Homeschooling While Traveling
November 7, 2018
Mercy Every Minute  
Go, go, go! That’s a lot of what you do when you homeschool. Some of it is necessary appointments and classes, but some is fun travel! There are those wonderful, cozy days at home, but then there are those days when you are out and about.

You can dread those days and feel guilty about what you are not getting done at home, whether it’s due to hardship or travel—or you can prepare some learning in advance.

To-Go Packs:
Since it was hard enough to find everyone’s shoes when it was time to go, I decided we were not going to chance losing school books with all our travel. Instead, we kept all of the children’s regular schoolwork at home in their individual school crates, and we made each child what we called “to-go packs.” These held picture books, science books, sticker books, coloring books, and academic workbooks just for these packs. Most of the books and workbooks were ones I already had on my bookshelves but were not using. They were the extras that we didn’t have time for during regular school days. The workbooks for the packs were multi-subject in order to continue the learning, like SAT Prep, McGraw Hill, or grade appropriate workbooks from the local dollar store or Sam’s Club. Each child had their filled nylon drawstring pack that stayed in the car so we wouldn’t have to look for anything when we had to go out.

Audio Books:
Longer trips called for great audio books like Under Drakes Flag, The Chronicles of Narnia, Pilgrim’s Progress, Hinds’ Feet on High Places, the Cat of Bubastes, the Chuck Black Kingdom series, and anything by Jim Hodges! Also, check your local library for free rental of audio books.

It’s just a season, mom. It will soon be over and you’ll be driving those children away to a college, or away to a job in another state, or to a wedding, or . . . wherever God leads them.

We raise them to let them go, and part of that process is taking them places before they can take themselves. In our upcoming Winter issue, you will read about that empty nest and how it comes too fast. Look for the release of that issue around the first of December.

Enjoy those trips with your children now! You will all cherish them for years to come.

~Deborah
P.S. If you’d like to start receiving the print issue mailed to your door every quarter, go here. We are super excited to be back in print every issue!
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Several years ago, we launched a ministry lifestyle that took us on the road six or more months out of the year. When we started, we had seven children still at home—ages 17 down to an infant—and were homeschooling six grade levels at once! 

We’ve found that you can homeschool on the road. Here’s what we learned: 

  1. Embrace the field trip lifestyle. Whether it’s a grand tour of European capitals or a two-hour trip to Grandma’s, there’s something to see and learn wherever you go. Do a little research, and find some interesting sights and things to do along your route. Everyone will be happier and they’ll learn a lot, too.
  2. Work around the difficulties. It’s likely to be harder for your kids to concentrate on their schoolwork, and they may even have trouble hearing you. Be patient and merciful. And save the monologues for the next stop.
  3. Establish a “teaching station.” Since Melanie is the designated “chief of instruction,” we defined the front bench seat of the van as the hands-on teaching position. Anyone who needs some concentrated help will ride part of the way in the front bench so Mom can talk to him easily. 
  4. Share audiobooks on the drive. These not only pass the miles more easily, but they’re an easy way to enjoy literature and other subjects. We’ve used audio versions of history and science, and who can forget the time we all learned Mandarin Chinese from CDs?
  5. If you travel often, consider a year-round schedule. As regular conference speakers, we know we’ll be busy from Thursday to Saturday many weeks—and our kids will be, too. We converted to a year-round schedule a long time ago and just enjoy time off when there are neat opportunities to grab. 

When your travel days are limited to over-the-river-and-through-the-woods at Thanksgiving, you might just take the time off and enjoy a few days’ vacation together. But if you find yourself behind the wheel more often, or for longer journeys, why not try a little “road-schooling” along the way? 

Looking for some van-friendly, entertaining, and character-building audiobooks for your holiday travel? Check out the selection on our web page, RaisingRealMen.com, and use the coupon audioholiday15 to save 15% on all our audiobook resources! And for more tips on traveling with kids, here’s our podcast, Long Distances with Little Ones

Your friends, 
Hal & Melanie 
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Chances are you have homeschooled your children while traveling and haven’t even realized it.

