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Our Home-Education Journey: When The World Is Your Classroom

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An educated person is not someone who knows something, but someone who can explain what they know to others. Americans used to expect that the core knowledge they learned from their parents was to be passed on to the next generation. – Leigh Bortons, The Core

Hi there!

I wanted to write just a bit about our home-education journey. It’s something I don’t write on often for several reasons. But when people ask (and we’ve had many email or message ask us lately) I sure don’t mind sharing our experiences!

For starters, this is our 5th year home-schooling and our children are in grades 6 and 4. So needless to say, I sure don’t know everything there is to know or even come close to having it all figured out. But I can say that with every passing year, we are learning to find our own personal rhythm and it just feels more and more natural.

To be completely honest, there are a few reasons I don’t write on this topic often because,

  1. I never want to come across and one of “those” moms. You know the kind. The “homeschooling is the only way and if you’re doing anything different, you’re a bad mom and your children are going to grow up dumb” kind of mom. WRONG.
  2. Because homeschooling really isn’t the only way. I know this well…
  3. …in fact, some families just shouldn’t do it. Period. No really, I mean it! I don’t believe homeschooling is the best fit for every family and suggesting that it is, just sets families up for frustration and failure from the get go.
  4. There is more than one way to homeschool. This fact alone makes me reluctant to share our journey. Just because we do it one way, doesn’t mean that it should ever be another family’s way. And it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the way we will do it in the future.

Nonetheless, for a little on our family philosophy on home-education and an up close snapshot of what school at home looks like for us, we’d love to share our journey; what it is, what it is not, and the details of what we do. 

First, I’ll start with…

What homeschooling ISN’T: (at least for us)

  • Curriculum. I mean, curriculum is most certainly a part of it. But curriculum and book-work isn’t even close to the whole of home-education.
  • It is NOT a reproduced, mini-version of traditional school.
  • It’s not subject tests, grades, and report cards.
  • It’s not dictated to us by programs, state or federal guidelines, curriculums, ect.

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What homeschooling IS!:

  • A healthy mixture of curriculum learning and real world/life experience!
  • Establishing and filtering all subject learning through our faith based world-view, with God at the center of every single thing we study…even science!

Whew! Sometimes I forget how many places we’ve been and experiences we’ve had until I look back at the hundreds of pictures of our journey!

When it comes to education, I am learning to find the balance between curriculum learning, which is important, and real world experience learning, which is far more important.

On some days we spend long days, sitting at actual desks (or tables or couches) learning with books and (gasp!) actually using pencils.

Other days we head out to touch, see, and feel the things we learn about in books, or packing up our school work books and heading to a favorite spot to change up the scenery a bit so that our learning environment doesn’t get stale and boring.

  • Homeschooling is finding the ways your children learn best, not the way a state or any other well-meaning mom says a child should learn.
  • REAL life experience
  • Learning character and life-skills
  • Character training
  • Community

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” – Aristotle

Because some have asked, here is the more technical break down of what we’re doing now for school. I say now, but it is subject to change at any point it’s no longer the best fit.

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What WE do:

That about covers the core subjects!

We also register as a school with our state and have our children tested with the Stanford Achievement Test (or equivalent) by a certified tester at the end of every school year.

As you can tell, we take our education pretty dang seriously, as we should, but we do our best to have fun while we’re learning! A good education opens the world up to us as we learn who we are, why we are here, what we believe, what is true about the world around us, and that true education is ALL of life, not just limited to seven hours a day in a school room.

The whole world is our class room and at least for the time being, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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So, in a very condensed nut-shell, this is our family philosophy and method on home-education.

We sure don’t pretend to believe it should be everyone else’s. But at present it is just working for us, and if it ever stops working, we will evaluate what needs to change.

We hope that sharing our education journey helps other families who might be considering home-education and paints a well-rounded, general picture of what it can look like and how it most definitely works!

For the sole, true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is spent in vain. – Dorothy Sayers 

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Please feel free to comment below or email us with questions as we’d be so happy to help!

