I first heard about parents homeschooling their kids while living the full-time RV lifestyle from the book, “Take Back Your Life,” a great read by the way. Speaking of reading, check out the many great RV books at the RV Travel online bookstore, you can access them through the ads in the side column of this blog. This past summer my wife and I toured a village museum in Harding Montana. They have many antique buildings including a train station, doctor’s office, period homes and a one room schoolhouse pictured below.
I often wondered what it would be like to be a student in a one room schoolhouse. My friend Stan Sowers grew up in Kansas and attended such a school. He said that one year there were only four students. Most of the students went on to college and did quite well for themselves. Homeschooling and the RV lifestyle is not much different from those one room schoolhouses of the Midwest. I was fortunate to meet Cindy and her wonderful family. Here is the interview:
RV Now: Cindy you have four children, live in an RV Travel Trailer (bunkhouse model) and homeschool your children. How long have you been home schooling?
Cindy: About three years now, the kids have been put in public school for short periods of time.
RV Now: How did you get started home schooling your children?
Cindy: My husband works away for about six months, so the family started going with him. It is too hard to put the kids into different schools every two months so we chose to homeschool.
RV Now: What does a typical home schooling day look like for your family?
Cindy: We get up and eat breakfast and try to begin schoolwork by 8 am. I try to have all the work they need to do for that day in their folders. My 4th grader generally goes into the bedroom and does his work, asking for help when needed. My 2nd grader and two Kinders sit at the table with me and I read the directions and help as needed. We take a snack break around 10am and generally are finished for the day by lunch time. The afternoon is for computer time, play time outside and cleaning up. Since we do travel so much I do take advantage of museums often. Usually on Fridays we have a field trip to a factory, a history museum, or a science museum. The kids love this and learn so much more than from a book. We do have "big days" and "easy days" too. We might work longer or shorter depending on what has been done in the week or even the weather.
RV Now: Recognizing there are differences between living in a standard house compared to an RV, what are the advantages and disadvantages of home schooling while living in an RV?
Cindy: It is a little more difficult in the RV, just for the room. It is a lot of books and materials to have readily available, not stored away somewhere. The table is small, the reason my oldest does most of his work in the bedroom. But, that is also an advantage because I am always close by to help them when needed.
RV Now: Do you know of other families who live in RVs and home school?
Cindy: I did know of one other, but they no longer homeschool. Their oldest is now in high school and they have settled up in Idaho and she attends public school. The younger sibling does too.
RV Now: What tools, resources, organizations, web sites or blogs do you recommend for helping parents home school.
Cindy: We belong to a charter school so I get a tremendous amount of support from that. Of course, the internet is often used to for information. I would talk to more homeschool parents and attend homeschool conventions to look at materials. Every child is different and not one curriculum will suit each child. I like hands-on learning for my kids and use materials from Delta Education quite a bit. We have a support system of homeschool families too. There are all different grade levels and families who are new and families who have many years behind them doing this. I am the only one who travels in an RV however.
RV Now: What advice would you give parents who are thinking of doing this?
Cindy: Just do it!! I always thought homeschoolers were crazy, why not take the break while the kids are in school? But being forced into it, I realize all the benefits it has for our family. My children get along with each other better than many other families. There is a bonding that happens when the family learns together. The parent learns, too. I also love the flexibility of homeschooling, like going to places and you will take advantage of other moments. Because you know exactly what your child is learning about, you use it in every day moments to ask them questions and they will show you what they are learning in everyday situations. There isn't too many things better than to watch your child learn and to finally "get it" !!
Since doing this article I met another mom homeschooling her children while living the RV lifestyle. She told me about a resource that is specifically for RV homeschooling families and here is the link:
Think about this, you do a lesson on the Alamo and then actually go to the Alamo and do the tour - I think I would learn a lot more this way than just reading about it in a book. Jim
Labels: RV Lifestyle