Homeschooling and traveling. They go to together like peanut butter and jelly. One of the greatest advantages of homeschooling is the flexibility in your schedule. Even if you are part of a hybrid homeschooling program, most are designed to support an alternative schedule. Teachers in this type of environment are generally fully supportive of the value of homeschooling and family time. There’s no worrying about missing tests or having points deducted for being late. As a family, you have a lot more freedom to complete your homeschooling while traveling. And there are so many reasons you should.
What do I need to know about homeschooling and traveling?
First, while there are a lot of full time RV families, or road schooling families, who travel full time, this is not necessary in order to incorporate travel into your family life. Full time travel is not in the cards for most families. Things like jobs, extended family responsibilities, friendships and community at home, prevent most families from taking on a full time travel schedule. However, when I am encouraging you to incorporate travel into your family life, I talking big and small!
Some of our favorite trips as a family have been within a few hours of our home. I guarantee, no matter where you live, there are places within a few hours, that you’ve never explore before. If you start to look at the geographical region around your home as a tourist would, you will discover all kinds of new travel destinations! While I highly encourage planning that trip to Paris, a trip just a few towns over will do too. Travel is travel. Breaking your normal routine and seeing something new is really all that’s required. Homeschooling and traveling can be easy, and it can be for everyone.
You learn personal growth when you travel.
This is really a two-fold reason for why homeschooling and traveling is so worth it. Not only do you learn more about the subject that you are studying, like a historical place or a specific animal that you get to see in person. But you also learn so much about yourself! Nothing teaches you about yourself like getting stuck in airport, getting a flat tire, or dealing with lost luggage. Travel pushes your limits!
Homeschooling and traveling also brings siblings together in a new way. Although my kids spend a lot of time together at home, they really rely on each other when we are traveling! When you don’t have anyone else to play with or talk to, your siblings start to look quite enticing. Parents also have the chance to put their devices away, and really connect with their kids. We’ve been several places where we have very little cell service, which is quite a blessing actually!
Homeschooling and traveling makes your curriculum come alive.
When we visit a National Park that we’ve been discussing for three months, it comes alive in way that would never be possible from home. If you get the chance to step into the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed, you’ll remember that document in a brand new way. There’s really no replacement for homeschooling and traveling when it comes to learning.
This works in the reverse also. Even if we hadn’t had a chance to study the Redwoods National Park a great deal before we visited, the memory of having been there lasts for years and years. At every new mention of “giant trees” or anything even near that topic, my children remember walking among the Redwoods. It’s something they can recall for the rest of their lives, and it helps enrich whatever they are learning.
Homeschooling and traveling helps create an intentional family culture.
This is something that I plan to share about a great deal more in the future. But for now, let me say this… I believe in creating the type of family that you want to exist in your home. It doesn’t happen by accident. There are certain unspoken rules that exist in my home that help give my children a sense of belonging. We say things like, “In our family, we always…” I am actively trying to create a sense of what it means to be a member of this family.
When you are homeschooling and traveling, you are building your family culture in a whole new way. It quite literally is, you against the world. You are educating your children in an alternative way, you are taking children to places others might think adults only belong, and you are basically going against the flow. While this may sound unpleasant, it can actually have the opposite effect. When you start to feel like your family is unique, and that you can take on challenges, you build a family culture and sense of belonging while tackling that goal together.
Take the kids everywhere.
I am a huge fan of the hashtag #takethekidseverywhere. And in reality, my parents were practicing this LONG before hashtags even existed. My parents raised me to believe that children should be welcome everywhere, as long as they abide by certain behavioral standards. And so we did go everywhere. As kids, we would go to fancy business dinners with my parents, museums, and pretty much anywhere they went. At times, it even could get old as a kid because you didn’t necessarily want to go everywhere adults thought was fun!
But this experience prepared me as a mother to put this into practice, especially while homeschooling and traveling. There doesn’t need to be “kid-friendly” spaces everywhere we go (although we love finding them and sharing them). There are so many places that are family friendly, and perfect for adults and children alike. You may not be able to stay in that art museum quite as long as if you didn’t have a four year old with you, but you can still go! Start putting #takethekidseverywhere into practice, and the more you do it, the easier it gets.
What are you waiting for?
You have about 940 weeks with your child from birth through graduation. How will you spend them? Your family has places to explore and memories to make! What are you waiting for? Even if you aren’t a homeschooling family, you can make full use of those weekends and school breaks to get out of your comfort zone and find new places. Get something on the calendar, start talking about it, and build the excitement. In the words Dr, Seuss, “Oh the places you’ll go!” And I can’t wait to hear all about them!