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Old 09-20-2006, 05:03 PM   #1
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Home Schooling on the road

I have read a couple of threads that had to do with subjects that included home schooling but I didn't get a good sense of how many people here are doing it. I don't have an Airstream (yet) and I don't have kids (yet), but my girlfriend schools her kids and she is as enamored with a possible part-time life on the road as I am. We would like to take a trailer out for possibly a month at a time (or more if we can take the conefinement with little ones) and are wondering how it is working out for those courageous souls who can camp, school, live, and even work in their silver palaces.
I also forgot to mention I plan on possibly taking working "vacations" this way. It is one of the main reasons for doing this.

Trying to do too much at one time,
Brent
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Old 09-20-2006, 05:08 PM   #2
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Hi Brent,

Have you checked out Rich Luhr's blog? www.tour.airstreamlife.com/weblog
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Old 09-20-2006, 05:26 PM   #3
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Hi Brent,
An other source for information on "home on the road" schooling is the Sailboat Cruising crowd. I don't have a link handy, but there are several sources for home schooling supplies and curicula.

Aaron
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Old 09-20-2006, 06:59 PM   #4
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Home Schooler

Quote:
Originally Posted by at_wanderer
I have read a couple of threads that had to do with subjects that included home schooling but I didn't get a good sense of how many people here are doing it. I don't have an Airstream (yet) and I don't have kids (yet), but my girlfriend schools her kids and she is as enamored with a possible part-time life on the road as I am. We would like to take a trailer out for possibly a month at a time (or more if we can take the conefinement with little ones) and are wondering how it is working out for those courageous souls who can camp, school, live, and even work in their silver palaces.
I also forgot to mention I plan on possibly taking working "vacations" this way. It is one of the main reasons for doing this.

Trying to do too much at one time,
Brent
We have children, an Airstream and we home school. We lived in the Airstream while our home was built.
Be prepared for 12-14 year old high school graduates, well behaved (well, relatively), active in the community and at peace with themselves.
The younger the better for traveling. I believe teenagers need one location to call home but my teenagers are in Florida right now. They are on a home schooling adventure with the Grandparents.
R
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Old 09-20-2006, 09:44 PM   #5
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Homeschool and Airstream...two of my favorite subjects!

We have homeschooled our older daughter for 4 years and just recently began to homeschool our 4 year old. Although, we don't *homeschool on the road* per se, one of our goals was to incorporate travel into our curriculum whenever possible. To that end, we have spent almost 70 nights *on the road* since we purchased our CCD about 18 months ago.


And I strongly agree with fastrob...homeschooled kids (in my humble experience) are generally well-mannered, well-rounded kids who come from homes where the parent(s) are active and concerned participants in their lives. . . . . .not social outcasts like the media tries to perpetuate.

Good luck on your research and decision!

Randi
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Old 09-21-2006, 01:20 PM   #6
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I have homeschooled all my children from preschool on up to high school. I am expecting my tenth child in 6 weeks or so.

We have moved several times, because we fix old houses up to resell, and also have built several. In between houses, we have lived in an Airstream I have owned ( I also like to fix trailers, they are EASY EASY compared to a whole gutted 150 year old house!). I feel that even though we have moved a ton, the fact that "school" was always consistent helped stabilize their lives. That and the fact I really never move out of the area where Grandparents and church are. So I have homeschooled in the Airstreams many times. It was nice because I could take a vacation when everyone else went back to school so places we went were not so crowded. Our whole family was able to go with Dad when he got transferred from MI to Texas for a couple months, all the school books went along, though we stayed in a extended stay motel that time. I put each child's school books and supplies in individual small Rubbermaid totes so it was easier to keep it all organized, especially when traveling. There is also great computer school out there, which eliminates a lot of teacher time and is very easy to take along when you travel. Plus, if you see a neat museum, you can stop and do a field trip!

