Skip to content

Road-tested homeschool tips for people who never planned to homeschool

March 25, 2020
5 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

My husband and I never planned to homeschool our kids. We were always quick to proclaim we just weren’t “the type.” We thought we didn’t have the patience, the background and could never take that on. And then we found ourselves homeschooling our four kids while we traveled the U.S. and Canada with our family in an RV for more than a year.

It turns out, there is no homeschooling "type" and many of our fears were simply misconceptions.

As many of us face long-term school closures while we practice social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, I have some advice for fellow reluctant homeschoolers. The good news in this awful situation is that these tips should work not only now, but in the future, in case you decide to try out some road schooling once we are all free to move about the country.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

For the latest travel updates, bookmark TPG’s coronavirus hub page and sign up for our daily newsletter.

Photo credit: Jill Krause of HappyLoudLife.com
We learned in the RV and out in nature during our road school years. (Photo by Jill Krause of HappyLoudLife.com)

You day can start at any time

If your family doesn’t like to get up at 7 a.m. and start the day by 7:30 a.m., no worries. There's no early morning bus to catch anymore. You can start lessons at noon if you’d like. Or 5:30 a.m. if you are early risers. Kids can learn at any time of the day. Find your natural rhythm and don't be afraid to adjust your schedule if something isn't working. You don't need to force something just because you think that’s what your day should look like.

This is your school -- your rules.

Homeschool and traditional school are different

Homeschool and traditional school are markedly different in many ways. To me, the biggest is that it does not typically take seven hours a day to get through your homeschool lessons. We got through the educational portion of most of our days in two or three hours. Many weeks, we only devoted three or four days to our lessons. That gave us the chance to learn and enjoy where we were traveling around the country that week.

When you are solely dedicating time to teaching lessons -- and you don’t have to count transitioning a whole class from one subject to another, from the classroom to the lunchroom, etc. -- work naturally gets done quicker. You also likely only have a handful of students (or less) and not the 20 to 30 that are in a traditional classroom.

Let your kids show you how they focus best

It may take a few days, but keep a close eye on which environments work for them. You may find that letting your tween do his work in his bed is a terrible idea, but that he does great on the front porch swing. Some kids may need a dedicated learning space, like a desk or table. Others may thrive being able to get up and change the scenery throughout the day. Homeschool can and should look different for everyone.

Home work in the RV
(Photo courtesy of Jill Krause)

Curiosity will lead to learning

While structure is important and needed for some kids and families, kids also learn plenty when left with their curiosity and some encouragement from you. Encourage deep dives into their favorite subject. Let questions turn into research projects. Even if kids are focusing on what seems like only one subject, they will still employ math, writing, research and reasoning skills.

Also, it's not the end of the world if on any given day they are only doing one subject. Think of it like getting toddlers to eat -- the goal is mostly balanced nutrition (er, education) over a week or so. What happens on any one given day is just a part of that overall picture.

Online resources to use

Your child’s school may have plans in place to set up online distance learning. If not, here are some online resources we used for homeschooling on the road:

If you like printing out free worksheets for the younger grades (with answer sheets for you), K-5 Learning has you covered.

Bottom line

We homeschooled our kids for two school years while living on the road, and spent the majority of that time feeling like we had no idea what we were doing. Despite that, our kids tested back into public school this year at appropriate grade levels and they’ve been thriving.

This is a really uncertain and scary time for all of us. Education will always be important, but it doesn’t have to be a major stressor for you and your family right now. Focus on keeping learning fun and creative. The rest will fall into place.

Featured image by Getty Images

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases