Good Sam Camping Blog
TEST Header
Filed under: RV Home School, Space Saving

RV Roadschooling

February 28, 2010 by · 11 Comments 

·

boy doing school work

While we have always homeschooled our children, now that we are full-time r.v.ers, we have found that Roadschooling (homeschooling on the road) presents some unique challenges as compared to when we homeschooled in a sticks & bricks. 

 Being on the road has given us a chance to visit some wonderful historic locations that we would not have been able to otherwise afford to go to without our r.v.  We love to tailor our curriculum to where we are visiting; especially for history, writing, and science, but traveling full-time makes it difficult to always have, on-hand, the learning tools that we enjoyed in our house.  We have found having a laptop and printer on-board indispensable to our destination tutoring!  Of course, if you are going for a short trip, it would be very easy to find applicable information before you leave home, print it out there, and take it along.  There are some great websites that provide details and worksheets about stateshistorical destinations, and elementary hands-on science.  My children, for the most part, enjoy worksheets, so in addition to downloading interesting online worksheets, I also watch out for fun workbooks about where we are visiting. 

History of Texas Museum

History of Texas Museum

Last month when we were in Texas, I found a great workbook at the Bob Bullock History of Texas Museum gift shop.  Because I have multiple ages, I went through the workbook and marked each page that I thought the kids might enjoy with a post-it flag.  On the flag, I wrote how many copies of that page I wanted depending on which children it was age appropriate for.  A quick trip to Staples, and we were set for some fun (and inexpensive) learning about a new-to-us area.
 

Many students use the Internet for classroom research, and travelers use it to find out about a possible destination.  Roadschooling brings both of these together.  In addition to finding out about the surrounding tourist sights and searching for campgrounds, we like to find factual information on the historical places that we are interested in touring.  Last week we visited Tombstone, AZ, the sight of the legendary gunfight between the Earp brothers with Doc Holiday, and the lawless Clanton Gang at the OK Corral.  On our way to Tombstone, we searched for a website about the deadly match, and read about the gunfight aloud; we also learned a lot about the founding of the town, including the source of it’s name.  The kids had more interest in the location knowing a bit of it’s history, we had a better idea of how to prioritize our time there based on what details we found intriguing, and the kids had a jump-start on what they would need to know to earn their Jr. Ranger badges.

Homeschoolers tend to be bookworms (and we are!) but now that we are schooling out of an rv, we are greatly limited as to both space and weight.  We don’t have much room for books, but even if we did, the weight factor of hauling them around would be detrimental to our GVW!   I have never been a big library fan – I felt that if a book was worth reading, it was worth owning - unfortunately, this mind-set  just doesn’t fit in well with the r.v. lifestyle!  But how could we school without our books?  One solution was that we bought the older kids e-readers for Christmas.  There are over a dozen different manufacturers; we chose Sony.  (the following info is based on our experience with them, so it may differ if you choose Kindle, nook, or any of the others…)  If you tend to purchase a lot of books anyway, a digital reader can pay for itself very quickly.  Our family prefers classics, and many of these books can be downloaded for free.  In fact, you don’t have to have an e-reader to take advantage of free downloads; they can be read on your computer/laptop also!  It is easy to find books based on location or historic event with literally millions of books available for download!

books organized in cupboard

magazine racks work best for our workbooks

For storing our traditional school books, we have found that it works best for us to have a container for each childs books.  At first we used horizontal plastic boxes with lids, but we have found that, in the area we have set aside for school in this coach, magazine holders work best.  Each child has their own holders, and since the containers are vertical, the kids don’t have to dig theirs out from under others, and the remaining holders stay upright (instead of a row of slumping books), making it easier to keep those cupboards tidy.   We also use magazine holders for coloring books and info that we send away for from each state like tourist guides.

We do enjoy a certain amount of educational dvds.  One of our favorites is Drive Thru History; they are generally location specific or about a certain person (thus you might want to watch about Benjamin Franklin when you are visiting Boston, his birthplace, or Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was signed).  My boys especially enjoy these as Dave is usually driving some cool or unusual vehicle, and he is rather comical.

We also have found other ways to impart learning into our ‘camping’ routine.  We tend to lean towards games that have some, however small :), educational value.  My kids like the game bananagrams, which is somewhat similar to Scrabble but without a board; great for spelling, and is very compact.  Math games, like Math Dice, are small, lightweight, and easy to adapt and play with multiple ages.

