Homeschooling on the road (Roadschooling) 2019-2020
We just started our second year of roadschooling and so far it’s going great! Last year I pulled the kids out of their (wonderful) public school after only 2 months so we could travel full time. We loved their school and so did they, but we knew we’d have to start homeschooling in order to do so!
We were in such a rush to sell all of our stuff and get on the road that I didn’t get super organized with homeschooling. We were given a variety of workbooks and resources from friends and family, which was great, and we kind of just did a hodgepodge of things for learning. It was fine, but I knew going into this year that I wanted to be more organized. The kids (and I) do better with a plan/schedule.
Casen is 8 and in 3rd grade and Calista is 6 and in 1st grade. They don’t get much screen time at all on a regular basis, so I knew any learning online we could do would be exciting for them. I heard great things about Teaching Textbooks for math, so I looked into it. Their website is great. It allows you to take a few sample lessons to see exactly what it’s like. I let the kids try it out before I ordered and they loved it. There is also an assessment they can take to find out what level you should order.
I feel like Teaching Textbooks is easy for the grade level it claims to teach, so I’m thankful for the assessment. Casen is using level (grade) 5 even though he’s in 3rd grade and Calista is doing level 4 in 1st grade. Be sure and take the assessment before ordering! You can choose online lessons or you can order disks so that you don’t need internet.
We are members of Fulltime Families, and as members were given access to a reading program called Learning A-Z. It’s all online, and once you choose a reading level for your child, they have access to a library of books they can read. They get points for each book they read as well as for tests they take about each book. The kids have absolutely loved this program so far!
I found a third grade science book on Amazon that we do together each day. I just read the lesson to the kids and they answer the questions orally. Then we find and watch a little video or two on YouTube on the subject we learned about that day. Each week, Mystery Doug releases a new video on YouTube that the kids love watching as well!
I found a 4th grade reading comprehension workbook on Amazon for Casen that teaches social studies lessons each day and then asks questions about what he read. I meant to order a 3rd grade version, but he’s doing ok with it so far, so we will probably just order the 3rd grade one next, because he will finish the current version before the school year is over!
Calista uses a workbook called 180 days of reading for first grade. The daily lessons are really short, but this keeps our morning moving quickly and keeps the kids from getting bored. She really enjoys being able to do this independently, and is gaining confidence as a reader each day!
Each of the kids has a vocabulary book full of vocab words each of them should learn in their grade. Each week we study a list and they learn the definitions and how to spell them. There are 3 lessons for each group of words. We do the lessons Mon-Wed. On Thursdays they review/study them and I give them a little “test” on Fridays, making sure they know the meanings and spellings of each word.
I found a book that has Bible teachings that we do each day. Each lesson is short and easy to understand. Sometimes after the lesson we find a video on YouTube to go along with what we learned.
We have been learning Spanish together using the Duolingo app and are surprised at how quickly we’re learning it!
We continue to visit all the National Parks we can and the kids complete Jr. Ranger workbooks at each park. These books are awesome and teach about the plants, animals, landscape and history at each park. We also have a US states book we read as we travel through the different states. We memorize the capitals as we visit each state.
We also have a stack of books I’m reading aloud to them each day. Even though they can read, I keep hearing about how beneficial it is for them to be read to. We started with Charlotte’s Web and are working on The Boxcar Children now! They love this part of the day and even though only reading one chapter a day is on our “schedule”, they beg me to read more each day!
The last thing we do is fill out a page in The Daily Question. It’s a really cool book that asks your kids a question every day. You record their answers. It’s a 3 year book and I’m really excited to have these recorded memories to look back on. Some sample questions are:
“What did you do today that you’re proud of?”
“If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?”
We officially start around 9am each day and have been getting finished around 11ish. Two hours a day doesn’t sound like a lot, but my kids work hard and move quickly. I have a written schedule that the kids can see with the order of subjects we do each day. They like this and like knowing what to expect. This is only our second week, so I’m seeing how the current schedule works out and then I’m going to find a day/time each week for them to write a letter to someone as well as pick up on their journaling like we did last year.
Calista also really enjoys art, so I’m on the lookout for opportunities for her to express her creativity! She really likes watching YouTube videos of step by step drawing instructions. I want to try and carve out time each week for her to do that as well! We have a reciprocal museum membership through Kern County, CA that gets us free access into over a thousand science, kids, art and history museums around the country, so those are great “field trip” experiences for us!
I work, so I plan my work around the school hours. I create content for two RV websites as well as our personal RV travel blog, do the planning and scheduling for our route, and manage our social media accounts and brand partnerships. The kids only need me for about half of their school assignments, and they can do the rest themselves. This allows me plenty of time to work. We typically get outside in the afternoons and explore, hike, play, etc. This gives me at least 2-3 hours in the morning to do some work and then I often work after the kids are in bed as well, when needed.
The kids have actually been so excited about school this year that they often wake up early and get started on their independent work. Several days this week I woke up and they had already completed all of their independent work! They almost always want to do additional online reading once we’re finished for the day! It feels so good for them to be so excited about what we’re doing.
Casen and Calista told me early on that they like roadschooling so much more this year. Last year I wasn’t super planned/organized and it showed. For our personalities, a schedule works best. It’s simple and quick, but do we have a guide and an order of what learning looks like for us each morning. We can do all of this in the truck on moving days as well, so traveling doesn’t have to mess up our day.
We do have to have internet access for their math and online reading program, but we have to stay in places with internet access for work anyway, so it works fine. If we accidentally find ourselves in an area with no signal, we can drive down to the local coffee shop or library and do our learning and work there! So far this year has been great and I’m super optimistic about the year ahead!
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