I still have a post among my drafts entitled, “At the Homeschool in my Head.” I never finished it from a first day of school years ago, but the concept is simple: what happens around that kitchen table often looks markedly different than what we envision. After reading Charlotte Mason’s approach to education, I dreamed of hours on a blanket outdoors, reading and drawing pictures of the one-eyed, three-toed, hump-backed butterfly who only appears in region 7 on fall days when the moon is full and…you get the point. Instead, many of our homeschool days and years looked like this:
Because my husband has traveled for work much of our 25 years, time on the road became a mainstay for our school. And even through all the packing and unpacking, the lost toys and an occasional superhero wallet/ billfolder, travel has heightened our homeschool experience in a number of ways. How, you ask? Well…
1) We grow in relationship to one another. Homeschooling, by its very nature, creates an environment where intangible changes can occur within your family. These changes took on a new dimension when we rode in cars and airplanes, breathing in each other’s space, as I would say. Plus, without that experience, the kids would not have seen as much of Dad, and Dad would have missed out on some neat opportunities to work with the kids as we all learn together.
2) We build upon our academic experience. Traveling is an education all its own. In fact, there are families who “roadschool” as a way of life. We have taken a number of trips to plant seeds for college (even way before they were old enough to look closely at any school). We have also used purposeful family trips to then make an equally purposeful side excursion, like when a family reunion in Northern California extended into a trip through the Sequoia National Park.
When the kids were smaller, we took end-of-the-year trips to celebrate a season of hard work on all parts. Studying rock striations takes on a whole new meaning when you visit the Grand Canyon.
3) We can spread the Gospel. Perhaps because of the people I came in contact with in our earliest days of homeschooling, or perhaps because of the emphasis of our church ministry, I saw an opportunity for the children to travel internationally, and to grow in their faith in that way. Even before we saw actual fruit in our plans, I placed a world map on our wall with three scriptures adjacent to it: Jeremiah 49:14, Matthew 24:14, and Haggai 2:7. The concept was simple, in my mind: as we learn the world, let us see how we can help change it. The goal is that, at the high school level, each child would travel out of the country for missions. So far, we are two for two.
If you are thinking, “That sounds expensive,” yes, travel can be costly. There are ways that we are able to cut costs. Some of these might be of benefit to you, too, including:
1) taking advantage of Homeschool days or other open house opportunities
2) allowing time to drive, as opposed to flying, with side trips along the way
3) enrolling in rewards programs and staying loyal to one chain (eventually they do add up!)
4) cooking/ packing food rather than buying food on the road
5) using extended-stay hotels, and looking for hotels that have free breakfast or dinner
6) looking for smaller venues that are sometimes overlooked when taking the “big” trip (state parks, free statues, and monuments)
7) if flying, buy tickets as far in advance as possible and look for discounts
8) utilizing group discounts
If leaving home is impossible or totally undesirable, here are ways to benefit from travel while enjoying others’ travels:
There are also Instagram feeds from families who roadschool or individuals who travel extensively.
What have been YOUR experiences with travel and homeschooling?