The following is a post from contributing writer Angie.
One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the freedom it gives us to travel. While we never used to travel, we’ve taken advantage of being able to travel at off times in the last several years, and it has been wonderful.
We always seem to run into a quandary before trips, however. Is this going to count as school attendance or not? While I know that there will be some out there who will remind me that learning happens every day, please believe me that I know this. However, I sometimes get picky about what counts as an instructional day as per my state’s requirement.
Due to that pickiness, I have used some of these tips to help myself when we have decided to take trips.
Tips for Schooling While Traveling
Research Before Your Trip
While you might have just been thinking about a week-long trip to a condo with nothing to do, a little research might turn up many amazing learning opportunities. Google makes it so easy to find out that a hands-on science museum geared toward children might be in the very next town. It just involves doing a little research and planning first.
Our beach vacation one year turned into an amazing history lesson when we found out that an hour away, we could go to a naval air museum. It was a learning experience for all of us that we would have missed out on if we hadn’t done some research beforehand.
Look at Your Trip with an Eye Toward Education
Prior to that same beach vacation, I figured we would just hang around and not do much of anything. Instead, I realized when we were there that my kids were learning much more about the ecosystem of the beach, how to spot jellyfish and Portuguese Man-of-War, the science behind kite flying, why the ocean water would be so cold even though the weather was so warm, and more.
These were all things that they would never learn from a book the same way that they internalized them at the beach. Learning is everywhere, and when you view a trip like that, it can be pretty astounding how much your children are learning.
Bring Portions of Workbooks
This is just a small tip that worked for us when we took an extended month long trip. We wanted to continue to work on some of our bookwork, but I didn’t want to pack an entire suitcase just for books and workbooks. Instead, I ripped out only the work that I wanted to get done during our time away. This was just a little sanity and space saver that helped me a lot while traveling!
Take Advantage of Audio Books
If your trip is going to include a long car ride, audio books can be a great option for keeping children occupied while also fitting in extra instruction. On one thirteen-hour car trip, we listened to a novel as well as some of our Story of the World chapters.
Create a Journal or Scrapbook about Your Trip
One of my favorite assignments when I was in school was during a family vacation to Florida. My teacher sent some work for me to do, but she also asked me to write in a journal every day about things that we had done that day. Even though it was while I was in fifth grade, I still have that notebook, and it has become a precious memory of my first time out of the Midwest, which included adventures like seeing the ocean and going to Disney World.
A journal is a very authentic way to work on language arts skills, and can cover composition, vocabulary, spelling, and more.
Another option is to keep a hybrid journal/scrapbook to include pictures and souvenirs. While this seems easiest to do once you’re home, I would encourage you to have your children work on it each day during the trip while the day’s events are the freshest in their minds.
Plan to Not Worry about School
Sometimes, it’s just nice to take a vacation. Let whatever learning happens just happen and leave the book work behind. Don’t worry about counting attendance days. Embrace the fact that homeschooling means you can take a week off in the middle of February just because it’s your prerogative.
More Homeschool Trips & Vacation Tips:
- Tips for an Educational Beach Vacation
- 10 Fun Beach Lessons
- 10 Summer Learning Activities
- Educational Benefits of Camping
- Zoo Field Trip Tips
- And, don’t forget a Free Printable Field Trip Log (if you need to track your homeschool hours)