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Roadschooling: An Introduction


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Written by Chelsea Gonzales of Wonder Wherever We Wander.

As I have mentioned before, my family travels a lot. We live in a travel trailer full-time, and we take every opportunity we can find to see this beautiful country. Many people wonder how we can lead this life full of adventure and still find time to educate our five-year-old son. The answer is simple: roadschooling.

While I won’t claim to be an expert on the subject, I am happy to respond to the questions of anyone who asks. After all, who can blame them for being a little bit curious?

Let’s dive into the world of roadschooling,  and I’ll answer the questions that I hear most often.

Roadschooling

What is roadschooling?

Roadschooling is exactly what one might assume. Essentially it is homeschooling while traveling the country, almost always in an RV of some sort.

As we all know, families homeschool in a variety of ways, and the same applies to roadschooling. Some people choose to take a very relaxed, unschooling approach to their travel schooling. Others decide it is best to emulate something more along the lines of traditional school. Of course, many do something between those two extremes, and that is just fine as well.

Where do you store your supplies?

This question is surprisingly common and one that every family might answer differently. Our family takes a very relaxed approach to schooling, especially because our son is still so young. Therefore, we don’t have much to store. What we do have fits very easily.

In our tiny home, there is a bin of books to choose from, but we also visit the library as often as possible in order to keep the number of books we own to a minimum. We have a Kindle Fire tablet, loaded with educational games, books, and podcasts, that serves us very well when we are in the car for extended periods of time.

homeschooling on the road

Additionally, we have one cabinet dedicated to craft supplies as well as pencils and paper. Other than these things, we use everyday experiences and adventures to supplement our son’s education.

Some families have older kids and can keep all schoolwork on the computer. Other families we have met purchase a larger RV so that they can have a dedicated school space. There are a number of ways to make schooling on the road work, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

What is roadschooling?

How do you have time for schoolwork?

Some people have expressed concern that we won’t have enough time for schooling when we are so busy having travel adventures. These people fail to realize two things.

First, traveling is our lifestyle. Therefore, we are not on a perpetual vacation. We do have downtime and a regular schedule.

Second, every trip to a museum or zoo, every hike through the woods, and even a trip to a local theme park is schooling for us. We embrace learning wherever we go, and we have found that fantastic learning experiences come our way every single day.

With these things in mind, one can see that fitting school into our lives is not only easy, but it is also completely natural.

Homeschooling while traveling

What are the laws regarding roadschooling?

Every state has a different set of rules and regulations regarding homeschooling. When parents choose to roadschool their children, they must follow the homeschooling laws of their home state.

Many people opt to change their state of residency to take advantage of more relaxed homeschool laws, as well as lower taxes and other considerations. Because we were Oklahoma residents when we started this venture, and because Oklahoma has some of the most laid-back homeschooling laws in the country, we have held onto our residency.

Are there negative sides to roadschooling?

This question is a toughie. I’d say for us the negatives relate more to full-time RV living rather than roadschooling itself. For example, sometimes being cooped up in our tiny travel trailer is a bit difficult, especially when it is rainy or cold and going outside isn’t an option. Additionally, our son does have times when he would like to have more permanent playmates.

However, the positives of this lifestyle far outweigh the negatives, and we have no regrets!

Why did you choose roadschooling?

We chose roadschooling in order to give our child perspective and an opportunity to learn about people and places first-hand. We chose this route to connect as a family and to the world around us. Most importantly, we chose roadschooling in order to help our son to see the beauty in everything our world has to offer. So far, it seems to be working out just fine.

We would love to answer more questions on our lifestyle and schooling choices. If you have questions of your own, leave them in the comments.

This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop.

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13 Comments

  1. We travel quite a bit but still live in our home. I like to use travel time as learning time too but I am never quite sure how to measure or record the time as homeschooling. How do you do that? Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    1. I just saw these comments! I do apologize for the delay.

      We don’t keep super specific records. We aren’t required to keep any at all if we don’t want to because our state of residency has very lax homeschooling laws.

