Homeschooling and Travelling Ideas and Tips
I was contacted the other day (and have been asked similar questions before) about what someone would need to homeschool and travel. Whilst I haven’t been homeschooling and travelling at the same time, I know some women who have; so I asked them. Here is a collection of advice for those of you wondering how to set yourself up to homeschool while travelling.
Tip One – If you are wishing to homeschool and travel for a substantial period of time advice about registration varies. In NSW your homeschool registration does not cover extended travel (ridiculous I know!). The NSW Board of Studies suggests that you do distance education while travelling (which I’ll discuss later). Because of this silly rule many homeschoolers choose not to inform the NSW Board of Studies about their travelling plans. Another state suggested to one homeschooling family that since they were of no fixed address while travelling that they didn’t need to be registered in a particular state.
Tip Two – Books are a great tool for homeschooling; ebooks, audio, kindle and real books. A little research and preparation can make your trip more meaningful. Books that talk about the places you are going and the things you are seeing will help to bring the places, people and history alive.
Tip Three –Map study is an obvious way to learn about where you are going and where you have been. It can also help with distance and time calculations. Marking your trip on the map as you travel is a practical way to remember the journey. Our Australian Traveller’s Map was made just for that purpose.
Tip Three –Electronic storage of many resources will help you keep your school compact. You may not always have power or internet access but when you do you can make the most of it. One family said they stayed joined to their local library while travelling and downloaded ebooks when they had internet access. They also used an electronic maths drill tool.
Tip Four –Journalling worked for some families if their children were old enough. Some kids also made scrapbooks of their trip collecting brochures and pamphlets along the way. This worked better than photos because they often forgot where they had taken a photo.
“When we travel, we like to use the long lengths of travel for journalling. We also encourage the kids to observe the natural world as we travel and look for features, similarities, differences. They also like to find their own ‘markers’ for remembering things. Photos, natural items (leaves, rocks, shells, sticks), drawings, town names, events, notes on what they spent where! Any form of record keeping and storytelling we encourage.
Tip Five –Verbal lessons also worked well. One family used story starters and then asked their children to finish the story. Conversation lessons and discussions are all learning opportunities.
Tip Five – Music appreciation was very easy to do while travelling. You could use folk songs, classical pieces etc.
“How could I forget the hours of fun we had singing along together (none of us can sing!!) while driving on the long straight (boring) stretches of road. That’s where my kids learned most of the Australian Colonial songs like – Click Go the Shears, Bound for Botany Bay, Bound for South Australia, Road to Gundagai even some of John Williamson’s songs. We found that this really helped the [children] connect with places of history when they passed through a certain area and realised that’s what they have been singing about.”
Tip Six— Limit your textbooks. It depends how long you are planning on travelling but you will probably find that you are too busy to do formal schoolroom lessons. Some of the mothers commented that the distance education programs were very time consuming and would tie up a family travelling and suck some of the joy out of the experience.
One mum who travelled Australia for three years said,
“We chose to continue on our own instead of distance education. We pretty much did natural learning, with so many opportunities every day to learn. For English we did a bit of spelling and some formal reading but mostly just used the opportunities that arose every day. We got the kids to read the information boards every where were we went. They kept a journal of each town we stayed at, and wrote lots of post cards. Maths was the only subject we did formally continuing on with Math U See and Signpost. (We were already homeschooling before we left.) All other learning areas just happened naturally….We are very glad we did not do [distance education]while travelling as a fairly large portion of the day would have to be spent on school work, not giving much freedom for travelling, we also spoke to a number of families doing distance education while on the road and they all said very similar things, it did not allow the freedom to make the most of travelling and the natural learning opportunities, and they often had to spend a day or two a week stuck back at the campsite just to get the work completed.” Beardy
Tip Seven—Make the most of the places you go.
- Visit museums
- Local sites such as aboriginal sites
- Follow the paths of explorers
- Calculate distances
- Give kids set budgets for their extras
- Use the activity pages from the places you visit
- Find out what the local industry and employment is
- Look for interesting or famous natural features.
- Find out about the famous locals & local history
- What is the local flora and fauna and are there any endangered species
Enjoy the opportunities along the way!
Homeschooling and travelling is full of priceless learning that will be far more memorable than completing any worksheet.
“Our travels have been some of the best parts of our life, and I would not swap them for anything.” Cathy
This post was made with the help of Aussiehomeschool mums Cathy, Liz, Jess, Renelle, Roz and Jenny.