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Top 10 Home/Roadschooling Tips

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So we just finished up the end of our second year of homeschooling, or should I say “road schooling”. The funny thing is, it doesn’t feel like we ever really “finish” school because a lifestyle of learning quickly became a way of life for our family when our littles were no longer done with school at 3:15 and dropped off back to me by the big yellow bus for a few short hours.

20140702-111631-40591002.jpgTheir testing scores are in and they are not only learning but excelling! And honestly, the me of two years ago when we first started would maybe be a little shocked that we’ve survived this long because in the beginning let’s just say, I had my doubts. But mostly I feel like one feels at the end of the craziest roller coast ride – you know the one you were terrified to even get on in the first place?  SURE you would die if you did, and then next thing you know you not only survived the upside down loops and stomach displacing drops – but oddly enough, you enjoyed them! You’ve long since forgotten the initial fear because all you can think about now is, “Oh. my gosh, we are doing it! We DID it! And we didn’t die!” Yeah, that’s sort of how the end of each homeschool year feels.

As challenging as taking your children’s education into your own hands can be, the thing is, no Nobel Peace Prize or Oscar for best supporting actress in the world could top the feeling of being the one to educate and grow tiny humans into healthy, thriving, successful, budding adults. 

So what would I say to myself just two short years ago when I first had this wild hair, ridiculous idea that I might could snatch my kids from the grip of American culture and choose to take them back and let their MOM & DAD be the major influences in their lives? Oh, I have much I wish the me back then had known. Maybe it would have eased my fears just a bit. So here’s my letter to her…the one who had lost her mind and never got it back again – and maybe even to you.

Dear New Homeschooler,

You really have NO idea what in the heck you’re doing. In fact, you’ve been getting looks like you have five heads and you’re even starting to wonder if your good common sense has fallen off and gotten lost somewhere amongst some crazy, insane day of motherhood. But no, you aren’t crazy and you aren’t weird.

The truth is, there is something deep within so many mothers that was birthed the day we gave birth to our own first tiny human – the desire to grow and nurture tiny lives. And the crazy thing is, that desire doesn’t just up and leave us the day our children turn five and are old enough to be sent away for eight hours (or more) of their day, five days a week, while someone else raises educates them – only to be returned to us long enough to make them a final meal and tuck them in so they can repeat the cycle all over again.

But for whatever reasons, out of necessity, lack of choice, information or confidence in ourselves that things could be different most moms learned well how to stomp out that feeling deep down in the pit of stomach that told us that there is something all wrong with sending our children away for 13 years to get ready to face the world as adults.  But for those of us are can and are willing to believe there is a better way than letting society raise our children, here’s a few things we desperately need to know.

1. It’s not exactly a legislative act of Congress to take your kids out of school and create a homeschool

For most of us, just the thought of beginning is the worst part. But once you’ve made the decision to homeschool the very first thing you need to do is this 3 step process.

  1. Create a name for your homeschool. Maybe it sounds cheesy but every school MUST have a name in order to register as an official school with your state.
  2. Register your school with your state. While it isn’t hard to get start a homeschool, every state has it’s own unique website and rules homeschoolers must abide by. Click here for NC. Or Google “How to register a homeschool in ___________” (insert your own state for those in other states)
  3. Print out proof of your new homeschool registration and take to current school in order to unenroll your students. By law, you cannot just unenroll your kids from their current school without official proof that they will be enrolled somewhere else.

Viola! It really is that easy……well at least the getting started part is.  😉

2. The thought of homeschooling is much more daunting than the task

Now don’t get me wrong. It is hard work, and dedication and even tears on some days. And you must have a “why” to get you through the hard days. But mostly it is one of the most exhilarating feelings to teach your own children, watch them learn and grow right in front of your eyes and to know that you will be able to look back one day when they are ready to leave home and think, “Wow, it went by all too fast. But, I didn’t miss a thing. I was there right beside them the whole time.” I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better why than that.

