What is Road Schooling? Just what it sounds like….doing school while on the road. Up until about a year ago the idea of anything other than dropping my kids off at school at 8am and picking them up at 3pm wasn’t even on my radar. Homeschooling was an honorable and worthy thing…..for other people, but to take that one extra step and pack up your life to travel around like nomads, well, who does that? Why would a family give up the comfort and stability of their homes and their secure brick and mortar schools to be gypsy’s, wandering the countryside in search of adventure? How will your kids get the education that they need let alone their sports, music, church and other necessary activities? Until I was introduced to this I had no idea the number of families that have chosen to embrace this freedom for the sake of their children, their family and the quality of education that it affords them. How better to teach your kids about the history of our country and the Separatist that came over from Europe to find freedom from a tyrannical king than to go to Plymouth Rock where they landed and see the granite monument that they built in honor of their journey, sacrifice and hope for a better future. To walk the paths in Philadelphia that our founding fathers took when they were meeting to write and discuss the Declaration of Independence, the document that was going to permanently provide our country with freedom. When studying Geology, you can visit places like Yellowstone, the nation’s first national park, which houses the most geysers in one location than anywhere else on earth, Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, with the world’s longest cave and of course the Grand Canyon in all its glory. As you travel the county you can follow the original tracks of the railroad and talk about the order of events in the Industrial Revolution and its impact on the United States as you make your way to the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan, where you will learn about the history of transportation. There you can turn it into a science and math lesson and recreate the journey of the Wright Brothers as they prepared, tested, failed and tested again and again “The First Flight”. This is just the tip of the ice burg. The world can be our classroom. Books are wonderful tools, schools have been created to give our kids the opportunity to learn about things that they may otherwise not be exposed to but how much more can a lesson or story come alive and keep them motivated to learn then to actually stand where people stood and/or see it happening before their very eyes. As far as sports you won’t have to worry about cardiovascular activity with the hiking through the caves and caverns you are going to be doing. Pack your bikes for a great way to get exercise and explore at the same time. You can also spend the afternoon at a local park; maybe start a basketball or soccer game. If you invite other kids to play, you can get your activity in for the day and meet some new friends while you’re at it. Who knows, it may even turn into an invitation to share dinner that night. I have never been to a city or even a small town with at least two options of places to worship. True, they may not be what you are used to or what you would choose to participate in on a regular Sunday morning at home but this could be a great teaching moment for you and your kids as well. How interesting it will be to see how other people in different parts of the county practice their religion and worship. You could easily turn that into a Sociology lesson which will culminate with a research paper at the end of your trip. My kids and I have just started to learn to play the guitar. Guitars are great because they are easy to transport and are welcome anywhere and as we travel we can continue to do online lessons. There are many other small instruments that are easy to travel with and you would be surprised at how quickly and easily kids can teach themselves to play music if they are so inclined.
“You’re doing what?” “You’re husband’s okay with this?” “How are you going to fund this?” These are just a few of the questions that I have been asked over the last few months as I slowly and carefully unveil my plans to take my two children, 10 and 5, on the road for a yearlong “Road Schooling Adventure.”
Yes, there are costs involved but there are always ways to make it most effective and be doable for your family.We plan to camp as we travel, luckily our family already has an RV and a car that can be towed behind it. We have been camping as a family for 12 years so it’s nothing new for us. However my motivation for this journey came from a family that had never camped in their lives. Sold everything they owned including their home, bought a Class A Motorhome and the mother and two children hit the road for 3 years. WOW……………We aren’t doing that. Our plan is to rent our home to someone who needs a short term relocation for their job. My husband will stay behind with family and friends to work and then fly to meet us every few months. Luckily he has a job where he is able to set up his schedule so he can be away for three weeks at a time. Others may have their own business and can work from anywhere, while for some families this may not be an option. One spouse works full time and only gets a certain amount of limited vacation a year. In this case you may have to save for a while in order to make this become a reality, but with a little sacrifice it can be done.Being away from my husband and the father of my children will personally be the hardest part for us. But I think about single parents who never have the support of another parent, military families who are separated from their loved ones for great lengths of time as well as many other situations where parents have to be away from their families. It is a sacrifice, and not one to be taken lightly, however for us, with email and face time I know that we can and will make it work just as others have done before us. There is no sugar coating the fact that this will take effort, planning and some costs but I believe the benefits my family will get out of this type of educational experience is worth the work. We only have our kids for a short period of time. What an awesome gift to give them, a grassroots education while spending quality time with the people that care most about them in the world. Submitted by Kathleen Deason