Homeschooling on the Road

One of most difficult things our family faces week to week is a tough travel schedule for my husband.

One of the biggest blessings of homeschooling is that we often get to travel with him! However, this means we must learn how to best utilize our time homeschooling on the road.

Over the past several years of homeschooling, my husband’s job has taken us on several trips to Washington, D. C., Virginia (where we sneaked in trips to Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, Mount Vernon, and Monticello), Chicago, New York City, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Orlando, and many places all over the state of Kentucky.

 Yorktown, VA 026

While this is certainly a blessing, it can also be quite an interruption to a homeschool schedule. We could either be staunch in our planned studies or just roll with the flow. Because traveling is fun and just an amazing way to learn, we’ve chosen the latter. I’m really not much of a planner anyway.

It’s become well known among my peers that I can turn almost anything into a unit study, and so that’s exactly what we do when we are traveling. Whether or not you are afforded frequent opportunities to travel, or just an occasional blessing, here are some tips for homeschooling on the road, unit study style.

1. Find the historical places in the area where you will be visiting — state parks, the homes of historical figures, war sites, pioneer villages, state capitols, even old cemeteries — and plan field trips to one or more of them. Often these field trips will provide for amazing learning opportunities, as well as many rabbit trails.

2. Gather your kids together and learn about the state you’ll be visiting by getting out maps, checking out books from the library, and/or reading online. Create a lapbook filled with information about the state’s natural resources, geographical treasures, native plants and animals, state map and state flag. Homeschool Share is filled with free resources to help you.

3. Discover who might be famous in history from the state. See if you can find a biography of the person to read aloud on the road. For your older kids, do a literary analysis of the book, focusing on the character traits of this person.

4. Most states are famous for some kind of food dish — find out what the local favorite is where you’re visiting and either cook it before or after your trip. Even better — find a restaurant serving it while you’re there!

5. To keep up with the core subjects, be sure to bring along a backpack with math textbooks, notebooks, paper, pens and pencils, current reading list book and anything else you might need to keep on track. If you have a Kindle or iPad, bring those along as well.

Homeschooling on the road can be challenging, but I think you’ll find with using these tips you’ll have absolutely full homeschool days, and the learning will be deep and lasting!

 homeschooling on the road


Marcy CrabtreeMarcy spent nearly 15 years as an Ob nurse, sometimes juggling homeschooling with the job she calls her first ministry. Grateful that her main ministry today is at home, she has been married to Tom for 16 years, and is Ben’s proud momma. Her homeschool style is delight-directed with lots of unit studies, lapbooks and notebooks. She is greatly influenced by Charlotte Mason’s love of  living books. If she ever writes a book herself, it’s likely to be entitled, Homeschooling by the Field Trip Method.


  1. We just experienced homeschooling on the road this past week. It was challenging yet rewarding. Don’t know if I could handle doing it often! Great tips!

  2. I love your homeschool style, Marcy!

  3. We run into the same problems as we like to travel with my hubby, and our school stuff seems pretty easy to take along, but it is the activities the kids are enrolled in that prevent us from all going when he goes!

    • Marcy Crabtree says:

      we stay away from a lot of extra activities for that very reason! and what we do is flexible so it’s not a huge deal if we’re gone one week a month or so.

  4. I love working field trips into our travels! It’s so amazing what interests are sparked by being exposed to new experiences!

  5. This is a brilliant way to learn and will be remembered long after “usual” written work is forgotten.

  6. It’s so neat how every day outings and travel become learning experiences for our children. We don’t do unit studies but just take the learning as it comes. Our daughter is so fascinated by everything. And if it has animals or bugs all the better.

    • Marcy Crabtree says:

      that’s true here, as well. animals are my boy’s favorite! you can learn so much about a state or country by learning about it’s native animals, too!

  7. We have done TONS of field trips for school while traveling! Sometimes we purposely plan them into the trip, sometimes they just happen. One thing we always do is have a literature book for each girls for those ‘in-between’ times. Whether or not it is based on the location, it keeps them from asking to watch tv in the hotel…and from too many “how much further” questions in the car.

  8. These are some good ideas. Even though we didn’t make it all about school, I did some of these things when we recently visited Disney. I looked ahead for the more educational things and then made sure we spent some time there. 🙂

    I have found Geocaching to be a great way to tie in some education while traveling. Often caches are hidden in places rich with history, and you can learn quite a bit reading about the area where the cache is hidden. When taking time to find the cache, we often slow down and see things we wouldn’t have.

    • Marcy Crabtree says:

      geocaching is something we have not tried. but we are going to Disney soon and I’ve been scouring Pinterest for learning ideas!

  9. Our family doesn’t get to travel often, but when we do we like to try to fit in some learning related to where we are going. I will never forget how skeptical my parents were about our homeschooling during our first year. We happened to schedule a trip with them and the kids wowed them with their knowledge of the area and the history of where we were at. They actually drew their own replica of a Quaker village before we visited the settlement. The resemblance was incredible and quickly won Grandma and Grandpa over the the idea that maybe mom and dad weren’t crazy for home educating their grandchildren.

  10. Great tips, Marcy, thanks! Our family has done a lot of schooling on the road. My children sometimes joke that we never take a vacation, but we do get to take some amazing field trips! It’s provided for some wonderful learning opportunities and memories.

  11. I think we have similar styles of homeschooling. Great since I landed on this page after discussing with the husband the possibility (and probability) or buying an RV and taking our little family on the road. We have loved our flexible version of homeschooling and it’s great to see other moms who do the same. Much love!

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