Some people call me crazy…some people ask me how we do it…it’s called roadschooling. It’s the concept of homeschooling while traveling on the road. There really is no secret. It simply takes a willing heart, some good old-fashioned support (my husband is my constant supply) and a whole lot of flexibility. Anyone who has ever researched homeschooling knows that there are a bazillion different ways to do it. Well, the same is true for roadschooling. What works for me, may or may not work for you. However, I do know that information is as vital to success as practice is. My kids would never have mastered their math facts if they had not received the information or been given instruction on how to memorize it. When I decided to homeschool from the road, I took the same approach that I did when I began to homeschool my kids two years prior…I researched. I often tell friends, I don’t know if I would be doing this without the support of the internet. Between Instagram, Pinterest and Google…I can find everything that I need. The problem however is time….I don’t always have an abundance of time…and well, research takes plenty of time.
When I began to research full time RV living, my husband and I both made the same observation: dozens of families had created blogs and websites and began journaling their adventure….yet, very few continue to post and write after their first year. This made it challenging to learn from their wisdom and gain insight when we were just starting out. Thankfully now there is a new wave of traveling bloggers who consistently write…but it can be hard to find them. There are some great resources out there, but there is never enough. I want to throw my two cents out there…for anyone who might be searching for options…because I certainly appreciated every single piece of “fulltiming” advice that I found when we were searching for it in the beginning. After two years on the road, I know what works for my family and what does not. Here are some of the key components in our roadschool journey (in no particular order):
1. Our Map. For a family that lives on the road, geography becomes as important…and fascinating…as math or reading. Prior to launching from California in 2015, we had been part of a Classical Conversations community where my love for classical education and mapping began. As we have traveled, we all understand the importance of reading my Google Maps app and the good-old print maps that we pick up from AAA…both are a must and one cannot replace the other. There is a common understanding in our home: we must all understand the geography of this country…and of the world. I dare say that the most utilized non-electronic/non-book tool in our rolling classroom and home is our $6 map of The United States that is mounted across from our couch (purchased from Target). It really is quite nice, especially for the cost. We plan our trips with it…we use it for discussion in almost every subject of school…as a reference when researching genealogy…my kids can track where Daddy travels for work…he plans his business trips with it…we locate National Parks on the map…discussing history….I could go on and on. I highly suggest that you place your map at sitting level so that you can sit around it, touch it, point to it and read it up close. Ours sits on the backside of our kitchen island so we can use it from the couch or sit around it on the floor.
2. Books. We all love books. We love the feel of holding the book and prefer not to read from a device…even the kids. To make this work, we have had to find creative solutions to the weight limit issues of living in a fifth wheel. With books for all three of the kids and my husband, who is an avid reader, and my homeschooling essentials, along with our math text books….this all adds up to a lot of books! What we do is typically purchase used books and then donate them along the way. This actually works better than you might think. I intentionally seek out very large used bookstores and thrift stores in my travels…places where I can find quality books for 25¢ to $3. When we finish the books, I donate them along the road…either leaving them in the book exchange library at a campground or I donate them to whatever thrift store and charities we find along the way. We do keep a collection of favorites and we have been known to ship a box of “must keeps” to grandma to store at her house, as my kids can’t part with certain books they have found on the road. So keep your eyes open for books…whether you are at one of the campgrounds where we have left our treasure or driving through a random place like Las Cruces, New Mexico (the gold mine of used books….we found the most amazing selection of books for kids and young adults there).