3. YOU ARE CAPABLE of educating your kids!

While I do know that homeschooling isn’t for every one, anyone with enough resolve about why they want to do it, can do it. And no, you don’t have two college degrees with one being a masters in education, the patience of Mother Theresa and a magazine worthy homeschool room to give your kids a thriving, first rate education. You do need a decent amount of common sense, a healthy dose of commitment and a heart overflowing with love for your students. The thing is, no one on earth loves your littles like you do, therefore no one on earth is more qualified to teach them than you. So stop listening to the naysayers, questioning and doubting yourself and know that you are more than capable!

20140702-111631-40591861.jpg4. You DO NOT need to throw loads of money into those “boxed curriculums” and then finish every single page of the thirty-five workbooks that each grade level tends to consist of.

While buying one of those expensive, pre-packaged, grade level boxed curriculums might be the way to go for some – it usually only seems like the way to go for most. That is because all the prep work is done for you so it makes you feel like you won’t miss a thing. But let me just say, unless you plan on spending hours upon hours with their nose in the books and are okay with dealing with tears and a daily battle to get the to “do school”  – you DO NOT want to buy into the homeschool companies hype that you need their “one size fits all” curriculum packages to cover all the bases for a solid education for your kids. It’s just not usually the case.

5. You will not know what you’re doing your first year

…or your second. Oh heck, maybe you’ll never be an expert. But I guarantee you, unless you’re doing nothing, your kids will learn lots. Probably even more than they would in traditional school. So if you want to make it past your first year of homeschooling, go ahead and throw out needing to feel like you’ve got it all together. Because you won’t – like, ever.

6. Don’t compare yourself to or try to copy other homeschooling moms or you’ll crash and burn

In the beginning I had a friend who homeschooled. She had a room set up just like a school room, she bought the expensive boxed curriculum and spent hours verbally teaching her kids like a normal classroom teacher. When we would get together and I would listen to her talk about all she does, let me just say – I was ready to RUN, not walk my children back to public school because it was very apparent that I was a big fat failure as a homeschool mom. After all, she had it all together, and I did not. She was doing WAY more work than me which in my mind translated into “My kids will be dumb forever. will never make it through college and earn a decent living one day which means they will have to live with us or be homeless.” Little did I know I was seriously on dangerous ground for a homeschooling mom. Comparing or trying to copy another families teaching/learning style will spell death to your own. It is hands down one of the fastest ways to get discouraged, over-whelmed and give up. Just don’t do it.

7. Build your own education/teaching philosophy. 

Knowledge truly is power. In my opinion, the main reason so many homeschooling moms crash and burn is because they never invested the necessary time (reading, researching options) to gain enough information about their children’s different learning styles and ways to teach them which would shape their own personal philosophy about education. You can’t piggy back on someone else in this area. It won’t work for the same reason successfully educating a classroom of 28 students will never really work. I had just two children and don’t use the same curriculum or teaching style for either because if I did, they would HATE learning and therefore, they wouldn’t learn. (I will include links in my next homeschool post to books/websites, ect. to help guide your decision to build your own education philosophy.)

8. Develop your own love of learning and self-teaching 

If you yourself don’t love to learn, then it isn’t likely you’ll be a great teacher for your own little students. After all, the best teachers aren’t necessarily the ones who stand in front of us and dump information down our throats, telling us what to learn, they are the ones who demonstrate how to learn. I know I don’t always tell my kids all that they need to know, but I am always making sure to strew their paths with every tool and opportunity to discover it for themselves.  My son doesn’t know that the book he found on the coach about the planets, or the new Presidents game I laid out on the table was meant for learning.

9. Spend the first year (or two) getting to know your children’s unique learning styles. 

Right off the bat this takes the pressure off of having to have everything figured out from the beginning. Maybe you are more in tune with your children than I was the day I yanked them out of public school and scooped them back up into my arms. But honestly, I didn’t even know much about what they had already learned in school….much less what their learning styles were. So we spent most of the first year getting “reacquainted” with each other again.

