Frequently Asked Questions About
with Diane Flynn Keith
Meet the Carschooling Expert
Diane Flynn Keith
Before she became a carschooling expert, Diane Flynn Keith was a homeschooling parent with a pair of antsy kids in the car. Now, 12 years later, Diane is a recognized voice nationally and internationally in education outside the traditional classroom walls.
When she and her husband, Cliff, decided to homeschool their two sons 12 years ago, there was a definitive void of information in this new field. She quickly sought out the “experts” in this field and, as she developed material and coached other parents, she began publishing www.Homefires.com – The Journal of Homeschooling, an online publication for parents and curriculum seekers at any level of homeschooling experience.
A featured writer for The Link, a national homeschool newspaper, Diane also is a popular speaker at education conferences and seminars where she often presents her Carschooling workshop.
Her book, Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities to Turn Travel Time into Learning Time – For Kids Ages 4 to 17, is available at your local bookstore or through http://www.carschooling.com.
Here are three examples of fun Carschool curriculum!
GEOGRAPHY – Game
The first player picks the starting geographical site, usually where your trip commences. If you start in Los Angeles, that ends with the letter S, so the next player has to think of a geographical location or thing (like a city, country, mountain range or a river) that begins with S. So perhaps then, she would say, San Francisco. That ends in an O, so the third geographical item then must begin with O. So the next player might say Oregon Trail. That ends with an L, so the next player says something beginning with an L — perhaps Lima, etc. The game ends when you run out of E’s and A’s or when you arrive at your destination. Anything geographical is fair game. You just can’t repeat items. Use mountain ranges, cities, landmarks, places (e.g. Arctic Circle, Antarctica,) continents, etc.
LANGUAGE ARTS – Game
Let your kids go fishing in the car! Give them a short dowel with a long string that has a magnet attached to it. Place magnetized letters and words into a shoebox under their feet. Tell them to fish for whatever will stick to the magnet on their dowel. When they catch a letter or word – tell them to read it out loud or use it in a sentence.
FOREIGN LANGUAGES – Game
We are studying Spanish so we like to practice when we are in the car. We pick a category like animals, numbers, colors, etc. Then we call out what we see in Spanish. For example, the category is “numbers.” We take turns spotting road signs with numbers on them (like mileage or speed limit signs) and saying the number in Spanish instead of English. Or if the category is “animals” and someone sees a cow – they say vaca instead of cow. It’s unbelievably fast moving, is worth a giggle or two, and has really helped us all improve.
There’s more at: http://www.carschooling.com/side-c.html
Q: What is Carschooling®?
A: Carschooling® is utilizing the time you spend traveling in the car to enhance your children’s education. By employing travel games, audio cassettes and CD’s, books-on-tape, and other resources you can practice spelling, hear classic literature, review math drills, learn state capitals and geography, listen to music, recite poetry, contemplate philosophy, improve vocabulary, tour the solar system, and much, much more. Engaging in Carschooling® leads to wonderful discussions while on the road with your family about shared learning experiences. Carschooling® provides a terrific alternative to car games like “Slug Bug” that drive parents crazy in zero to sixty seconds. So start Carschooling® and get on the real “Information Superhighway”!
Q: Do you have any suggestions for books-on-tape that will appeal to a wide age range (my kids are 5, 8, and 14)?
