As recently as a couple years ago, we NEVER imagined we’d be a homeschooling family, and we didn’t even know what ROADschooling was. We’ve had to do a lot of learning this year about how to teach our kids while we’re on the road, and we’re still changing things up and evolving. I think we always will be.
We’ve settled into a great routine that seems to be working well for us for now, though, and I know a lot of you are hungry for more details about how we handle roadschooling, so I’m partnering with Ask, Listen, Learn, a program of Responsibility.org, to share all the details with you.
When we first jumped into homeschooling, before we were on the road, we tried to put our own curriculum together. We pulled together online resources, podcasts, and workbooks, and we created these homeschooling BINGO sheets for the kids to use each day. It was fine for a few months when we were transitioning, but we decided we needed more structure and less pressure on ourselves to create weekly lessons once we hit the road.
Shortly after we launched, we started using Acellus Homeschool (the name recently changed to Power Homeschool) for both Kendall and Leyna. It was only $10/month/kid up until very recently. We just received an email that it will now be $25/month/kid, and while that’s a significant increase, it’s still a good value to us because it truly took a huge burden off our shoulders when it came to coordinating and planning the kids core lessons.
Acellus gave us a base to work from. We knew the kids were learning and being tested on math, social studies, language arts, and science. They progressed through each subject, and earned certificates of completion for each, along with a certificate of completion upon graduating the entire grade level. It was nice to have that so that we knew they were staying on track and they could see their hard work paying off in a tangible way.
Knowing that these core subjects were handled, we can reach out in a lot of fun and unconventional ways to fill in the rest, and one resource we’ve touched on, and that I am looking forward to digging into more this coming year is Ask, Listen, Learn. This is an underage drinking prevention program that is all about having conversations with your kids. And besides that, they also have videos made specifically for kids all about how alcohol affects their developing brains.
We’ve been talking to the kids about responsible alcohol use for years, and the easiest way to convey this message to them has been to come at it from a science angle. Adult brains are physically able to handle alcohol better, but overuse of alcohol can even damage adults. It’s that simple. These videos do a great job of breaking that down and illustrating it for them in a very direct and shame-free way that doubles as a neuroscience lesson! Plus they are short and sweet—only about 2 minutes each.
AskListenLearn.org has resources beyond these videos, too, for parents (homeschooling not required), kids (they have games!), AND teachers! There are lessons about peer pressure and healthy living, and also some great conversations starters for parents. Plus, it’s free, which is always a bonus!
If you’ve been following us for more than a day, you probably know we ALWAYS get the kids involved wth Junior Ranger programs at national (and some state) parks and monuments, and those have been a fantastic way to supplement their roadschool lessons. They usually consist of workbooks with activities that scale up in difficulty depending on their age. 90% of the time, they are HARD and take a few hours to complete, and the kids really have to observe their surroundings in intentional ways before earning those Jr. Ranger badges.
You’ve likely seen me mention how much we love listening to podcasts with the kids while we roadtrip. Our current favorites are: Circle Round, Wow In The World, and Brains On. Scott and I also enjoy How I Built This, which isn’t really a kids podcast, but I think it’s great for kids to at least overhear stories of entrepreneurship that include personal accounts of failure before success! It’s so important for our kids to know that failure is an important and valuable part of life.
Finally, we keep it old school and ask them to write journal entries a few times a week. Sometimes that can look like creative writing, sometimes we just ask that they describe what we did that day. We don’t stress over spelling or sentence structure too much. We really just want them to have a good relationship with writing down their thoughts and feelings and ideas, so we try to keep this enrichment activity low stress.
Beyond what I’ve already listed here, we are simply always on the lookout for learning opportunities. Sometimes it’s a spontaneous “let’s Google that” family session when someone asks a question that nobody knows the answer to. Sometimes it’s relying on a 10 year old to read a paper map and help you navigate when GPS isn’t working. One of the many beautiful facets of this lifestyle is you can’t help but learn something new every day.
Thanks to Ask, Listen, Learn for sponsoring this post. Be sure to check out their site for science-based digital resources to help you have powerful and effective conversations with children ages 9-12 about underage drinking.