When people meet us and realize we are traveling with our kids 99% of the time they ask us, “What about school?”
When we first began our journey, we weren’t sure how long we would be on the road and they were still too young to be in school. The more we traveled we realized we really loved the freedom this lifestyle brings and would more than likely be homeschooling our children or in our case, road schooling. We have now been road schooling since we hit the road full-time! We have been using the entire country as our classroom the last two years without even realizing it!
Many people think that homeschoolers are not very social or as society says, “socially awkward,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We quickly learned that there are tons of people road schooling their children. What exactly is it you ask? It is homeschooling, but on the road. Basically, traveling full-time and educating your children through actual experiences versus the traditional way of textbook learning.
For us personally, our oldest has a speech delay and after we began traveling full-time his speech increased dramatically! I believe it’s because of all the nature hikes, museums, caves, beachside arts and crafts, fishing, swimming, kayaking, petting zoo, apple picking, hanging out at an actual production studio and countless other experiences we have collected over the last 2 years!
Anyone who travels can road school, it’s just a really huge mental shift for the parents! I grew up in the traditional public-school system in New York City and then I finished my last two years of high school in Pennsylvania and then went to college! I never EVER thought in a million years I would even think about homeschooling let alone road schooling!
Allowing my kids to learn about the world by experience rather than by only reading has been one of the neatest experiences for all of us! We all enjoy having a new and changing classroom! Mountains one day, beaches the next! Children are learners by nature and I have learned how to tune into what each of my kids enjoys and I take the opportunity to expand on that. There are many ways to road school; I personally do not believe there is a right or wrong way to do it.
We intentionally use the entire country as our classroom. I would never speak for everyone, but we feel we do not have to make our kids step into a classroom to learn. Our goal is to prepare our children for anything the world presents to them. They are learning about themselves and very valuable world skills at the same time. I firmly believe that kids should be encouraged to explore what they truly love and learn how to thrive on it!
I personally hated history growing up, but the more we travel the more I realize I LOVE it the most! There is something about being in the middle of history that makes it come to life. One of those things that you can’t truly explain, you just have to experience it. I can tell just by my children’s expressions that they are taking it in and enjoying it just as much as I am!
It is important to keep in mind that each state has its own requirements for homeschooling and I highly recommend to research what your state’s requirements are. Some states require a much stricter curriculum than others. Please make sure to research and choose which state to make your domicile state in order to enroll your child. Florida happened to be our homebase so we decided to enroll our child with Florida Unschoolers. After extensive research, we found this private umbrella school to be in perfect alignment of who we are and what we want for our kids.
Road schooling might not be for everyone, but it works perfectly for us! We love giving our children hands-on learning experiences. We are obsessed with bike riding, discovering the desert, the mountains, and the ocean all hands-on. If I could truly write down Julez’s reactions as he walked under real bats (during his Batman phase) in an underground cave in Michigan, trust me I would, but it’s something, not even our video camera could truly capture.
I asked a fellow homeschooling mom for her one tip and Neva from Our Nomadic Story shared, “Do not buy into any one particular curriculum for all subjects. Pick and choose by individual subjects based on how your child learns, what interests them and what works for your lifestyle. A bonus tip- if a curriculum isn’t working, change it; do not keep forcing it.” I really took her advice to heart because she has successfully homeschooled her boys who are now furthering their education.
Although I am a very positive person and I would love to say it is always unicorns and rainbows in life, I know there are always “challenges.” I decided to ask my great friend Jessica from Exploring the Local Life what her biggest obstacle has been so far in her road schooling journey? Her answer was, “The biggest obstacle we have faced is not burning out. There are so many opportunities on the road that we have had to pick and choose carefully. Otherwise, we would be broke and exhausted!” This is great advice. I am newer to the road schooling world than Jessica is and I can see how it can easily become exhausting if we do not pick and choose carefully.
I will end this with a quote I love from Benjamin Franklin, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Can you relate to this quote? I truly can! My best way of learning is to be involved. When I am immersed in what I am learning it is very hard to forget! It leads me back to our decision to road school our little ones because I want them to enjoy their childhood years of learning as much as humanly possible.