Homeschooling in an RV
100 Days of Camping Day #19
Time for another F.A.Q. How do you homeschool?
Before I answer that, I want to preface everything with saying that homeschooling will look different for every family. Budgets vary, family size will vary, room in the RV will vary, and a whole slew of other things. In our case, we have always homeschooled, beginning at infancy, and we have collected materials over the years. We didn't transition to homeschooling when we moved into the RV like many, since it's harder to do public school when you are traveling full-time. In our case, it was a matter of choosing our very favorite learning materials and putting the rest in storage or giving them away. We have oh-so-many books in storage, and I really miss having a working library.
The other thing I realized when I lined all of the materials up is that many of these materials are on the higher end $$. That's why they are our favorites, I guess! These are materials we purchased when we had a little more money and all of my online earnings went straight into learning materials. I don't really miss those days since we are having a grand adventure of a different type now, but it is what it is. I am very grateful to have these learning supplies for our kids since I would not be able to buy them again at this time. So, what made the cut? Here's the tour.
Screen time: I have absolutely no reservations in giving our kids screen time. While I do moderate un-educational and edutainment time, some of our greatest progress has been in direct proportion to the high quality screen time the kids have had. Our favorites are starfall, BrillKids programs (Little Reader, Little Musician, and sometimes Little Math, as well as the Country Program), Prodigy and Big Brainz for math, PBS kids, Salsa, and Hoodamath.
But the screen-time doesn't stop there! We love our DVDs too. Our collection includes Rusty and Rosy, The Magic School Bus series, Baby Signing Time and a few Signing Time, Preschool Prep Meet the Sight Words, Your Baby/Child Can Read (the name has now changed to Your Baby Can Learn), Your Baby/Child Can Discover, most of the MonkiSee Collection, TweedleWink and Wink, Liberty's Kids, Kid Start Spanish, various DVDs from Rock n Learn, Mathtacular, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego, School House Rock, Alphabet Beats, Home Art Studio, Sparkabilities, Word World, Peter Weatherall, Piano Wizard, and various DVDs from the LDS church.
Let's see, what else. I print a lot more than I ever did in a stick-and-bricks home because I don't have as many books at my disposal. When I want the kids to learn something, I can print out materials, use them, and throw them away. Quite handy. We have basic craft supplies, math manipulatives, writing materials. For math we are formally going through Mathantics, but we play a lot with other materials. We are math nerds. On the other hand, as much as my kids love to read, we haven't read as much since we moved into an RV on account of simply having fewer books around. I need to be more aggressive about providing the kids with new books. I would love to get each kid their own kindle eventually. That seems to work well for other roadschooling families. There are a few other items in the pictures, and other items that are floating around the house I'm sure.
One thing I love about living in an RV is that we do much more school outside of the home than we did before. We have been to more local attractions, hiked more, looked at wildlife, and visited with neighbors more, and I love that. I'm not an unschooler by any means, but I have found myself giving in to child-led learning more and more as I see how much the kids are learning and how little they fight it when it is on their terms. Traveling has given them a lot of opportunities they wouldn't have had otherwise. I am so glad that we discovered early learning and given them a headstart on reading. Because they can read so well, they get more out of museum displays, more out of information packets, and they can gravitate to subjects that appeal to them on their own time. I do wish to give them a classical education, but we haven't really gotten into our new groove yet and most of our schooling has been on the fly, whatever we feel like doing that day. We need more structure and we need more books, but the kids have soared in music, math, and geography (of all things) since we started this life, and I have no regrets.