Our family of four finished a 4280 mile, three-week road trip winding our way from Virginia to Washington State. Our adventures are chronicled in previous posts, including our homeschooling plan which can be found here. Road schooling is a great deal like un-schooling which is a bit out of my wheelhouse. We talked a great deal about the sights and sounds and tastes of the trip, building and exploring at each camp site or stop. I am absolutely sure he was learning every second of the trip whether he watched his father and I navigate the road or buy things at the store. The planner in me had six different things I thought we should get to on a regular basis beyond the life experience. This is what actually happened with each:
1) Pictures. Our son had his own digital camera. Using it lasted a couple of days. Then the excitement of the trip was too much for him to remember to bring it along everywhere… so I took pictures of anything he wanted. The pictures are mostly of rocks or wildlife or cool bugs he had never seen. I thought we would catalog where each picture was taken. Turns out my phone gives coordinates of each picture automatically so we decided to catalog them once we got to Washington. It has not hit the top of the to do list yet.
2) Map. The US map to follow our journey was a success. There were a couple of days we needed to catch up. For the most part Q was able to look at the map and find just about where we went with little guidance. He decided to write in numbers counting the nights at each place. Success.
3) Journal. This turned out to be something totally different from I was planning but worked out well none the less. Q ended up wanting to dictate poems he made up about the days adventures. We had not formally looked at poems but to my surprise he was quite good at it! He struggles with handwriting so after the first couple days all of the journal entries were dictated to me. I still want to put some of his poems up on the blog… another to do for later.
4) Books. Books on CD ended up being a life saver for the road. Motion sickness was averted and we all got to listen to the first three books in the Little House series. It started many a good discussion going down the road and both my husband and I enjoyed listening. Our son had pile of books which he read during stops or in the evenings when he was done exploring. Another success.
5) Art. Q chose not to do any art while going down the road. When we were stopped and had set up camp he would climb up into his bunk, away from his little sister, and draw. It kept him occupied and he actually did employ some of the techniques he had learned this year!
6) Math. It fell off the radar completely as a formal subject. Bringing traditional textbooks for the road just didn’t work for us. We have had to slowly start him back on his math as we got settled here. That said, going to the store or getting gas or paying for a trike rental brought in some everyday math that he helped work through. So that means it was not a completely math barren trip after all.
Overall I feel like road homeschooling was a big success. It did not go completely as planned but really, what ever does? If we are to ever go on a longer trip I think I would make sure to keep him up with his more formal math curriculum. Otherwise, bring on that next road trip!