Instead of learning in the confines of a home or school, Roadschool kids learn while traveling. Instead of sitting at home, reading about, and looking at pictures of our nation’s Constitution, they travel to see and learn about it in person. Want to learn about rocks and rock formations? Instead of doing it by books, Roadschoolers do it for real by exploring caves.
Homeschooling is more popular than ever and every family that chooses it has their own reason. They could be tired of the public school system. They may be looking for more control over what and how their children learn. As many reasons as there are to homeschool, there are just as many different types of homeschooling. One type that’s gaining more followers is called Roadschool. As the name suggests, roadschooling is what happens when you take your child’s education on the road.
Instead of learning in the confines of a home or school, Roadschool kids learn while traveling. Instead of sitting at home, reading about, and looking at pictures of our nation’s Constitution, they travel to see and learn about it in person. Want to learn about rocks and rock formations? Instead of doing it by books, roadschoolers do it for real by exploring caves. Need to learn a little bit about math? roadschoolers do it by ordering a pizza pie on the go and discussing fractions.
Roadschooling is the ultimate in hands-on learning. It can take you places you may not have thought ever you’d see, but with an educational slant. It builds family bonds, it also builds into teaching and learning the idea of family morals. It allows children to seek out new interests. Proponents say roadschooling can be a rewarding experience for families, though most will admit it’s not without its stresses. To make it work, you need a good plan.
Real Life Roadschoolers Explain How Its Done
Rather than telling you how its done from a distance, I went out and spoke with a professional roadschooling family. Brian and Lauri have two boys: Gabe and Garrett. They may look familiar, given that the boys have a wildly popular YouTube Channels, aptly called Gabe and Garrett. The family of four are content creators for YouTube, with over 2 million followers. In addition to being YouTube stars, Gabe and Garrett are getting a homeschool education from their parents, using Roadschooling.
“We took the boys out of public school so we could see and experience, in real life, the places they were learning about in textbooks,” said Brian. “Rather than read about the Statue of Liberty and see pictures in a schoolbook, we’d go there.” He then listed a few other places they have seen and learned about as a family – the Kennedy Space Center, the 9/11 Memorial, and various natural museums across the country. It is also clear that the family loves the wilderness. “Then the national parks like Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon.” They do a lot of their traveling in the United States with their 5th wheel.
Being Content Creators for YouTube fed into how Brian and Lauri handled their sons’ education. “Being a Content Creator was an important factor because it gave us the time flexibility to visit various places without being tied down to a job or schedule,” explained Brian. “And we also made videos of our experiences which meant we showed what we learned. We were fully independent on schooling and chose a quality-based curriculum based on researching various options.”
Creating The Right Roadschool Curriculum
So, how does a family choose a curriculum for road travelers? The first thing you may want to concern yourself with are the state laws as they apply to you. Whatever homeschool laws your state employs will be the ones you are tethered to out on the road. If you are a family who doesn’t have a home state established and find yourself on the road permanently, establishing your “home base” in a state that doesn’t constrict what you can and can’t do on the road is imperative.
There are plenty of homeschool/roadschool options online, but not all of them are geared toward learning on the road. Some things to consider when looking for a solid roadschooling curriculum are storage space and how much will be required for materials; what kind of space will be needed for the children to actually do the school work; is everything included in the curriculum you choose or would you have to go out and purchase more materials; can the materials chosen be shared by more than one child; and finally, a big source of concern, will there be any internet connection for any online work while out traveling?
Although much of the above were concerns, one of the most challenging aspects of roadschooling came in the form of organization. “Having to be organized in a constantly changing environment as well as focusing on doing schoolwork in an amazing destination, like a tropical island or in beautiful mountains” can have its challenges,” says Lauri, who has done a great job of juggling fun and learning for her boys. “The nice thing is you can schedule schoolwork to fit around your activities and adventures because the experiential aspect is the focus, not the books.”
What made roadschooling a positive for Brian and Lauri’s family was the ability to combine everything into an educational experience. Brian was able to provide the content necessary for the boys’ YouTube channel, Lauri was the backbone, handling much of “bookwork”, and the boys were able to be boys. Learning by seeing and experiencing.
The Places You’ll Go
If you think Gabe and Garrett’s education kept them only stateside, you’d be wrong. They have been able to take their roadschooling abroad, visiting a wide variety of wonderful places. “We’ve been fortunate enough to travel to places like Bora Bora, England, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, most of the United States, Mexico, and many Caribbean Islands,” Brian says. “Seeing places like Stonehenge in England, the balloon festival in New Mexico, Mt. Rushmore, Times Square in NYC, Carlsbad Caverns, Tahiti, and the Tower of London are often once in a lifetime destinations and are experiences the boys, and us parents, won’t ever forget.”
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Lauri agreed, “Seeing these places also puts things in context historically and in modern times and makes them more rounded in world knowledge.” Both parents, though, did acknowledge that while it all sounds like fun, games, and learning, there are certainly some cons when it comes to roadschooling. Especially for the boys and the friends they have at home.
“The boys are active in various groups and have friends but you can’t usually take your friends with you,” noted Brian. “On extended trips, we have to arrange for someone to watch our dog,” offered Lauri. “Jet lag on long flights while still having an itinerary to keep can be tough,” she continued. “Traveling on flights with lots of camera gear can get stressful,” lamented Brian.
They both agree that roadschooling isn’t for everyone, but to them, the pros of letting their boys learn by experiencing what the world had to offer far outweigh the cons. Lately, though, as the boys have grown older, things are beginning to shift. The boys are now seeing more public school than they have in the past.
“Starting later in grammar school we let the boys decide if they want to roadschool or go to public school. They usually rotate every other year because there are aspects of public school they enjoy,” informed Lauri. The social aspect is one thing the boys do enjoy about being back in public schools. One is now enjoying his high school experience while the other is in middle school and thriving on the baseball diamond.
“Hanging out with friends is a more important life experience at this age than traveling to various destinations around the world,” said Brian. “And we understand it and support it. We are so glad we took the time we did to experience travel school and see so many amazing places.”
Roadschooling is a way of life. It takes an abundance of planning, maybe even an overabundance. But if you have the means and the wherewithal, it just might be the ticket to an exciting way to live and learn.