I think that staying on task might be one of the harder disciplines to master now that we are roadschooling and not homeschooling . If you’re cocking your head in confusion about the difference between the two, there really is only one big one: location. The location of a homeschool is home, plain and simple. You live, eat, and educate right there in your comfy three bedroom two bath ranch with the same view every day. As a roadschooling family we also live, eat and educate in our home; only our home is on wheels. Wheels indicate mobility. Mobility indicates a change in scenery. And having children (and parents who love to travel) means that there in an undeniable force drawing us to explore each and every new place we see. There always seems to be something or someone that makes us consider putting off school until later.
Now, I’m sure you are wondering how in the world I have problems with this. I don’t have issues with the actual moving and sightseeing. The biggest problem I have is making sure we complete our work day before we go play. We have been on the road here in the US for about fourteen months and this is the number one biggest obstacle I face in my daily routine. We must hit the books before we hit the streets. I know that some people are of a different school of thought. They say that the traveling lifestyle that we live offers a wealth of education to our children. And I wholeheartedly agree….to an extent. I know that traveling alone offers our children real world experience. They have learned to navigate roads with maps, find the cheapest gas, check in and out of hotels and airports, as wells as the workings of a camper and some maintenance challenges that they help Daddy with. They also are learning how to be safe while at the same time putting on a friendly face, making campfires to share with new friends , and experiencing first hand some of the magical wonders of our great country. I KNOW it’s a great education. However, they also need to be versed in grammar, how to write a proper five paragraph essay, the sequence of history, science, and math. I am coming to realize why I personally think that this well-rounded education is necessary. I could easily scale back our book work and let our life and experiences educate them and I think they would turn out just fine. They would have practical and real life experiences coupled with an education that would help them create and live productive lives. However, if I chose to do that, if I chose to make our roadschool more like a vo-tech school, I would be placing limits on their ability to be prepared to achieve any goal they set their minds to – preparation is key. If I give them a solid foundation of education with the intention of them possibly flying to the moon, then they have it. Whether they use it or not is completely up to them. My desire and hope for our roadschooled children is that they not only have an amazing and enjoyable childhood to look back on, but to also fill their arsenal of knowledge to the brim so that they have a full understanding of that old saying about how the world is your oyster. And that their understanding of it empowers them.
It’s all about the mindset. I want them to have the mindset that they can go anywhere and do anything. And I want their education to prepare them so that they have the absolute best chance of success. When I was younger, my thoughts on travel didn’t expand much past the borders of our neighboring states much less our great nation. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But as limited as my views of travel were, so were my views of my own ability. As we prepare to spend this next year on the road, I have come to realize that my children will be more open and prepared to travel anywhere they want as an adult. And if my desires for our roadschooling see fruition, they will dare to dream big and they will be full of the self-confidence they need to head down the path of limitless opportunity.
I wake up every morning with good intention. Sometimes that intention see’s us through, and other times it falls apart and nothing gets accomplished. I have charts for each kid that has their weekly lessons planned out to help them have a plan of attack for their studies. If we get up at a normal time, like any time before ten, then we can be done around lunch time. Sometimes we have a little bit to do after lunch, but we are finding out that the early bird gets the worm. And for us, the worm is the entire afternoon and evening to play tourist. And I have also figured out that having a planned amount of time off helps us stay focused on working at full force until that scheduled vacation. For example, we went to Hawaii a few weeks ago. In preparation of our planned two week vacation with no school, we were hot and heavy on our daily book work. However, coming home was a different story. It’s where the struggles set in. We ALL had a hard time refocusing on our daily schedule and our two week vacation turned into five weeks off. Now, in my own defense we did see some really cool stuff in those extra weeks off. We headed up toward northern California and into Oregon. Coastal drives, tall trees, and squeaky cheese filled our days with yummy sights and tastes. And we wrapped it up with a few days at the Grandparents house in the mountains of Colorado during Halloween.
Now that the Holidays are approaching, a planned Christmas vacation is helping us stay on track throughout the coming weeks. We have some new curriculum to work with that I hope will help where we’ve been struggling. But, curriculum is a whole other subject! It’s the ever challenging search for the perfect book! What about you all? What secrets and bribes do you all use to help your kids, and YOU, stay on track when there are so many other wonderful and fun ways to fill your day?