Education is high on the list of priorities, and is in fact one of the main reasons many families choose to travel by RV, boat or bike.
Homeschooling on the Road - Is it Legal?
If you have never had your children enrolled in a public school in Texas, then you don't have to do anything for homeschooling here - no notice letters, record keeping, or testing required - there is no state income tax, either.
Although homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, the requirements may vary considerably from state to state. The best advice for traveling homeschoolers is to follow the homeschooling laws in the state in which they are legally domiciled, regardless of where they travel - unless they will be living in one state for 3 or more months, in which case they ought to follow the laws of that state.
Homeschooling requirements should be a factor that fulltiming families consider when choosing a home base state. Some states, such as Texas, have minimal requirements, while others may require supervised testing, record-keeping, etc. Parents can obtain information about these requirements by contacting the state Department of Education. Often, a homeschooling group in that state will have helpful information as well.
"I've had people tell me he won't get a good education, but he made a comment to me that now he understands the words "purple mountains majesty". He sees it every morning. He's hiked through the swamps of the Everglades and the desert southwest. So far we've been through 3 different deserts since November. He's seeing national parks, historical sites, and regional differences in culture. How are THEIR kids gonna get THAT education?"
~Vickie Swindling (FOTR since 2006)
The University of Phoenix online is a great option for home schooling on the road.
Need A Curriculum You Can Use on the Road? Visit Time4Learning for Details On:
Roadschooling by Subject
The purpose of the roadschooling pages is not to duplicate the hundreds of thousands of homeschooling sites and resources that are already available. But to arm those who live and work with their kids on the road with educational resources, no matter what form of homeschooling your family prescribes to.
For ease these pages are divided according to traditional school subjects.
- History (includes all social studies)
- Language Arts (reading, writing and Foreign Language)
- Miscellaneous: includes Health and Fitness, the Arts (performing, visual, and music) and Scouting
- Also see the Explorations pages
Discuss Roadschooling with those who are doing it everyday. Join us at the Forum.
"The more we can expose our children to, the more they'll learn, and they better off they'll be. Regardless if they were ever taught anything or not. "
~Vicki (FOTR since 1999)
Roadschooling, Roadschool, Roadschooled is a homeschool educational alternative to public school and involves the education of children using the resources of a country or state as a database of information for teaching. This method of schooling is generally done by a parent, usually while traveling full-time, and provides a hands-on, personal experience for learning. Roadschooling is subject to the same regulations that homeschool families face, and vary from state to state. Parents must register their children in their "home state" and must meet the regulations that their state requires.
Roadschooling differs from homeschooling in that it requires more flexibility by nature. You can plan but be prepared to drop everything for that once in a life time experience that presents itself where you least expect it. When you are traveling these unique opportunities tend to pop up quite often.
Rather than scheduling lessons, plan on taking advantage of your environment.
- When you are at a bookstore plan on spending your time researching, try a few problems from some math books (bring paper), read some fact books, read together, do travel research, grab the latest history book, read biographies, find out how to . . . or play chess.
- Time to do laundry at the laundromat? Then it is time to juggle (literally) or plug in the computers and tackle a writing assignment.
- At the campground? Study nature, take a hike, rent a boat, get out the bicycles, go to the playground, find other kids to play with, do a science experiment, hang up the hammock and read.
- Use drive time to take advantage of your captive audience. Listen to books on tape, practice math problems, tell stories about what you see, learn to use a GPS and map on the fly, plug the laptop or sewing machine into to the inverter and get some work done.
Roadschooling in Practice
- The What, Where, Why and How of World Schooling by Lea Woodward at Location Independent
- Article about Road Schooling on Road Trip America by Carol White (9/26/08)
- Before Homer was a Simpson he was a Bard by Six Around the World (4/30/2007)
- Roadschooling an article by Rich Luhr at Gather.com (4/10/2007)
- RV Now Interview about how one family homeschools on the road. (1/28/2007)
- Travels with My Son - author of Roadschooling Ryan: Learn As We Go, Mary Lois Sennewald, shares some personal experience after spending 18 months on the road with her son (11/1/2006)
Roadschooling in Motion
A personal account by the DeMichiel Family
The DeMichiel Family homeschools or as they put it "roadschools", taking advantage of every educational opportunity they can.
And the opportunities for first hand learning experiences are many. Studying the tide pools in Malibu, CA hiking through Arches National Park in the Utah, reading the original Constitution in Washington D.C., visiting historical sites like Williamsburg, in Virginia, and watching crayons being made in Pennsylvania are just a few examples.
