Homeschooling When You Are On the Move

As a child, I had attended 4 different grade schools in 4 different states. I swore I would never marry a man who would move me and my children around. I wanted roots. Fast forward a couple of decades and guess what? My wonderfully talented and capable husband (who had a stable, ordinary, 9-5 non-traveling job when I married him) was telling me the best thing for our family was to do the very thing I said I’d never do.

Homeschooling When On the Move

We were going to be moving. Often. During our first 7 years of ‘official’ homeschooling, our family moved 7 times. Knowing the many cross-country moves might possibly be in our future with my husband’s new career was one of the reasons we took the big leap of faith into the homeschooling lifestyle.

Moving AND Homeschooling? How in the world was I going to accomplish this? How would I be able to set up housekeeping, educate my children, adjust to a new community,  keep up with 3 (and then more!) children. No. Way. Not. Going. To. Happen.

I made the choice to trust my husband

After my little temper tantrum, I made the choice to trust my husband. We set out on our homeschooling journey while moving from place to place, home to home. We took first one step and then the next and than another and another. Pretty soon I found myself looking back and realizing I was surviving and we had developed a lifestyle and had learned to adapt and adjust to whatever circumstances we found ourselves in.

As far as schooling, here are some things that helped us keep up with our schooling:

  •  First, we made a commitment. This is who we are, this is what we do.
  • I took time to read up on their homeschooling laws and requirements in the state we were moving to. Doing this before you get there eases the stress of moving and getting started once you are there.
  • Streamline curriculum where possible. Cover some subjects as a family rather than having separate subjects for each individual child. This streamlines your schedule, cuts cost, and lightens your load.
  • A general daily routine helps the days run more smoothly. List a few necessary things that must be done first thing each day, do them every day, making them a habit. It will be easier to pick up where you left off or move on to what comes next when you need to take phone calls or have to be away for a time.
  • Cover the 4 R’s – Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic and Religion. If you spend some time on the basics, you can rest knowing that you’ve accomplished some good things even amidst the chaos of appointments and repairs and house-hunting and whatever else is demanding your attention. We found it worked best to get out the books right after our morning/breakfast routine. The rest of the day we would do ‘the extras’ or moving related activities.
  • You can work in quite a bit of ‘schooling’ while preparing for a move. Get out the maps and the almanac to learn about the population and geography and topography. Find out about the local climate and compare how it differs to where you live now. Write to the chamber of commerce for an information and tourist packet. They’ll send a treasure trove of educational and helpful material to you.
  • Think outside the box. Ask yourself “what must we do today and what can my children learn from it?” If there are boxes needing to be packed, have the children sort items needing to be packed. Ask them to separate stuffed animals from baby dolls or children’s books from grown-up books. It’ll be easier to fill boxes with like items, gives the kids something constructive to do, and hones math skills all at the same time. Maybe a brainstorming session, listing out a checklist of everything needing to be done. Children can write it out (handwriting). Print out copies for each person and have them check tasks off as they are accomplished (reading). Give them a box or suitcase and have them estimate how many items they can fit into it (math) and then let them do it (problem solving). Allow them to take pictures of all your rooms, the yard and neighborhood (photography, art).
  • I used milk crates as portable school bins. Texts and workbooks and other school supplies fit nicely, stay organized and are easily transported from room to room and house to house. You could assign one bin to each child, or one bin per subject and load it up with all the necessary materials (books, paper, folders, pencil caddy, etc). If you are packing up the house so it is ready for showings, or if you will be in temporary housing (maybe a hotel or small rental?) these crates are great because the stack nicely, take up very little space and are easily kept neat and orderly.
  • Give yourself permission to take a break. It became ‘normal’ in our family to take time off our formal schooling before a move to prepare, and after a move to adjust. There was no one to say that our school year must be Sept-May. If we took extra time off in mid October or early Spring, we might start our year earlier or continue into the summer.
  • Most importantly, make time, take time to connect with God, personally and as a family. It will strengthen you, comfort you, restore you, give you the wisdom and discernment you need in these challenging times.

 

I would never have chosen the nomadic lifestyle, but I am thankful for it. I learned I could choose to be content. I figured out that successful homeschooling wasn’t about having all the right books or perfect little desks or having my ducks lined up in a row. I could ‘make do’ with my circumstances. We depended more on each other, on God,  because we were all we had.

 

stop and smell the daisies

Linda Sears is a stay-at-home wife, homeschooling mother and doting grandmother. She and her husband have 8 children, a daughter-in-law, 2 sons-in-law and 5 grandchildren, so far. They have been homeschooling for more than 20 years, graduating 4 of their 8 children, with 4 more to go. You’ll find her at Apron Strings & other things where she blogs about life as she knows it, with children in various stages of cutting those apron strings.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. I really appreciate this post!!

    My husband and I were team truck drivers before our daughter was born. (We were in our early 20’s, college educated and wanted an adventure!) Now? I’m a homeschooling Mama while my husband still drives. We go with him occasionally, and it’s fantastic! But we haven’t gone since we started schooling – and we’re trying to figure out a way to be able to go this summer.

Speak Your Mind

*