The Essential Guide to Travel Schooling: Educating Your Kids While Seeing the World
Recent studies report that more families are now choosing to homeschool than ever before! While this can seem stress-inducing for many, homeschooling can offer a lifestyle of freedom to explore interests, cultivate relationships, and give you the time to explore the world as you do so!
If you're a new homeschooler or even a veteran homeschooler who would like to branch out and spend more time traveling, here's everything you need to jump into the wondrous world of travel schooling!
WHAT is Travel Schooling?
Travel schooling can look different for each family, but at its core, it's schooling your children away from home in new destinations. Some variations of travel schooling are:
Road Schooling - Families who purchase or rent RV's and enjoy extensive road trips - either preplanned or spontaneously stopping along the way in interesting locations.
World Schooling - Families who decide to leave their home behind and spend months, or even years, traveling from place to place around the world. Rental houses are a popular choice and many choose to stay in one location for a few months, before changing to a new place for another few months - and so on.
While both of the above options are amazing and incredible experiences, I'm sure, I'll be focusing on the less permanent form of travel schooling - simply put: vacationing for a short period of time while continuing to enrich your trip with educational components.
HOW to Travel School
How much "school" you add to your travel is completely up to you - and believe me, even if you aren't actively teaching your kids, they'll be continuously learning from the sites, sounds, food, and people of each new place you visit (read more about why it's so important for kids to travel HERE).
Here are 5 general ideas of what travel schooling MIGHT look like for you:
1. A luxury rental home out west situated near the National Parks
Read a geology book over breakfast learning about the formation of mountains over time. Pack a lunch and head out on a hike - along the way use your compass to learn about directions. Don't forget your binoculars to view new birds and wildlife all around you.
Help your child pick one animal they saw and look up additional information online. Depending on the child's age, they could draw or paint a picture of the animal and create a small essay about that animal.
Spend the evening on your patio, by the fire, or soaking in your private hot tub before heading in for a good night's rest. *Subjects covered: reading, geology, biography, geography, art, language arts, PE
2. Beachside Resort in Charleston
Grab your coffee and the 'school-in-a bag' pack (I love Scout brand totes for this - they're sturdy, lightweight, and won't break even when filled with heavy books). Head out to your balcony overlooking the water and hammer out your '3-R's': reading, writing, and arithmetic lessons. If it has to be done may as well be with great views!
Then spend the remainder of your day playing and learning at the same time. Splash in the pools, walk the beach to discover sea life, or head into the historical town of Charleston to walk into the past. Spend a day exploring nearby National Park, Fort Sumter, a seaside fortification build in the wake of The War of 1812, and is the location of the first fired shots in the Civil War. At Boone Hall Plantation you can visit a plantation and tour gardens and slave cabins. End your evening with a bedtime story highlighting some of the historical sites you've been visiting. Depending on your child's age, some great read-aloud book options we've loved in the past (below are affiliate links, which help our family to purchase more books, as well!):
*Subjects covered: math, reading, writing, history, science, PE
3. Costa Rica with Adventures by Disney
If you're looking to completely immerse yourself in a new culture, foods, and nature with your kids, Adventures by Disney (ABD) is unlike any other family vacation. You'll explore the rainforest, breathtaking coastline, rugged mountains, and exotic wildlife of this Central American paradise while learning and making lifelong memories.
Any Adventures by Disney trip is a completely done-for-you option - all the details of your trip - from the hotels to the food, to the daily educational hands-on activities, created specifically for children - are prearranged for you with our vetted tour guides.
Just a few of the stand-out educational opportunities enjoyed on the ABD Costa Rica Adventure include:
Learn where chocolate comes from on your privately guided tour of the Cacao Rainforest where you will discover the secrets and origins of the Cacao tree—and chocolate!
Zipline and hike the rainforest with your very own adventure guide and learn about the rainforest habitat.
Stunning views and exploration of the Arenol Volcano
Dinner with fresh and local Costa Rican food and live local entertainment of music and dancing
While we absolutely love the Adventures by Disney Costa Rica trip, any of ABD's worldwide itineraries are incredible options for families who are looking for the easy, all-inclusive trip - plus, your kids will have so much fun they won't know they're learning so much.
*Subjects covered: Cultural Studies, Geography, History, Culinary Studies, Science, PE
4. Go 5 Stars with Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita
The equally luxurious and family-friendly Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, located on Mexico's western coast, recently announced their new Knowlege for all Seasons program and many other resorts are following suit - and we're pretty darn jazzed about it.