We have really been enjoying our roadschooling adventure.  At first it was a challenge for this bookworm mom to adapt to life without a library onboard, but we have found some great alternatives that are making our journey a lot of fun and still educational.  We are also finding that learning can be extra rewarding when we take advantage of the educational opportunities that each of our travel destinations offer.  If you have some other roadschooling ideas, I would love to hear from you!  

Safe Travels and Happy Learning!

Dana

Search for places to go camping with kids.

Comments

11 Responses to “RV Roadschooling”
  1. Diane Berry says:

    Thanks Dana. Great article! Always wondered about roadschooling and what it would be like. Seems like a great idea. I’m almost sorry our kids are almost out of (traditional) high school! I think they would really have enjoyed it. Thanks for a glimpse into your world!

  2. Denise says:

    Dana~ as a history loving family, we always try to fit that into our camping trips. How wonderful that your family gets this extra bonus when learning on the road!! So exciting to read about your roadschooling : )

  3. kids camping says:

    I really admire all homeschooling moms and doing it in an RV is even better! My kudos to you Dana.

  4. Tonya says:

    What a great post! As another roadschooling family, I’d have to say that one of the more difficult aspects of life on the road has been the constant struggle to resist buying more books. Buying books is definitely a weakness for me and we just don’t have anyplace to keep them, not to mention they add a lot of weight to the RV. Loved the idea to keep workbooks in the magazine racks. Great tip!

  5. Maria says:

    Roadschooling is my fantasy! We took a (rented) RV trip last fall and we all loved it. How do you afford to go and stay on the road?

  6. Barbara Holford says:

    Hi, We are about 5 months away from our big adventure of leaving our stick house with our 2 children and going on a big adventure in our 5th wheel. We have 2 very good kids, age 10 and 14 (going into 5th and 9th) and I am investigating home school options. As I have never home schooled before I need a program with some structure but also flexible enough to work into the experiential opportunities that traveling in an RV provides. Our home base is Washington state. Can you give us some guidance. Thanks, Barbara

  7. dana t. says:

    Hello Barbara,
    I’m so sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to you in regards to homeschooling. We have been very busy traveling, and things are just starting to slow a bit.
    I’m afraid that I’m not a good person to ask about curriculum – I’ve been homeschooling for so long that I really do my own thing, kind of fly by the seat of my pants if you will :) I really don’t even know what all is out there anymore, as we have the actual ‘textbooks’ and use them over and over, and everything else is mostly living books.
    My suggestion would be to try to attend a homeschool convention. Depending on where you live, there should be one in the near future as they are almost always held in the spring. There will be lots of vendors with their curriculum, and that is the best way to decide what will work for your family since you will be able to see it in person. There usually are workshops that cover everything from beginning homeschooling to instilling character qualities in your kids, and some even have workshops for the kids. It is money and time well spent whether your a newbie or a veteran :)
    The only thing to be careful of is impulse buying – it’s so easy to come home with way more schoolbooks that you can ever use (or should)! LOL!

    There are several homeschool magazines out there too – most are christian based, and you can often pick up copies at a local christian book store. The magazines will have ads for lots of different homeschool suppliers. Also, ask around – it is much easier to find other homeschool families these days than it used to be, and you are sure to find one that you have similar interests/goals with.
    Wishing your family the best on what is sure to be an excellent adventure! :)
    dana

  8. Mollyann says:

    Hi,

    Really loved reading about how you Homeschool on the road. May I please quote you in a research paper?

    Thanks.

  9. Keri says:

    Hi! I love your blog :) Being a new “roadschooling” mom, it is nice to find other familys out there doing the same thing.

    My tips I have discovered I would like to add is:

    1. I bought some fold up tv tray tables at walmart. They are great because they are mobile, storable and they allow the perfect space the kids need to do thier school work.

    2. I save space and money by having the kids use an online program instead of a ton of books (Time4Learning)

    3.As far as toys, I bought a plastic storage cabinet ( its about 6 feet tall by 3 foot wide ). It was about $90 at walmart, but it has really helped store all the kids toys, games, and even thier cloths ;)

Trackbacks

Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. [...] Woodalls – Guest Article by a family of 13 traveling and living full-time in a Toy Hauler Trailer. Share this:EmailFacebook Filed Under: Family Life [...]

  2. [...] September 16, 2011 by Dana T. for Woodall’s Family Camping [...]



Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!