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Road Trips for Homeschoolers

One great advantage of homeschooling is “education to go.” School can happen wherever you are. It takes some planning and a sense of adventure to get the most out of a home school road trip. Planning with your student(s) will help you teach writing and math skills, geography, budgeting, map skills, and a myriad of other educational goals in an interesting and fun way.

Extend the learning by playing educational games and solving problems together on the road. One enterprising mom has an excellent list of thought starters at HomeschoolingHelp. Using the map to have kids calculate distance problems in real time makes the learning relevant and useful, and teaches skills they are not likely to forget. History comes alive when you visit the places where the events occurred and the people from the past lived.

Practice writing and grammar skills by incorporating the scenery that passes and the places you visit in your lessons. Play games to expand vocabulary in a meaningful and creative way, and to keep the interest of your students up. You can use purchased home school materials for basic lessons, but then expand on the concepts by making use of the environment in creative and fun ways.

Have kids create memory albums of their trip. Give them a Polaroid camera so they can take pictures and write captions. They can include brochures collected from places of interest, write stories based on characters from history, compose letters that these people might have written, draw cartoon representations of historical people with dialogue balloons….the list of possibilities is endless.

Even very young children can create memory albums by taking photographs and drawing pictures. Have them dictate their thoughts for you to write down. When our granddaughter was five, she accompanied us on a train trip from Kentucky to California. Her journal is a delightful montage of her own photographs, drawings and dictated thoughts.

Hiking is a great way to keep up physical activity and learn about the natural world. Teach your students to respect the habitat they are passing through and observe the plants and animals there. Schedule in ranger talks in national and state parks to expand on lessons in science and history. Visit museums and roadside attractions. Anything that sparks your child’s interest can be used as a teaching opportunity.

Writing post cards and letters to friends and relatives at home is another natural way to practice composition, grammar and handwriting skills. This also helps kids to stay in touch with important people in their lives. Social writing skills need to be expanded beyond the texting that kids do now on their cell phones. Students need to know how to communicate in full sentences and with good spelling.

Encourage students to also keep an informal, private journal of their thoughts and experiences. Journal writing should be kept private to encourage freedom of expression. Just set aside a period of time for it and allow students to work on their journals independently.

Don’t forget to have fun. Kids need time just to be kids. Take advantage of the faster learning rate from one-on-one teaching, and let them play. It’s all good.