I am fairly certain the traditional classroom stigma needs to be broken anyway. Personally, I think schooling coupled with an itinerary is the best learning tool. The world is your classroom, and you can optimize their learning experience through trekking the countryside. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to preach and teach every mile of the trip. But time in the car can produce a very bonding atmosphere. I am a realist; it can produce a dynamic fighting atmosphere, too!

“Are we there yet?”

“He crossed my side!”

“She is looking at me!”

I get it. But I solidly believe the pros far outweigh the cons in this issue.

Honestly, I really don’t know how schooling at home and schooling in the car is terribly different. Maybe just a bit more cramped. Sometimes I will supplement audio books for history or literature for those who are prone to car sickness. Otherwise, quizzing, flashcards, and just talking through assignments are a perfect way to bond and teach.

Technology is your friend! The longer hours of the trip can be productive when you take advantage of the wealth of information that technology has to offer.

  • Skype classes
  • downloads
  • online resources
  • podcasts
  • DVDs

And here is a shameless little plug – try The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s own www.schoolhouseteachers.com, which is loaded with resources and even planners that can help plan your day!

Traveling allows your child to experience abstract things that just can’t be fully comprehended looking at a book. The ability to see new people, try different food, see new landscapes, and experience different climates (just to name a few)! My most “awe”some moment was reading to the kids about the Grand Canyon and then being able to SEE it! The books just don’t do it justice.

While you travel, make every opportunity for free museums, productions, parks, and historical monuments to enhance your experience with your children.

The beauty of educating your children is the freedom of how you choose to do it. Homeschool, worldschool, roadschool, whatever! The focus shouldn’t entirely be on how we do it as long as they are getting a solid Christ-centered education.
Road trip!

Kerry Tittle is a mother of nine children and a 20-year homeschool veteran. She was the owner of ReformationKidz with her husband Rob until a tornado destroyed their home and business in 2014, taking the lives of Rob and two of their daughters, Tori and Rebekah. Kerry is the founder of  Refined Family , which is created to encourage others to find hope in the gospel in the midst of trials.
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Staying Relational    
Dear Friends,

Some people travel because they can. Some people travel because they must (it’s part of their job). And, if you fit into one of the two categories above, you may end up traveling while homeschooling.

We did. As we traveled around the country for weeks or months at a time each year, driving from homeschool conference to homeschool conference, our three children had to continue studying and learning. Sometimes it was incredibly rich, sometimes it was extremely hard, and sometimes we just set the books aside for a while in order to experience the things around us.

The Rich Times
There was an amazing sense of “being us” during the travels. With far fewer distractions and very limited opportunities to be separated from each other, we often had conversations that went deeper than normal. There was a “quietness” that came from not dashing constantly to a dance class or music lesson, and in those quiet seasons of being with each other, things would surface. . .struggles could be talked about. . .dreams were shared.

We read books aloud, sometimes night after night, and the storyline built up and up until we all hungered to know, “What happened next???” I remember reading one of the Anne of Green Gables stories until after midnight one night because we just had to find out how it ended.

We prayed together, shared stories of God’s faithfulness, read deep books about Christianity as we drove along, and talked about what it means to follow Jesus. Because there was time—an abundance of time—we talked together about the most important aspects of life.

In driving for so many hours each day with only ourselves for company, we had more space and more time for listening and talking and reading and sharing and praying. . .and singing!! That was one of my crazy ideas, to teach my kids to sing rounds (like “Row, row, row your boat”) while we drove cross country. It was such a rich time of groans and laughter, and we eventually learned to sing four-part harmonies with each other.
Those were the rich times. Actually, those memories are among the richest of my life.

The Hard Times
To be honest, there were also difficult experiences for us as we traveled. Sibling rivalry, misunderstandings between spouses, financial issues, keeping everyone in clean clothes, finding the patience to explain once again how to solve a math problem/write a paper—all these normal challenges to daily life were magnified when we were “stuck” together in a car for days/weeks/months at a time.

That’s when the talks about God became more real, more honest. Forgiveness was tangible and lived out. Each of us grew in grace towards the other—not perfectly, but relationally.

Experiencing the Times
Finally, there were times when we tucked the books under our seats and fully gave ourselves to the experience of wherever we were. I remember walking the Boston Trail with our three teenagers and four others who accompanied us. There was a misty fog that day as we walked along, helping us to imagine ourselves back in 1775. There was the afternoon in the French Quarter of New Orleans when we discovered the smell of Napoleon in a cologne that was created in early 1800s especially for him. (It was citrusy—and he used many ounces per day!)