It is was in that first year that I learned that my 9 year old daughter is more of a traditional learner. Meaning, I can explain any new concepts she doesn’t understand from the directions, then she prefers to sit alone and do her workbook oriented lessons independently. She is a visual, independent learner. For my 7 year old son however, when I tried to teach him the same way, I would set a small stack of worksheets for the day in front of him only to watch him slide right out of his chair onto the floor like he was literally having a meltdown. I learned very quickly that he doesn’t learn that way. And unless I wanted to spend our school days with lots of tears, begging him to do his work, I better learn to teach how he learns real quick like. Little did I know, he is a kinesthetic/visual learner. So he needs me a bit more than she does.

This point also reinforces the idea that feeling the need to be concrete about curriculum choices in the first few years is a dreamy idea, but it isn’t likely it’ll work. At the end of, sometimes smack dab in the middle of a school year we re-evaluate what did and didn’t work for each child, throw out what didn’t, keep what did. Even with that and I’m constantly adding and trying new things. That’s just the process of how you create a curriculum that fits each child best! It’s a lot like putting pieces of a puzzle together, and that’s just part of the fun!

10. Don’t separate “school” and learning from every day life.

I could have read this statement in a book in the very beginning and it wouldn’t have meant as much to me as it does now. But the problem with “traditional school” is that the kids go to school for a set amount of hours per day and then all of sudden learning is over and it’s back to normal life. I believe this creates an image of school that is a huge detriment to a life long love of learning. But when you homeschool you discover that most of your time together is spent learning, whether you are doing actual workbook learning with a pencil or taking trips to the library, nature or science museums. Many many days we toss out the school books and just go to the library and read books on things the kids are interested in. Or we do science all day and end it with a fun experiment (usually something gooey) In this way it doesn’t feel like school but they are learning, and probably much more than any worksheet could ever teach.

This creates a love for learning that will last them well beyond SAT tests and graduation day. And after all, that’s what we are really going for in the first place.

Click here to check out a very helpful “Homeschool Q&A” I did a few months ago. Also, here are just a few of my favorite homeschooling resources to get you started! I will post lots more homeschool helps for you to come!

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How To Travel Often With Children & Navigate New Cities

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Since I last posted a personal type post we have packed up and left Front Royal, Virginia and headed to Charlotte, NC! Pictured below is what we left and we arrived at!

To put it in perspective, this makes our 4th move & new state in a nine months of being on the road which gives us an average so far of a little over two months at each new place.

If you read my past post entitled, “How we Make A Living On The Road” you not only know HOW we make a living while traveling, but it’s also important to note that my husband’s work is one of the major reasons we decided to hit the road together in the first place.

And with that being said, we do get asked two particular questions pretty often that I’d love to address for anyone who might be wondering the same! Here they are:

  1. What is it like to move around so often?

One word, GPS. I literally don’t know how we would live without our trusty GPS systems. We each have one that sticks on the windshield of each vehicle as well as on our iphones. For about the first month or so we use them to go almost anywhere, and then just about the time we start to learn where everything is enough to not need them anymore,

WE MOVE AGAIN!

Our most favorite “new city apps” for smartphones –

  • Around Me
  • Google Maps
  • Gas Buddy
  • Urban Spoon
  • Any local city apps
  • Parkmobile
  • Starbucks
  • (please comment below any apps you’ve found that you would add to our list!)

Traveling and moving around often does have it’s pros and cons just as everything in life does. First off, when we signed up for this lifestyle, we also re-adjusted our mindset to know that this is just the way it would be! And although no one place is “home” and yet in another sense, no matter where we are in the world, we are always home because we are together and our house just goes where we go!

Personally, I am truly enjoying the new way of life for so many reasons. But being a girl who had barely ever left her home town just under a year ago, this has already been a pretty freeing and amazing journey in many ways.

   2. Do you, and if so, HOW do you establish a local routine with the kids not knowing how long you’ll be in one place?

This is a really, really great question. And honestly, before we started doing this it’s something that I would have literally have had NO idea how to answer.

Now, keeping in mind that we are a family of four who homeschool, we do establish some sort of local routine and we also have our own unique set of priorities upon arriving in a new area, as every person/family will have their own based on their life/family situation.

