As a family, we’ve been roadschooling and learning through experiences since 2016. We’ve traveled from the east coast to the west coast and back again. We’ve visited or stayed in over 30 states so far, taking our home and homeschool with us.
We learn through real-life experiences whenever possible. With one of our particular dreams being to see as many National Parks as possible with our kids before they grow up.
Our educational philosophy has always been that our kids will most definitely learn more from a hike through the woods than from any test.
And, because of that, we have tried to make their school a wide place full of experiences, adventures, and new things to learn through seeing it with their own eyes.
Roadschooling & Lifeschooling Roots
I remember in third grade, my father had hurt his hand at work and had to take time off. So, my parents planned a month long trip across the country.
We visited family and friends, watched a balloon festival in the desert, stopped at the Grand Canyon, went to Disneyland, picked avocados from my great grandmother’s backyard trees.
And, one thing I remember about that trip was my mother talking about our school’s opinion of our plans.
They didn’t like that we were going to miss time from school. After all, in their opinion, it was just a vacation. And, though my mother was worried about the school’s objections we went anyway.
But, it was unsettling the way my elementary school made my mother question the confidence she had in what we might see and learn during that trip. And even then, I knew better. I knew that my sister and I were learning on that trip. Experiencing things that couldn’t be experienced in our classrooms.
In fact, I still remember learning all about the extremes of Death Valley, California and writing about it in the journal I kept during our trip. A journal that I kept of my own volition because I was excited about what I was seeing and experiencing.
I remember reading that journal to my entire class when I returned, sharing my new experiences and a new part of the world with my Vermont classmates. Most of whom hadn’t been across the country.
Roadschooling is Lifeschooling
I have known deep inside me from that young age that children don’t only learn in a classroom sitting at a desk. They learn climbing trees, hiking in national parks, meeting people from different places. Immersing themselves in new experiences and cultures.
Although it wasn’t the catalyst that I felt started our homeschooling journey, I suppose even back then God was planting the seeds for our roadschooling adventures in my 8-year old mind.
Our Roadschooling is lifeschooling because it is the ultimate way of giving my children experiences. Experiences where they can learn about themselves. Who they are, what they’re passionate about, how they are a part of God’s plan and their unique role in it.
And, through the experiences my children have had I’ve seen God at work. I’ve seen these experiences start to shape who they will become. And, the unique ways God is going to use them in the world.
My Son’s Experience
In my son, I’ve seen a humbling. A wisdom that only comes from experiences.
One of the most memorable experiences for him during our time roadschooling was our visit to the Grand Canyon. He was 10 when we visited and he kept saying the same thing over and over.
“I will never forget this.”
Staring into that beautiful piece of our planet he was realizing how special it was that he was able to see it. And, I believe he caught a glimpse of who God is and his place in the world. When he looks back now he tells me,
“I felt small.”
Right now, my son has dreams of being a photographer. A national geographic photographer. He wants to go out into the world and experience more of God’s creation. Experience it and take snapshots of more amazing things God has made. Contemplate the world and its beauty and how he can best share it.
He has had the opportunity to take photos deep inside the ground at Mammoth Cave National Park, of baby sea turtles hatching at Padre Island National Seashore, of San Francisco Bay standing on the Marin Headlands. and so many other places.
And, I can’t help but wonder, if his world had been smaller if he’d seen and experienced less if he might not have discovered the world in the same way and maybe not been drawn to share his realization of its beauty.
My Daughter’s Experience
In my daughter, I’ve seen an awakening of the joy she gets in loving others.
She’s only seven, but it seems obvious to my husband and me that her purpose in this world is about her love for people.
She has an amazing gift of loving complete strangers.
It doesn’t matter if they’re eight or eighty-eight she treats everyone the same. She is overjoyed to see them, talk to them, and share some life with them. It is a God-given gift that she gets to put to use over and over as we meet new people during our travels.
She always seems to say just the right thing to each person she stops to talk to. It’s like her heart is a compass for people who are lonely or sad and need a word of encouragement.
I don’t know how many times she’s walked up to an elderly woman in the grocery store and given her a hug and complimented her on her earrings or hair. And, I’ll watch in amazement as these women are overcome with emotion and tenderness for my sweet daughter.
She does the same thing on every new playground we visit, finding a child who looks lonely or is playing by themselves.
I am astounded at the way God puts people in her path, the ones who need her. And, it is beautiful to watch.
And, I am so glad that through roadschooling we are able to make her world a little bigger.