I will never forget the joy of us all singing rousing sea chanteys with workers at Mystic Sea Port in Connecticut. And, I can still see the wonder and awe in my son’s face as he saw When the Land Belonged to God, Charlie Russell’s painting at a museum in Montana.

Each of these moments took us beyond what a book could ever communicate. The depth of learning was profoundly increased as we gazed at historic sights, as we stood where historic events occurred, as we experienced our own connection to something significant in art, geography, literature, history, and music.

Whatever you do as you travel, remember to stay relational!

Diana
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If you’re a color-coded calendar-type planner like me, there are days your calendar looks like a bag of rainbow candy exploded all over it. Our days are often filled with more tasks than time, and I am constantly worried I am forgetting to do something or be somewhere. This is one area that SchoolhouseTeachers.com can help! You can’t be late for a lesson because it’s all completed according your schedule. You can sign in at 3 a.m., 3 p.m., or 11:27 p.m. and the same material will be right there waiting for you. If you need a day, a week, or even a month away from school, you won’t miss classes or assignments. They will all be here, ready when you are. With over 400 courses, that kind of flexibility can bring a small amount of order to your color-laden calendar. And you might even have time to grab a bag of that candy for yourself! 

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Contest Corner  
For the month of November
from


Liberty Rings! is a company that has created a series of educational products that inspire and encourage the learning and understanding of the principles of freedom and liberty. These are the principles that the Founding Fathers had in mind when creating the U.S. Constitution. Liberty Rings! has created this line of educational products for students and families with plenty of icons, games, and artwork.

Liberty Rings! has based the games and activities on 28 principles. These principles were extracted from the study of the U.S. Constitution by Dr. W. Cleon Skousen, a top authority on the Constitution. The principles cover everything from the role of the family and the role of the Creator to the Founding Fathers. Principles such as the separation of powers and having an educated electorate are important in the Constitution and are included.

Liberty Bingo is a game of bingo focused on these 28 principles. It uses the typical bingo game set-up with calling cards, playing cards, and markers. Each square on the playing card is a different one of the principles. The calling cards have a picture on one side to illustrate the principle and the words to describe the principle on the other side. The playing cards have the same thing: an image on one side and words on the other. This makes it a game that can be used by students in the younger elementary grades all the way up through adults. ( . . . )

Liberty Bingo is a fun game that teaches through play. Combining fun and games always makes for a good time. By learning these principles, the appreciation for the way our country was set up and founded grows. This creates a stronger country as more people learn and understand the Constitution.


Checkers is a classic game that is painless for a young child to get the hang of. It’s graced the tables of families from what seems to be as early as 1400 B.C. according to some sources. The red chips versus the black chips leaping over their opponents and getting crowned when successfully reaching the contestants turf is enjoyed repetitively by children and adults alike.

Now visualize a game of checkers that worked hard at instilling important values of freedom and virtue into the heads and hearts of its players through standard play. What an incredible and resourceful idea! Especially as a parent of young American children, this would be a checker board I would gladly welcome into the grasp of my babes.

Liberty Rings! has taken on the mission to equip Americans to learn, share, and perpetuate the important truths of the principles of liberty laid out by the Founding Fathers into everyday common items. The concept of “apperception” which is defined as the mental process through which a person makes sense of an idea by assimilating it into his or her body of ideas is what Liberty Rings! applies to their product line. ( . . . )

I greatly encourage patriotic families, and likewise, all American families, to allow this board to have a prominent place in their game closet and induce virtue, principles, and truth into the hearts of all who play it. As it says in Liberty Rings! The Glorious Standard of Liberty Summaries, “By thoroughly acknowledging these core principles, a well-informed citizen will be liberated and empowered to contribute to the betterment of a free and prosperous society” (Principle #23 Educated Electorate). Read the rest of the review.

YOU can WIN these this set of games and two coloring books for your homeschool! 

TO ENTER: Click on over to our entry page and follow the instructions! Contest ends at midnight, the last day of the month.

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