Bringing home schooling to life

I often get asked about home schooling. So far, we have been lucky enough to avoid this often challenging part of being on the road. On our 2016-17 four month SA/Tassie trip, our kids missed one school term and we were tasked with providing ad-hoc education activities while they had an extended leave of absence.

While we've avoided formal home schooling, 'on-the-go' education definitely reared its ugly head, and we discovered that it can be a tricky little beast.We used whatever was available to make it easier, and less like sit-down schooling. Here's what we discovered.

Getting hands-on with locals.

One way we complemented their set school tasks was to take advantage of local tourism set-ups.

Often small town information centres and museums have excellent, interactive displays which bring otherwise boring topics to life. The staff or volunteers are usually enthusiastic and knowledgeable and happy to share their personal experiences with visiting kids. And because you are there, at the source of it all, the education has real relevance.

Just like one big home school excursion.

It’s ‘on-the-spot’ education, and the kids were spoiled for choice.

The great spin-off is that you are also doing your bit for local tourism, by making a donation or buying an entrance ticket, or buying some local products that have a story behind them.

Not to mention…it’s all food for thought for that day’s journal entry!

Make use of the 'school-of-the-car'.

Big road-trips involve at least portion of every day or so in the car. Of course you can use this time to encourage set school activities, but it can get tedious, especially since it is somewhat difficult to help from the front seat.

Create a classroom.

You can pick up small personal whiteboards from cheap shops or Big W, and they are your car classroom starting point. We picked ours up at Daiso for a few dollars, and they have been a dream.

The kids can use them for lots of different exercises, and then hand them to the front for ‘marking’. They provide a great way to do ‘working’ for more complex maths’ problems, and are especially good for spelling bees.

Make it fun with different coloured markers.

When not being used for ‘official’ school work, the kids also had fun drawing and scribbling their own ideas or games, like hangman.

Whiteboards are relatively low mess, and save on storing stacks of scrap paper in the car. They are also rigid enough so the kids don’t need something to lean on.

As a bonus, they can help with your admin tasks too!

Disguised as homework, we also ended up giving the kids some extra admin tasks to keep them busy on the road. Their whiteboards were the key to them taking up the challenge.

For example, I’d give the kids a series of numbers to add or subtract, and give them a reward if they got it correct. These numbers were actually the distance markers on the HEMA maps, to work our out how far we would travel, or to compare routes. So the sums were actually helping us!

Using a calculator, and Kumar used to get them to calculate fuel efficiency too!

Use whatever is around to help get home schooling done.

These are just a couple of examples, but I am certain you'll find more as you move along your own trip around Oz journey. Home-schooling is the thing that seems to drive people off the road, so find ways to keep it interesting and less of a chore...so you can stay on the road for longer!