Here is our top ten local must finds!

  1. Starbucks (yes, this is literally one of the first things I look for! 😉
  2. Campground/RV Park (I’ll be writing a post on “How To Find A Campground” next week.)
  3. Decent grocery Stores
  4. Laundry Mat
  5. Library
  6. Nearby local attractions (which we always try to take advantage of)
  7. Parks/Nature trails
  8. Fitness Center or YMCA
  9. Farmer’s Markets
  10. Music teachers/Homeschool groups/ Sports leagues

Even though we don’t always know how long we’ll be in any given area (sometimes we do have a general idea) we have found that it is still extremely important for the momentum of our family to toss over-analyzing to the wind and just go ahead and dive into whatever local activities, sports and groups we would be interested in if we were in a permanent city living a more “regular” kind of life!

Especially with having kids it is important to us and them that we not forgo the opportunities to experience outside extra-curriculars even though we are a mobile family.

We do try and stay away from signing up for anything with yearly contracts unless of course we know for sure we’d be in an area for that long. However, we have found that most fitness centers, ect. are happy to work with us when we explain our situation!

  •  Joining local groups

can be extremely helpful to a family with children. Even if there is a small yearly membership fee such as is the case with some homeschool groups, because it gives us access to their email groups – which is how we get to know people and find out about meetups, co-ops and many local events that would be of interest to our family.

Sure, there are days that I miss the stability of “life in one place.” as it does make some things easier and more predictable. But would I trade this adventure and this season in for what we had before? Not even a chance.

Everyone’s journey is different! And your journey is what you make it.

We’ve chosen to make ours an adventure that we will look back on one day and say, “You know what? Those were some of the BEST days of our lives!” They will surely be the most memorable of all.

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January Light Life Adventures!

Well, we’ve been in northern VA for just about a month now. While it was super strange to go from Florida weather to “the frozen tundra” we are in now, we have been making the very best of the change. Being from a beach town on the coast of NC, our little family isn’t used to 9 degree temps and snow, and so we are enjoying the new experience of it all.

After all, that’s a huge part of what makes life on the road the fun and unique it is – experiencing different places, climates and ways of life!

I thought it would be fun to give you a small picture recap of our January.

Cold! Lots of fun snow days with daddy and cozy nights in, cooking dinner together, school days at the coffee shop, library trips, exercise classes, a family project of sewing our first quilt together, trip to explore underground Caverns (not pictured) first metro ride, Washington, DC trip, Olivia began guitar lessons and turned 9!

all images in order of actual events

Whew! What a month! But it has been wonderful. We’ve weathered the absolute coldest it should get here and no frozen water pipes! So thumbs up for that. Honestly, it was hands down the best month since we hit the road five months ago. Can hardly believe it’s almost been half a year on the road!

The homesickness of leaving our old home is beginning to subside and we are truly settling into our new life. We are careful to ask the kids frequently how they are feeling about life on the road and they both say they miss a few friends and family back home as is to be expected, but they wouldn’t trade life on the road for our old one.

Their number one reason as of yesterday: “We get to spend A LOT more time with you and daddy and we get to do a lot of things.”

I wouldn’t trade this time in our lives and these experiences for a million houses on a hill.

Be courageous, live fully, travel light.

p.s. If you enjoy this website, please connect with us via The Light Life Blog Facebook page stop by and say hi!                                                                       Also, we have a private group for the sole purpose of “connecting” individuals and families together who travel. Here you are free to share your own adventures, tips, questions, blogs, ect. with everyone! Click here.

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Roadschooling Q&A

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I have to be honest and admit that I find it a bit hilarious that I’m writing a post on roadschooling after the past few days we’ve had in our own schooling endeavors after getting started back from a month long Christmas break. It has been, shall we say, a bit turbulent getting back going again….like as in, I actually texted my husband that I was quitting today. Haha!

