More and more families are homeschooling their kids. But that doesn’t have to be done at home. For those with an RV, or those thinking about buying one, here’s the complete guide on how to homeschool in an RV.
Homeschooling in your RV, also known as Roadschooling, simply requires that you follow the guidelines of your state (where you legally reside), find an approved curriculum to follow, create a schedule to follow, and ensure you have access to WiFi for reporting.
But I feel like there is a lot more that needs to be said about homeschooling your kids in an RV.
So, in this article, we are going to not only answer all of your questions but are going to give you our first-hand experience.
For everything you need to know about homeschooling your kids in an RV, keep reading.
We didn’t realize when we hit the road in our #RV we would be roadschooling 🚎 📝 in the future
Today we are teaching our children through museums in the cities we visit!
2018 is our official year through the school system of unschooling! #rvlife #vanlife #rvfamily #rvlife pic.twitter.com/9H2wj0mpOw
— Sandra & Luis (@1stclassRVad) May 29, 2018
What is Roadschooling?
Roadschooling is homeschooling for people who travel extensively or full-time. It is the same concept as homeschooling and follows the same guidelines as homeschooling children at home.
The name “Roadschooling” might actually be misleading.
The name implies that you are being schooled while traveling on the road, but that’s not really accurate.
I say the term “Roadschooling” is not very accurate because most of the time, you will find that people have a schedule that prioritizes their children’s education first.
And so, most of the time, they won’t be on the road during the scheduled study hours.
Now, there are obviously times where schooling will have to be done while driving, but most of the time, you will be parked at your RV campgrounds or wherever you are staying at any given point.
1st #roadschooling adventure — where was (or will be!) your destination? pic.twitter.com/ux6wPhiAjr
— Roadschooling (@RoadschoolFams) November 18, 2019
How do you homeschool and travel in an RV?
The most important thing you need when homeschooling your kids in an RV is a state-approved curriculum, structure, and a set schedule. Plan to be parked during set school times, and have access to good WiFi.
But flexibility based on location is part of the allure of roadschooling.
Once you have a structure in place, you can work according to that structure and base your activities around it as well.
The two most important things you need to form a structure are a routine and a dedicated space where the kids study. If you don’t have space in your RV for a dedicated study, that is ok.
In fact, a lot of people don’t have enough space to make a dedicated study space.
There is so much that you can do if you don’t have a dedicated space, and so many parents do things differently. For example, while you are driving, you could say that the dedicated space is the breakfast table.
While you are not moving, one of the best things you can do is have a few pieces of equipment that you set up outside of the RV, such as tables, chairs, a whiteboard, and almost anything else you would need.
Your kids can study outdoors, and as long as you keep an eye on them, they should be good.
Treat all adventures and activities as a way to learn
One of the best things about Roadschooling is that your kids aren’t stuck within the confines of four walls while sitting behind a desk for the majority of the day and week.
They are on a constant field trip where they can learn new things and experience places first hand. Going to the zoo, exploring new cities, taking a hike, and exploring landmarks are all great opportunities for your kids to learn.
Try and make sure that wherever you go and whatever you do, the kids have a notepad. Take as many pictures as possible.
It creates opportunities for them to create projects based on places they visited.
@marcuslemonis #campingworld #rv I own a home health agency. Business is a disaster. Home schooling an 8th header. She’s a lovely young lady and very business savvy. Watch your show together We love shopping @CampingWorld what more do I say! Pick us! pic.twitter.com/uuNbI05QC1
— Silly, I’m the Pres🌟 (@BrightStarSLOCA) May 12, 2020
Can I get money from the state for homeschooling in an RV?
Most states in the US offer tax credits as remuneration for parents of children being homeschooled. Not all states provide this, but most do.
Before we get into this section, you most definitely want to check with the state that you live in. This is a very complicated subject, so you want to make sure that you do as much research as possible.
In states like California, there are charter schools that receive money and pass that money on to you.
They act as an umbrella school.
They take attendance and deal with a lot of the bureaucracy that comes with not only homeschooling your kids but getting paid for it as well.
