There is no one way to roadschool your children. The way that works best for one traveling family may not work for another. For our family and travel style, we use an eclectic travel-based method. It is a “mix and match” approach that allows us to customize the education for each individual child at any moment of time.
Today I’m going to share the current resources we are using in the 2020-2021 school year. Our method of learning includes everything from workbooks to apps to online resources to the real world. Our three children are currently in the 3rd, 6th and 8th grades. I will break down our curriculum and supplies by following subjects:
- Language Arts & Reading
- Social Studies
- Where To Buy
Language Arts & Reading
Our children have used a variety of workbooks and textbooks over the years. We like using grade specific ones to give us an idea what other children their age are covering in traditional environments.
For 3rd grade this year, Luka wanted to continue using the BrainQuest series for language arts. It’s more fun and colorful than some of the other books he’s used in the past. Truthfully, I was a bit surprised he chose this over the Minecraft centric ones of last year. This book also covers math, science and social studies as well.
For 6th grade, Mila chose the Spectrum Language Arts workbook because she found past grade levels clear, concise and asked interesting questions for its writing projects.
Since Ava is in junior high, we decided to focus her language arts this year on writing. She will be taking semester long classes from Outschool. The first one she signed up for is called “Creative Writing: Character Building and Story Development”. (For those of you new to Outschool, you may click here to get $20 of free class credit). In addition to her online classes, she will also be using Spectrum Writing workbook for Grade 8.
Because we have limited space for books of all kinds, the kids have a handful of physical books (mostly colorful comics) but the majority of their reading is done via e-books. We do not buy any of our electronic reading materials. We wrote all about how we get free e-books and audiobooks here.
The kids spend about 45 minutes to an hour a day on language arts, depending on the topic and kid, and we require that they spend at least 30 minutes a day on free reading.
In our early days of roadschool when the kids were younger, we used workbooks for their curriculum (like Singapore Math, Life of Fred and BrainQuest) but for the past few years, we have transitioned to Khan Academy. Khan Academy is a nonprofit that provides free educational courses that students can complete at their own pace. They also cover subjects like grammar, science, engineering, history, art, coding, and storytelling. We use Khan Academy daily for math, 45 minutes to 90 minutes a day, depending on the kid and topic. We find it to be a great program because each topic includes instructional videos, quizes, unit tests and mastery challenges (which make sure the kids remember what they learned in previous units).
In addition to the online program, we also have a variety of math games on hand and we really love these Scrunch Charts for multiplication and addition. They don’t rip like all the others we have and take up barely any space in our camper van.
In a normal year, a lot of our kids’ social studies and science topics are travel based. In the states, our travel routes were determined around the Junior Ranger programs provided by the US National Park System and their 400+ sites. While overseas, we focus more on historical destinations and foreign cultures.
Since this year is not a normal year, we bought a few more books than normal. I’ve listed our workbooks and text books below but half the time we don’t use these and opt to choose a topic and read through it together as a family. For example, last month we focused on the life of Benjamin Franklin and this month we are focusing on the life of Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Our oldest has aged out of workbooks and is focusing her 8th year on American History using the Big Fat Notebooks series.
In addition to these, we also lug around Maps and Timelines of Everything as reference materials and pay for the Stack the States/Countries Apps and the Brain Pop app. Stack the Countries or States is a fun thing they can play on driving days and Brain Pop gives them a nice overview on all types of subjects, not just social studies.
In regards to the amount of time we spend on social studies, we do about an hour every other day, alternating our days with science.
Just like I stated above in the Social Studies section, a lot of our kids’ science topics are travel based. Since this year is not a normal year, we bought a few more books than normal.
This year we are trying a new to us science book series by ArgoPrep. They didn’t offer the exact grade levels of my children so I shifted the youngest two kids a grade up to 4th and 7th but got to keep my oldest at her 8th grade level.
Truthfully, I’m not excited about these. They claimed to have videos to accompany each lesson which is awesome in our math curriculum but the videos provided by ArgoPrep are just ones of a teacher reading the workbook text out loud. Nothing additional is provided. The kids like doing some of the simple experiments so far. To supplement the topics in this workbook series, I will sign up the kids for some classes on Outschool. Luka is started one next week called “Astronomy Course in Minecraft: Explore our Solar System & Beyond”. I also ask the kids to read from our Science Encyclopedia and watch additional educational videos with accompanying quizes via the BrainPop App.
We don’t do science everyday but every other day, alternating our days with social studies.
Our girls are really into creating art so we are stocked pretty well with supplies like paper, paints, sketch pencils, etc. To nurture their passion for art, we invested in a Wacom Intuos Pro Digital Graphic Drawing Tablet. We also pay a monthly fee pay for Creative Suite by Adobe. The educational price for students is $20 a month. During the first year, we only paid $10 a month because of an introductory rate.
In addition to supplies, once again we pay for some classes on Outschool. Ava has taken sketch classes in the past and Mila has a fashion class scheduled on Halloween that she’s looking forward to very much.
Where to Buy
Depending on our location at the beginning of the school year, we purchase our curriculum online via Amazon or in person at a bookstore (we like using Barnes and Noble for their 20% off educator discount). If you are wondering how we order books in English from a foreign country’s Amazon site, click here to read about it. If you want to see our complete list of supplies, you may access our Amazon store here.
So this summarizes our “mix-and-match” curriculum for the 2020-2021school year. In a normal year, there would be a lot less workbook days and we would be exploring the world instead. But the key for us to be successful in this lifestyle is to be flexible and that includes roadschool as well.