Homeschooling your kids while living in a house is one thing, but what do you do if you’re on the road for an extended period of time? In this article I’m going to discuss some ideas that will keep the learning happening even when home is wherever you’re parked that night.
Some people do “school at home” with a complete set of books, specific curriculum, schedules, etc. Those people are probably not the right people for this article, to be honest. I think you need to be able to “take your hair down” a bit to get the most out of homeschooling on the road. That said, let’s look at how simply creating a trip journal can be varied enough to keep most kids interested, yet is full of educational opportunities (just don’t tell the kids they’re learning — that happens automatically).
The (Dreaded) Trip Journal
This is probably the most common device used by parents to get some schooling into the kids while on the road. Writing about the things they see and experience is a great way to help their spelling, composition, creativity, etc. And a lot of kids love creating a book like that. But what about the kid who hates writing?
“Just do it or you’ll be sorry, mister!” is one option, but here’s another one that might work for your kid.
A trip journal doesn’t have to consist of just the written word, and it doesn’t have to be created by one person. Instead of doing individual trip journals, plan on doing a joint family journal. And instead of basing it on the written word, add some multimedia elements to it. While a computerized trip journal makes that easiest, you can stick with ideas that work even in the physical world.
My son doesn’t enjoy writing, but he’s great at taking pictures, both still shots and video. If you have a photo-shooting maniac in your family, make him or her the main picture taker for the journal. (Each child should be given the opportunity to take pictures, of course.) And to get some writing practice in, have them label the pictures they take with locations, dates, and any special notes.
If you have someone in the family who’s very verbal (some might say chatterbox!), that might be a good choice for the “narrator” of the journal. Get either a cassette recorder or an MP3 recorder and have them talk about the places you visit.
And kids who are very “hands on” might be the perfect person to gather souvenir rocks, sticks, etc., that are representative of the areas you visit. A family trip journal with written descriptions, pictures and/or video, mementos, and audio narrations can be a big hit with relatives and will make a great reminder of your trip later on.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: JAY JENNINGS
Jay Jennings is a programmer who lives everywhere in the USA with his wife and kids. He’s been working from home since 1999 and loves it. If you’d like to follow the adventures of his family on the road see http://OurFirstYear.com