"We view education as a lifelong endeavor, " says Peter. So although our kids are the only ones legally required to do school work, mom and dad "roadschool"as well.When they aren't visiting museums or historical sights, the family gravitates toward libraries and bookstores. "They have become our living room. "Rita notes. And for those times when they spend 8 to 9 hours driving non-stop, the RV is stocked with books, musical instruments, great conversations and other supplies.
While no two days are ever the same, our kids describe a typical day as, "Get up early, eat breakfast, do some reading or learning, play with our friends, swim if its warm enough. Then we head on to a new city, and we work in some of our curriculum – like algebra."
"Besides math, our curriculum IS our travels."
~Rosie Ferguson (FOTR since 8/2007)
- Nationwide Homeschooling Resources
- National Home Education Legal Defense
- Homeschool is Legal - information about Home School Legal Defense Association
- National Home Education Network - A resource for homeschoolers, with a helpful section for new homeschoolers and a database of support groups.
- The National Home Education Research Institute - Statistic sand other information on home education.
- Homeschool - a comprehensive Wikipedia entry with links to the many forms of homeschooling.
- Learn in Freedom - an inspirational "how to" site for those considering homeschooling
- Bright Kids at Home has a traveling section which is geared toward the occasional traveler
- Local HS - Find a Homeschooling Group to visit on your travels.
- A to Z's Home's Cool - A great homeschool mega-site with a special section for traveling homeschoolers
- Sandra Dodd: Unschooling
- Holt Growing Without Schooling
- Unit Study
Web sites that provide a collections of educational links, lesson plans and more:
- 100 Awesome Blogs for Roadschoolers an excellent comprehensive list of web resources
- Awesome Library
- Teach Street is a site that connects teachers and students. The classes offered by teachers on the site range from bike maintenance to herpetology, with a good dose of various crafts, yoga, and music lessons thrown in for good measure.
- Free printables activity sheets
- Eduhound.com your educational technology resource
- Pink Monkey offers a library of free online Literature Summaries, with over 460 Study Guides / Book Notes / Chapter Summaries. (Warning the site has lots of things that flash and blink. Be sure to turn your pop-up blocker on if you go there.)
Abeka Books - (Christian Perspective) Abeka is another well-established homeschool curriculum that has worked well for other traveling families. They have video courses as well.
Alpha Omega - offers a full curriculum for preschool through high school (in CD-ROM and traditional formats). Advisory teachers and accreditation are offered as well.
American Academy is an accredited, online high school that helps students worldwide to supplement or complete their high school program. The American Academy offers a flexible educational experience along with a high quality, engaging curriculum that aligns with state standards.
Calvert School - A correspondence school that is accredited, provides a complete step-by-step curriculum, and offers advisory teachers, testing, grading, and transcripts. Calvert has been around since 1897. They cater to traveling families - some of their students live in RVs and boats.
Clonlara School - Clonlara offers the support of a private school to homeschoolers of all grade levels, as well as an online high school. They cater to families who desire flexibility and want to design their own curriculum.
Oak Meadows - A complete, creative, and well-rounded curriculum designed for homeschooling families.
"We loved the artistic nature based aspects of this Waldorf inspired curriculum. The teacher support was insightful, flexible and able to accommodate the very different learning styles and academic abilities of both of our children. They view the curriculum as a starting point or "jumping off" point as our teacher put it, so support the parent in adapting and changing the activities and schedules to suite your child's needs and interests. Our teacher was very willing to take all of our experiences traveling and apply them to the curriculum, so that during times of little or no book work, our travels and adventures were valued and documented as educational activities that were recorded in their school records. There is paperwork to be kept, but it really just amounts to keeping a diary of your weekly activities. Although we have taken a different educational path, we truly enjoyed our time with Oak Meadow." ~Lisa Browski
Keystone National High School - Nationally accredited high school courses.
Switched-On Schoolhouse - by Alpha Omega Publications, Switched-On Schoolhouse is a comprehensive, Christian homeschool curriculum that offers computer-based learning for grades 3-12. With animation, video clips, and other fascinating multimedia, Switched-On Schoolhouse is the perfect Christian homeschool curriculum for today's generation. With this flexible, best-selling curriculum, you can customize student learning to fit individual educational needs.bible based (reviewed below)
University of Nebraska Independent Study - Fully accredited. Offers a large number of high school and college courses, including some online courses.
