The RV Classroom: How to Successfully Homeschool Your Kids on the Road

May 4, 2020 | Travel & Destinations

The RV Classroom: How to Successfully Homeschool Your Kids on the Road

Straight from an actual homeschooling parent, we've compiled valuable tips and advice for RV families who want to homeschool their kids on the road.

By Kris and Andy Murphy

Photo: Andy Murphy

Homeschooling on the road is a great opportunity to fully immerse your children in the world around them. From learning about geology while standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon to understanding revolutionary history by touring the battlefields at Valley Forge, being able to teach and explore in an RV expands minds, creativity, and boundaries. Whether you’ve already started the homeschooling process, or have been compelled to start due to recent school closures, we’ve gathered some of the best tips to make sure your on-the-road education efforts are as successful as possible.

Woman in hat holds and points at booklet with two young boys around her on a snowy street
Photo: Andy Murphy

Don’t Recreate Traditional School

If you try to recreate traditional school, you are only setting yourself up for failure and frustration. Instead, take some time to understand the homeschool requirements for your state of residency and build your school days accordingly. Be sure to make room for an adjustment period—not just for your kids, but for you and your significant other as well. During this transition time, you will get a better understanding of the daily rhythms and routines that work best for your unique family. Not a morning person? Start school after lunch. Need to hold class after dinner because you work during the day? That’s fine too. There are no formal rules when it comes to your homeschooling schedule.

Overhead shot of woman inside RV teaching two young boys about birds and bird eggs, with various supplies scattered on table in front of them
Photo: Andy Murphy

Keep It Simple, Keep It Flexible

Keeping homeschooling simple allows your kids to be more open to growth and opportunity. You don’t need to have all the supplies, worksheets, textbooks, and projectors to create meaningful and memorable lessons. Sometimes, these lessons come in the form of telling or writing stories, reading out loud, or even assisting on daily chores. Flexibility is your new best friend, and homeschooling on the road is much more enjoyable when you embrace this. If you find that you’re not confident in teaching certain subjects, like math or grammar, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, find online resources that help supplement your skills and aid in teaching more complex subjects (Khan Academy and Outschool are two great assets). Or maybe you realize that your child is a better visual learner, so you adjust to focus on image-based teaching. The most important thing is to stay nimble.

The World Is Your Classroom

Two young boys crouched in tide pools in Acadia National Park with hills and boats in the background
Photo: Andy Murphy

Homeschooling on the road offers a very unique learning opportunity for both you and your children. Take advantage of your mobility by visiting nearby national parks, museums, zoos, or visitor centers. Build in days for natural exploration through hikes, walking or driving tours, or local city and community events. Want a crash course in local government? Many city council meetings are held weekly (some even daily) and are open to the public. Talk about an afternoon of jam-packed learning goodness.

Understand Your Options

When it comes to establishing a curriculum, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all option. Figure out how your child learns best in order to find the curriculum that will work for his or her learning style. Another helpful tip is to do some research and identify your preferred homeschooling style. Some common ones include: Traditional, Roadschooling, Unschooling, and Classical. It’s worth noting that just because you’re in an RV and on the road doesn’t mean you have to follow the Roadschooling style. Knowing the pros and cons of each style will help you narrow down the options and find the perfect fit for your family. Just remember, where there are tears, there is no learning. If a curriculum is not working, don’t be afraid to change it up.

Socialization Comes Naturally

Two adults and three kids crowd around a tide pool inside a museum, watching as a park ranger puts hand into tide pool
Photo: Andy Murphy

Homeschooling isn’t just about learning within the walls of your camper. Learning can—and should—happen in museums, libraries, campgrounds, beaches, and on hiking trails. Being on the road allows your kids to interact with a wide variety of people and from all different backgrounds. This exposure to diversity can teach your children valuable social lessons and even help boost confidence. Understandably, there will be times when your kids miss their friends and family back home. This is when regularly scheduled video calls can help them stay connected to their best buds, even if they are hundreds of miles away.

Tools for Success

Here are the five core things to keep in mind when deciding to homeschool from your RV:

  1. Remember Your Why: Not every day is sunshine and rainbows; you will have challenging, stressful days. So when the going gets tough, just remember why you decided to homeschool on the road in the first place, and what a unique, special opportunity this is for you and your child.
  2. Connecting With Others: Getting connected to other RV families who are homeschooling has never been easier. Find people online (check out Fulltime Families and Wild + Free to start) or at the parks and campgrounds you’re staying in. Try to make these connections early so that you can have the support you need right from the beginning.
  3. Change It Up: Sometimes you’ll find that a certain curriculum just doesn’t fit your teaching style or your children’s learning style. If it’s not working, don’t be afraid to change it. And on the contrary, if your curriculum seems to be working, don’t feel the need to fix what isn’t broken.
  4. Guilt-Free Days Off: Homeschooling on the road doesn’t have to be an everyday thing. Take some days off and don’t feel guilty about it. Go to the zoo, a local state park, or even just a walk around the campground with some time spent at the playground. Your kids are always learning.
  5. Invest In Memberships: As a homeschooling family, investing in a museum membership that offers reciprocity is a total game-changer. You can save close to 50 percent on admissions to places like museums, zoos, aquariums, and science centers nationwide. And with certain memberships, you can even get free admission for the entire family.
Two young boys sit a small table inside an RV doing schoolwork, with books and papers in front of them
Photo: Andy Murphy

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Kris and Andy Murphy

Kris and Andy from Where Wild Ones Roam have been on the road since 2018 and are traveling the country in their Keystone Fuzion. High in the mountains and deep in a forest is where we they feel at home the most. They are true nomads.

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