Jumbled Thoughts – Educating My Kids on the Road

by Melissa

As an educator I have always been interested in the best educational practices and opportunities for kids. Especially my own. I want the best for my kids, what parent doesn’t? My idea for this post was to tell you how I plan to educate my kids while traveling. After hours of research, I have more questions than answers:

How can I be sure that my kids will be on target when we return?

Where in the hell do I start?

Is there online curriculum that I can use?  Carrying textbooks is not going to work with backpacking.

Alex doing homework after a long day of school

What are the rules for homeschooling your kids when you are traveling the world?  Do they need to take tests?  Send in work to be reviewed?  How much authority do I have in this area?

I would like for the language arts/technology component to include the kids posting on the blog so they can stay in contact with their friends back at home.

Can I keep their school involved as well? How do I go about this?

Should I just use the Texas TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and plan lessons like I would for the classroom?

What is unschooling vs. homeschooling? I have seen this mentioned on blogs where families are traveling with kids.

What does it mean to me for my kids to be educated? Do I want them to be factual gurus or do I want them to be problem solvers and critical thinkers?  Street smarts vs. book smart.

How in the world will I be able to cover it all in a year while traveling?

Am I strong enough to ensure my kids have a high level of education while we travel?  Will I be lazy?  My inclination is to say “I think not!”

Learning on site - House Chamber at the Texas State Capitol

Being out in the world, how much of the Texas TEKS will fit into what we are doing?  C’mon, does anyone else really care about remembering the Alamo?

I am at war with myself. I know the competition our kids face in today’s world. Am I worrying about something that is silly? I mean they are only 5 and 7 years of age.  Seriously, shouldn’t they just be getting the basics? I mean am I really trying to get them into Harvard next year? Do I even want them to go to Harvard? Does being happy mean that you have to follow the “standard?”

OMG am I preaching one thing for myself…living your life and doing what makes you happy, yet pushing my kids into the exact thing I am saying I no longer desire? The big house, brand new cars, working until I’m 65, retiring and then doing what I want in life.  This is tough!

I still do not know exactly what I am going to do. I have not done what I sat down to do tonight and this has me frustrated.  I was hoping to have one aspect of our trip checked off the list.  I thought this would be easy – after all I have been teaching for 10 years now. But education, as I have learned over the years, cannot be solved in a night, and careful planning is essential.  Sigh.  More coming soon on my thoughts, research and the final plan.  Share your ideas as well.  I could always use the advice.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy September 26, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Wow–Just seems like a daunting task. Perhaps you should stay home and just read a lot of National Geographic. I know nothing about being an educator Melissa but I’m thinking that you find out what the end goal is of that year in Texas. Another words if you’re supposed to know multiplication, world studies whatever and just wing how the learn it. Maybe you should look towards alternative education curricula. I think in my hometown there was a private school called world school and they had unconventional teaching methods that may have included travel. Something like that. I can’t wait to find out what you decide. It will all be good. There will be no right or wrong. There will be good and there will be bad. But there will be if you stay put. Guitar know what they are from a great sense of adventure. It’s exciting!


Melissa September 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Too funny! National Geographic. I agree, I need to keep it simple. I am definitely going to look into alternative education curricula and online material as well. I shall keep you posted.


Big D & Me September 27, 2012 at 8:01 am

I think you should think of it as a combination of a lot of things – when you are in a new country, buy a post card and have the kids write on it (WRITING!) and maybe after visiting a new place have them write notes (Alex) or tell you (Kate) what they remember (WRITING, SEQUENCING, RECALL, SYNOPSIS).

Talk about the weather temperatures where you are, keep a graph of that going, how much warmer is it here in Germany than back home right now, I’m guessing there will be lots of monetary issues that could involve multiplying, adding, subtracting – speed limits signs, maps & distances, you will be living word problems every day – MATH

You will be living SOCIAL STUDIES.

You will be living HUMANITIES & LANGUAGES

SCIENCE I have no doubt will be covered by you.

All 4 of you together for a whole year – PATIENCE & WORKING WITH OTHERS :)

I think have a general list/skills of what you want both kids to accomplish at the end of this experience academically and then keep checking in with that list.

If anyone will be successful at this, you will be.

(And make Ryan accountable for this too – you’re welcome Ryan!)


Melissa September 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm

As always you keep me on the ground :) You are so right and I do these things, I just forget that I do them and then stress that I am not doing the best job. I love these ideas and am going to incorporate them into the big scheme of things. Thank you for the support! Love the Ryan part ;) He is awesome and very helpful. Ryan says he shall be in charge of the map reading skills as I have none!


Anne September 27, 2012 at 11:20 am

I can’t really comment on the education aspect, but I do feel you should stop worrying about “preaching one thing for myself…yet pushing my kids in to the exact thing I no longer desire.” However you end up teaching the schoolwork, you are teaching by example how to be the type of person who thinks for themselves and chooses to live their lives how they want to. Kids learn by observation. If you continue to be that person, then they will grow up to be people who decide what they want to get out of life…even if what they want turns out to be a steady job and two-car garage. ;-)


Melissa September 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm

So true Anne! I need some educated kids with money to take care of me when I get old! So I say go for the steady job and 2 car garage! I love your response about kids following our example. It is so true and something I forget often. I will continue to come back to this as we keep on planning. It is so much fun to plan, but not as easy as I thought it would be. Thanks for the pep talk! Keep them coming ;)


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