Take It On the Road
Jacob, Johannah, Caitrin, Liam, and Noah, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, 2005
The joy in home education is not contained inside four walls. That’s school. And to compensate for the confining nature of classrooms, schools schedule field trips to leave the four walls and novelists write books about those fields trips where the children stay behind to hide in art museums just to avoid going back to that dreary existence (The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler anyone?).
Mobility is one of homechool’s chief incredible features! I know two families who moved to Ireland for a month just to experience a different life. I know a family that uprooted and moved to Australia for a year to spend time away from the busy-ness of northern Virginia and it’s heavy pressured academics. I spoke today with a mom who told me her family has “road-schooled” for 3-4 week stints several times.
Julie and Caitrin, Monet’s Garden, Giverny, France
My own family took a cross-country trip to move from California to Ohio and spent 14 days visiting national parks like Pike’s Peak and Mt. Rushmore, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home in DeSoto and the American Girl Store in Chicago (to name a few places we got to see). We also took a family trip to Italy for 17 days to see my aunt and her family (they live there).
Some of these excursions may not match your family’s income or flexibility so you may consider day trips from home! Perhaps your “stay-cation” could be day trips to all the sites in your state that you typically ignore because they are so close. I remember when we moved to Ohio, the first thing we did was purchase a tourist’s guide to Ohio!
Jacob and Johannah, Phi Phi Islands Thailand
Every month, we’d pick a weekend to visit one of the sites. We got to ride a boat while it went through the locks and keys, we got to see the location that marks the arrival site of the Underground Railroad along the Ohio River, we explored fossils in ancient river beds, we hiked through the Red River Gorges in Kentucky, and we went to the Renaissance Faire not an hour from here.
The idea of “road-schooling” doesn’t have to mean packing up for a year in a trailer (though it could!). It means making use of the opportunity to be mobile (more than any time in history) and getting out to see what’s there up close and in person. Sometimes we become complacent with our daily expectations of “work” and forget that we might bust loose from those routines to deepen our appreciation for the big world around us.
Johannah, Noah, and Julie, Machu Picchu, Incan Ruins, Peru
If you do have this bent—this penchant for adventure—I should warn you now that your kids may get hooked. Four of five of mine have studied abroad in France, two of them as adults have lived abroad in places like Asia and South America for years at a time. Once bitten by the “world is my oyster” bug, they may be wanderers for good.
That’s okay though! Then YOU get to visit them when you have that much-anticipated and dreaded empty nest. Trust me: it just gets better!
Take that school on the road! Venture forth! You’ll be glad you did (and summer is a GREAT time to do it!).
Julie and Liam, Cassis, France