Filed under: RV Home School, Space Saving
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 states, historical 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.
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!
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!
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