Please welcome Yvie, a veteran homeschooling mom, to A Mom's Quest to Teach for a special Guest Post. I had the privilege to meet Yvie when I joined the Homeschool Review Crew. In this post, she shares about the beauty of roadschooling. While we haven't had the chance to venture too far away from our home, we have enjoyed visiting several historic sites with our family, including Washington Crossing State Park.
As a Lifestyle
For six years, our family roadschooled, which means that we traveled throughout the year, focusing on studies on the opportunities we meet each week. As a contractor, hubby’s job took him all across the USA, and we got to jump on the train (well, RV) with him and take the journey as a family!
The beauty of roadschooling is having the chance to immerse yourself in different places and cultures…and all the amazing field trips! That doesn’t mean that we neglected basic studies….math, language arts, science, social studies, copy work, physical education. What it means is that we took advantage of our location to emphasize certain studies at certain times – when they would make the most lasting impression.
When students have the opportunity to visit different places – rural, suburban, and urban – it helps them to better understand the nuances of the world around them. How better for urban students to explore geographic features, landmarks, and ecosystems than by actually visiting them? Rural students can get a better feel for the frenetic pace of an urban area by visiting and living within city limits for a while. This cross-cultural knowledge will help them to become better citizens and leaders in the future, as they apply their experiences to decision making.
Make it a Unit Study
There are five basic steps to creating a unit study:
- Pick a topic - For us, the ‘topic of choice’ was always either a specific location (geography & culture – such as Seattle or Louisiana) or historic event that occurred at our current location (such as the Boston Tea Party).
- Decide when to start and how long the unit will last – Start the day that you arrive on location! Or, even better, start researching and reading a few days prior. Your unit will last as long as you are on location, but can go a few days past your departure if you want to wrap it up.
- Choose resources and activities to flesh it out – Mom, this is where you’ll need to be a little bit of a planner! Make sure you have books and reading material on hand to complement your field trip studies.
- Make a plan of activities scheduled by day / week / month – Depending on how long you are on location, you may want to field trip two days a week and do ‘regular school’ three days a week. If you’re only a short-timer, take a learning field trip every day!
- Decide how you’ll record your unit – We like to blog about it. ☺ Seriously though, our blog actually began as a way for family and friends to join our journey, but blossomed into a learning record for the kids.
Pick up the Unit Study Planner to help you get started.
Not everyone has the opportunity to travel full-time, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t turn a one week family vacation into a bit of fun-school! COVID is going to end someday, and life will return to a new normal.
I would encourage you to sit down with your family….start daydreaming about places that you’ve always wanted to visit…make a list of realistic and dream places. Choose one location from each list and start researching it – actually plan your trip! Two things will happen here. First, you’ll have your ducks in a row for when you’re able to actually make the trip. Second, you’ll be surprised at just how much you learn during the research!
A few tips to help you begin your journey…
Think outside the box. When asked, most children aren’t going to list architecture at the top of their ‘coolest things’ list. But after seeing such unique architectural styles, visiting places like the Biltmore House, Overholser Mansion, and Cornwall Iron Furnace might change that!
Plan ahead. Scout websites, including the city’s municipal site, to learn about the area you’re visiting – check for museums, events, festivals, factory tours, and anything relevant to that specific location. Site-specific websites will often have free educational resources to help guide your field trip.
Relax. We school through the summer, on the weekends, at midnight…pretty much whenever we want. We get more than the required days in, and that’s fine. We have a lot of field trip days, too. Want to know which style helps the kids learn and retain the most? Life experiences, of course!
Yvie is a veteran homeschooling mom and the high school counselor for The Homeschool House, a non-profit organization. She helps to create unit studies and enjoys helping other families on their homeschool journey. When not teaching or counseling, she enjoys reading, spending time in her garden, and traveling the country with her boys. You can find her at Homeschool On the Range, on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.