So check with the Department of Education in your state, or ask in homeschool Facebook groups local to your state.
Using red, white & blue peanut M&Ms for math this morning! #monthofjoy #roadschooling #Homeschooling pic.twitter.com/3c6nBfcOUl
— Kimberley Linkletter (@misskimmy13) May 30, 2017
How can I start homeschooling immediately in my RV?
To get started homeschooling in your RV, first check the laws in your state, find an approved curriculum you want to follow, set a schedule and guidelines, ensure you have access to WiFi, and purchase the necessary supplies.
But let’s look at each of those in greater detail:
Check the laws of your state
We are going to discuss this in a little bit more depth later on in this article. However, it is important that you check the laws regarding homeschooling in your state.
Find a curriculum that suits your family needs
It is not only vital that you find a curriculum that suits you, your plans, and the needs of your children.
Also, you need to find a curriculum that allows for flexibility. Having flexibility is critical when you do Roadschooling. With all of that being said, you can adapt most curriculums to your needs.
A curriculum that acts as more of a guideline while offering everything your kid needs is your best bet. Once you have gone through this article, I recommend doing some research on the K12 Online High School Program.
If you are looking for a free program, check out Khan Academy.
Create a schedule
The thing about homeschooling in an RV is that it is not always possible to stick to a schedule. However, it is vital that you create one. In that schedule, you want to account for activities.
The schedule should also include almost everything from what time your kids should start learning, when the time for breaks is, and when they should stop studying. Over time you will learn the pace at which your kids learn and then base the schedule accordingly.
Finally, it should be created at least a week in advance.
However, it is best if you make a schedule at least a month in advance. When it comes to homeschooling in an RV, not everything will go to plan. Therefore, do not be afraid to adjust the schedule when you have to.
Create a set of rules
Some kids don’t really need rules.
They just get on with their work and do what they have to do. For some kids, things are different. Not all kids are the same, and it is best to create a set of rules for those who need them. This is not the same as a schedule, even though one of your rules should be to follow the schedule.
A set of rules can include simple things such as no listening to music while studying and no watching TV while studying. How strict you make and enforce the rules depends on you and your parenting/teaching style.
Here is a list of rules that you could use for your kids:
- No checking your phone while studying, especially social media.
- No listening to music while studying (This is subjective, some kids study better with music).
- No watching TV during school hours.
- All the work for the day should be done before engaging in recreational activities.
- All assignments must be completed on time.
Buy the supplies
Next, you want to buy the supplies. After that, you should be ready to start homeschooling your children while you are traveling the country.
Here is a list of supplies that you might need for Roadschooling.
Please remember that there might be some things on the list that you don’t need, and some are age-specific.
At the same time, there might be things that we didn’t account for because we cannot account for everyone’s needs.
- Paint and paintbrushes
- Books (Lined)
- A laptop
Then you also need to start getting supplies for you, the teacher.
This can include simple things such as a stapler, a few pens, a marker, a hole punch, files, folders, and whatever you think that you are going to need.
Three things that are essential if you want your Roadschooling experience to be successful are a whiteboard, a laptop/PC, and a printer/scanner.
Today we did a little tour of Lerch RV for a home schooling program! Hope you guys had fun, we sure did! pic.twitter.com/NVgl6C0Mxq
— LerchRV (@LerchRV) October 12, 2017
How many hours a day should I spend homeschooling?
Start homeschooling 4 days per week for 3 hours per day. Without the distractions of school and friends, the curriculum can go much faster in a small, focused environment. Adjust based on the performance of the child.
Regardless of whether you are conducting your homeschooling in an RV or not, it is important to remember that every kid is different.
On top of that, you need to consider that your needs are not the same as the next family’s needs.
While using that schedule, you can assess whether or not it is working for you and your kids. It is important to remember that our recommendation accounts for academic studies such as Math, Science, etc.
You can spend the rest of the day and the rest of the week teaching your kids by doing activities. Remember, going to the zoo, landmarks, or exploring cities is all part of their education.