While it is totally true that it isn’t all fun and games and lovely, smooth days of peaceful learning. There are also so many other days past and many more sure to come that prove to remind us why we roadschool, why we are grateful for the opportunity and why it is a beautiful and fun way to get an education! ….But I’m pretty sure it’s okay that every day just isn’t that day.

We are in our second year of homeschooling (3rd & 1st grades) and our first year of roadschooling, living full time in our RV. So needless to say, we are far from having things figured out and are always changing things around, getting rid of what doesn’t work and holding on to what does!

I thought maybe it would be helpful to put a post together of a few frequently asked questions we’ve been getting in our inbox from others living on the road, or with hopes of getting on the road and road schooling one day soon.

So here goes!

Q: What method/teaching approach do you use?

A: It would be completely fair to say that I don’t adhere to any one approach straightforwardly. I’m not a very rigid or scheduled person, or even a great rule follower myself. So it stands to reason that I don’t and can’t teach that way. I would say that we are a mix of traditional, Charlotte Mason & student interest lead in our homeschooling style.

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Q: What curriculum do you use?

A: We have chosen not to use a full “boxed set” curriculum. Although I’ve found that I do need a certain amount of structure, I don’t want or need to be “boxed in” to a set way of learning and doing things. That was just one of the many reasons we pulled out of traditional education. So our goal is not to replicate a classroom with intense seat work/chair time at home.

Below I’ve pulled together sort of a hodgepodge collection of subjects from publishers I like for a particular subject.        For example: I love Abeka & Bob Jones math because of how they teach subject matter and the kids learn well from them (sometimes I use them together & double up on Math because they teach two different approaches to learning math) But I do not care for their History, Science, Ect. so it stands to reason that it wouldn’t make sense for me to simply order each full grade level material in any one curriculum.

Here’s a grade by grade breakdown of the more traditional approach to the core subjects & curriculum publisher we currently use for each:

MATH

Gr. 3 – Abeka / Gr. 1 – Abeka

ENGLISH

Gr. 3 –Bob Jones

READING

Gr. 3 – Bob Jones / Gr. 1- Abeka

LANGUAGE

 Gr. 1 – Abeka

SPELLING

Gr. 3 – spellingcity.com / Gr. 1 – Abeka & spellingcity.com

SCIENCE

Both grades – Apologia Science (Creation based)

*We do Science & History together. For History we do not use a set curriculum but instead choose a time period & person to study in detail for a while before moving on.

*I also use a curriculum book from Flashkids for some supplementary work for each grade of the core subjects as needed. It can be purchased at Barnes & Noble for just $19.99

LIVING BOOKS

No matter what state/city we find ourselves in, we always make frequent library trips. (Just show the library your RV park lot fee receipt for proof of residency for a library card) Some days we just scrap all the seat work curriculum and lay around reading real, living books.  I don’t anything can ever replace the wealth of information and education to be found in simply reading a book. Life on the road lends itself to lots of extra time to visit the library and to learn the love of reading!

20140114-202732.jpgTime4learning.com has been an invaluable learning tool for our boy 1st grader. It’s internet based so it goes with us wherever we are! He does not love seat work and loves to be on the computer, so it works beautifully to supplement when he needs a breather from his seat work or to help him understand a concept he’s having a hard time grasping. It’s free for 14 days (no catches) and then $19.99 a month thereafter and worth every single penny!

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For our 1st grader we try to limit the amount of seat work/chair time he has each day. Especially since he is a kinesthetic/tactile learner and has trouble sitting still in one spot for more than 2 minutes. We take advantage of many other avenues to learn such as technology, laptop, iPad, games, manipulatives & dice games (for math) libraries, museums & documentaries.

20140114-202758.jpgHere is a list of some of our favorite educational apps. & websites we LOVE to use on a weekly basis. Many are free, only a few aren’t.

IPAD APPS

  • Math Blaster
  • Math Board
  • Math Fact
  • Marble Mat
  • Jetpack
  • Spelling BEE
  • Spelling City
  • Capitals
  • Stack The States
  • US Presidents
  • Brain Fit
  • Google Earth
  • Whiteboard

BEST EDUCATIONAL WEBSITES

Q: How do you know what state homeschool laws to abide by?

