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Do you find yourself dashing from place to place? I do at certain times of the year when my schedule picks up or when one of our cars breaks down and I have to take my husband to work. How do I home school while I’m running errands or traveling?

Today is a great example where my kids had to do school work in the car. My husband’s car broke down and he needed a ride to work. We have a regular tutoring appointment at 9 AM. In the afternoon, my kids have their running club that is far enough away that we have to drive. We also plan to pick up my husband from work. In all, I estimate that we’ll spend two hours of precious time in the car.

If we utilize the time in the car wisely, we’ll have more time available for free play and other activities. I’ve used these tips for about 6 years.

Printing

I use the k12.com curriculum for some of my kids’ subjects, which means my kids are in school online on a regular basis. I don’t have internet capabilities while I’m in the car. So I adapt. Our cyber school interface has an option that allows us to print activities that were meant to be done online. For instance, if my son has an online “checkpoint” (K12’s term for test, assessment, or quiz) I can still print it out and have him do it in the car. When I get home, I can enter in his scores.

See below for video instructions if you have k12.com:

Not all my kids have online lessons. I brought workbooks and plenty of pencils. My toddler had a coloring book and a pencil. I chose not to bring crayons because lost crayons in hot cars tend to melt and she’s too young for markers. She was happy.

Working on the Road

While I took my husband to work, my kids did their school work in the car. After that, I took my oldest two kids to their appointment that lasted about half an hour. I worked with my preschooler in his work book and read any confusing words that were on his printed out checkpoint to my first grade son.

By the time we got home, each child had at least 1 lesson done. We were in the car for about an hour: 45 minutes to my husband’s work and to the appointment, 15 minutes to get back home.

The key is to print out the online activities before hand and have the kids wait to do that lesson until you’re in the car so that your efforts aren’t wasted. Have them do the other lessons you’ve assigned that day before or after the car ride.

If they have book work to do, write down which pages they need to do. Go over any new material prior to getting into the car so that they can work independently.

Answering Questions While Driving:

Lastly, do not choose your kids’ hardest lessons to do in the car. Choose the activities that they can do mostly on their own.

If they get stuck on a problem that you need to look at, have them wait until you get somewhere that you can park. Other questions do not necessarily require that parents look at them, so kids can still ask questions while you’re driving as long as it’s not too distracting for the type of conditions you’re working with. I only answer questions that can be asked verbally while I am driving. Even then, I sometimes have to defer them until we can stop and I can look at the assignment myself.

If you really need to focus on the road, tell the kids before they ask their questions. The advance warning goes a long way. A situation where you probably should postpone answering questions would be when you’re driving in heavy traffic, bad weather, and/or a construction zone.

Conclusion

While having kids do their school work in the car isn’t always the optimal learning experience for kids, it is does allow home school parents to run errands, kids to have other activities, and increases the chances that you’ll reach your home school goals for the day. Learning how to do this when your schedule suddenly changes or when you have a few months worth of extra activities that occur on a regular basis will allow you to utilize the precious time spent on the road.

If you have any more ideas or questions about “How do I home school on the road?” I would love to read your comments.

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