One of the most daunting questions about taking time off to travel with kids is how to make sure they’re getting a good education. As one of Bryan’s grad. student professors once told him – ‘kids are robust’. In other words, and thankfully, it’s hard for parents that are trying to do their best to screw them up too much. Additionally, kids learn in many ways other than the formal 9-3 structure we’ve generally grown accustomed to in the U.S. But the idea of unintentionally causing our otherwise completely academically capable children to fall behind on things they need to know keeps us up at night. It was clear we couldn’t hit the road unless we had an educational plan that we felt comfortable with.
Fortunately, there are a ton of options for homeschooling and those tools can be a great foundation for a roadschooling program. Roadschooling is a version of homeschooling that is appropriate for families who spend a lot of time traveling. If you’re not familiar with the term, or would like more information check out our article ‘What is Roadschooling‘.
We aren’t sure if we’re returning to our starting point in North Carolina when we’re done. Right now, we intend to come back to NC, but we may end up moving to somewhere that we fall in love with along the way. Moreover, there’s so many other things to figure out with traveling that it doesn’t make sense to deal with establishing residency in a new state like Texas, and then establish residency again when we actually settle down.
To prepare for roadschooling, we reviewed our home state’s laws and also looked at the regulations of the most stringent homeschooling states. North Carolina’s homeschooling regulations are pretty easy. Our plan is to follow North Carolina’s homeschool laws, but keep much more detailed records than NC requires, in case we end up moving somewhere with stricter rules.
No matter where we end up, we’re pretty sure the children will go back to public school. The good news is that no public school can turn your children away even if you don’t have good records of previous schooling. We’re still going to be careful though, because we don’t want the children to have any problem getting into the correct grade level.
What will roadschooling look like for us?
We’re planning on pursuing a combination of traditional school learning with unschooling and unit studies. Reading/writing and math are fundamentals and currently the only thing with common core standards, so we’re going to follow grade level requirements pretty closely for these skills. We’ll probably use textbooks for math and supplement math and reading with online learning tools.
For other subjects, we’re going to let our location and the children’s interests guide us. We want to hit a lot of topics, including science, art, music, digital literacy, community service, social studies, health, physical education, and a host of character traits, such as independence, fiscal responsibility, kindness, service, and honesty.
We expect that “formal” learning time, where they’re completing assignments and learning through textbooks and computers, will take 1-2 hours per day. However, we know that the learning will continue throughout the day as we explore and play.
Through good tracking and regularly checking into our goals, we will try to ensure we have a productive learning year, and create memories to last a lifetime.