Guide to roadschooling: how to start and what to teach

Are you ready to hit the road and explore but you’re worried about taking on the responsibility of educating your child? Or do you know you can do it but you aren’t sure where to start?  I’ve been homeschooling my kids for 15 years and for the past 5 years we’ve been doing a combination of road schooling and world schooling. Here’s our ultimate guide on how to get started home or road schooling and some tips to keep in mind on your journey. 

What is Road Schooling 

Road schooling, like the name implies, refers to teaching your kids while you are traveling on the road. In the past few years many families have decided to ditch conformity and go live out their dream of traveling through the US in a van or RV but they want to make sure their child is still getting a good education.  

While world schooling tends to imply learning through life experiences as you travel the world, road schooling typically involves a combination of curriculum with learning through travel experiences.  

Benefits of Road Schooling

If you have the desire to nurture and bond with your child, then road schooling might be your answer.  By creating a simpler life you have the time and patience to really listen to and connect with your child.  

I honestly think the amount of time I spend just listening to my kids’ random thoughts has helped their education tremendously because it’s provided space for contemplation of life and after all, this Socratic form of education will create kids who are thinkers, planners, questioners, and doers.  This in itself is so valuable today.  

I also feel that the amount of in-life learning they get has helped their self-growth too.  Many of the things my kids might be missing out on in school can be Googled in a few seconds today.  As travelers, we are constantly having to research where to go, what to do, how to budget for trips, and actually implement plans.  

Our lifestyle breeds good researching skills and I feel like that is way more important in our technologically advanced society than memorization.  

Where to Begin with Road Schooling

First, you’ll need to look into your state’s law regarding homeschooling.  Second, you need to know your intention. If this is just a temporary thing for one year or less and you plan on sending them back to school the next year, then you probably are worried about them falling behind.

Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much. The few areas they may fall behind slightly, like math and writing, can easily be caught up during the following school year.  They will probably be learning some history and science through your travels and often the first-hand experience they get here will compensate, or even go beyond, what they’d learn in school.

Don’t let teachers scare you into thinking your child’s entire future rests on them staying up to common core standards.

I’d pick a reasonable amount of school to do, say an hour or two a day, and then focus on two other elements.

  1. Encouraging your child to read for pleasure
  2. Immersing your child in as many aspects of travel as possible

After all these years of homeschooling, I find my kids’ joy of reading to be the best thing to come from our travels because it’s made them so inquisitive and eager to learn more.

Second, get your child more involved in your travels. Have them help plan, help navigate, help set up camp, help cook, help clean, help budget. Get them out in the world communicating with strangers. These are the real-life skills they will need to be happy and successful adults.

Life on the road provides plenty of time to be capable, logical, and industrious, which are great qualities in an adult if you ask me. 

How to Educate While Road Schooling

Now, if you plan to continue road schooling and your child’s education is in your hands, then you will want a little more structure and direction to your schooling.

When we are on the road, having a routine can be very hard, but I’ve found that I can squeeze the three R’s (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic) into a couple hours twice or maybe three times a week.

It takes me being good about knowing what my kids need to be learning for the long term in order to skip all the time-consuming worksheets that a lot of school is made up of.

Here’s how to stick just to the nuts and bolts of learning so you can spend more time out in the real world with your child while you travel. 

  1. Arithmetic– Use math as a means of teaching logic, not as a form of reciting and regurgitating. We love using Math-IT!!!
  2. Reading– Teach them to read and once that’s accomplished, encourage reading of all sorts and as much as possible.  Encourage your kids to be inquisitive. Read to them every day if you can (even my teenagers enjoy listening to me read to the younger kids).
  3. Writing– Communication is so important in life, but there is more than one way to accomplish this.  We can express ourselves through writing, audio, and visual.  Find the way your child communicates best and help them learn to excel in that medium.