Roadschooling: Laws & How To
What would it be like homeschooling while traveling the United States?
Imagine learning about colonial America by seeing it from a settler’s perspective. Instead of just reading facts and looking at pictures from a textbook, you could tour Colonial Williamsburg and see firsthand how the early settlers lived. Imagine learning biology by taking an adventure-filled hike through a national park and studying plant life you encounter rather than just looking at diagrams of plants.
For many road school families, this is a reality. They use the sights and attractions the road has to offer to teach their children.
Homeschooling on the Road
How does roadschooling work? Roadschooling is a growing trend in which families pack up their belongings and take their homeschooling on the road. Many families who embrace this lifestyle integrate what they are seeing and experiencing into their child’s homeschool curriculum.
Homeschoolers are able to use the landmarks and attractions they encounter as a means for educational enhancement and exploration. Students don’t just read about the Constitution, they can view the original document. They can spend a day focusing on bats and echolocation when they learn that the next day they will be traveling near a bat conservation exhibit. Even stopping for a pizza can turn into a teachable moment about pepperoni pie and fractions. These are just some of the benefits of roadschooling.
This hands-on, experiential way of learning appeals to many families and accounts for the growth of roadschooling nationwide. Although roadschooling will look and feel different for every family, it is an approach that fits families who prefer:
- Unscheduled and impromptu learning experiences
- The ability to integrate travel with the subjects and themes they are learning about
- A desire to help children make connections between educational material and the world around them.
Homeschool Laws and Roadschooling
If you want to become a traveling homeschooler, the first thing you need to understand are the roadschooling laws. Homeschooling is regulated at the state level, which means that when roadschooling, you will need to establish a “home state.” If you’ve already been homeschooling in a particular state, then great—you’re already familiar with the laws you homeschool under, and will maintain those same homeschool requirements while traveling.
If you are new to homeschooling, then you will want to become familiar with the homeschool laws for your resident state. Roadschoolers have a unique opportunity, however. If you will no longer have a permanent residence and will be living primarily in a recreational vehicle, you may want to establish a “home base” in a state with regulations that are not constrictive and match with your families overall homeschooling goals.
This information should by no means be interpreted as legal advice. It is your responsibility to interpret and understand the laws that you will be homeschooling under.
How to Afford Roadschooling
Almost everyone has heard stories about traveling homeschoolers who sold everything—their house, cars, belongings—so they could buy a recreational vehicle and take their family on an adventure of a lifetime. However, trading all your worldly belongings for homeschooling in an RV is certainly not the only way to afford the roadschooling lifestyle. Families who decide to try roadschooling have found many creative ways to make it work for them financially including:
- Planning the lifestyle change at least a couple years in advance to save toward it
- Scaling down your overall expenses and recognizing the difference between your families true needs vs wants
- Having at least one parent take a job that can be done from anywhere
- Taking out a reverse-mortgage on a home that they have plenty of equity in
- Using the trip as a way to earn additional income by creating a paid travel blog, writing articles about travel, or doing travel reviews
- Downsizing into a more affordable home and using the difference to help finance the trip
The other way to save money on roadschooling is by choosing curricula and educational materials that are affordable. You want to get an overview of what homeschooling costs, and then focus on ways to keep those costs to a minimum.
Roadschooling and Choosing Curriculum
Families have an enormous variety of options when it comes to the programs and tools they use for homeschooling. Of course, every family wants to choose the best homeschool curriculum for their student(s). Not every program, however, is ideal for learning on the go. Some of the considerations roadschoolers have to take into account when deciding on curricula include:
- How much storage space do the materials require?
- How much space will be needed to complete the school work?
- Are all the supplies included or will we need to purchase additional materials while on the road?
- Can more than one child share curricula or materials?
- If the curricula is web-based, will we have internet connection as we travel?
How Does Roadschooling Work with Time4Learning?
Time4Learning is an online education program for PreK-12 that combines thousands of multimedia lessons, printable worksheets, and graded activities into a student-paced environment that brings concepts to life. Math and language arts lessons are correlated to state standards. Science, social studies and art are also provided to most grades. It’s a great complement to the learning that takes place on the road. View our curriculum overview to see all that’s available with a monthly subscription.
Time4Learning is a paperless curriculum. Since space can be limited and books and other educational materials take up a lot of room, Time4Learning is a great alternative for families homeschooling on the road. There is no need to move books and learning supplies from place to place—the entire program is web-based. With Time4Learning, all you need is an internet connection to begin a fun and exciting roadschooling program.
Choose your subject and grade level to experience demos of Time4Learning’s interactive curriculum.
Additional Resources on Homeschooling Styles
Want to know even more about the different approaches to homeschooling? The following pages can help:
- Homeschooling Styles Overview
- Eclectic Homeschooling
- Traditional Homeschooling
- Classical Homeschooling
- Montessori Homeschooling
- Homeschooling with Unit Studies
- Charlotte Mason Homeschooling
- Waldorf Homeschooling
We are about a month into roadschooling…
By Sarrah Lombardo
“We are about a month into roadschooling with my 6th grader and Kindergartener. They enjoy all of the subjects they are studying and the videos associated with the lesson plans.”