Whether you homeschool on the road for a week or make a lifestyle of educational travel, roadschool doesn’t have to break the bank! Watch our latest video for some great money saving ideas for your next homeschool field trip!
Joe and I LOVE books. If there is anything I am tempted to hoard, it’s books. I love getting lost in a good story and learning new things from the experience of others. I even love the smell of books- I’m a NERD that way. And no one can dispute the value of books from a learning standpoint. As we have learned about our nation’s founding fathers, a common thread among their stories was how much they treasured the wealth of knowledge found in books and regularly sought out ways to borrow, purchase and acquire them.
Unfortunately, when you live in an RV, van, skoolie, or travel trailer, books are not really your friend. A plethora of volumes will quickly weigh a rig down and make driving conditions unsafe. This is particularly a challenge for roadschoolers using book-based curriculums. Multiply that by our FOUR kids, and you can imagine what a dilemma that poses for our family. You can imagine the inner struggle I have: I want to have books. I want my kids to LOVE books. But we really can’t afford to have the weight of books in our traveling tiny home.
So what do we do???
We have had to come up with some creative solutions to our book problem:
- We enjoy stopping at Half Price books and other used book stores to browse books. At theses stores, we can return used books (for a teeny, tiny commission/credit) and buy new books. So far, we still have more books on hand than we should (weight-wise), but this helps keep “real” books in the hands of the kids so that they are not on screens all. the. time.
- Libraries tend to have a “Friends of the Library” section where they fundraise by selling older books for very cheap. All of us enjoy browsing through these sections as we visit libraries to do our schoolwork.
- A lot of campgrounds and neighborhoods have “take one, leave one” libraries. This is a great way to off-load old books that others can enjoy, while giving us an opportunity to scope out new reading possibilities.
- Each of our kids has their own Kindle Fire on which they can read books. We like Kindles because they have great parental controls (monitoring time spent on the device and the content they can access) and a free reading app that is accessible on virtually every device. Not only do the kids have access to great books they can read and listen to, but they can also play games and download movies to watch. If you’d like access to kid-friendly games and activities (especially great for entertainment while traveling!), you can enjoy an Amazon FreeTime Unlimited free 30 day trial by clicking the link below. If you choose to continue once the trial period ends, it costs only $3 a month for one individual plan.
- Kindle offers many free books which the kids can enjoy. There are SO MANY classics accessible to the kids to download for free!! (Did I mention FREE?) Kindle also offers an “unlimitied” program, which allows you to read as many books as you want for one low monthly price. You can click the link to learn more.
- We listen to books on Audible. Again, I have one account that is accessible to all of the kids. We enjoy listening to books together as a family when we are driving. Or if the kids like, they can attach their headphones and listen on their own device to the book of their choosing. Audible is running a special right now that gives you an opportunity to try it out for your next roadtrip FREE!!
- We can check out books through our public library’s ebook lending library. 3MCloud, Overdrive and Hoopla are popular apps that libraries use to disperse eBooks to their patrons. The kids have these apps downloaded onto their Kindles and can check out new books for free. Check with your home library to see what apps they employ.
The good news: whether you love the idea of eBooks and audio books, or prefer the joy of holding a bound volume in your hand, there are options! All it takes is a little creativity.
If you would like to check out Kindles for yourself, I’ve provided clickable links below to see some of the different Kindle options available. Amazon is currently offering some great deals on Kindle packages for Valentines Day!
And if you already own a Kindle Fire, but find it is outdated and not working as well as it should, Amazon is offering a great “upgrade” deal (click the link below):
How does your family approach the conundrum of books and nomadic life? If you have other ideas/options, PLEASE, share them in the comments below!
Keep Doing Life Deliberately,
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Approaching home education with purpose and meaning is a challenge. There are so many choices to be made: curriculum, time management, extra curricular activities, education methods, field trips, social activities and the list goes on and on…. One of the most important decisions that parents will make in their approach to homeschool/roadschool is how to govern their time.
Roadschool comes with its own unique set of predicaments. Chief among those difficulties: keeping school moving in a forward progression with an irregular schedule. When your home is constantly being torn down, relocated and set up again, how does anyone conduct a “normal” schedule?