These educational support programs are designed to make homeschooling or virtual schooling a breeze through a variety of innovative resources:
Tech Hotline: available 24/7 to assist with any computer or iPad issues, as well as monitors, printers, scanners, or any other IT equipment you may need to be provided.
Study Buddies: Study buddies will help your kids with their virtual learning, or keep them on task with their schoolwork through educational supervision.
Study Cabanas: Beachside cabanas can be reserved and transformed into private work stations with ocean views. Each study cabana is outfitted with Wi-Fi, a TV monitor, headphones, a portable charger, a lap pad, and snacks such as fresh fruits, smoothies, and popsicles.
Worldschooling Classes – Special educational classes create fun opportunities for kids to learn about Mexico's history, cuisine, and culture. Topics include arts and crafts workshops, folkloric ballet lessons, history lessons about the culture of the indigenous Huichol people of Nayarit, Mexico, Spanish language lessons, hands-on marine biology lessons in the ocean, and outdoor sporting activities such as tennis, golf, and yoga.
We're in love with the private villas at the resort, providing a perfect space for the entire family. The three-, four- and five-bedroom hacienda-style villas and private beach homes offer unparalleled privacy. Features include private pools, patios and grilling areas, as well as daily access to a personal host who is dedicated to taking care of every detail throughout guests’ stays, from groceries upon arrival to special in-villa activities. For families who want to get away and relax (while still getting school done), it's the perfect opportunity.
*Subjects which can be covered: Virtual studies, cultural studies, arts & crafts, history, foreign language, biology, PE
5. Disney World offers a World of Learning
It's not only fun but educational, too! By intentionally visiting specific attractions and adding in some interactive and engaging tours, you'll have a full Disney vacation full of learning on-the-go.
Some examples of the educational options inside the parks include:
Visit the Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom to hear from each of the US presidents themselves in a presentation of realistic and life-size animatronics.
Venture into the savannah where you'll see wild animals and learn interesting facts about them from your experienced safari guide at Animal Kingdom.
At Epcot, use your STEM skills to design a vehicle, then hop in and test it out.
Film buffs will appreciate and be enthralled in the behind-the-scenes of modern movie making at Star Wars Launch Bay inside Hollywood Studios - you'll be inspired by the creativity, technology, and teamwork used to create these popular and much-loved films.
In addition, Disney offers educational youth programs designed specifically for groups of young learners focusing on dozens of topics like cultural awareness, physics, American history, animal care, and animation, and more.
And these are just the educational attractions at Disney - there's a whole world of tours and even special classes featuring animals, physics, cultures, and leadership. As an official Disney Travel Advisor, we're able to partner with Disney to create special group trips customized to your needs with block room discounts, contact us to learn more.
*Subjects covered: STEM, American History, Ecology, World History, Cultural Studies, Geography, Movie History, Biology
TIP: You DON'T need to worry about 'doing it all'.
You'll notice that the above Travel Schooling options include different subjects, and some include basic topics such as reading and math, while other options are more immersive and include mostly social studies or science topics. Here's your permission to leave math at home for a week and truly allow your kids to sink their teeth into new experiences, cultures, and fill their brain with new information. They will be fine, I promise.
Other times, you may feel it's best to keep up with daily math and language arts. I suggest tackling them early in the day while attitudes are good and the day is fresh! Then put it up and go explore.
Sounds Amazing, Right?!
We know recent times have been hard on families (we're balancing careers, school, and kids, too!). But the luxury of time and the opportunity to travel with your kids has never been greater. We're here to help you create educational, memorable, and most of all enjoyable vacations that will allow you to build connections and memories that will last forever.
Together, with my partners at Heather Christopher Travel Consulting, we're putting together Travel School Packages where we thoughtfully curate an educational guide including books, media resources, and hands-on activities to cultivate your child's wonder for travel, as well as knowledge about the destination you're visiting! To be used to prepare for your trip beforehand, or while on the go, the guide will be tailored to your children's ages, skill level, and interests.
As a veteran homeschooling mom, I started created educational units for my children 8 years ago. I have a passion for combining inspiring books, delicious foods, interactive activities, and travel to open up the world to kids. (Make sure you check out our awesome, free at-home adventure units HERE).
PLUS, we're also including one-on-one consultation sessions not only for your travel planning but for the educational component of your trip. Let us help you navigate travel schooling - whether it be an in-depth destination study or virtual learning on the go, we're here to ease your fears and bring relaxation and joy to your travel experience.
We'd love to help plan your perfect travel schooling vacation, contact us HERE! If you've never used a travel advisor before, we'd love to show you the difference working with a travel professional can make for your overall vacation experience (think: upgraded amenities, increased value, and a few extra surprises along the way).
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