Homeschooling and Travelling Tips

Homeschooling and travelling

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.

Jess said,
 “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.

Roz  said,
“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.

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  1. Mel Outerbridge  May 10, 2019

    If you cannot register for homeschooling while travelling (we are looking to go around Australia for 12-18months with yr 6 and yr 1 students – nsw), do the children need to repeat the schooling yr upon returning home??

    • Michelle  June 14, 2019

      I would assume that even though you don’t register you would still continue to educate them while you travel. I don’t think a school would make them repeat, however that decision would be made by individual schools.

  2. Ines  September 6, 2017

    Hi there,
    We are going to travel around the world next February for 12 month.
    As a result we won’t be able to Distance Ed as we are travelling around too much and won’t have proper internet at all times.
    Can I register my daughter for homeschooling? We are from NSW

    • MR Morrow  November 6, 2017

      No, unfortunately they won’t let you do that.

    • aysha  May 5, 2019

      Contact Louise Hawson the lady that wrote the book ’52 suburbs around the world’ she apparently homeschooled her 7 or 8 year old daughter whilst she went over seas to take photographs of different suburbs around the world. If you look up ’52 subirbs around the world’ you can ask her in the comments how she did it.
      Best of luck..

  3. lorena  November 3, 2016

    Hi! We are moving AUSTRALIA next August 2017. Meanwhile I have some locum jobs in different places, mostly in the UK, and the kids are having issues getting places at schools. I was thinking in start them with homeschooling with a proper Australian program to switch to the regular school once in there (if necessary, perhaps not). Could you give me some tips how to get enroll?
    Thanks. Lorena (kids 15, 7 and 5 years old)

    • Michelle  November 15, 2016

      Hi Lorena you can’t enrol to homeschool in Australia until you have a fixed Australian address.

  4. Leioak  July 19, 2016

    Can you get into trouble for not registering? My eldest is 8 and has autism.. I don’t believe his school life in the Victorian special needs school he is currently in is challenging him enough and believe homeschooling while travelling would benefit him immensely as he’s very hands-on and sensory. We are currently renovating our own caravan to go travelling around for an extended period of time and I wish to have my kids homeschooled and learn through experience… We have a beautiful country with a rich history and I’d love to show the kids how wonderful it is. My children aren’t technology dependent as I think it strips a chunk of a child’s innocence and I’d prefer them to experience the world rather than view it on a screen but I still wish to educate them. Can you get into trouble by not registering? We won’t be having a fixed address

    • Michelle  July 22, 2016

      Hi Leioak,
      I’m not sure what the consequences are in Victoria but in NSW the first slap on the knuckles is only to ask you to register. However problems usually arise via Centerlink if you receive any government benefits. They usually require some proof of registration.

  5. Marianne  April 27, 2015

    We plan to sell up, buy a bus and travel Australia for an indefinite amount of time. Kids are currently in Qld primary and we had just planned on homeschooling. Have since found out we will not be ‘allowed’ as we won’t have a ‘fixed address’. So ridiculous, so we’re just not sure how to go about it now. Do the illegal thing and just teach them ourselves unregistered? Are we going to get into trouble/fined etc? I can’t believe they don’t allow for families travelling.

    • Michelle  May 4, 2015

      I know people who have done what you have suggested and I know others who registered but didn’t mention the travel until they returned. I agree it is a stupid system.


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