Hitting the open road with a child (or a few) in tow requires more than a map and a sense of adventure, especially when you travel and homeschool. It requires planning. And stuff. Since we plan to travel quite a bit, I thought it would be helpful to create a list of the essentials that we like to take and the preparations we like to make when we travel and homeschool with Lightning.
1. Choose a Travel Journal
Have your child pick out their own Travel Journal. Let them make it theirs so that they look forward to writing or drawing in it nightly while traveling.
2. Choose a Souvenir
Before you leave, decide what kind of memento you will be bringing home. You don’t want a stuffed animal from every place you travel or 300 T-shirts. We picked pressed pennies. They are small and Lightning loves the search for penny machines wherever we go.
3. Buy a Postcard Album
Postcards are fun, collectible and great reminders of your trip. We have a photo album for postcards, and Lightning also enjoys sending herself a postcard from every location that we visit so she can remember what she loved and what she disliked about each place.
4. Bring an Address Book
Make sure the contacts on your phone, or your trusty paper address book, are updated to include the addresses of your child’s friends so that she can send them postcards and stamps. Not only will you find that her friends love getting them, but your child will love sending them and telling her friends all about her travels. You can also buy stamps while you are on vacation, although we have spent quite a bit of time in search of a post office.
5. Do Your Research
Check the internet for sites of the places where you will be visiting. So many destinations have links for kids activities to complete before you even get there to educate them on your destination.
6. Find Other Homeschoolers
Check out local homeschooling websites and Facebook pages for information and activities about the area. Facebook pages, websites and blogs can be great sources of information about local events and homeschooling opportunities.
7. Set Goals
Decide what schoolwork you want to accomplish when you are away, and set goals. I can’t travel without somehow adding an educational angle. For example, when we were in California, our schoolwork consisted mainly of information culled from the websites of our destinations.
8. Stay Connected
Check your hotel(s) to see if you have free WI-FI. I like to have Lightning complete a daily Xtramath lesson and a Spanish lesson online, if we are able. Several hotels only have WI-FI in the lobby or charge a fee, and this might change your lesson plans.
9. Check the Weather
I love to scour travel sites for ideas on how to dress and what to pack, and I have learned that when other travelers tell you to pack layers, pack layers. Rely on the input from real people who have been to your destination.
10. Read Travel Blogs
They are an invaluable resources for information before a trip. Travel blogs have helped me discover some offbeat locations, and let me know which popular, but overrated, tourist attraction to skip.