I feel homeschooling, whether on the road or not, needs to be the parent's choice. Some people are thrilled with it, some people just do it because they feel it is very important, and some people put their children in public or private school because they feel just as strongly that their choice is best for their child. It should be parental choice where their children are schooled, and not the government. AND people who don't care, who have truant children that would NOT be in school anyway, should not be labeled "homeschoolers" by the media! True homeschoolers are sacrificing their lives and careers to give their children an excellent education, without costing anyone tax dollars!

The main benefit is that my children are very flexible. They can get along with any age person from babies to senior citizens, which blows the "socialization" theory to pieces. My gifted children are ahead a couple grades and score 97 to 99 percentile on the state tests. My learning disabled child can read, because I spent years teaching him one on one. My average children are happily average. In other words, you can tailor the schooling to the ability of each child, plus allowing them to pursue individual gifts, like music or art. Or fixing Airstreams!

An excellent resource that I recommend highly is Home School Legal Defense Association/ HSLDA, you can find them on the web. They keep track of each state's regulations for homeschooling, as well as a myriad of other helpful services and support. DON'T homeschool without joining HSLDA!
They are crucial to keeping the homeschooling movement legal and family friendly.

I hope that gives you a resounding YES! You can homeschool and have an Airstream too! Though it is really hard to fit them all when you get to ten children.....
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Old 09-21-2006, 05:17 PM   #7
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Froggies,

Almost 10 kids? What type of Airstream do you have? Sounds like you need a bunkhouse on wheels!

Everyone here is telling me the same things my girlfriend has been saying about homeschooling. It also seems to me that homeschoolers are very ready to defend their choice. I think that is needed given the "public view" of homeschooling. I also believe if you are to do a good job of it you need to be passionate enough to be ready to tell the world why you have made this choice.

However, I need no convincing of the benefits of homeschooling. I have already decided to raise my future kids this way. What I needed to know are some of the logistical things you told me about like how to travel with all the implements. I am really wondering how all of us (probably 4 to 5) will fit for extended periods of time with the kids doing their work and me doing my job. I'm not sure this is possible to do in 240 sq. ft.

Of course the space planning for the renovation is up to me. I am currently rebuilding my own house and getting ready to take my state board exams for my architect's license.

I have also been researching threads for mobile offices. Fitting so many activities into "one" space that has to be converted back to "living" at night is probably the biggest design challenge I have had in my career. Come to think of it I may propose this to some of the Architecture professors I know to see if they would give it to their students for an assignment! It would be fun to see what they come up with that I haven't thought of.

My Airstream will be the epitome of the "Live / Work" space!
If I ever get around to buying it, that is.

Brent
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Old 09-21-2006, 06:39 PM   #8
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My current Airstream is a 1978 Argosy 27 foot which is for sale. We fixed it, and have camped in it, but it is too small. We do need a bunkhouse, in fact I have that in the classified that I would trade for one!

The easiest for us to fit in was a 1986 Excella, I believe it was 34 foot long. It had a front couch with pullout table, a dinette in the middle across from the kitchen, mid-bath, and a rear bedroom. Kids did school at the dinette and the front table, or outside at a picnic table. Had an awning, very important! Little kids played outside as much as possible, or watched a video in the rear bedroom. Naptime, little kids went onto the rear bedroom. You could close the screen door thing to shut off the back, but could still get to the bath. At night, the rear bedroom became ours, the dinette held two kids,and the front couch held 3 lying sideways. I had all boys at this point, which made it a ton easier. I have a porta crib which I set up and took down for the baby. We lived in the Excella from July to October, at which point the house we were gutting was ready to move into. Make sure the unit has TONS of storage area. Very important is the bath had a nice tub in it. I had to grocery shop every couple days. Most of our possesions were packed away. All children had their own individual duffle bag with three sets of clothes. These bags got stuffed in a pile every day in the rear bedroom. We used sleeping bags for children, which got rolled up and thrown back there too. All the pillows went on the bed, and they enjoyed playing with the pillows many times. I only had basic kitchen tools, like electric frypan and one other stove/oven safe pan.

