That's any parent's tendency, right?  

As for clothes, our rule is 3 of everything.  3 shirts, 3 pants/shorts, 3 undies...even for the adults!
If you are going somewhere cooler - add a hoodie and/or a long-sleeved shirt!
Take a trip to the laundry mat or use the hotel's washer and dryer.  It makes for a fun adventure!

WHAT?  Trust me!  Kids don't care what they wear.  And is the purpose of your trip to look good or learn?   And the less laundry there is to get done, the more time you'll get to spend with your family.  

As for curriculum - instead of bringing BOOKS, listen to audiobooks or podcasts in the car.  Use map apps, download documentaries or YouTube videos about your final destination instead of bringing workbooks.  Bring Washable Window Markers to write on the windows of the car.  Play word games or practice spelling using these fun markers.

On our last trip, I bought a cheap spiral notebook.  We would create a story, through drawings, by passing it around the car.  My oldest would start by drawing the setting, my middle would add the characters, then I might add a problem.  Once the drawing was finished, they would verbally tell me the story while I wrote down each word they said.  Also, know as "Jot It Down" which is a Brave Writer technic created by Julie Bogart. 

Use your travel time to learn about your destination - because once you are there, THAT is going to be their "classroom". They will have some background knowledge and will be ready for the "ed"venture.   

No WiFi in the car?  We HIGHLY recommend purchasing a "hot spot" with your cell provider for your road school trip.  Then cancel it once you get home.

A - Adjust

If a part of the trip doesn't go as planned...don't stress, just adjust.  The way you react to the unpleasant situation makes an impact on your children.

Maybe the museum is closed due to renovations (that they didn't mention on their website! UGH!) so use technology to ... adjust and adapt.
We wanted to go to this museum but discovered that so did EVERY other public school in the area.  So we went and explored downtown until 2pm then the museum was all cleared out!

Maybe a kiddo gets sick on the trip - adjust!  Flat tire?  Adjust and turn that into a teachable moment!

Keep in mind, the way YOU react to a problem will affect the attitude of the trip.  Show your children that together, as a family, you can all adjust, reevaluate, learn and move on!

D - Don't over plan!

Don't over plan your schedule and road schooling curriculum.  There!  I said it!

My husband and I learned it's important to have a "skeleton schedule" but to leave room for some "meat and muscle" on the trip.

The first year, I loaded up a file box FULL of stuff like meaningless worksheets and workbooks, our wall calendar with each month of the year, pencils AND markers, glue bottles AND glue sticks...the list could go on!

In all honesty, I was so terrified about how I was going to keep my kids busy in the car for multiple hours.  And more concerned about not having "proof" that my kids were learning while on the road.

After each trip, I came back with empty workbooks, unused glue sticks but an iPhone FULL of pictures! That was "proof" that we'd learned so much more than what I had planned and prepared for on paper.

Inviting your children to write daily in a journal is also a fun, educational way to document learning.
I love taking my kid's writing, add pictures that I took and create a memory book of the trip.

It took me a few times to get the hang of how to pack and plan.  And each trip looked different.  Be sure and check out these links to see how I did it.

A Homeschool Vacation - Part 1
Let's Get Ready to Road School!

 Each trip happens at a different season in your homeschooling journey...embrace it.  You will look back at your many memories of your road schooling trips and smile!  Trust me.

If you are a beginner and a little unsure of this idea, try a day trip.  Invite a friend or a family member to come along and help.  Take those baby steps until you become comfortable to plan a longer trip.

If you are a veteran road schoolers, keep traveling and pushing yourself to go bigger!
Maybe you and your family will go from road schooling to world schooling.
That's what as happen to us!!!

We stepped off the plane and headed straight for Huka Falls to start exploring our new home in Taupo, New Zealand.

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