So, you bought an RV, your family has done some traveling, and you’ve absolutely loved it. You’re feeling inspired to travel full time in your RV, but there’s one obstacle you’re not sure how to deal with: you’ve got school-aged kids and it’s just about time for them to head back to school. Welcome to the concept of roadschooling!
We have friends who are a roadschooling family. The extraordinary learning experiences that have come to these children as their family has traveled throughout North America could never be matched in a traditional classroom setting.
So, for the benefit of any of our readers who are thinking about pulling their kids out of traditional school and hitting the road in their RV, we decided to write a post with information about getting started with roadschooling!
- 1) What Is Roadschooling?
- 2) Is It Legal to Homeschool My Kids On the Road?
- 3) If I Roadschool My Kids, Can I Create My Own Curriculum?
- 4) What Is the Greatest Advantage of Roadschooling?
- 5) What Is the Greatest Disadvantage of Roadschooling?
- 6) Creating a Roadschooling Plan: How to Get Started
- 7) How Do I Demonstrate My Child’s Grade Proficiency at the End of the Year?
- 8) Do You Have Experience Roadschooling Kids?
What Is Roadschooling?
The term “roadschool” is used to describe the concept of homeschooling on the road. With homeschooling, parents are responsible for educating their children to the grade-level standards laid out by their state’s Department of Education and their local school system.
Schooling your children on the road is no different. It’s just a different “classroom”. In fact, when you roadschool your kids, they can have a different classroom every day.
Is It Legal to Homeschool My Kids On the Road?
Homeschooling is legal in every state in the U.S. However, since each state has its own homeschooling laws, it’s very important that you follow the regulations of your home state.
NOTE: As full-time RVers, your home state is the one that issues your driver’s license and where you register your vehicles. Check your state’s homeschooling laws here. And remember – the term “roadschooling” was created to express the concept of homeschooling on the road.
When you contact your home state’s Department of Education or your local public school system for information, be sure to use the term “homeschool” rather than “roadschool”. Local administrators may not be familiar with the term “roadschooling”… so it’s probably best to stick with their preferred terminology.
If I Roadschool My Kids, Can I Create My Own Curriculum?
Yes, as long as your curriculum falls within the parameters of your home state’s regulations.
In fact, it’s actually legal to “unschool” your kids. This is a term that’s used to indicate that you’ve chosen to allow your child’s interests to guide what they do during the school day (sometimes called “self-directed learning” or “self-guided learning”). “Unschooling” is also legal in all 50 states because it’s a form of homeschooling.
Again, your state’s Department of Education regulates what your child is expected to be learning. For example, as a homeschooler (or “unschool-er”), you may be required to see that your child learns the appropriate level of English/Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, and Health. Depending on their grade level, they may also have to take a foreign language, Computer Science, and Library Sciences.
But HOW your children learn the required subject matter may or may not be of consequence in your home state. Contact your state’s Department of Education IN ADVANCE to confirm your intent, your curriculum (or lack thereof), and how you intend to prove that your child has learned the required subject matter at the end of each school year.
Some states have very strict requirements for homeschooling or roadschooling, while others are less stringent. Either way, you want your children to learn at an appropriate level that allows them to be sufficiently prepared for high school, college (if they plan to go), and employment.
What Is the Greatest Advantage of Roadschooling?
Well, a better question might be, “What are the advantages of homeschooling?”, because one of those advantages is the ability to do it from the road!
If you decide to homeschool your children (either long-term or short-term), you’ll be opening up the opportunity to hit the road with your kids without having to restrict your travel to the periods of school vacation.
And there are SO MANY amazing learning experiences inherent in travel. Think of roadschooling as the field trip of all field trips! Children have natural curiosities that make them the perfect candidates to learn from their real-world experiences.
Imagine taking your kids to national parks to learn everything from Science to Social Studies, Animal, Marine, and Life Sciences, History, Astronomy, Physical Education, and even Native American Studies. They could even be junior rangers at the park!
