Roadschooling— Life learning — Home education on the road — Whatever we call this way of living…of learning….it’s a pretty incredible education we’re gifting our children. But, how did we get here? How did our family get to the place of desiring to sell our 10 acres and fully renovated house in Texas and trade that in for less than 400 sq. feet?
We’ve been homeschooling our 5 children for the past 17 years. And, through those years, I quickly realized that my favorite way of learning and teaching was what I refer to as 'family style.' The bulk of our subjects are done together: History, science, poetry, Bible, geography, and any other subjects I’ve decided to include, are all done as a group, typically in the mornings to start our day off. Each child might read additional books on a subject, but the main resource in each subject, along with a typical read-aloud (usually our history cycle), is all done together.
So, 8 years ago, we did just that. We set out on a 3-week road trip to walk the streets of Philadelphia, sit on the porch of Mount Vernon, and reflect in the gardens of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.
With that trip, we realized what Charlotte Mason meant by 'education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life,' and what it meant for our family. Once we realized how much those experiences cemented living and breathing learning into our children's lives, I couldn’t sit still when there were so many more places to explore! We realized that by combining living books and experiential-based learning, we were providing them with the best learning atmosphere.
So, how does that look in our daily life on the road in our RV? We visit historical places like National Parks, museums, living history museums, public lands, and all the significant places all over our country. As we set out on our full-time RV adventures, I began searching for preplanned lessons or bundles, or even suggestions for books on specific subjects, such as national parks or historical spots, and I realized my searches were coming up short. I couldn't find what I was looking for to help bring this learning and travel alive for my children. So, I began creating lesson plans for ourselves! Here are my top tips for planning your Roadschool lessons:
The answer is yes! We use Roadtrippers a lot! This allows me to input locations/stops and search in the area for places to park and things to do.
If you like boondocking, as we do, we use Campendium to find free dispersed camping on public lands!
Once we figure out where we'll be staying, I begin researching why that area may hold historical or natural significance. Sometimes it's obvious, like a National Park, and sometimes I have to dig a little more to find information. I'll look ahead at our route and note famous locations, like early American history spots or famous travel routes like the Oregon Trail or the Lewis and Clark Trail. For instance, if it's an ocean, search for living books on ocean life. If it's a mountain range, do the same. As you read those rich stories about the natural world or the society that once lived, or currently lives, you are enhancing the visit a hundredfold.
Once I find books on the location and subjects I want to cover, I go ahead and order them.
If we're visiting a National Park, I make sure to find books on that particular park beforehand. For instance, with Sequoia, I ordered several picture books about Sequoia trees, and we read interesting facts together about the park. As we visited the park and walked under those giants, my children already knew so many fascinating facts about the trees, animals, and nature within the boundaries of the park itself!
As we went on to Yosemite, I added more books on the area to our RV bookshelf. The words and passions of John Muir came to life as we gazed at Half Dome in Yosemite, and our memory of reading about John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt's camping trip together in the park came to mind. The book is 'The Camping Trip That Changed America,' but the truth is... it was literally the camping trip that changed America. That trip, with those two men who loved the natural lands and places found in this country, prompted the protection of hundreds of thousands of acres of land over the next century.
Many RV parks will allow you to receive mail at their park; simply ask about their policy on this. Another option is an Amazon locker. I usually order from Amazon because of Prime shipping, so having the order sent to a locker isn't a big deal. If neither of those options works, because sometimes this has proven to be the case, many US Post Offices will allow you to have mail sent to the Post Office itself, where you can then pick it up. This does vary by location, so make sure to call or go in and ask about their policy on receiving mail. Aside from books, I also utilize online sources like YouTube and blogs to find information for learning about each place we visit. Instagram and even TikTok provide short videos worth of information! We've found a lot of places to explore based on the recommendations of other travelers through social media apps! Roadschooling has become one of our favorite ways to learn because we've seen the value of not just reading about a place but actually getting the gift of visiting a location to bring that learning alive!
If you are looking for more information on Roadschooling, join other Keystone Families#CampBetter as they share valuable resources on this topic and much more!
Happy travels and happy learning!
Education is every day and everywhere. The only thing you have to pay is attention." - Tim Fargo