I’ve always felt that I’ve learned far more about the world by traveling than by reading textbooks, so when I became a mom I was keen to explore the world of homeschooling. As I began poking around, I came across four families in India that offered me a peek into the world of roadschooling, which is just like homeschooling but on the move.
Homeschooling and my love for family travel prompted me to start a WhatsApp group for Roadschooling in India. Today, the group serves as a platform for experienced and wannabe roadschoolers to share and discuss the many challenges and advantages of roadschooling your children. Inspired by the group, in early 2022, my husband and I took our then 10-year-old daughter to Rajasthan, where together as a family we met baby camels, tried block printing, and learned the history of the places we were traveling through.
Roadschooling opens a new world for your children. They will meet people from different walks of life every day, which will encourage their curiosity and empathy. Children in a digital nomad family learn on the move, get to explore new places more frequently, and experience history and geography first-hand.
If you are curious about traveling as a digital nomad family and teaching your kids on the road, here’s what you need to know about this unique form of education.
How to Start Roadschooling
Before you take the plunge, find out the open schooling curriculum allowed in your country, and learn about the laws surrounding homeschooling, testing, and opportunities for entering school again should you stop traveling. This varies from country to country, so your research will need to be specific and thorough. After you’ve got the lay of the land and have considered how this decision will affect your children’s future, you’ll then need to decide on the style of learning: homeschooling or unschooling.
Homeschooling uses traditional textbook methods, but unschooling is more unstructured, allowing the children to study and learn when and how they feel like. Homeschoolers are more focused on learning from academic books while unschoolers stay away from learning from textbooks and learn from first-hand experience or real life. Both parents and children can work towards a learning solution together, to accept the mode of learning that suits your family. There are plenty of resources online for self-learners if you do your research. For example, Khan Accademy is the most popular among self-learners when studying math.
Schedule and Routine
Using a curriculum is a great way to maintain a routine, as you can dedicate a set amount of hours for studying every day during your non-working hours. In the end, you’ll find what works best for your family’s lifestyle and travel schedule. Iit’s not just enough for your kids to experience the places you visit. You might also encourage them to keep a journal of their travels and reflect on what they’re learning. You’ll also need to make sure you have enough books and supplies to keep them busy and hone their language and reading skills.
If you have a partner, you should design your schedule so you share schooling responsibilities and make plans to keep your children engaged while you are working. Digital nomad families also have more time for extracurricular activities, so this will factor into your routine as you reap the maximum benefits of roadschooling. Prioritize finding events and alternative classes where children can participate and learn new activities. This is an excellent way of skill-building, social interaction, and communication.
If you are uncertain of what works best for you, you can always test out the lifestyle for a shorter period of time, like a month or even a week, to see if the roadschooling life works for you and your children.
Connect With the Roadschooling Community
There’s a lot to navigate when entering the world of roadschooling, but interacting with experienced roadschoolers can help you find answers to your questions and concerns. The best way to do this is by connecting with roadschooling parents on social media and in WhatsApp groups, where you can discuss concerns and gain insight on the realities of the roadschooling lifestyle while finding advice and inspiration for your digital nomad family adventures. For example, my Roadschooing in India WhatsApp Group has provided new roadschoolers with feedback about homestays, available activities, and more.
No matter where you go, there are plenty of groups where you can share, discuss and understand the various techniques roadschoolers use for teaching, where and how they travel, and the hidden gems beneficial for the children. The Facebook group, Roadschooling - Families Homeschooling on the Road is a good place to start and you may eventually find more destination-specific communities along the way.