There are museums, art galleries, and concerts. Plus books, books, and more books! And since it’s important for kids to learn how to write well, have them write about their travel experiences! It’s a great way to motivate their creative writing.
The “curriculum” opportunities for roadschoolers are truly endless. Perhaps the greatest advantage of roadschooling is the ability to educate your children with the world as their classroom.
What Is the Greatest Disadvantage of Roadschooling?
Generally, it’s said that a lack of social interaction is the greatest disadvantage of many homeschooling or roadschooling plans. But in fact, there’s no dearth of social interaction when you’re roadschooling. Kids meet other kids on the road… as well as adults, elders, and people from all over the world.
And when do kids do most of their socializing at school, anyway? A 15-minute recess? A 20-minute lunch? Afterschool sports?
Perhaps if your kids would prefer to play team sports full time, roadschooling would keep them from doing that. But that doesn’t mean they’ll never have the experience. It just means that they won’t play team sports during the years or months you spend on the road.
There are also a lot of online resources available for helping you to connect with other families who are roadschooling. For instance, joining a group like Fulltime Families can provide access to a lot of resources for connecting with other families (and kids) while on the road!
Another perceived disadvantage of roadschooling is that it can be stressful to be both parent and teacher. It’s a tremendous responsibility to make sure your kids are getting the education they need at the various stages of their development, while also being a parent (and, occasionally, a disciplinarian). There’s a reason why we pay professional, certified teachers to educate kids!
Creating a Roadschooling Plan: How to Get Started
There are many ways to go about creating a roadschooling plan for your kids. Once you’ve identified all the regulations required by your state’s DOE (and with your local school system), you have a variety of options.
Purchase a Curriculum
You can purchase any one of a multitude of curriculums that are available for each grade level (check out reviews here). For example, RV Life actually has a masterclass called “Ready to Roadschool”. This course will walk you through preparing to teach your kids on the road, including information about the homeschooling laws in each state.
It will also introduce you to how to develop a unique roadschooling style for your kids, and will show you various options for homeschool curricula.
Develop Your Own Curriculum
Depending on your DOE’s guidance, you can develop your own curriculum for your children. This could include incorporating various resources and formats of learning for different elements.
For example, you might use Khan Academy’s online curricula and course materials for part of the curriculum. Khan Academy is a fabulous way for kids to learn the basics of everything (at all levels!) including Math, Science, Economics, Language Arts, History, and much more.
You could also use a program like Duolingo for learning a language. Or perhaps you’ll find a course on YouTube to teach your child to play the guitar.
In this way, you can piece together your own curriculum, ensuring that all state requirements will be met.
Use an Online School
There are online schools that meet the educational requirements of most or all states. If you’re certain to be able to provide a reliable internet connection as you travel, this is another option.
This might be the most difficult choice, however, because you’ll be forced to stick to a schedule. Your kids would literally be “going to school” online for hours every day. Which kind of defeats the purpose of roadschooling. ????
How Do I Demonstrate My Child’s Grade Proficiency at the End of the Year?
This, again, must be done in conjunction with the requirements and regulations of your home state’s Department of Education. Some states require that a certified teacher looks over your child’s work to verify that the appropriate information has been studied and that work related to all subjects has been completed.
Other states allow standardized testing at the conclusion of the school year to suffice as proof that your child has the appropriate level of knowledge in the most essential subjects. You can find standardized tests available from organizations such as Seton Testing. You’ll simply purchase the appropriate standardized test for your children, they’ll complete the tests (written or online), and Seton will grade them and return the results to you. You can, in turn, provide the test results to your state’s DOE.
The most important thing to remember is that your homeschooling/roadschooling curriculum (or lack thereof) AND proof of learning must be approved by your state’s DOE.
Do You Have Experience Roadschooling Kids?
If you have experience as a roadschooling family, we’d love to hear about it. Please drop us a comment and let us know the good, the bad, the ugly, and the awesome!
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