Let me start by saying that I have little experience with education. Okay, not totally true. I have little experience with non-traditional education. In 2003 I was awarded my Masters of Education in Curriculum Development from Regent University in Va. Beach, VA. Just before that I spent a little over a year as a 7th and 8th grade core curriculum teacher at a small, Christian academy. Before that I had done some substituting and even before that I served as a performing and find arts instructor at the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts. On paper, I know quite a bit about education. (the photo below is of a much younger, much heavier, and less bearded version of me addressing a classroom in my teaching days)
As I’ve gotten older though I have met people, read studies, watched programs, etc. that evaluate the difference between learning and being educated. It all seemed very esoteric though until I became a father in 2011. At that point I started wondering what kind of daughter I wanted to raise. Did I want a child who could recite the pages of a textbook verbatim without any real forensic thought or did I want to be part of a child’s life as they discover the world around them and learn through processing and experiencing? Couple that with our public school system in North Carolina and you are left with a rather simple decision in my mind. I wanted a child whose mind developed on a daily basis because of being an active part of the world around her.
For the first two years of her life we thought we would homeschool our daughter. But as we felt our calling was to be full-time nomads the emphasis shifted and we were introduced to roadschooling. Say what? What is roadschooling?
Quite simply put roadschooling is a method of schooling generally led by a parent, while traveling full-time, that provides a hands-on, personal experience for learning. Legalistically, roadschooling is subject to the same regulations that homeschool families face, and vary from state to state. Parents must register their children in their “home state” and must meet the regulations that their state requires.
Our families adventure works so well with learning. We believe that education doesn’t have to take place within the confines of four walls. In fact, Crystal and I feel that real learning can’t exist in four walls. Learning takes place around the clock, wherever you happen to be. Education is a lifestyle and an adventure (or at least it should be). Why open a book to page XXX to see a photo of the lunch counter where the NC A&T Four – Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, Jr. (later known as Jibreel Khazan), and David Richmond – sat in protest when you can go to The International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, and see the very seats from that Woolworth counter?
Our daughter sits down to learn about construction site trucks while wielding her own “digger” in prep to play outside.
The guiding philosophy is this. Roadschooling (born to us from the marriage of home schooling and unschooling) promotes the natural desire of children to learn what they need to know when they are ready and want to learn it. The defining factor is that we do it while on the road using our travels as the absolute foundation. This sort of learning flows through every other aspect of life and in roadschooling is experienced as a family. At the core of roadschooling is this principle: empowered children learn based on their interests and have an inherent thirst to learn more.
How Does It Look For Us?
It is important to note that roadschooling (as with homeschooling and unschooling) looks different for everyone. My daughter learns differently than other children. Your child learns differently from my child. So for us roadschooling (and especially because our daughter is only 3-years old) looks a lot like play. I say that not because she doesn’t learn or having learning time but because she seems to always be having fun. And that is the key! So yesterday looked like this:
- 8:45ish – 9:30ish – Wake up and eat some breakfast
- 9:30 – 10:30 – Movie Time (she can choose between Curious George, SuperWhy, Dora the Explorer, Sid the Science Kid, or Sesame Street for this time spot)
- 10:30 – 10:45 – Alphabet memory cards and review of numbers
- 10:45 – 11:00 – Warm bath and that game we call “stop running so we can help you get dressed”
- 11:00 – 12:30 – Outside play
- 12:30 – 1:15ish – Lunch
- 1:15ish – 2:45 – Nap Time
- 2:45ish – 3:00 – Snack
- 3:00 – 3:10 – Today we started learning to hold a pen/pencil and draw straight lines and circles (in prep for letters)
- 3:10 – 4:30 – Craft time
- 4:30 – 5:30 – Outside play
- 5:30ish – 6:00ish – Supper
- 6:00ish – 7:30ish – Family time
NOTE: The exact times (like movie time) are kept on schedule by using the kitchen timer. We do this because we want her “school time” to be exact and for her to learn that there is a time and place for undivided attention and focus. The ‘ish’ times are negotiable times that leave time for just life and living.
Our Current Resources
As of now we are not into curriculum or any heavy systems. Some of the resources we use are:
- PBS for Kids App – This is primarily what she watches during movie time or when she works towards extra screentime
- Little Pim App – Coupled with Little Pim Spanish this is an interest of our daughters for learning Spanish (“like Dora”)
- Sesame Street Flash Cards