So, while it may seem that your kids are supposed to study from Monday to Friday for 5 to 6 hours a day, that schedule should not apply to you, or at least it doesn’t have to.
When your kids get older, they can spend more time studying independently. In fact, most parents say that their kids often spend more time studying their core subjects as they get older.
Roadschooling is the best! Now, it’s time for an adventure!#MarksNParks #changingtheview #rvlife #adventure pic.twitter.com/PSfeOmLUpZ
— Brennan (@MarksParks) October 10, 2019
Is there an official RV homeschool organization?
There aren’t any formal RV homeschool organizations. There are, however, forums and roadschooling Facebook groups to join, which can provide both information and a sense of community and meet-ups.
Facebook groups are a great place to gather information and to keep in touch with like-minded people.
So check out this Facebook group I like – https://www.facebook.com/RoadschoolingFamilies/
Other than that, you can find a wealth of resources online. Basically, you won’t have to feel like you are on your own.
Learning on the road: today was history as we visited the temples of the Moon and Sun, built by the Moche people (100-800AD). T looking out towards the un excavated Temple of Sun with the modern city of Trujillo behind. #peru #worldscooling #roadschooling #rutadelostchiu pic.twitter.com/TffP20KEmC
— Katherine Chiu (@KathChiu) October 13, 2018
What are the Roadschooling laws?
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but every state has different laws pertaining to homeschooling in an RV. The strictest laws are in Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
Before you start teaching your kids, whether in an RV or at your home, you need to check with your state’s laws and regulations.
Some states have stringent laws, such as Pennsylvania, while others, such as Texas, have no laws. Here is a table that shows how strict the homeschooling laws are in each state.
|No notice required||Alaska, Idaho, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, New Jersey, Connecticut.|
|Low regulation||Montana, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Delaware.|
|Moderate regulation||Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, Mayland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, New Hampshire, Maine.|
|High regulation||Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island.|
New addition to Lightning our motorhome. Easy clean for when our plans change 😃 #RoadSchooling #vanlife pic.twitter.com/iL1yfcNS9e
— Nomadic Dad (@nomadic_dad) March 21, 2018
Do I follow the homeschooling laws of where we call home or where we are in our RV?
Plan to follow the homeschooling laws in your home state and not the state you are currently in unless you will be in a different state for 3 or more consecutive months.
This actually offers you some flexibility, here’s why:
If your child’s schooling is a priority and you want to make everything as seamless as possible, all you have to do is establish residency in a state that has very few regulations.
Establishing residency in a state like Oklahoma or Texas is perfect.
My family would love to teach our children around the country while roadschooling or homeschooling. My wife has been teaching 3 kids and it’s hard work. #family93 #csmpingworld #teamIntern pic.twitter.com/AHsAkQf4z7
— David Watson (@davidclyde13) October 19, 2020
What are the negative effects of homeschooling in an RV?
The biggest negative effect of homeschooling in an RV is that with constantly moving around, kids can never form a solid bond with new friends as they would if they stay in the same school for many years. And driving during school hours will also be challenging.
Of course, while traveling, your kids will meet a lot of people.
I should add that it is becoming easier for kids to communicate with their friends via social media and online gaming. Heck, my older 2 daughters probably spend more time with their friends on TikTok and Snapchat than they do in person.
This means that, in my opinion, this negative is becoming less relevant.
Homeschooling, in general, has a few negative effects. These are often to do with your kid’s social life.
However, I find that homeschooling your kids in an RV actually eliminates a lot of these negative effects. Let me explain.
For example, when kids are homeschooled, they often have less social life than most other kids.
This problem doesn’t really exist when doing this in an RV because your kids are constantly traveling with you and seeing new things, finding new places, and learning a lot.
I guess the most important thing that I want you to take away from this article is that not all families are the same.
It is great that you are doing as much research as possible. However, you need to approach this in a way that is best suited to you, your kids, and your family.
So, take everything that we say, use it, and when you start becoming more comfortable, you start to develop things in your own way.