Have you ever wished you could just pack up and hit the road? I have too, but we are not able to do that at the moment. Some families feel like they can't travel as they would like because their children are in school.
There are plenty of families who are hitting the road, despite having school aged children, or perhaps because they do have school aged children. These families are homeschooling their children, their homes just happen to be on wheels and move around the country.
Just as there are many different types of homeschoolers, there are many types of “roadschoolers”. Some families follow a completely traditional school model; they just do it on the road. They carry school books and sometimes even have virtual classes by connecting to other homeschoolers via the internet.
Other roadschoolers follow a different traditional homeschool method. They use the internet to provide curriculum. Some internet homeschool curricula, such as Time4Learning, provide all lessons on line, without requiring downloads or carrying CDs or DVDs around. Because a family would have access to an entire year of curriculum they can pick and choose what they will study by where they are in the country, using lessons that correspond to wherever they are travelling at the time.
Some roadschoolers are unschooled. They essentially let the road be the guide of what their children will learn. One roadschooling family thinks that unschooled has negative connotations and chose to use a term like lifeschool because in the process of experiencing life they children are gaining an education.
This family uses the internet for research, museums along their travels for further subject matter to study. They also use national parks and monuments as a great source of materials for their children to learn. Imagine travelling to Washington, D.C., and having such great resources as the Smithsonian as your child’s educational material for a week or more.
Not all families completely pull up stakes and take to the road to roadschool. Consider how much more interesting studying the Civil War would be if you took a family vacation to battlegrounds, museums, and forts that had some significance to the Civil War. History comes to life when a child can experience a location instead of just dryly reading about it.
Other homeschooling parents use time on the road to homeschool. For example, if one child has a piano lesson across town and all of the children in the family have to travel with her. Car travel time is a great time to get older children to read to younger children, have your children read signs, or to listen to audio books. Travel time can also be used for foreign language practice times.
This type of roadschooling also works if you are travelling to a field trip. Use the time en route to make sure the children understand what they are going to experience on a field trip as you travel to the field trip, and use the time returning home to discuss what they saw on the field trip and how it relates to other things they might have studied.
Roadschooling in the largest sense, when a family picks up roots and travels the country is legal, just as homeschooling is legal in all fifty states. One way to make sure that there are no issues with legality or truancy is to follow the homeschooling laws in the state of one’s permanent residence. Keep in mind, however, that some states require that you follow their laws regarding homeschooling if you stay within the state for more than two weeks. If you intend to participate in roadschooling over a long period of time it would be worth speaking with a legal defense association specifically aimed at homeschoolers.
Roadschooling can be anything from brief studies during commute time, to a way of life where a family picks up roots and hits the open road for an extended period of time. Technology is a great way to enhance education during travel time. With smart phones, computers, tablets, and mobile hot spots, learning can happen anywhere and anytime.