A: When you are on the road, as long as you have a permanent address somewhere in the US, you continue to remain and be considered a resident of that state. So you follow your home state’s laws. You do not re-register your school in every state you reside in while on the road, nor are you required to follow their homeschool laws. So for us, no matter what state we are in, we continue to know and abide by the North Carolina state laws since that is where our homeschool is registered. Just KNOW and abide by the laws in the home state you are a current registered resident of and you will be fine.

Q: How do you deal with cabin fever and doing school every day together in such a small space?

A: Well, simply put, we don’t! We like and need to mix things up. So as I mentioned earlier, frequent library trips, local museums or landmarks, extra-curricular appointments and one of our most favorite places to spend a good day of school…. Starbucks…or a local coffee shop if the stars aren’t aligned and there is no Starbucks nearby.

starbucks, homeschooling, school, education, coffee, kids, family

Roadschooling has it’s ups and downs just like anything else. We have our rough patches and hard days that aren’t so picturesque shall we say. But we sure can’t think of a better or more diverse way to get our education in.

We aren’t sure how long the road we are on will lead us in this direction, but no matter where or when we land again, I am sure that we will all look back on this time as the adventure we are so very grateful we were brave enough to take!

Happy travels from our family to yours!

Own less, live fully, travel light. 

*Please feel free to comment any questions or additions you might have below in the comment section!

 

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From Homeschooling To Roadschooling

20130905-194728.jpgSo, we gave ourselves a week to get settled and enjoy some down time together before starting “roadschool” the day after Labor Day! This is our second year homeschooling and I’ll have to say, our first day of school looked a bit different than it did last year! Last year we had a decked out, dream school room. And this year…well, we live in almost the same amount of space of our school room last year!

20130905-194746.jpgOur school days have a much different feel this year. Not less, just different!

The living room area of our RV has has a long sectional type couch with two separate tables the kids sit at for school. To be honest, it works out nicely because the kids each have their own space and there is plenty of room for me to sit between them without feeling all crammed.

Even though my goal is to teach them to be independent learners, they are in 3rd and 1st grades this year and so for now, they need me to be right there with them to teach and help most of the school day.

We are still tweaking our school day routine, but for the most part we are loving the laid back pace of our school mornings. This year we do not have to rush as mommy doesn’t have to leave for work afternoon as before. That alone has been so freeing for us as an entire family.

Non-rushed school days, family dinner every night and laid back evenings together are something we’d never known until now!

20130905-194804.jpgOur typical school day takes around four or five hours to complete, but on some days (like today) we do school late into the afternoon. Not because it’s planned or because we have to, but just because the kids are just enjoying it! That is a luxury we did not have last year and an element that certainly makes homeschooling feel a bit more like it should.

I’m not a very scheduled type of person so for the most part I don’t schedule our days too much except that I know what we need to cover and accomplish each day, and we just work until we get it done….or mostly complete!

The weather in the mountains is perfection right now and so art (and anything else we can find to do outside) is done outside. What more perfect setting for art anyways? Art is one the kid’s favorite part of their school day so we will be doing it just about every day.

20130905-194825.jpg“Mom! I didn’t even KNOW I could paint this good!” were Jackson’s words as he proudly held up his painting of the big red barn he had read about in one of his reading books earlier that day. He specifically asked me to take a picture of him with his painting…. maybe he was secretly hoping it would make it onto the blog. 😉

He was so proud, and so am I!

20130905-194836.jpgThis year, homeschooling or maybe more appropriately, “roadschooling” feels a bit more as I had initially wanted it to feel. Free from the schedules and distractions of city life (and mommy working.) One of the many reasons we chose to take them out of school in the first place was to change the way and environment in which they learned….this lighter life certainly lends itself to that.

We are excited to discover all of the many ways we will get to take our learning far beyond just the books this year, out into the world that is all around us!

We may have given up a few material items, comforts and luxuries, but this is just one of the many treasures of time we have gained.

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