Adventure is in Our Blood
The boys and I love to travel. we jump at the chance to get in the car and hit the road be it a day or months at a time. As soon after we began homeschooling six years ago, I got interested in the philosophy and lifestyle of “road-schooling” – what we homeschoolers affectionately call learning while traveling. There is even the bigger idea of “world-schooling” where families travel the world learning, sometimes for years on end. Both
ideas make me thrill inside. My grandmother was a hard woman, but one gift she bestowed on me was the love of travel. Ever since I was a young girl, exploring the world has been a top priority. Now, I’ve passed my obsession onto my kids.
Roadschooling is Whatever You Make It
I admit I get a bit envious when I read the blogs about families selling their homes and traveling full-time for years and years in RVs, Sailboats -house swapping, and pet-sitting around the globe. For us, that just isn’t doable. As a college instructor, my schedule is pretty flexible, but I still teach face-to-face classes on campus. And I feel it’s important for my boys to have a home base through their teen years to help give them a sense of community. Road-schooling for us simply means an extension of our unschooling mindset – we travel with the intent to learn. Even day-trips to Disney World (which is a convenient 80 miles from our home) become a road-schooling opportunity. I joined a Facebook page dedicated to using the parks as an educational tool. Now, when we hop over to the Magic Kingdom, there is some tidbit of learning to add to our day.
Our biggest undertaking was this past summer. We spent three weeks on the road exploring New England. It was the longest trip we had ever taken in the car and it was a success. It took me a year to plan out every detail, but planning became part of the fun
and a great learning experience. Each stop had fun and educational things to do. Even my thirteen-year-old, who has autism, enjoyed the whole experience. We also learned a lot about traveling for an extended period of time, which will come in handy as I begin planning next summer’s adventure: 4 weeks out west to see the big national parks. My next several posts will focus on specific destinations we stopped at and what we took away from the experience, educationally and travel-wise.
The bug has bitten us hard. Four weeks out west next May and June. Then, our goal is two months in Europe in 2021. Learning out in the world transforms the abstract passages in a textbook into something tangible and real.
Tips to Help You Road-school
- You don’t need an RV to road-school: I am not a fan of the lumbering leviathans of the road for a myriad of reasons. I crunched some numbers, and to travel in a car and stay at safe, clean, modest travel lodges VS the upkeep of an RV – they both come out equalling about the same money. Yes, you heard me, buying an RV saves you no money. It comes down to preference. If you want all your own stuff with you and to sleep in your own bed, maybe an RV is for you. If you like being able to have a bit more freedom, you might be a car person. Don’t let the fact you can buy an RV keep you from traveling/road-tripping.
- Plan Early: I start about a year before we plan to leave for big trips. This helps me figure out how much it will cost and I can then save money each week towards the trip. Use sites like Expedia, HomeAway, and Airbnb to help you find affordable places to stay. Research area learning experience and how much the costs. I’ve also had lots of luck using Groupon for discounted admissions to many museums we plan to visit. My motto is to never pay full price. Check the city-pass option in most major cities too. Make a list of accommodations, attractions, and eateries with addresses, phone numbers, and prices so you can compare as you research.
- Find Creative Ways to Pay for It: I babysit on the side. I have yard sales through the year. I teach online in the summers so we can travel but I still have money coming in. I save a little each week and put it into a special savings account. I put all my weekly shopping on a rewards credit card and pay it off each week, but reap the rewards cash and put that in the savings. The biggest way we save for travel is by abandoning the idea of giving things as gifts for holidays and special occasions. Now, we save that money and put it towards a trip. In upcoming posts, I will go into more details about how I make it fiscally possible to be on the road for three or more weeks at a time.