Ahhh. . . the van. This post could also be titled “Homeschooling in the Year of the Van.” Typically, I schedule my year to have at least one and hopefully two full days at home, but this year, it just isn’t happening. So instead of being upset about what isn’t, I decided to be proactive and get organized for some carschooling.
What is carschooling?
Well, I don’t know for sure, but I think the term carschooling originated from the book by Dianne Flynn Keith of the same title. Today, we often hear the terms worldschooling or roadschoolers, but in this instance, I’m not meaning we’re taking this homeschool show interstate (which I’m all for!).
I just have a lot of appointments.
So how can you make adjustments and what additions are beneficial to creating a mobile homeschool?
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Why would you need to carschool?
Homeschoolers are sheltered at home all day, right? Anyone with a bit of homeschool experience knows how false this presumption is. Homeschool moms often find themselves going to great lengths to carve out some time at home to get the laundry done.
We have field trips, outsourced classes, and general life and health maintenance for everyone. This is probably the most difficult part of homeschooling for me. I’m a homebody and would love to be home all day drinking tea while reading aloud, and when they were all little this was possible.
Now, the scene is quite different.
- A non-driving teen who is going to dual enrollment classes twice a week.
- Outsourced classes a different day for the other five children.
- Therapy appointments
- Allergist appointments
- Additional lab days for one child learning ASL.
- Music Co-op another day.
- Trying to make it to the YMCA for homeschool PE and mama’s sanity.
- Two days where one child must be home at a certain time for online tutoring.
This crazy schedule makes for numerous days each week where I’m gone for several hours, and they aren’t necessarily consecutive. Ugh. Every family is different and there can be a multitude of reasons why you need to create a quick and easy homeschool on wheels.
If you having a busy year too, let’s embrace it and come up with ideas to keep the kids inspired and learning.
Pulling together a schoolroom on wheels.
I know what you’re thinking, “how could I possibly take our entire homeschool in the car?” Here’s the thing, you’re not. It’s not possible, especially if you use a full boxed curriculum.
However, you can shift your thinking a bit and consider all the other resources you have available that would be perfect for mobile homeschooling.
Audiobooks and Podcasts
Of course, the most obvious choice for homeschooling in the car is audio. You have a captive audience! Technology also gives us so many options of ways and things to listen to.
Thanks to another homeschool mom friend, I was introduced to Scribd. It is an amazing service for any homeschool family, but especially one in the car a lot. For just $9.99 a month you have unlimited access to a treasure trove of ebooks, magazines, audiobooks, sheet music, and more. Not only will this save me money, but it will save me time in searching for deals on Audible.
Podcasts are also a great option for listening to in the car because they are shorter and might be able to be completed in a single trip. Whereas books carry over and you may have a hard time making sure no one that wants to hear to book misses out.
Finally, music streaming is a great option because you can make a playlist of a particular composer you may be studying or perhaps a certain time period.
Most of us have those smartphones with us, we might as well make good use of them.
Resources On the Go
Next, I decided to make a big box of learning on wheels. What could that possibly be? Well, it started with a rolling, collapsible file box like these.
Once I had the box, I shopped my house first. We all have those things we bought with the best of intentions but never fully completed. Those were added first. There are some great resources available perfect for homeschooling on the go.
- Funschooling Journals (Younger, Middle, and High School)
- Puzzle Books (Sudoku, Mazes, Word Search, and Crossword)
- Coloring Books (History, Science, Art, and More)
I did add a few new things such as fresh nature journals and twistable colored pencils. There are new pencil boxes holding our smaller items and pens, so we’re ready to go with little prep, just roll the box out to the car.
By having this all ready to go, I won’t have to pack up in advance of a day when we’re out. Once the weather cools off, I’ll just leave this box in the car so we’ll be prepared for any delays or diversions that come our way.
Compact but Fun Games
Next, I added some portable games that we can play while we’re waiting. The favorites I added to our box are:
I also added our BrainBox Inventions game, which will be perfect for giving them some ideas of things to research when we’re at the library.
How to Make Carschooling Work?
Honestly, this is a new endeavor for our family based on our busy schedule and my desire not to leave some kids at home for extended periods. That leads to mindless screens and grumpy attitudes.
So how will I fit in everything and create a life of learning while stuck behind the wheel? I have several plans and they vary depending on what day it is and where we need to be.
Some days we will all be loading up, dropping off the oldest, and heading to the new library nearby. While there we can get a study room, spread out, and do the more “schooly” things while also researching with our Funschooling books.
Other days, we’ll drop her off and head out for a quick field trip or nature walk once they weather cools off. The important reminders are to be flexible, be prepared, and have fun. Oh, and water and snacks!
Homeschooling is a Flexible Term
Yes, everyone will call us homeschoolers, though that isn’t my favorite term because an in implies a school set up in your home is a requirement. That is far from the reality for most homeschool families.
So even if you have a full schedule, outside employment, or family obligations, you can create a life of learning that works. It takes flexibility and preparation, but it will create a lifetime of carschooling memories.