Well, we’ve only been doing this roadschool thing for about 8 months. But, I have come to the realization that keeping a roadschool schedule is not that different than the homeschool schedule we have employed for the last few years (with a few necessary tweaks).
Before I create a schedule for our family, my first item of business is to identify our priorities. I do this by asking questions like:
- What activities are most important to our family life? (ex. family devotions, youth group or clubs, exercise, etc.)
- What areas are we weak and need to grow in? (ex. needing to eat healthier means leaving time to prepare healthy meals)
- What areas have been neglected that we need to carve out time for? (ex. making sure the kids are bathing regularly- just keeping it real, peeps.)
Next, I consider family needs:
- Are there regular activities that we need to carve out time for? (example: naps for babies, laundry, or piano lessons)
- Are their shared items that require a rotating schedule for the kids? (example: do they share books, a computer or a piano for music lessons?)
- Do mom and dad have shared resources that will require adjustments in the schedule? (example: do mom and dad share a vehicle that will require dropping one parent off at work or only allow for activities on certain days?)
Then, I make a time grid, either on notebook paper or on a computer spreadsheet and begin filling in the priorities, followed by specific needs. Here’s how my/our schedule shaped up for this year:
|Kid’s Daily Schedule|
|7AM||wake up- get dressed, make bed, clean up bunk house|
|8AM||family work out (hike/bike/circuit train/etc.)|
|10AM||go to school destination (library/Chick-fil-a), eat a snack|
|10:30AM||all kids do MATH,|
|11:30AM||All kids work on Monarch assignments|
|1PM||Continue Monarch Assignments|
|3PM||Mom meeting (H-Mon, S- Tues, G- Wed., I- Fri)|
|4PM||Make corrections in Monarch & Teaching Textbooks, Complete Projects|
|5PM||Leisure Screen Time (IF schoolwork is done & room is clean)|
|7PM||Showers (H- Mon & Fri, S- Tues & Sat., G- Mon & Fri, I- Tues & Sat)|
|& pack school bags for next day|
|8:30PM||Get dressed for bed & brush teeth|
|9PM||lights out Gideon and Izzy|
|9:30 PM||lights out Sarah|
|10PM||lights out Hannah|
You may notice that I have allowed two and a half hours each school day for a family workout. This was my way of addressing our need to excercise AND allowing time to explore varying destinations as we travel. Yes, we still have time on the weekend to spend a day or two exploring as a family, but this gives us daily chunks of time to take a bike ride, go for a hike, etc. (If you would like to see a glimpse of our first year of roadschooling, click here to watch our video, “Dear Kids: an Open Letter About Our First Year of Full Time RVing”)
Some people will look at this and feel it is hyperscheduling the day. I have actually made much more detailed schedules in the past (when you are teaching 4 different kids, in 4 different grades, in multiple subjects, it can get complicated FAST)! But my kids have responded REALLY well to having structure. They know what is expected of them and when it is expected. A couple of them have even thanked me for making a schedule for them (and that’s a big deal coming from kids 14 and under)!
Whenever I create a new schedule, I try to hold us to it for a 2-3 weeks before we lax and deviate. It takes a while for everyone to adapt to a new way of doing things, so it can take some time to discern if the schedule is working for us, or if we are working for the schedule. Sometimes, I can tell right away that we need to make adjustments. But once in a while, it takes time to recognize a bad day versus a problem with the schedule.
Whether we choose to homeschool year round or subscribe to a traditional calendar school year (we have done both), our family typically does school 4 days a week and uses one day as a “catch up” day. Now that we are traveling full time, we are using that “catch-up” day as our travel day. Ideally, we only travel one day a week, since it is time consuming to tear down, travel and set up again. The kids will have to do homework on the weekend if they are unable to complete their assignments on the regular school days or our travel day.
I hope that my method for scheduling homeschool/roadschool can be helpful to your family! If it is, please like this post by clicking the “like” button below and sharing it with your friends. If you have any questions or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you! Please leave them in the comments below and I will answer them to the best of my ability.
Keep Doing Life Deliberately!