The Review Crew is talking about homeschool travel advice this week. While we’re not exactly world travelers, we do enjoy getting out, visiting, and exploring. Fitting that into busy life and school schedules is always a challenge. Over the years we’ve found a few things that work, and more than a few that didn’t. Today, I want to share a few mistakes I have made and tricks learned along the way.
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When we first started combining homeschooling and travel, I made the mistake of adding way too much schoolwork to our trips. I was trying to do all the activities I could to turn it into a learning opportunity, but I was not leaving enough time for fun. We were overwhelmed trying to get all of the work done and see all of the sights.
The second mistake I made was turning everything into a ‘learning opportunity’. Combining travel with learning is an amazing way to teach many subjects and one we still utilize. However, not every trip or every adventure needs to have formal learning attached to it. Sometimes, it is best just to go and enjoy the trip or activity. Your children will naturally learn just through the experience but some things are best enjoyed without the burden of additional work.
Homeschool Travel Tips
1) Book bags and clipboards are your best friend when you travel. We often take along our regular school work to be done on long road trips. It can be a great use of the riding time and gives us more flexibility to take time off. However, if you don’t have a good system to keep things contained it can be easy for papers or books to get lost, and once it disappears into the black-hole it may as well be in Jupiter. These clipboards can not only provide a good writing surface, but can keep papers and pencils all neatly contained. As a bonus they come in different colors to make it easier if you have multiple children (or maybe mine are the only ones that will fight over which clipboard belongs to which child.)
2) Plan ahead and think about what activities will travel well and which subjects are better left at home. We do not typically bring everything with us on a trip. My children will choose one or two subjects and bring those materials. For example, reading is a great option because they can just bring their books. For my youngest son, he has a write-in math book that travels very well. However, my oldest does an online math program so he will just do a little extra math before and after a trip.
3) Choose activities that align with the areas that you will be visiting or the experiences that you will be having. For example, when we visited NASA at Cape Canaveral last year we listened to the Heroes of History biography about Alan Shepherd in the car as we traveled. On another trip to the mountains we did a literature study of My Side of the Mountain.
4) Utilize State and National Parks as well as other similar resources for rest stops. We have a National Parks Passport and the children love to find parks and get their stamps. We do not always have time to stop at every one of them along the route, or go out of the way to get to one, but we try to find at least one or two on any long road trip. We often pack our lunch and use the National Park as a place to eat lunch, learn a little bit about the nature or history of the park, and stretch our legs. We do not spend much more time than we would have to stop at a restaurant but they have had the opportunity to see something new and move around a bit before we get back on the road.
What are your favorite homeschool travel tips? Do you enjoy incorporating traveling into your homeschool? You can check out our Field Trips page for more information on some of our favorite trips. Make sure to check out all of the other travel advice over at the Review Crew blog!
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