The best definition I have been able to find of roadschooling as well as the one I have adopted for our families purposes comes from author and educator Nancy Sathre-Vogel.
This method of schooling is generally done by a parent, usually while traveling full-time, and provides a hands-on, personal experience for learning. 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. Depending on how long you plan to travel, it might be worth it to change your residence to a state with less regulations.
1. Is Roadschooling Effective?
I like to think the obvious answer to this question is yes for the mere fact that roadschooling allows a hands-on experience that gives the student opportunities to gain knowledge in practical and tangible ways. They are able to visit new locales and learn from them directly. Physiologically speaking roadschooling stimulates the use of dendrites in the brain. (feel free to read more about the science behind roadschooling and its stimulus of dendrites by reading this article.)
I have learned that it isn’t uncommon or unbelievable that a child who may be reading below a “standard level” for their age to pick up the skill more easily and even excel at it because the learning center of the brain is constantly being stimulated by all the new input brought about by exposure to sites and adventures. The reading skill comes from the innate desire to understand the environment the students finds themselves in.
2. How Does My Family Roadschool?
Just as the method of travel is different for each family so is the method of roadschooling. Some may have more structured times and use more structured curriculum including lesson plans, testing, etc. Others may arrange their travels around learning opportunities. For instance a family may choose to take part in a driving tour or walking tour of Battlefields and Historic Attractions of the Mid-Atlantic which starts in Colonial Williamsburg and stops at Washington D.C., Alexandria, VA, Gettysburg, PA, and ends in Mount Vernon, VA.
Some other families want to focus on cultures and customs so they may choose to travel abroad where food, art, culture, and language are the central themes.
The important thing to understand though is that the notion of learning is being developed through those experiences. The very notion of reading, writing, math, is not that important. However, learning must be incorporated in some facet. Unless specifically outlined the iPads, LeapPads, laptops, etc should be turned off and the experience should become an all-inclusive one.
A great way to make sure these experiences are all they can be academically is to find a sort of curriculum developed by the locale itself. For instance, if a student is showing interest in the Alamo and Texas history in general a family may choose to take a visit to that site. In order to keep it educational The Alamo has offered FREE a set of PDF printables under the heading Lesson Plans & Worksheets.
3. Is It Legal?
Legally speaking roadschooling falls under the same guidelines as homeschooling. There are state requirements that need to be fulfilled as well as some standardized testing that needs to be administered. Parents can register according to their state of residence to find out what prerequisites are necessary to meet for a particular region. You can find full information about your state at this link.
Is there a question about roadschooling that you have been wanting to ask? Feel free to leave a comment or email me and we’ll work to provide an appropriate and timely answer!