Our family road schools, which means that we travel throughout the year, focusing on studies on the opportunities we meet each week. One week, we might be studying the American Revolution in Boston. Another week, we might be studying marine biology in Oregon. It’s all about immersion learning and getting hands-on.
That doesn’t mean that we neglect basic studies….math, language arts, science, history, copywork, physical education….we make sure that everything is covered. What it means is that we take advantage of our location to emphasize certain studies at certain times – when they will make the most lasting impression.
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!
Tips & Tricks for Vacation-Schooling
- Fill the gaps. Find what interests them (or what interests you….they might discover a new passion!) and go for it. If you’re into astronomy and space, go meet an astronaut in Houston.
- Peak their interests. 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!
- Eat something. Factory Tours are awesome. Admittedly, there are many of them out there that don’t involve food, but these are out favorites because of the samples! We’ve learned to make cheese, maple syrup, ice cream, chocolate, pretzels…hungry yet?
- Plan ahead. Use websites such as Family Days Out, or even just the city’s website 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.
- Keep records. If you’re running short of required days, remember that you can count vacation-schooling as field trip days!
A Note on Staycation-Schooling
With high fuel costs, general unrest, and little to no vacation time off of work for many wage earners, many families are choosing to take staycations or near-cations (sticking close to home) instead of the traditional vacation. With a bit of imagination, you can have an enjoyable time close to home…..you just have to approach your town like a tourist.
Do some research – ask yourself “If I were just stumbling upon this area, what would I want to do?” You can find something fun to do everywhere….even in the middle of nowhere.
Here’s a five-day plan for an impromptu near-cation…
- Pack the car with five days worth of clothes (well, at least five days worth of underwear)
- Toss in some snacks, road tunes, and an audiobook
- Find an initial destination from the list below….start driving in that direction
- If you see something that looks like fun, take a detour!
- Find a hotel – spend the night – start over again on day 2
- Take detours and explore on day 2
- Find a hotel – spend the night – start heading home on day 3
- You might make it home on day 3, or it might be on day 4
- Just DRIVE – EXPLORE – HAVE FUN!
A big thank you to Yvie at Gypsy Road for writing this Article.