Summer is a perfect time of year when families enjoy spending a bit of time away from home if they can. Not traveling this summer? Even if you're experiencing a staycation, you can enjoy these educational activities in your hometown!
While traveling with your children while still homeschooling may seem challenging if you've never done it before, it is very doable.
There are many great learning opportunities when traveling, from fundamental life skills like navigation to learning history through monuments and plaques in parks. Even the flowering plants bring practical botany and biology lessons with the insect life that swarms them.
With careful planning and creative strategies, homeschooling on the road can provide unique educational opportunities and enriching experiences for the entire family.
Preparing for Homeschooling on the Road
Of course, being prepared is your key to success in imparting knowledge. You can't expect to know everything either, so it's okay to have your phone ready for answers with a quick Google search now and then.
If you are going to a particular tourist spot that you know will afford a lot of learning, gather the information beforehand so you are ready to share it with the children.
Here are some tips for selecting travel destinations that align with your child's educational goals.
- Research Local History and Culture: Look for destinations with rich historical and cultural experiences. Consider places with significant historical sites, museums, or landmarks that can provide educational insights into different periods, civilizations, or cultural traditions.
- Focus on STEM Opportunities: If your educational goals involve science, technology, engineering, or math, look for destinations that offer interactive science centers, zoos, botanical gardens, or observatories. These locations can provide hands-on experiences and learning opportunities related to STEM subjects.
- Natural Wonders and National Parks: Choose destinations with natural wonders such as national parks, geological formations, or ecological reserves. These areas provide opportunities for learning about geology, ecology, biodiversity, and environmental conservation.
- Cultural Capitals and Artistic Heritage: Seek destinations known for their artistic heritage, music, or performing arts. Consider cities with renowned art museums, music festivals, theaters, or cultural events that can expose your children to different artistic expressions and inspire their creativity.
- Incorporate Historic Landmarks and Monuments: Look for destinations with iconic historical landmarks and monuments. Visiting sites like ancient ruins, castles, battlefields, or UNESCO World Heritage sites can offer opportunities to learn about significant events, architecture, and historical figures.
- Educational Tours and Workshops: Research destinations that offer educational tours or workshops specifically designed for families or homeschoolers. These programs often provide guided tours, hands-on activities, and expert-led experiences that align with educational goals.
- Local Libraries and Educational Institutions: Consider destinations with renowned libraries or educational institutions offering unique resources or exhibits. Take advantage of special collections, archives, or libraries with educational programs that cater to visitors.
- Plan Visits to Museums and Science Centers: Look for destinations with diverse museums and science centers that cover a wide range of topics. Choose museums that align with your children's interests and offer interactive exhibits, educational workshops, or guided tours.
- Seek Out Cultural Festivals and Events: Check the local calendar for cultural festivals, historical reenactments, or educational events happening in the area during your travel dates. Attending these events can provide immersive experiences and deeper cultural understanding.
- Consider Local Nature and Wildlife: If your educational goals involve studying nature or wildlife, opt for destinations known for their biodiversity or unique ecosystems. Choose locations with opportunities for wildlife safaris, marine exploration, or nature reserves that allow for hands-on learning experiences.
Remember, while selecting destinations that align with educational goals is essential, balancing learning with fun and relaxation during travel is crucial. By incorporating educational elements into your family adventures, you can create a well-rounded and enriching homeschooling experience on the road.
While in the planning stage of your excursion, remember how much time you will have at each education location. Refrain from overwhelming yourself or your child with too much information. Keeping it simple and making it fun will ensure everyone has a good time while learning.
Creating a Portable Curriculum
If you will be on the road, say rv'ing for a more extended period this summer, having a portable curriculum package ready for each child will ensure that things are neater and more organized.
Lightweight and versatile materials will play an essential part in keeping your road schooling less stressful for you it is a vacation afterall and functional at the same time.
This is one time when I advocate digital resources. If you are in a communal space like an RV, using an iPad or phone to read makes sense instead of bringing many books. Audiobooks are also great!
Another idea is to stop at local libraries as you pass through communities. Take the time out to teach the Dewey Decimal system to your child so they can learn to find their own reading materials. Then, have an hour or two spent in a library reading and working on researching the next stop.
Hands-on activities are great for learning on the road. Stop alongside the road and explore the geological rock formations. Discuss what period they are from and what type of rocks they are. Look at the plants growing in the ditch and discuss their types. Are they local to your area as well? Are they invasive species? What makes a plant an invasive species?
Incorporating Learning Opportunities during Travel
- Highlight the educational value of historical landmarks, museums, and cultural sites. Make a note of historical figures to research at your next library stop.
- Provide tips on engaging children in active observation, note-taking, and journaling. The dollar store offers great notepads for just such activities, which will stay within the travel budget. Colored pencils are great for taking a long to add pizzazz to notebooks.
- Offer suggestions for incorporating math, science, and geography into travel experiences. How far is it down the road to the next town? How many miles have we covered now? What animal did we see? Do you know what animal kingdom it belongs to?
Setting Up Yourself For Success While Homeschooling During Summer Traveling
Here are some strategies for establishing a daily routine that incorporates homeschooling and travel activities:
- Set Clear Learning Goals: Before embarking on your trip, establish clear learning goals for each day or week. Identify the subjects or topics you want to cover and outline specific learning objectives for your children.
- Prioritize Core Subjects: Focus on core subjects like math, reading, and writing during the morning hours when children are typically more alert and focused. Dedicate a specific block of time for each subject to ensure adequate coverage.
- Utilize Travel Time: Use travel time, whether in a car, train, or plane, by incorporating educational activities. You can encourage your child to read quality books, listen to educational podcasts, or engage in interactive educational apps that align with their learning goals.
- Flexible Scheduling: Embrace the flexibility homeschooling provides by adapting your schedule to the activities and attractions you'll be visiting. Plan learning activities and field trips around your travel itinerary, allowing for a balance between education and exploration.
All of this exciting summer travel and learning benefits young minds. It broadens their knowledge of their world and everything that came before. It also is great to spend time together as a family exploring and bonding.
Enjoy your travels!