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Roadschooling Without Getting Left Behind

by Jessica Parnell | Aug 22, 2017 | 3 min read

My husband is a homebody. He’d rather be home than anywhere else. The kids and I, however, are often bit with the travel bug and have been known to give in to our wanderlust throughout the year with short mini vacations. But, what about those times when you’re away for a long period, maybe on an adventure, maybe caring for family, maybe doing missions? How do you maintain your child’s schooling while straying from home? Here’s our guide for how to homeschool while roadschooling without getting left behind.

Roadschooling the smart way!

Homeschooling is nothing if it is not flexible and portable. So, if you’re wondering whether or not to take that long trip out west, backpack Europe with your kids, or spend those extra weeks visiting Grandma, the answer is “Yes!” You only get one life and experiencing joy, relationships, and new things should be at the core of who you are and how you raise your children. We were meant for relationships and fellowshipping with one another. And homeschooling provides not only flexibility, but also encourages wandering the world with your little crew, learning as you go. But before you hit the road, keep these things in mind as you approach roadschooling.

  1. Decide what type of trip you’re taking. If you want your trip to be short-term (less than a month or two) and purely enjoyable, put the homeschooling aside! That’s right, don’t homeschool. Instead, focus on family time and enjoying your experience. Oh sure, visit museums and cultural sights and journal for use in your evaluation or homeschool portfolio later. But resist the urge to make homeschooling a priority. You’ll have plenty of time to make up the work and time missed when you get home. If you’re taking a longer trip, then keep reading!
  2. Start saving and researching as a family. In homeschooling, when we involve our kids in the process of learning and planning, it often goes better, right? Well, take that notion into your roadschooling and trip planning as well as saving for the ultimate experiences. Get them involved, from choosing the location of your trip to the budgeting and saving. Make it a family experience and effort from beginning to end.
  3. Make a plan, then be ready to deviate from it. All good homeschoolers, even unschoolers, plan for their year. It’s fine to allow your child’s interests to lead, to use the history, culture, geography, and arts experiences in your area to guide your homeschooling while you travel. But, you need to make a rough plan of what you want to accomplish. Start by listing the subjects and goals for each child based upon your home state requirements. Simple class structures (like algebra, English I, and biology for my oldest, etc.) may work for you. Others may want a calendar with goals for what you wish to accomplish academically while you travel. Do what works best for you, but be sure to chart it out and have a rough idea of what you want to be accomplished while gone.
  4. Pack your books, or at least a good tablet. Roadschooling means you’ll be doing school while traveling, which takes some planning on your part. Specifically, gather the curriculum and materials you’ll need to take with you (especially if you’re going out of the country). The good news is you can take an entire library with you via a tablet or computer! Great curriculum options are found online these days, as well as virtual libraries and audiobooks. Artistic, musical, and even scientific studies can all be accomplished with a single tablet. Just be sure to pack paper and pencils for those kinesthetic learners who will need to work it out on paper!
  5. Set a rough schedule for schooling and fun. Roadschooling is all about flexibility, but even vacations and world travels need a schedule so we accomplish our goals and meet deadlines (like for tours, flights, etc.). Take that organization into your homeschooling routine. When we traveled to Ethiopia for an extended stay, we decided to make two days per week about work and school, with the other five days focused on experiences. This worked for our family, but you’ll need to make it work for you. Maybe you plan your mornings for fun and two hours each afternoon to accomplish school work. Maybe you do an intense week of schooling followed by three weeks of travels. Consider your students’ capacity to get work done and focus, as well as your travel goals, and create a schedule that makes sense for your unique family and experience.

Life is short and the world is too amazing, filled with wonderful cultures, people, and opportunities just waiting for you! If you’ve considered roadschooling but haven’t yet taken the leap, I want to encourage you to do it. Plan well, budget and save, and then get out and enjoy the amazing experiences God has for you in this, His world!
Have you ever tried roadschooling? Tell us how it worked for your family in a comment below!

Jessica Parnell
Hello everyone! I’m Jessica Parnell — mom, homeschool evaluator, teacher, and CEO of Bridgeway Academy. In my 20+ years of experience as a homeschool mom and evaluator, I have had the privilege of meeting homeschoolers that take a variety of approaches to their education. It is their many stories and successes that inspire me in my own homeschooling and I love to pass on the knowledge that I have gained from them to other homeschooling families. The one constant that always remains true is that there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter child.” Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made and as a result, learns and functions differently. It’s our job to ensure that we’re raising each child to fulfill their individual purpose and when we can teach in a way that inspires them, we are on our way to homeschool success. When I’m not writing or teaching my children, I like to ski, write and participate in triathlons. I graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters in English and I am currently pursuing a degree in Neuroleadership.
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