WiloStar3D School - a unique interactive online homeschooling program that is pioneering the use of 3D virtual worlds for K- 12 education.
KHAN ACADEMY - an online homeschooling program that is providing free cirriculum for on the go learners.
Switched on School Review
~by Michele Moore
Christian Perspective, Grades 3 and up
We use SOS for my son for 3rd grade. We have enjoyed most of it. Last year we used Abeka and while it was great curriculum it was too many worksheets for my son.
Here are some pros and cons from our experience with SOS this year.
- Very user friendly. We jumped right in and neither my son or I had any difficulty figuring out our individual teacher/student applications.
- You can use this on more than one computer. You install the software on one main computer (preferably the one your child will be on most often) and then you can install the "client" version on other computers. The computer with the main install does need to be on in order for the "client" computer to access the information, but it has allowed me to be in checking on his progress without standing over him and looking ahead at planning while he is able to continue working. It would also allow 2 children to work on school work at the same time and allow you as a parent to monitor both. This is a feature I have used a lot as it seems like in our house the main desktop is always in use by someone, but there is usually a free laptop.
- Very easy to customize. You can decide which days are school days, how long you want to have your school year last, whether quizzes and tests are open book, change due dates to allow more time on a project, reassign missed problems, change grading if the computer grades something incorrect for spelling or incorrect word order or just because you think the question is vague. Also if your child has mastered a skill you can allow them to skip some of the problems on the assignments by unassigning them. You cannot skip whole lessons without answering at least one question, but if your child has mastered fractions and is ready to move on you can choose for him/her not to have to do 35 problems.
- Very inexpensive and has NOTHING to store or copy or try to find at the library. Except for science experiments everything you need is within the program. And in our box there was a list of everything we would need for science for the whole year, and a very inexpensive way to order it (less than $25) so we didn't ever have to scramble to find the things we needed.
- My son loves working on the computer. All the subjects have lessons with games and web links or little videos built into the lesson to show another aspect of the subject. He has really come a long way this year and has developed a stronger independent learning ability. He still wants us to sit and work together and still likes our reading time, but for him...at least for most subjects, he is loving it.
- While having my son work on the computer has been a blessing as I have been chasing my 2 year old, I miss the time we spent at the table learning together. The computer isolates the learning, and that time together, learning, sharing ideas, seeing the light of understanding and interest in his eyes... Well, for me that is one of the best aspects of homeschooling, and I miss it.
- I did not like the History aspect of this years' curriculum. Don't get me wrong, it was interesting and challenging, but I felt like at times it took some obscure points and had it on the assignment, quiz, and test and elevated it to the idea that "if you only remember one thing about the farming community it should be when the farmer in this one part of the country plants his lettuce" Also we had done communities and community helpers and we were ready to move on. I wanted him to start on history and geography, so after a couple of months we stopped using SOS for History. I don't feel cheated though because it was a personal preference and when we bought the complete curriculum the pricing was basically buy 4 get one free, so I looked at it like, well we aren't using the free one. Much better than the feeling I had about all the Abeka we didn't use after spending $500.
- I hate the way spelling is handled in Lang Arts. They introduce a list (poorly...more later), focus on something else the next day, and the next day have a spelling quiz. There is just not enough time for him to learn these words in the traditional ways and I can tell you he remembers it for the quiz and loses it. But because of the way spelling is lumped in to Lang Arts you cannot postpone the quiz without postponing all grammar and reading as well. And if you do that you quickly fall behind. SOS does not allow you to skip around in the lesson order, you must complete lesson 1 to move on to lesson 2 and so on. Also these list are based on spelling rules like I before E except after C, but this rule is never actually stated and taught. They just give a list and talk around the rule and it makes it confusing. Also the list is not grouped by whether or not it follows a rule, it is alphabetical. This is a pain for 2 reasons 1) I cannot assign ABC order without rewriting the list 2) It makes the concept even harder to grasp If there is 2 words that are _ie_ _ and then one that is a rule breaker followed by 3 that have cei and then 3 more rule breakers it is hard to follow what they are trying to show you as a pattern. If these words were grouped by type, the rule would be more evident.
So, next year we are using SOS for bible and math, going classical for science and history (this will allow me to be across the table again and make it easier to teach 2 the same subject matter even if on different levels, also it allows me to change it up to allow for interesting museum or field trips and not bury them in extra work), and I am still searching for Lang Arts. I would use SOS if not for the spelling issue, and I may still and keep cheating around it and doing our own thing as we have been, I have not decided. The rest of the Lang Arts program has been very good.