FAQ: Homeschool Car Schooling

April 13, 2021
Written by:
Jamie Gaddy

Do you find yourself constantly driving your kids to co-ops, music lessons, field trips, sports, and more?

Is your homeschooling time feeling restricted by all the time in the car? 

This is where “roadschooling” comes in!

Roadschooling is also known as travel schooling. The premise is simple: take advantage of the drive-time for homeschooling! Instead of just listening to the radio while your kids sit there, blankly gazing outside the window, you can use this time for education. In short, roadschooling is homeschooling while traveling.

Roadschooling Games By Subject

History — Try to name all the U.S. presidents by matching a letter on a license plate or sign with a president’s last name! This game can be made easier or more challenging depending on the ages of your kids.

Geography — 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 — 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.

Math — One of my favorites is a handheld booklet game from Klutz Press called “Wraps.” It’s an innovative multiplication game for having fun while practicing math skills. Kids match up math pairs by connecting them with a string around a booklet. “Wraps” has pages of fun problems for building math skills.

Another fun idea involves learning how to round numbers with license plates. As cars pass, have your child round the license plate number to the nearest ten/hundred/thousand, and so on. It’s a fun, fast-paced game to keep kids interested.

Science — Take turns spotting the types of clouds in the sky. E.g. cirrus, lenticular, cumulus, etc. If it’s a clear sky, perhaps spot the types of trees and foliage instead. This could be as simple as “flower/cactus/tree” to “deciduous tree/moss/ivy/pine tree,” and so on. This game is easily customizable for the available botany, zoology, weather, astronomy or other science-related option during your car ride.

Foreign Languages — 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.

Roadschooling Q&A

  • What’s Roadschooling?

Roadschooling is utilizing the time traveling in the car for your children’s education. With travel games, audiobooks, music, or car DVDs, your kids can cover spelling, classic literature, math drills, state capitals, geography, poetry, vocabulary, astronomy, and more! Roadschooling leads to wonderful discussions with your family.

  • Do you know of any audiobooks for a wide age range?

There are many wonderful choices! My all-time favorite is Hank the Cowdog, a series of books (or audiobooks) by John R. Erickson. This series has numerous stories about a cowdog named Hank who’s “the Head of Ranch Security” on a Texas cattle ranch. Hank gets involved in one mysterious caper after another. For the audiobook versions, the author himself performs all of the narrations. Kids and adults alike love this funny and insightful series.

For other ideas, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and The Boxcar Children are classic choices!

    • How do you store road schooling supplies?

    Here’s an idea: purchase inexpensive, clear plastic tubs with lids for each child. Label the tubs and pack them individually with favorite car toys, games, movies, drawing tablets, etc. Depending on your car, you could store these tubs in the trunk, back of the car, or on the floor. Before a road trip, your kids can select a few items for the trip. Finally, at the end of the trip, store everything in the tubs again so they are ready for the next time.

    Another great idea is simply purchasing car organizers for kids. There are plenty on Amazon in various styles. Generally, these organizers have several pockets and cup holders. As your search, look for organizers made from nylon so you can easily wipe them down or wash them. As parents, we know messes are inevitable!

    More Information About Roadschooling and Carschooling

    Homeschooling mom, Dianne Keith, wrote a great resource full of ideas on how to make Carschooling work for families traveling. Find her book about Carschooling here.

    Check Out Our Related Articles

    Jamie Gaddy

    Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been a college education professor for over 17 years. Education has been a part of her life in both the classroom and as a principal. Six children later found her dissatisfied with traditional school and homeschool became the better fit. She is also a pastor’s wife, editor, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children in Georgia. Jamie loves to share about her homeschool experience to help other homeschoolers find success. Connect with her at [email protected].