It's Travel Tips Tuesday!
This week we are on our third week of living on the road. This is a totally new experience for us and we are learning the ropes as we go along. I'll be sharing some tips about how to make traveling long term possible, and I would love for you to share your tips about how you make travel possible. Just link up at the bottom.
One of the things that makes long term travel easier for our family is that we are already homeschooling, which is known for being highly portable. Even though our schooling can technically be done anywhere, it is far from portable. The older boys use a computer based math program, as well as plenty of workbooks for fundamentals. We also use a literature based curriculum, which means we use upwards of 40 books per year as our “textbooks.”
Technically, we could recreate all of this on the road, but it would not only be cumbersome, it would also take away from the immersive learning we hope to achieve by visiting the historical sites of our country. Instead, I am hoping to create a learning system that will be portable and easily transfer to more hands on learning.
I had three goals when I was choosing materials to take our school on the road:
- It needed to be portable enough to be done anywhere.
- It needed to be lightweight and not take up a lot of space.
- It needed to capitalize on the many hours of driving time.
The Curriculum Details (for those that care about such things)
Math: The older boys will be using Life of Fred, which is quite a departure from what we normally use at home. Life of Fred introduces math concepts in storybook format. After reading the story, there are a few problems to work on paper, but not tons of repetition. Not only will this program be highly portable, it should be fun for the kids to do math a little different. We will also be traveling with our Flashmaster, which is a hand held math facts game.
Grammar: The older kids are using a program called Daily Grams, which is a one page warm-up type program that reinforces basic grammar skills. It’s not a lengthy program, but it will hopefully keep their skill sharp while we are traveling.
Language Arts: Journaling will be the one and only way we are keeping up with our language arts and will be a good memento from the trip. I may need to give assignments to be sure they are writing in a variety of ways, but I am hoping just to give some general guidelines and set them loose to express their experience. I am hoping for plenty of guest posts on my blog, as well.
Literature: Our literary experience will be all audio books, all the time. Well, maybe not all the time, but we will be taking full advantage of the 100+ hours in the car to get in some really good literature. All the literature choices have some sort of tie in to the places we will be visiting.
Science: I’m not planning anything formal for science during our travels, but I have plenty of Bill Nye the Science Guy and Magic School Bus videos to fill the travel hours.
History: We’ll be living it! I have plenty of books and magazines on hand to be sure that we take full advantage of the learning opportunities, but most of our history learning will happen in 3-D.
Scheduling School on the Go
I’m expecting the kids to complete five days of assignments per week. I am going to encourage them to double or triple up on their workbook work on the days when we are driving, so we can have more freedom on the days when we are parked. Driving days will also be very heavy on audiobooks and educational videos that set the stage for the places we will be visiting. There will be some schoolwork to do each day, but hopefully we can minimize this time.
Making it All Fit
With the invention of electronic books, schooling on the road is lighter than ever, but I think I am always going to be a bit old fashioned and want to hold a book in my hands. I still have to keep weight and space in mind, so paperback books are a must. I lucked into finding Kids Discovery magazine, which are lightweight, thin and chock full of information. We also wanted to eliminate CDs and DVDs and instead use digital media wherever possible. To store our movies (both educational and otherwise) we purchased WD TV Live Hub. This allows us to convert all of our DVDs to digital media and store it so that there is no need to carry DVDs. All audio CDs have been stored in I-Tunes, so that we will be completely digital.