Road schooling doesn’t mean you need to be in an RV or have a month (or more!) of free time to take advantage of the opportunities road schooling offers. We homeschool on the road as often as possible so our daughter can gain first-hand experience with what she’s learning. Not being confined to a building for learning is one of the things we love most about homeschooling and the flexibility of taking homeschooling on the road is a great way to add some variety to your routine. In this article, we’ll explore why road schooling is a great option.

Your Kid’s Brain And Road Schooling

Because our brains are wired to focus on new events, road schooling provides the kind of first-hand experiences that help build a solid knowledge base. We can look at our own lives for proof. If you travel the same route to work each day, you eventually don’t have to think about what you’re doing at all because the brain forgets the redundant aspect of our lives. However, if you’re faced with an obstacle while on your commute, you’ll be far more aware. Maybe you’ll even have to turn down the radio to better your focus. The same is true for learning. When we provide real-world learning opportunities, we give our children’s brains a chance to truly engage with their five senses to make sense of what they’re experiencing.

The brain is the central office of learning and the five senses are the satellites that bring in the information. Our sense of taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell are powerful catalysts for learning. Any chance we get to incorporate several of these at a time, the better the brain will store the information we gather. Homeschooling on the road provides unique activities that do just that

A couple of years ago on the drive back from a family trip to Las Vegas, we stopped in The Petrified Forest in Arizona where my daughter was able to view ancient petroglyphs.

Road Schooling Isn’t Limited To The RV Lifestyle

It can be tempting to dismiss road schooling if you don’t have an RV or the time to travel through multiple states for months. However, with your car, an enthusiastic attitude, and a flexible agenda you can make homeschooling on the road a reality. Plus, you may not have to travel as far as you think to provide memorable experiences for your children.

Wander through museums

Whether you’re on the road, or in your own town, museums are excellent places to explore. Even small often towns have museums that display information and items from the town’s history and often these are free. Museums are fantastic because you can choose an area to explore, but then allow the children to take ownership of what they explore first and how long they stay with each station. I recently visited a museum with a friend and our four children and we found it interesting how each child chose to explore. It was also interesting to note the different takeaways each child had from visiting the same exhibits but in their own way.  For more ideas on how to use museums in your homeschool, see our Homeschool How-to: Using Museums.

Explore national parks

National parks are chock full of history and science. Be sure to visit the welcome centers, which often contain small museums and other information about the area. Give your child space and ample time to explore on their own, because what may seem redundant to us may be quite novel to them.

Visit local landmarks

A quick Google search may pull up various locations in your area where history was made. Make it a spot for a picnic for a lesson, if possible, or just go without an agenda and see what happens. Be flexible, be open to new experiences and most of all, have fun. It’s scientifically proven that if we can attach an emotion, such as happiness and excitement to an experience, we’re far more likely to remember it.

Take a drive

My family often comes across fabulous finds on days when we grab a coffee and hop in the car for a day drive with no agenda. We’ve come across so many interesting historical places and locations doing this. For example, we read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with our daughter and several months later, did a short day trip to a city we hadn’t explored yet. They had a small, family-owned candy factory in the town, so we stopped in for a tour and left with more knowledge and some delicious sweet treats. You never know what you might come across that can easily be incorporated into what your child is learning.

What Road Schooling Can Look Like

When learning about Presidents: Research which presidents lived in your state and visit locations as you are able. Encourage your children to take their own photographs, or make sketches, or simply discuss why they think the mounds were made. Have them add these photos and sketches, pamphlets, etc to their history keepsake books.

Theresa uses History Odyssey Early Modern Level 1 with her daughter and plans their road trips around the periods found in the study guide.

If you’re learning about another country or region, it may not be possible to visit that country. In this case, check your local museum for exhibits. For example, my daughter learned about South America and after that unit of study, our local museum hosted an Omnimax movie about the Mayan culture. While it happened after the unit, she was still able to reference what she had previously learned.

Petrified Forest in Arizona where we saw several ancient petroglyphs.
Roadside museum in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. Adjacent to this museum is a mural depicting the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears.
Sallisaw, Oklahoma.
Sequoyah’s Cabin in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. This is where he scribed the first written Cherokee language.

Road Schooling Tips

  • Don’t worry about things happening within the same time frame. For example, if you have a visit to an aquarium planned while on vacation, but you’re not studying marine life in your curriculum yet, go anyway and enjoy yourself. Grab a pamphlet and any information you can gather while you’re there. Review is a powerful learning tool and when we can review information and add new to it, all the better.
  • Let having fun be the objective. Children are natural learners and if we provide interesting experiences, they will learn.
    Be flexible. When traveling with children, a flexible schedule with downtime scheduled in is a must. This will make everyone happy and less stressed, especially if you have young children or if you have multiple children.
  • Your homeschool need not be dominated by four walls and a paper trail of learning. Let the world be your playground. Let nature be your classroom and let exploration and observation be your objective. Homeschooling on the road enables your child to build an immense knowledge base that can be applied across all content areas and carried throughout their lives, no matter what roads they choose to travel in the future.

Let The World Be Your Playground With Road Schooling

Your homeschool need not be dominated by four walls and a paper trail of learning. Let the world be your playground. Let nature be your classroom, and let exploration and observation be your objective. Homeschooling on the road enables your child to build an immense knowledge base that can be applied across all content areas and carried throughout their lives, no matter what roads they choose to travel in the future.

Theresa is a homeschooling mom and writer with a degree in education from the University of Kentucky. In her spare time, she enjoys drinking copious amounts of coffee, gardening, and reading books. She also loves traveling with her family any chance she gets. Theresa blogs at resabrandenburg.com.