      That said, we do keep a digital journal outlining various projects our son has worked on, field trips we have taken, books we have read, and subjects we have studied. We prefer this very relaxed type of homeschooling for now, but that could change as our son gets older.

    2. I have this same question sometimes, do the hours count for science for the week or should I count the entire day as a homeschool field trip day like public school does? I’ve done both. I keep a weekly calendar that I write what we do in ea subject as we do it (for my personal justification & self esteem that we are indeed doing enough). On there I will write the Field trip, along a day or across the week in various subjects it applies. I also have started taking “proof pics” of some of the educational parts, or the process of a project etc & then using an app to combine the pics into a collage. My plan is to print these out to file along w her other work in various subjects, I like the physical evidence, but 🤔 I’m going to upload them to our google drive now too. Just in case…. I have the same question when it comes to stem projects. 😏 I’ve been know to write on the line between science & math & am sticking with the picture collage!

  2. i would love this lifestyle but what type of employment are you in .I’m a bus driver who would love to travel with my children but i still need a steady income suggestions and advice as to how i can put this into a plan would be greatly appreciated

    1. Hi Catherine!

      There are plenty of ways to make money on the road. A simple google search will return numerous blog articles in the topic, but the real trick is to take what you love and know and make it a career. For me, that means writing, teaching online Irish dance lessons, and offering dance and theater workshops as we travel. However, you could find yourself doing something very different.

  3. I’m just here for the comments. Sounds like you’re having a blast. Love to hear all that goes into what you’re doing and the answer to the above questions just for fun. I know our kid learn even when it seems impossible that they could. We can’t stop them from learning!

  4. Fun to hear of someone else teaching kids on the road. I have a 4 year old and a 6 year old and we are traveling through Central America this whole year. They are learning so much that they would never get if we had stayed home.

    1. Wow I love it! I met my husband in Nicaragua, ahem, a few yrs ago 😉 & dream of doing that there at some point. I’m not sure if I’m daring enough to attempt all of Central America?!? How fascinating! I love that you are loving it too! It seems you all jump in with both feet, committing to entire years. …I remember one year traveling there I bought hemp necklaces off the side of the road in San Juan del Sur from “Hippies” hitchhiking their way through. Oh goodness the wanderlust has hit, but my hubby knows better than to let me go there for that long…or Ill adopt. 💕 I miss it so, & want my children to be children, but I want their hearts to breathe freedom from knowing their daddy & his family worked hard for the life he & they have. Our complaints are more often than not trivial luxuries, & that they, even as Children can change the world! (I started an NG

      1. At 15, I helped to start an NGO there that he ended up working for. He ran it there & designed water tanks & hospitals etc… I translated for drs & gave out prescriptions in rural areas, built houses for hurricane Mitch refugees carrying cement on my head at times, & did medical & lumbar inventory for the Red Cross. All things, my kids can be apart of when we are out of the toddler stage anyway.) Thanks for rekindling my entire inspiration for homeschooling in the first place!

  5. We are looking to begin this adventure in late summer/fall of 2018 with our 4 kids and 2 dogs. Our oldest will be in 8th grade and we think it will be an amazing way for our children to learn about and see the U.S. while connecting together as a family like never before. While I have zero expectations of it ever being a life of fluffy clouds and rainbows 😂, I do think it will be an experience that my husband and I will never regret doing with our family. Thank you for the insight into roadschooling. I am both excited and overwhelmed by the plans of roadschooling a 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 8th grader on the road. Really planning to focus heavily on American history, geography, and literature as we go. Any suggestions for cost saving tips for RVing or rv parks you recommend? Are you still traveling now?

    1. I totally love this idea too. It is so big & vast & no matter how much you study it, it’s not the same as experiencing it. California was that realization for me. I expected beautiful Florida. Hahahaha silly me. …& no wonder the stars all have gorgeous hair! Here in Ga, some days you’re sopping wet before you even reach the car! GL & Safe Travels!

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