If you ever doubt your decision to roadschool remember this:
What you are doing is what schools try to replicate in the classroom but fail miserably.
Traveling for a year with your family, especially if you have school age children, requires some planning.
It means you have to become a teacher, and if you are like us, you may not have been a teacher before.
It also requires paving the road for a healthy transition away from the world of traditional school then back into school when your children return from your grand adventure.
For our family this has been difficult.
We had won a prized spot in a community lottery for our daughter to attend an excellent free public charter school near our home.
She was headed into the second grade and our 4-year-old son was guaranteed a spot in kinder. The thought of losing our spot almost kept us from taking the trip.
But like all things, if you find yourself saying “we can’t because…”, it is best to reframe your question and instead ask “how can I make this dream a reality”. “Can I do this and that”? What steps are necessary?
Roadschooling Resources and Apps
Over the last several years the resources available for roadshcoolers have grown exponentially.
But one resource still rains supreme. What is the best resource for roadschooling families?
The open road!
That being said I am still compiling (and refining) a list of resources we are finding helpful that I will share here:
Top Ten Road Schooling Quick Tips
- Read books on the subject before, during and after and adventure.
- Buy a special book for sketches.
- Give them their own camera.
- Ask for family tours or kid’s tours or pick guides who are good with kids
- Make it fun
- Prepare for your visit, build anticipation & take your time once there.
- Buy a small souvenir, book and/or postcards.
- Encourage kids to keep a journal, scrapbook or both.
- Make fun books with pictures or videos.
- Go at a kid’s pace not an adult pace and bring healthy snacks and water.
Great RoadSchooling Resource Pages
Some Apps and Online Resources
Nothing beats reading, and nothing beets Amazon.com’s Kindle Unlimited. At 9.99 per month you can downlaod all the Lonely planet guidebooks your heart desires and tons of free childrens books to boot!
Free Educational Videos
- khanacademy.org (free educational and training videos on various subjects, beginning to advanced)
- iTunes University — free video and audio lectures and lessons. Not so great for little children.
Free Language Learning Done Well
Again the key here is to pick one and stick with it:
- Duolingo – Free language education for the world, and it just keeps getting better. They have an amazing iPad app.
- Busuu and memrise I have heard are excellent options as well but I have not spent much time with them.
Get Lost and Get Smart
- Open Culture – Self proclaimed to be the best free cultural & educational media on the web it is almost a bit overwhelming but they have a great k-12 section.
- Libravox: Offers volunteer-read books that are in the public domain. Libravox is now working in partnership with Project Guttenberg, so you can find a majority of these books in the previous listing, but not all.
Splash Math – Just starting to give this a try but it looks amazing. Also available as an iPad app. Keeps track of your child’s progress and sends you auto-generated email reminders.
Children’s Bookshelf: This part of Project Gutenberg is designed specifically for kids. Choose from tons of books in anthologies, fiction, history, fairy tales, and much more.
Teaching Kids Programing
MIT Scratch – Teach Kids to Code – Scratch is a programming language and an online community where children can program and share interactive media such as stories, games, and animation with people from all over the world. (ted talk)
iPad Apps We Love
- MeeGenius – Read Along Library of Childrens Books – for $4 you get a MeeGenius Reading Club subscription, turning your mobile device into an expansive library of digital books for children up to 8 years old. All MeeGenius books are available with read-along word highlighting, rich illustrations, and engaging story narration
- High Frequency Words – This app uses a very logical and kid friendly approach to learning high frequency words based on age and learning level.
- Paper by Fifty Three (Free) – Capture your ideas as sketches, diagrams, illustrations, notes or drawings and share them across the web.
- My Story – draw, write, and record their stories
- Google Hangouts – Why not just keep in contact with your family but instead have a reading or instruction night with the Grandparents. Hangouts is an absolute must for keeping the kids connected while you are away.
Lets Do Math – Keep kids busy for hours with 15 different types of exercises in three categories and 50 word problems that focus on addition and subtraction. The app can be used either as flash cards or as a series of puzzles to teach basic concepts. (Ages 6 and up; Free; Android)
Kindle Free Time – Free Time Unlimited ($2.99 a month for one child, or $6.99 for a whole family with an Amazon Prime account, $4.99/9.99 without), you gain access to a massive library of hand-curated movies, television shows, and books that are constantly updated and require no extra effort from the parents to maintain or curate.
Fill Your Kindle for Free – Mike wrote a post on his travel site that details a few ways to specifically fill your Kindle with articles, blog posts, and the what-not you want to read but don’t have the time to process in front of the computer. (Bonus, his post also outlines a handful of these book sites too!).