When I was nine or ten, I read the book The Moon By Night, by Madeline L’Engle. It tells the story of a family who takes a cross-country road trip, stopping at many national parks to camp, before ending up in California. I was absolutely captivated by it; the sheer romance of a giant family vacation across the country. We didn’t take many vacations when I was young, so the idea was slightly foreign to me.
Of course, now that I’m a mom, I want to give my kids all the things I never had. That includes an awesome education. Now that I’m starting to think outside the box in terms of how they get that education, I’m realizing there are a lot of doors open to us to make school very, very different, unique and fun.
It hit me. We could do school on the road!
We don’t even have to wait for a “family vacation”. We could just prep an itinerary, plan some on-the-go lessons, rent an RV and make it happen!
Obviously, it’s not quite that simple. Especially in the middle of a global pandemic, when we’re all quarantining at home, it’s not exactly the time to think about jumping in the car and heading out on the open road. But, in a year or so, if the timing was right…
We’d have to figure out what to do with our house. My dream would be to find some lovely family to rent it on airbnb, just so we could keep paying our mortgage. And of course, my husband’s job. Before the pandemic he worked in the city, with a lengthy commute. It’s been amazing having him home. But at some point, I’m afraid we may have to return to normal. And of course, that means taking a family trip to do school on the road becomes much more difficult to schedule.
Another interesting challenge- I have three kids. How could I plan lessons for all of them when our youngest isn’t even in school yet? Some logistical challenges there. But, if we really could work it out and get it all together, here’s my ideal itinerary, and the subjects I’d like to cover!
Devise Your Homeschool’s “School on the Road Adventure”:
We’d start in the summertime. We’re in the midwest, so probably Mid-June. That way all we have to worry about is summer thunderstorms. I’d love to go all the way out east and cover New England.
New England, plus New York and Washington, D.C.
- History: America’s beginnings
- Math: Play with the map; learn about mileage, speed of the car and the time it takes to get places
- Phonics/Grammar: Early American poetry/Native American poetry copywork, plus our regular grammar and phonics curriculum
- Social Studies: Pickup guide books for each state. Memorize basic state facts; do fun trivia and quiz challenges to help with memory work.
- Music: Listen to music from American composers, Broadway musicals and local artists.
- Science: Talk about temperature and seasons, weather patterns, local plant and animal life.
- Art: Take time to stop and sketch scenery or iconic locations, take photographs and look at local artwork.
- Special Units: Native American culture and important Native American figures, the 13 colonies and the revolutionary war, the constitution and the Presidents.
By Fall, I’d love to be heading down southward.
I’ll be honest, I’m not 100 percent certain what I’d like to cover of the southeast, I don’t know that part of the country very well. So, that would take some research! I’m sure there are tons of wonderful, interesting things to do and see.
In the Winter, I’d love to trek slowly thru the Southwest.
Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada… and wind up in my favorite state: California. Most of the curriculum I listed above would continue- we’d study the history of the Native peoples of those states, and then learn about the settlers and their journeys westward- Oregon Trail, Lewis and Clark (with MAJOR focus on the importance of the Native Americans to all those parts of our history). In California, we could do a special unit about the early days of Hollywood, complete with stops to some of those classic destinations that are still there.
As Spring started to thaw the northwest, I’d love to head up that way. Washington, Oregon, Montana and Wyoming, with a very special unit about all the AMAZING National Parks in those areas. (I’m leaving Alaska and Hawaii out of this particular road trip- I think those places would be better to visit separately; perhaps Alaska as part of a trip to Canada).
And finally, about a year after we begin our trip, head home, with a stop in South Dakota, probably also swinging down to visit some of my family in Colorado.
What do you think? What did I forget to mention? What’s your homeschool dream? Leave a comment or write to me and tell me all about it!!! I would love to hear all about your “school on the road” traveling adventures or your favorite travel podcasts or homeschool blogs!