The greatest thing about Roadschooling (Homeschooling on the road) is the opportunity to share learning experiences with your kids! It's not just about the curriculum or test scores, there's an entire country at your fingertips to explore. Make sure to get out of your RV and out of those workbooks (if that’s your thing) and explore what this RV life has to offer.
Of course, National Parks are a pretty obvious amazing learning opportunity. Not only can you go out and get in a good walk/hike, but you can also participate in the Junior Rangers Program.
Nearly all National Parks have a Junior Rangers Program that allows kids to join the National Park Service “family”. To participate, kids, complete various activities (specific to the park), share their results with park rangers, and then they receive a Junior Ranger Patch!! Here’s another beautiful thing about this program, it is open to everyone that completes the activities, even adults. So you can collect patches as a family. How cool is that?!
You can make your walk/hike into a learning opportunity too. The entire family can create and complete scavenger hunts and maps. Because you are creating them, you can add as much detail as you like and customize it to your kids' knowledge base and/or age. Bring along a sketch pad and a few colored pencils or watercolors and stop along the path and create. Make the experience one that is unique to your families interested. If no one wants to go to the overlook at the Grand Canyon, don't go or split up. Make it more than about checking off those generic "must do and see" boxes.
Free Scavenger Hunt Sheets!!
You don’t have to be a part of a local homeschool co-op to participate in homeschool classes for your Roadschooler.
If you are on the move often, you will need to research a la carte classes. These classes are stand-alone and not part of an overarching program. And who knows, you might find programs exciting enough to cancel your plans or adjust your travel schedule just so your child can attend.
If you are more of a slow traveler, you will probably be able to sign up for some amazing and unique homeschool programs.
The biggest thing with homeschool classes is that you need to plan. There is a homeschooling boom these days and classes fill up quickly. It’s rare that you will be able to join a class at the last minute, although if you do arrive in town and find something starting the following week, call and see if there are any last-minute cancellations or see if you can get on the waitlist – you might be able to get in the class!!
So, find out where you are going to be heading and research homeschool classes in the following establishments:
Nearly every city/town we have been in has some sort of nature or environmental center. They are always family-friendly and usually have a small museum portion and hiking/outdoor exploration opportunities. Staff are attentive and knowledge. Nearly all are free or very low cost.
When we were in New York, we found a bird sanctuary, Derby Hill Observatory, on Lake Ontario. It was beautiful, full of wildlife, free, and a great way to learn about local environmental issues. We brought our binoculars and we are so glad that we did. We were able to do a little birding and saw a solo deer meandering through one of the nature trails surrounding the sanctuary.
In Colorado, we found Bear Creek Nature Center. It's gorgeous with plenty of hiking, but on one visit we were greeted by a doe standing her ground against a bobcat perched up on a tree. It was incredible!!
US Military Aviation Museums
Whether you are into the military or not, I highly recommend visiting military aviation museums. It is a great opportunity to discuss war in a natural and real way.
These museums are impressive, with large aircraft that you can see and touch. Many are free or low cost. We have been to three ourselves (all free) and it made a very lasting impression on us and our children. This is another opportunity to participate in homeschool days and other educational programs.
The three we have visited were very family-friendly. They had playgrounds and some of the exhibits welcomed little hands to touch, pick up, or climb into the displays.
OK, not only is it our nation’s capital, but it is also an incredible collection of museums, art galleries, walking tours, botanical gardens and zoos...and so many of them are free!!
This is another place to go whether you think things are better in Europe or that we are the best country ever because it will inspire conversation and thought. It is an amazing opportunity for exploration for the entire family.
If you are looking for ways to learn that don't look like learning, you can always hang out on the lawn and do some of the following activities. Obviously do what works with your kids' ages and interests.
Run and count the buildings
Sketch and identify the buildings
Discuss the neoclassical buildings you see and their history
Discuss how the DC area (the urban development/traffic/population) is affecting the ecosystem
Now there are all kinds of rallies out there, including ones for Roadschooling families. Not only are they a great way to build community and join a caravan, but they also have really cool workshops, classes, etc. for your budding Roadschooler.
The Road Life Project has events throughout the year, some more social than others. Children can also learn quite a bit from all ages rallies everyday life skills from RVers of all ages, topics related to the rally theme, logistics of event planning and crowd control methods, volunteerism, etc.
Remember, learning can look different on the road. Your kids will naturally want to explore their new environment and are excited to learn about their surroundings. Go with it!! Join them. Learn. Bond. This is Roadschooling!!
Exploring the Local Life is a Latino Roadschooling family of four that has been on the road since October 2015. We blog and vlog all about RVing, but it's not always rainbows and campfires. It's real-life every day as we navigate love, unschooling, and breaking free from the mold in our 26ft home on wheels.