10 Tips to Help You Homeschool While Traveling

Are you planning a little vacation this summer?  Or maybe you are planning a bigger road trip for a month or more?

I know you are probably thinking, “Why in the world would I want to home school on our vacation!??”  Well maybe you don’t and you need a break.  Maybe you are like me and love to turn every opportunity into a teachable moment. If you are planning a longer trip sometimes keeping the kids in a routine and continuing on with their school work prevents “the summer slide”.

Here is a list of 10 tips I have found helpful to homeschooling while traveling:

1.  Plan ahead

Think about where you are going and what you might need to make it more enjoyable.  If you have toddlers and infants you may want to include busy bags.  For older kids maybe a journal, game, or lap book about the place you are visiting.  Another fun activity is to bring along maps and allow the kids to map out your traveling itinerary and keep track of all the stops.

2.  Enjoy your family time

Sometimes when we are at home in our daily routines we don’t take time to have fun together as a family.  I love the saying that “A Family that Plays together, Stays together”.  So take time to enjoy your vacation time together!  Play on the beach together, enjoy the sunset, listen to the crickets, and most importantly enjoy each other!

3.  Embrace Teachable Moments

What does that mean and what does it look like?  Well here is a good example.  My son loves bugs.  He can spot them a mile away.  I don’t mind them so much as long as they don’t touch me so I will get a little closer when he is asking me to look at the beetle he just found.  Do you have a child that is really into bugs, birds, clouds, butterflies, etc.?  Bring along an identification guide!  Look up a few facts on the computer and talk about it.  That is a teachable moment.  Your child is interested, you engage in the subject, and learn as much as you can in that moment together.  I have learned some very interesting things that way – like what a dung beetle does and what it looks like.  We even took a picture to put in our scrap book!

4.  Accommodate the stress of new changes

Traveling can be VERY tiring.  Going to a new place is exciting and all the adrenaline flowing can make you feel like you have a lot of energy.  Afterwards you will need to rest from all the excitement. Make time to recuperate.  Rest and don’t get sleep deprived.  Everyone will travel happier and won’t feel as cranky or irritable the next day.

5.  Keep Routines

Bed time stories, prayers, songs, discipline, chores, etc. are all routines that can be very important to children.   Keeping some of these routines can help the kids not feel “bored” as well as give them some stability and comfort in their new surroundings.  I have found that is useful is to continue with the routine of responsibilities wherever we are.  An example of what that might look like in our family is the daily routine of grooming, cleaning their room, doing a morning chore, and reading their Bible.  These are responsibilities that have not changed as we have traveled to new locations every 3 months in Central America.  Our children are expected to do them everyday for privileges (ie movies, sweet treats, computer time, etc.).  Of course if they decide they are not going to do them and are testing our boundaries there are consequences even while we are traveling!  (NO movie time, computer time, or sweet treats, etc.)

6.  Remember your priorities

What are your priorities during this vacation?  Do you want to relax?  Bond as a family? Get away from it all?  Or learn and experience something new?  Remember why you are taking a trip will help you to be thankful for it and make the most out of it!

7.  Review & Reevaluate your goals for homeschooling while traveling

 What kind of approach to you want to take?  Do you want to continue with the 3 R’s?  Do you want to focus on Art, History, or Science?  Whatever you decide are the homeschooling goals for your family you will definitely want to plan ahead and bring the necessary supplies with you.

8.  Take time to learn new things both for safety and educational reasons

For example you may want to teach your children some safety rules like “how to avoid stepping on a stingray” or “what to do if you are caught in a riptide in the ocean”.  If you are traveling to the beach and find your children are enjoying the sand crabs help them dig a little deeper.  No, I don’t mean just in the sand but dig a little deeper in their knowledge of sand crabs.  Do they know the life cycle of a sand crab?  What do they eat?  Can they breath under water? etc.  A great way to do that now-a-days is to just do a Google search.

9.  Continue the 3 R’s – Reading, Writing, & Arithmetic

Have you ever experienced a mental block with your spelling or math just because you haven’t used it for  a while?  Kids experience that too.  One of the easiest ways to help them avoid forgetting what they learned this last year is to continue incorporating it in a fun way while you are traveling.

10.  Most importantly be flexible with the needs of your family and God’s leading!

I have found that these tips I have shared with you can be a really fun and relaxing approach to homeschooling.  I hope you have found something useful in this post and have a wonderful time traveling with your children this year.  Why not try some of these tips the next time you take a family vacation?

Please feel free to hop on over to my Pinterest Board:  Traveling with Children, where you can pin tons of ideas and see some of our adventure pins too.

dinahDinah and her family have been  living in the mountains of Boquete, Panama for 2 years.    In 2010, her family of 8 (wife, husband and 6 children) traveled all over the country of  Costa Rica.  They are now settling down a bit in coffee filled highlands of Boquete, Panama.  Besides homeschooling their 6 children, Dinah enjoys jogging, art, coffee tasting, and creating curriculum.  You can find her blogging about her family’s adventures at TheTravelingclassroom.

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