We sold our house, bought a motorhome and officially started our roadschool while living in a motorhome! We meet people everyday who are in awe of our lifestyle, but it’s not without planning. And some hardships. AND with amazing experiences! Here’s a little look into our roadschooling life.
What is Roadschool?
Roadschool is homeschooling on the road. Seems simple enough! After roadschooling for the last year, we have found that roadschool curriculum and implementation can vary from family to family, much like homeschools can vary. Roadschooling is often how people educate while living in a motorhome, RV, or overland vehicle!
Want to be sure you’re documenting your roadschool adventures? Grab your FREE Roadschool Adventure Trip Log!
Before you jump into your RV and start traveling the country with your kids, remember that some states require that you follow a set curriculum.
Our family is registered in North Carolina and we ensure our kids are following the rules of our state. PLEASE be sure that you have your children registered in your home state as homeschoolers and adhere to the laws of your home state.
Some states, like Utah, have no set curriculum requirements and would allow you to follow your own path regarding how you want to educate your children.
Our registered state does not require a set curriculum so we have a lot of fleixbility in how we educate our children.
Roadschooling allows us to use resources across the country to build and supplement their curriculum.
Sure, we do math work, science experiments, language, etc., but we
also go to National Parks to study geology, history, and to learn about the tribes who previously inhabited our lands.
We can also go to places like NASA Space Center in Houston for a large dose of STEM as you can see in the picture above. We happened to be in the area for homeschool day! It’s one of our greatest joys to be able to take our kids to the places where they can learn the most in an extremely hands on way.
Experiential Learning in Roadschool
My degree in Experiential Education has taught me that people (that includes kids) learn more when learning is an experience and there is an opportunity to reflect on that experience.
Some of our roadschool adventures have taken us to:
- the tip of Maine to eat lobster in Bar Harbor and learn about how lobster effects the economy
- to the coast of South Carolina to explore the strategic military value of Ft. Sumpter
- to the beautiful Saguaro cacti that only naturally grows in southern Arizona and part of Mexico
- to our favorite Fourth of July parade in Cody, WY and active geothermal features in Yellowstone
- plus countless natural history museums, science centers, and cultural experiences
And that’s just in the last two years!
Going to as many historical places as we can exposes the kids to a new world, immerses them in it, and gets them to think critically.
That’s right, a five year old, will start to wonder why ancient people chose to live in a certain place, how did they find food and water? What was their culture like? Where did they go? And why? These are essential questions for inquisitive minds!
If they don’t immediately ask these questions, then you can teach them how. Be the one to ask the hard and open ended questions. Make them think.
Encourage them to ask why?
When they start asking why, they are going to look to you for guidance. You’ll find that you DON’T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS! That’s a good thing and it’s ok to say “I don’t know, but lets find out.” That will teach them that
they too don’t need to have all of the answers, but they’ll have the tools to know WHERE to find the answers.
So, where do YOU find the answers?
We often have to research those answers and finding credible sources is critical. Sure, Wikipedia pops up in the number 1 slot in Google, but Wikipedia is not a credible source as readers can submit inaccurate information. Check out these funny wikipedia fails for an example and a laugh!
All it typically takes is a quick Google search and you’ll be on your way to information discovery.
Custom Curriculum to Fit the Adventure
We sometimes create a curriculum for our children that fits where they are in certain subjects, adapt teaching methods to their learning styles, and adapt what we actually teach them to match where we are on our trip. That all seems really complicated, but it’s just a matter of grabbing some educational books and researching topics before we visit a certain place.
For example, in 2016 we went on a month long trip to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and the Grand Canyon National Park. Our educational focus prior to that trip was on land formations, volcanoes, and was geology heavy in general.
We created mini volcanoes at home, researched the different land formations, and talked about different types of rocks. Nothing too formal, but more like a family learning experience!
Once the kids had the foundation in the subject, we attended NPS (National Park Service) Ranger led programs at the parks, toured actual examples of those landforms, and used the Junior Ranger program and visitor centers as supplemental curriculum. You can document your learning using our Roadschool Adventure Trip Log.
You can even incorporate them into trip planning to get a heavy dose of math through budgeting!
Ability to Teach Lost Arts
We are a traveling family. We travel via RV or by overlanding. When traveling off-road, we use maps, compasses, and GPSs. Map reading and navigation are a lost art. As a society (American), we rely heavily on Waze, Siri, Google Maps, etc., but those are useless when navigating trails in remote areas.
Using paper maps allow us to teach our kids about planning, contingencies for closed roads, and incorporate critical thinking.
We help them think about important questions like:
- Does our route incorporate possible camping or refueling stops?
- What type or terrain will we be covering?
- Are there weather considerations on this alpine route?
- Is the risk of getting stuck and working hard worth the reward?
Free Adventure Resources
We LOVE using Junior Ranger Programs to supplement our curriculum. The kids love working on the activities and they differ based on age. This is will spark their curiosity in the subjects and will drive their desire to learn.
Our kids often reuse and study the booklets for months after they complete them!
There are many different types of programs, ones that we’ve found are park specific programs, Night Explorer, Wilderness Explorer, Snow Ranger, and Forest Ranger programs that vary greatly in content.
As your kids earn patches and badges, they can put them on a backpack like our kids do (let us know if you are interested in how we made ours) and walk proudly in the parks!
The National Wildlife Federation also has tons of resources regarding the environment, climate, animals, and so much more. Check out their site for tons of resources and introduce your kids to Ranger Rick!
That’s right, he’s still around, and better than ever!
Are your kids in the fourth grade this year or next? Well hopefully you’ve heard of Every Kid in a Park, but if not, you should check it out. Your kids earned you free tickets into your National Park of choice. You can’t beat that!
Some of Our Resources
While you’re visiting our National Parks, you should check out this National Parks Stamp Book. Your kids can use this to document and reflect on their visit to the National Parks!
Looking to incorporate more STEM into your curriculum that is adventure driven and hands on? We have a ropes/knot tying STEM Challenge as well. We also have tons of road trip games, I Spy, and bingo games available on our store so you can use them on your next road trip.
Plus, roadschooling is just plain fun!
Looking for more information about traveling full-time and how to pack for your next trip? You’ll love our How-To Guide and the free packing list!