Since then, I have gotten ONE girl, but all the rest including the one to come are boys. I would not want to live in a trailer again unless it had a slideout to make more floorspace. I am not sure how to implement working space, though I have seen trailers with built in desks. You would have to almost custom make a type of computer hutch thing with lots of space for work stuff. Something where the work surface folds down for day, up for night maybe.

Just some ideas of how we did it. Hope it helps!
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Old 09-21-2006, 06:51 PM   #9
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Some more ideas, now that I am remembering that time in my life:

Limit toys. Have to be toys that can be recreated, like dupos, potato heads, etc. Skip the one use toys for traveling. Only get out one set of toys at a time, and rotate so they don't get as bored. Park as close to the playground as possible if in a campground. Ditto for bathrooms, unless you have full hookups. Have a very set schedule. We get up at a certain time, eat at a certain time, school, recess...you get the idea. We also have a book time where EVERYONE has to sit and read(whether they can yet or not) quietly. Takes a while to train little ones to sit, but if older sibling reads to them and then they look at picture books. We have a 15 passenger van, capable of pulling whatever, and we take one seat out for storage of Rubbermaid type totes that are labeled with what I did need but not every day. They stack, they can be left outside in the rain, etc. I LOVE those plastic totes!
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Old 09-21-2006, 08:17 PM   #10
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We also homeschool. Our kids (15 and 12) are 'normal' and are socially well adjusted. They know the value of hard work. We had an Airstream for several years. We did take short trips and do some homeschooling. No extended trips. We did try to make the trips educational. We also called some of the days 'school days' (to keep up with the 180 days of schooling required in Florida). Our longest stint was three weeks while relocating. It was slightly cramped in a 34.5' with two adults and two kids.
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Old 09-21-2006, 08:17 PM   #11
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Thanks Froggies,

Your info is valuable to me.
My father is currently looking for a "vintage" bus of some type.
He says he found one for you in Tennessee. It is a 1969 Eagle w/ 9 bunks, about 35 ft.
$34,000 obo. I have more info on it if you need it.

Are you looking for anything else to get around in?

Brent,
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Old 09-23-2006, 03:25 PM   #12
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Thanks Brent, but that is way out of my price range! I prefer to pull a trailer, as when you go somewhere, you can park it and use the tow vehicle to get around. It is coming up on winter here in Michigan, so I really only want to sell what I have if possible and look around in the spring after I get through this pregnancy...

Glad the suggestions are helpful!
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Old 04-29-2007, 10:49 AM   #13
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Homeschooler and newbie Airstreamer

You will not regret the time you invest in your children. We are homeschooling our 8 and 11 year old boys, with the exception of private school while living in Portugal we have always homeschooled. We just bought a 2000 34' Limited. Plenty of room, but I'm sure, we may have a tough time fitting into the close spaces at some state parks. We'll see how it goes. My husband is a pilot and has one week on and one week off. Then, we also have three, three week breaks, so roadschooling here we come! Can't wait to get going! We will start with 2 weeks in May to Pensacola, Aviation Museum just one of the things we'll do. We are newbies to the airstream and towing, so this forum has been valuable so far. We are however not newbies at homeschooling so please feel free to ask any questions when ever you like. The curriculum I use is called Sonlight, sonlight.com, you can teach several grades/levels together for most all subjects. Reading good books aloud to your kids is one of the best things you can do for them. So glad there is a thread here for us. I wondered if I would find any like minded folks. So glad I have. Good luck to you all and keep us posted on your travels and learning. The whole world is your classroom.
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Old 04-29-2007, 01:01 PM   #14
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Welcome Roadschooler!

Always glad to hear from other homeschoolers.

We used Sonlight's PreK program this past year with our youngest. The literature component was a strong selling point for us, too. We thoroughly enjoyed most of the selections. Our preferred curriculum is K12...but they don't yet offer a pre-K program. We homeschool year round; although in the summer, we only work until noon. This keeps the skills fresh and we can follow rabbit trails when they present themselves.

Your schedule sounds perfect for making the world your classroom. If we ever hit the lottery, we would take our school on the road, too. Please keep us updated on your adventures.

Randi
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