Sometimes when life happens, we need to take homeschooling with us. When you think outside the box and realise that learning happens wherever we are, you get the chance to adapt.
Because we are eclectic learners, this means we have experienced learning naturally on the road with us and other times we have made it happen with a little bit of intention, creativity and planning.
Learning has been taken with us (or occurred where we have gone!) in many forms and in many ways.
Depending on the situation, we have packed some of these tools that have helped with our portable learning:
* a family sized picnic rug
* pencil cases
* a clipboard for each child
* lined paper
* blank paper for sketching
* audio books/podcasts downloaded and the media cable
In our car, we have for years kept in the glove box:
* a box of zip lock bags (fantastic for collecting little samples to take home for our nature table)
* a permanent marker (to write on zip lock bags and other things)
* hand wipes
* a notepad
LEARNING WHEREVER WE GO
Most of the things I'm going to mention here are self-explanatory but I thought I'd share photos and bullet points with you. Feel free to ask questions if you need more information.
Hospital waiting room.
Due to chronic illnesses in our family, we have spent a fair bit of time in hospitals or in specialist waiting rooms. Before homeschooling I would have felt it was slack to 'drag kids around' places but now I see that it really is an opportunity for them to practice important skills (that to be honest many of us adults struggle with!) in patience, autonomy and self-regulation.
Often on these days, the kids will have the chance to pack quiet activities that they can do independently and that are easy to take with us in a little bag that each child is responsible for. In this photo, Zippi had taken her recipe book and her Billy B Brown book and copied out the ginger bread recipe she'd read (and cooked the day before). She also packed pencils, a sharpener and eraser.
Another time, Zippi had to go to the fracture clinic and of course this meant we all went together. The kids took their work, snacks and screens - and I'm glad we did because we had to wait to for a lonnnnnnnng time for this one. They all did really well. A little bit of planning helped them be prepared and they enough to keep themselves occupied while there.
WAITING FOR FOOD IN CAFES On this day (above) we had gone to Canberra. While waiting for food, our (very active kiddos) have learned to take something with them to occupy their busy hands. Often it's a pack of cards (below) but on this day it was pencils and clipboards with colouring in sheets printed at home.
VISITING WITH A FRIEND
Sometimes we have even taken fold up chairs, canvas boards and oil pastels with us to a friend's house. The kids had a great time sketching the landscape while I chatted and enjoyed a much needed cuppa with my friend.
MAKING THE MOST OF IT
Below, we took collapsible easels, paints and canvasses to a lookout to paint the morning away after reading about other 'en plein' artists.
PRACTICAL & PORTABLE RESOURCES
I'm always on the lookout for little resources, manipulatives and books that are interactive but can be easily taken with us. We store these items in our 'learning cupboard' and then can grab them at a moment's notice. This little wooden maths set didn't come with a lid so we just popped it into a big zip lock bag.
READ ALOUD PICNICS
One of the easiest ways to make our learning portable is to continue with the read alouds (which have been reading at home) on the road. Sometimes, I'll download the audio version of the book for something different or I'll just grab the book from our read aloud basket. Keeping the books in one place helps us because as we are rushing out the door I might ask one of the kiddos to quickly go and grab our current read aloud and pop it into my handbag. Sometimes, (if I'm organised and we feel like it) we will print off sheets that go with the read aloud so the kids have something busy to do with their hands while I'm reading. Our fave thing is to read while we enjoy a picnic. Packing snacks or easy peasy lunch foods helps minimise stress (and expense!!!) for a big family when we are on the move.
In this photo above, Dad is reading aloud while the kids enjoy a picnic lunch at a neighbouring town after we'd visited their art gallery and library.
TIME AND SPACE TO EXPLORE AND PLAY
Of course, something we always have with us is a willingness to allow space and time (when we can!) to the kids to play, explore, engage their curiosities, ask questions about what they are experiencing or observing. Even on the way home, I'll often ask a question like, "what was your favourite part of the day?" or "why did not enjoy that exhibition?" and we will discuss (orally narrate) their responses.
CREATE THE CONVERSATIONS
In the car, you might think about learning in terms of conversations, listening to music, quiet time (with noise cancelling headphones when required), audio books and podcasts, playing word games, portable board games (that are specifically made for cars and movement!)
Although this hasn't been a very thorough walk through all the things you could do with learning on the go, I hope you can see that with a little forethought, learning can indeed be portable, engaging and a great investment in the character of your child and your relationship with them.
If you have tried or do try any of these things, I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a comment and let me know.