A: Oh, there are so many wonderful choices! My all-time favorite is Hank, The Cow Dog, a series of books-on-tape by John R. Erickson. There are over 30 stories on cassette (each available individually) about a cow dog named Hank who is the Head of Security on a Texas cattle ranch. Hank gets involved in one mysterious caper after another – like The Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse, The Case of the Fiddle-Playing Fox, and The Case of The Car-Barkaholic Dog. He regularly has run-ins with villainous types like Rip and Snort, two worthless coyotes who ply him with silage until he loses his senses and howls shamelessly at the moon. Pete, the Barn Cat, regularly steals Hanks food scraps rationed by the ranch owner’s wife, Sally Mae. She tolerates Hank because he once took a rattlesnake bite to the ear — saving her little boy. The ranch owner, Hi Loper, doesn’t seem to understand just how important Hank thinks he is to the smooth operation of ranch affairs – if he did, he’d certainly give him a new, non-flea-infested burlap bag to sleep on! As you can see, the cast of characters is vast and entertaining. You’ll actually look forward to: the country-western singing of Junior, the buzzard; the curious charms of Madame Moonshine, the owl gypsy best known for curing Hank’s case of eye-crosserosis; and the non-heroic antics of Drover, Hank’s less-than-steadfast dog pal. All characterizations and narration on these tapes are performed by the author, who brings his hilarious creations to life in side-splitting episode after episode. Kids of all ages love Hank because he’s funny. Adults appreciate the subtle humor and down-home insight each story provides. Tapes are $15.95/each and available from Audio Editions at 1-800-231-4261. May also be available at your local library.
Q: Can you suggest a car travel game for Math?
A: Wraps is new from Klutz Press! It’s an innovative and fun way to practice math skills. Kids match up math pairs by connecting them with a string that wraps around an entire booklet filled with pages of math problems that build skills in the various math strands while improving problem solving skills. To check answers you flip the book over to see if the wrapped string lines up with the answer key printed there. Wraps are grade-specific for Math (and Reading) for K-2. There’s an “Ouchless Multiplication” edition for ages 5-10 too.
Some of the best games, of course, are those that parents and kids invent themselves. Leslie Pitts, a homeschool mom in California offered this suggestion:
We used license plates in learning to round numbers. As we saw a car go by I challenged my son to ” Round that number to the nearest ten (hundred, etc).” He enjoys this form of practice because it’s like a game, and a speedy response is required because the cars go away so quickly.
Q: Can you recommend a product to use in the car for storage of kids pencils, paper, games, snacks, etc.?
A: One homeschool mom told me that she bought inexpensive, big, clear (see-through) plastic tubs with lids for each of her children to fill with their favorite car toys, games, cassettes, etc. She put their names on them and stored them in the trunk of her car. Each time they went on a road trip, before they got in the car, the kids looked through their tubs and pulled out the items they wanted to play with in the car. When they arrived at their destination, they put everything back in the tubs, so it would be there for the next trip.
Another parent recommended the Car Organizer offered by the Lillian Vernon catalog. This is a sturdy, nylon bag with 10 sealable pockets to fill with necessities for car trips that attaches to the back of the front seats of the car – so that the organizer faces riders in the back seat. They come in primary colors, wipe clean, and if you want to get fancy – you can even have them personalized. Cost: $12.98 Order them online at www.LillianVernon.com
Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities To Turn Travel Time Into Learning Time
Take the whine out of drive time with this collection of inventive and innovative car games that teach at the same time! Enhance your kids’ education with genuinely fun and enticing activities, resources and crazy games designed to improve their skills in math, science, history, reading, grammar, and more.
“You’ll be staggered by the ingenuity and imagination Diane Keith has captured in these pages. What a brain bath! What a wonderfully wacky book!”
– John Taylor Gatto, author of “Dumbing Us Down” & “The Underground History of American Education.”
“Carschooling takes the humdrum world beyond the windshield and turns it into math, history, languages, science and fun, creative games. You’ll never hear, ‘Are we there yet?’ again.”
– Odds Bodkin, Storyteller and Author
Carschooling E-Mail List
This free discussion group provides an opportunity to share and discuss resources for Carschooling. Each week, parents, kids and teachers check in to the Carschooling Group to build new highways of resources and games; accelerate activity implementation; and create fun detours on existing games within the Carschooling book. Even other educative modes and homeschooling issues and questions are discussed. To Join send a blank email to: [email protected]
Carschooling Website (www.Carschooling.com)
Visit the Carschooling Website for free games and resources to use in your carschooling road trips! While Carschooling is about using ideas and resources to help children and teens learn while on the road, it is also about doing activities that help families spend meaningful time together. At the Carschooling website you’ll find ideas for improving communication, building trust and good will, and bonding your family together in profound and heartfelt ways.
Carschooling is a federally Registered mark and is used with permission of the owner, Diane Flynn Keith.