After about 8 years of traveling up to 12 weeks during the year, here are some tips and ideas I have discovered for how to homeschool when traveling.
Discover the area history
State parks, the homes of historical figures, war sites, pioneer villages, state capitols, even old cemeteries can contain literally hundreds of years of historical significance — plan field trips to one or more of them. These field trips can provide for amazing learning opportunities, as well as many rabbit trails. Here’s a list of 20 field trip ideas.
State Unit Studies
If you have time to begin a study of the state or states you will visit, that’s great, But even if you don’t, go ahead an gather maps, library books, DVDs, and/or online links to take with you. You can even create a notebook or lapbook filled with information about the state’s natural resources, geographical treasures, native plants and animals, state map and state flag. Visit my unit study series: Notebooking Across the USA and Washington DC: A Comprehensive Resource List.
Learn who the famous people are from the area where you’ll be visiting. See if you can find a biography of the person to read aloud on the road. For your older kids, do a literary analysis of the book, focusing on the character traits of this person. If there are homesteads or libraries centered on them, take a field trip.
Most states (and some cities) are famous for some kind of food dish — find out what the local favorite is where you’re visiting and find a restaurant that serves it! The book, Eat Your Way Through the USA, is awesome if you’re looking for ideas.
To keep up with the core subjects, be sure to bring along a backpack with math textbooks, notebooks, paper, pens and pencils, current reading list book and anything else you might need to keep on track with the 3Rs.
10 Fun Car Traveling Activities for Kids
Audio Books or Radio Theatre. Learn the benefits to character of listening to radio theatre. Our whole family enjoys Adventures in Odyssey and The Chronicles of Narnia.
Learning Wrap Ups. This is a great way to drill math facts and keep hands busy.
If you have a portable DVD player, bring it along with some DVDs to watch (don’t forget the headphones). This is the one we have. A laptop computer will work, too.
Car games are great fun and make the time pass more quickly! Some of our favorites include:
- 20 Questions: One person thinks of a famous person, place or thing. Everyone else is allowed to ask the player 20 questions which can only be answered ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Whoever guesses correctly becomes the next person to think of something.
- The Alphabet Game: Take turns working through the alphabet thinking of a word that starts with a specific letter. We do this by topic — animals, vegetables, fruits, famous people, movies, books, etc.
- Story Telling: One passenger starts a story with a single sentence. Then the next person adds a sentence. Continue until you build a complete story.
- Memory Game: The first person says “A is for —” filling in the blank with any word beginning with the letter A, such as “apple.” The second person comes up with a word for the letter B, such as “book,” but must also repeat the “A” word: “A is for apple, B is for book.” Continue through the alphabet, each person taking several turns and reciting more and more letters and words. By the time you reach the letter Z, that player will recite the whole alphabet and its corresponding words. If you have younger kids, allow them to work in teams with the older ones.
Keep an eye out for license plates from different states. Print out this free license plate bingo page to keep track of the ones you see.
Have you seen Kinetic Sand? I know, you’re cringing at the thought of sand in your car, but this stuff is cool and it only sticks to itself — no mess. Bring some along in a plastic storage box for some hands-on creative fun. Here’s a video if you’re not convinced:
What other ideas do you have for homeschooling on the road?
If you found this article helpful, you might also enjoy Travel Is Our Favorite Way to Homeschool!