Homeschooling was one of the most daunting parts of our family's decision to travel around Australia for a year. Everyone seemed shocked that we were taking our kids out of the traditional school system to "go on holiday."
Our two sons were entering Prep and Grade 3 when we began our trip three months ago and we are very happy with our decision to go ahead with this journey. We are truly enjoying learning alongside our children and watching them thrive on this trip of a lifetime. Here are some of our family's tips for homeschooling on the road.
#1 Create a system to cover the basics.
In order to meet grade-level expectations, there is a certain amount of English and Maths that I want to keep up with on a weekly basis. We usually do up to an hour of scheduled learning involving a workbook or journal on four or five days of the week. Because the kids receive our one-on-one attention, this offers plenty of time to keep us on track for meeting the academic requirements of our individual children. Other learning goals are flexible and mostly determined by where we are travelling and what excursions we have planned. Knowing we are covering the basics lets us relax and let our children learn organically through daily experiences.
#2 Trust in play.
Learning does not have to take place in a classroom style environment. Free play and nature walks make up a huge part of our days. We also brought a very select number of toys with us including LEGO, Magnatiles, a few board game and several sets of playing cards like UNO, Go Fish, etc, as well as a small box of craft supplies. The kids make up games, they create, they find solutions to problems, and get ask us lots of questions. We have also figured out that it's nice to visit playgrounds after 3pm when the local kids get out of school - this way our children can enjoy new playmates. They learn a lot through play!
#3 Expand on interests.
If one of our sons expresses an interest in something, say the platypus or cyclones, we will utilise the internet and local libraries to find resources to learn more about it. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can spend time learning about any subject your heart desires so looking out for a child's special interests is one of the perks of the roadschooling lifestyle.
#4 Let other people teach your kids.
We have found that guided tours have been great for our kids because they enjoy listening to new people explain things. Two of our favourite excursions so far have been a guided hike through Carnarvon Gorge and a homestay at Myella farm. The kids got to hear about plants I never knew existed, listen to personal stories about the places we were visiting, and learn about riding horses from an expert... things I would not be able to offer if teaching on my own. I love giving our children the opportunity to learn from the wisdom of different "teachers."
#5 Don't underestimate the power of hands-on experience.
Everyday jobs such as shopping for groceries and setting up the camper trailer are awesome learning opportunities that provide children with hands-on knowledge they won't get in a classroom. We have learned not to worry if the kids are not doing as much "school work" as we originally envisioned before our trip started. Kids soak in so much through their life experiences, more than we can possibly imagine. Learning skills in the real world is extremely valuable and will be used for years to come.
For five simple activities you can enjoy while homeschooling on the road, check out this post. To follow along with our family's trip around Australia, sign up for my newsletter, join me on Facebook and you can also bookmark the series here.