How do you homeschool on the road? As a homeschooling family that travels a lot this is always a challenge. In the past, I actually brought workbooks on vacations. Yup, I actually packed them up with pencils and everything.
Did we open the workbooks?
Not even once.
I learned from my mistakes and have a new system for homeschooling on the road.
It involves not packing anything extra. We have enough to carry as a family of five we don’t need 10 lbs of workbooks on top of that.
What we do now is homeschool everything via technology. The kids love using the iPads so I decided to harness this love into learning.
Through trial and error, we found things that work for us that are fun and educational enough to keep us learning even when we’re on the road.
What works and what doesn’t for our traveling homeschool
One of the most important things about homeschooling on the road is to focus on anything that will be an automatic win. What I mean by this, is to use methods that you know will work because of things your kids are interested in or their particular personality.
For instance, I know a homeschooling mom that spent weeks traveling the country in an RV and she swears by journals and interest bins. Her kids are especially into animals so she had them keep journals related to the things they learned and used bins full of little animal figurines to keep them interested.
While this may not be an option for families that are flying because of space constraints, it showcases that one of the most important things in traveling with kids is to be creative and to know your kids.
If your kids are anything like mine, they love their technology. Which makes sense, most adults couldn’t live without their smartphones. Technology is fun!
So we try to incorporate tech into our homeschool style while we’re on the road because it’s an easy win. Something about doing math on an iPad is so much more fun than doing it on plain old paper.
Bonus: I don’t need to pack workbooks and paper and pencils.
The Best Apps for Homeschooling on the Road
If you’re anything like me you scrolled straight to the practical part of this post. Just tell me which apps to download already lady!
We actually don’t use that many apps or websites on a regular basis. To be honest a lof the education apps out there still really suck.
Sorry. I said it. Education app makers you really need to step up your game.
That’s why when we find an app we like I kind of want to tell everyone about it, because a great learning app is a novelty, unfortunately.
So here are the apps and websites we use for learning on the road, most of these we’ve been using for years.
Also, most of these can be used for kids in wide age ranges. For context though our kids are almost 8 and 6 (and 1.5 but the toddler is not formally taught yet).
1. Epic! – It really is the Netflix of books for kids
My daughter and I were just talking about Epic! today and she said “Epic! is called epic because everything on there is epic!” She’s right though, this is the most impressive kid’s app I’ve come across in years.
So it is really like a Netflix for books. Kids browse books in the app and can read any book they’d like. The app recommends books to them based on previous selections and interests.
One of the best parts of Epic! is that there are “read to me” books so my daughter who’s just learning to read and age 6 can follow along.
Epic! will create a profile for each kid you have and they send you these adorable weekly reading progress reports for parents to keep up with what kids have been reading.
It’s a subscription service (like Netflix or Kindle Unlimited) but it’s only $4.99 a month for up to four kids! (Finally, a company that’s not limiting things to 2 kids only).
You can try it out for a whole month for free by clicking here.
2. Khan Academy – best in class for Math
We’ve been using Khan Academy for math for a few years now. We don’t usually use it for our primary math learning while at home (we use Singapore math for that) but when on the road Khan Academy is great.
I don’t think many parents are aware of Khan Academy’s great app. It’s super user-friendly and kids can do write in the answers to the quizzes with their fingers. I think the app is actually better than the website.
With Khan Academy, you can teach math from Kindergarten – 12th grade. The videos are easy to understand and followed up with quizzes to assess learning.
My only problem with Khan Academy is that I think the lesson to practice ratio is way off.
For example, a child will spend 5 minutes learning a concept and 1 minute practicing it. I like to have more practice and less lecture. We use Worksheets Guru when we have access to a printer for math practice. They will let you print off endless free math worksheets.
3. Writing Practice on the Road
Usually, when you’re traveling kids are being exposed to all kinds of new things. That’s why I love to take advantage of this and have the kids create journals about their adventures.
We use an app called NoteShelf. It’s not made especially for kids but I think it’s worth investing in since the quality is so much higher than kids’ journaling apps.
What I love about this app is that the kids can essentially make a little scrap book of their trip. They create a separate journal and in the journal they can type in text or write it in with their finger or a pen and then also add audio and images.
4. Art – for fun and for learning
There are so many kids art apps out there but they can’t compare to Paper. Paper is a drawing, painting, sketching app that’s for actual artists but it works great for kids too. Our daughter has been using it since she was 4 and loves it.
Essentially it allows kids the freedom to make whatever they want. The interface is easy to use and the brush strokes and colors look very real.
You can get the Paper pen on Amazon and it allows you to draw like you draw on real paper, but on an iPad.
This is a great way to distract bored or grumpy kids and still count it as school.
Pro tip: Teaching Advanced Math on the Road
So I know that a lot of homeschoolers come to the point where they are teaching algebra, trigonometry or calculus and they need more resources to support older more advanced students.
Math is often the biggest pain point for homeschoolers because a lot of parents are just not comfortable teaching calculus. Even if you did take calculus in school, chances are you forgot most of it unless you are in one of the few jobs that uses it on a daily basis.
So that’s why I’m really excited about Math Wiz Tutors. You can use this site to hire a one time, or recurring Math tutor online.
It’s super easy to search and book a tutor, which can be kind of a nightmare without a site like this.
Students can also post math questions online that get answered by professional math tutors.
If you find yourself on the road and need to teach advanced math, Math Wiz Tutors can save you a lot of stress on your vacation.
I love the world we live in now, you could be in Mexico and still get a qualified and passionate math tutor for your kid online, it’s kind of awesome.
Best part? You don’t have to teach math on vacation. Hey, everyone deserves a break once in a while.
What tools does your family use when you travel? Do you homeschool on the road?
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This post contains affiliate links and is partially sponsored by Math Wiz Tutors. All opinions are completely my own.