Among the many benefits of homeschooling, flexibility is at the top of the list. Because homeschoolers are not tied to school calendars, we don't have to wait until school holidays in order to get some rest and relaxation. Homeschoolers are able to take vacations during the school year when rates are less expensive and locations are less crowded.
Because of this freedom, some homeschoolers travel more often than their public school counterparts. They may world school or road school or spend more time visiting family around the country. While many may opt to abandon homeschooling while on vacation, other homeschoolers may prefer to keep a routine in place. Here are some easy ways to homeschool while on vacation and still leave plenty of space for fun!
1. Plan Ahead
Before you leave on your trip, research your destination. Head to the library together and check out books about your destination's history, famous people, and attractions. Watch videos or movies filmed in the location. Make a list of everything you'd like to do on your vacation.
This vacation unit study can be as brief or as lengthy as you desire. Not only will they be learning as they help you plan the trip, your children will be building anticipation for the vacation. Did you know that research shows anticipating a vacation brings as much pleasure as the vacation itself?
Reading novels and poetry, watching films and television programs, browsing fashion and design blogs that are either from or about the place you plan to visit encourages you to not only learn about your destination, but to dream, providing some concrete details for your mind to latch on to. (Read more here.)
2. Do What You Love
Does your daughter love a certain homeschool activity? Is your son obsessed with a certain subject? Pack what they love and leave the rest behind. You need not fill your suitcases with workbooks and textbooks for your trip to be educational. Remember to focus on the fun. More learning will happen when you relax!
3. Use Audiobooks
If you plan to travel by car, audiobooks are a perfect opportunity for learning on virtually any topic: classics, poetry, biographies/memoirs, mythology, history, science, and more!
4. Enjoy Fantastic Read Alouds
So much learning can happen through reading aloud. Packing a chapter book and reading it before bedtime during your vacation is educational and you will be making memories in the process. If there is a particular subject that you have been neglecting in your homeschool, make up for it by selecting a fantastic read aloud on that topic!
5. Play Board Games
Board games offer an opportunity for play during down time in hotels or at rest areas on the road. There are a wealth of board games on the market today covering a variety of subjects. By playing a game together, families are able to connect and make memories while working on academic skills in a way that doesn't feel like school.
6. Explore Nature
Nature provides you with science at your fingertips. Head outside as a family and explore nature together wherever your vacation takes you. Pack your camera and hike together. Take an interest in the local plants that you don't typically see at home. There's no need to pack heavy field guides. Search for a few plant identification guides instead.
7. Take Field Trips
A new location means new field trips! Visit a local museum, art gallery, musical performance, or other attraction. Gather brochures, maps, and postcards for scrapbooking when you get home.
An easy way to work in writing and art is to keep a vacation journal. Take some time each day to write about the day's events. Older children can write about their day while younger children can draw a picture and dictate to parents. By saving these journals, your family will have wonderful keepsakes!
9. Practice Life-skills
Reading maps, planning outings, navigating public transportation, purchasing necessities, trying new cuisine, and even speaking another language are all wonderful learning opportunities when you are in an unknown place!
While on vacation together, take the time to relax and enjoy yourselves. Remember that you don't need textbooks and worksheets all the time in order for learning to occur. Learning happens all the time when you relax and let it!