The idea of homeschooling is overwhelming to me but some families even do homeschooling while traveling! Some families even choose roadschooling, a growing trend where families pack up their belongings and hit the road to take the trip of a lifetime and a hands on learning adventure. When I heard about travel blogger Lindsay Kjar’s amazing journey- roadschooling with her husband and their 4 children to all 50 states in 52 weeks- I was very curious to learn more and share a peek into homeschooling while traveling the United States. Today, she shares with us how they made the jump from public school to roadschool.
Making The Jump To Homeschooling While Traveling The United States- All 50 Of Them!
By: Lindsay Kjar of 50by52
Photos by: Matt Kjar
About 6 years ago, my husband Matt and I had a Sunday night brainstorm session, with the goal of dreaming up possible routes for making a living in video and television production (our current career). We came up with all sorts of show ideas, one of which was Matt’s idea to travel the country, making an educational/entertaining show for kids, in which our children would be “kid guides,” telling other families the best places to learn and travel while discovering America together. At the time, the children were 7, 6, and 3, and I was pregnant with our 4th. Sounded dreadful to me! I’d be living on the road, feeding babies, changing diapers, and trying to keep a kindergartener and first grader enthralled in hosting educational programming. No, thanks.
Homeschooling on the Road!
Fast forward 5 years. The kids are more mature, I’m more confident in my ability to take this mini circus on the road, and Matt is now the one who’s thinking, “Not my cup of tea, thanks.” By this time he’d really begun to figure the freelance thing out, he had some great clients for whom he was creating awesome work, and he wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of having his proverbial “video production rug” yanked out from underneath him. They say comfortable is enemy to progression, so we grabbed that rug, yanked it out from under the whole family, put a sale tag on it, and liquidated it on Craigslist with the rest of our stuff.
After committing to taking the plunge, one of the first matters to plan was how, while living in constant motion for a year, we would educate our little darlings. Of course, there are as many ways to roadschool as there are families, but to show you how we’ve gone about it, I’ve broken it down into 5 simple steps. I hope these tips are helpful for others that wish to become traveling homeschoolers.
How To Roadschool:
1. Educate yourself about options online.
It’s fun to think back to previous internet searches, and where they have taken you. “How to live in an RV full time and homeschool,” once felt like a mighty foreign concept, and now it’s what I eat for breakfast. Online searches will surface your introductory resources for roadschooling. From online resources you’ll discover the necessary steps for:
-obtaining the necessary paperwork to remove your children, legally, from the public school system (its surprisingly easy!)
-finding available content for purchase and use, and
-becoming largely overwhelmed by the monstrous amount of information and options available to you. Which brings us to our next, highly important step…
2. Pick the brains of every homeschooler you know!
Homeschooling parents can be highly informative. Spending time asking questions proved to be highly effective in my selection of resources, and the calming of my spirit! Two of my homeschooling heroes, Kara and April, took an hour to thumb through their bookshelves with me. I took copious notes about which literature, online homeschooling program, and community groups they have grasped onto throughout the years. I asked questions about which ones they wouldn’t waste their time on if they could do it all again. They were basically my “America’s Test Kitchen” of homeschool resources. And honestly, most importantly, they bolstered my confidence that I could start homeschooling! I also found several blogs written by roadschooling families which gave tips, tricks, and how-to’s for this specific style of homeschooling. Roadschooling can be different from regular homeschooling in that you are frequently changing locations. Plus, you don’t always have reliable internet access.
3. Buy/collect supplies
Make a list, and grab your debit card. I found Amazon, EBay, and local classified ads to all be great spots for purchases. We bought a hard copy math curriculum for each child, historical books on cd to listen to as we drive, and tablets for writing/journaling/spelling/art, etc.
4. Put the rubber to the road: just start!
Do what works best for each child as far as scheduling goes, and try to be as consistent as possible. Our 12 and 13 year olds are highly self guided in their learning. However, our 9 and 6 year olds need much more guidance and motivation. While one child can look at a checklist and get busy, another might need timers, reward charts, and parental cheerleaders to get them going. Patterns will quickly surface, and you’ll learn the importance of step.
5. Revise as needed, work your buns off, and enjoy the ride!
While we do our best to maintain something resembling a routine, we also realize that the nature of the roadschooling beast is relatively spontaneous. We have quickly become masters of “squeezing it in!” We generally work on math, writing (mostly journaling about our previous days whereabouts and happenings), reading, art, and spelling from 9-1, and spend afternoons going to museums, historical sites, tourist attractions, and our favorite- the homes and hangouts of locals who we are shadowing that day!
While educating our children on the road hasn’t been a piece of cake, it has definitely been a well-spent daring adventure. Goodness, America is amazing! Each state has incredible historical sites and museums, and most importantly, fascinating humans with which we’ve had the joy of interacting. And while we still worry sometimes that we aren’t living up to the teaching talents our kids enjoyed from the hands of professional educators in public schools, we are certain that being on Civil War battle fields while learning about America’s history will teach impressionable lessons our children could never have learned from a book.
They are documenting their journey of homeschooling while traveling the United States on YouTube so be sure to check out their fun travel videos!
Homeschool and Travel Conclusion
Word to the wise- make sure to check your home state’s homeschool laws.
We all know homeschoolers love good field trips, right? Well, this just takes the school year to a whole new level with field trips to national parks and historical places. What an educational experience! This is experiential learning to the max. So, are you inspired or in awe? Do you think you will try homeschooling while traveling the United States? Which states would you most like to visit while homeschooling?