Educating your your children on the road has some important advantages that no traditional school setting can hope to match: Unlimited, in-person access to every museum, natural park and historic place in the country. A personal visit to sites like the Battlefield at Gettysburg, Ground Zero, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National WWII Museum, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and a visit to Williamsburg and Yorktown, all within weeks of each other, is not something any traditional school in the country can hope to offer your child. But as an RVer, given a sufficient budget for fuel and the cost of admission, you can do all of these things – and surprisingly economically. The Kellogg family has been doing it full-time for three years with 12 children and a family dog. You can watch their adventures on The Kellogg Show.
Space is a consideration. You can’t store a big library of books and carry the weight around on the road. But online encyclopedias and affordable mobile high-speed Internet connections from wherever you are – even on the go – make a whole world of information available to your children from nearly anywhere your wheels can take you.
Plus, devices like Kindle and mobile tablets, together with e-book technology, combine to make nearly the entire library easily available to your kids – free, or for just a couple of dollars per book, in the case of the classics and other works in the public domain, and at substantial discounts.
This, plus library cards in multiple counties where you frequently go, can more than take care of the access to books and materials problem.
Looking for ideas? Or just a support group of like-minded individuals? The Facebook group “Roadschooling – Families Homeschooling on the Road,” has 4,729 ‘likes’ at press time. Jennifer Miller and her husband homeschool her four children on on the road – from all around the world, actually, and blogs extensively about it at the EdventureProject. Jen and Brent chronicle their own life on the road homeschooling their two children at their blog, NewSchoolNomads . And you can find much more information at Roadschooling.com.
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but there are some restrictions, depending on your jurisdiction. Before you elect to homeschool or "road school," you should familiarize yourself with the laws applicable in your particular state or district. Note: Legal domicile generally means little when it comes to road schooling. The laws you have to follow are the laws in the state in which you are actually present.
Some states are more difficult for homeschoolers than others. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, the states with the most onerous regulations from the perspective of homeschooling parents are concentrated in the Northeast: Vermont, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. These states require you to check in with education officials if you are homeschooling your children there. The rule of thumb is to notify state education authorities if you’re in the state for longer than about a month. These states may also require on-site inspections, the use of state-approved curricula and/or materials, require parents/guardians to submit portfolios of students’ work, require them to take standardized tests.
Some districts may set requirements in addition to those imposed by the state legislatures. Here’s an overview of the laws, state by state.
Pro-Tip: You’re going to be buying a lot of educational materials. Many stores and vendors offer teacher discounts. But you may qualify too, with a membership card to the Home School Legal Defense Association. You can find a list of participating merchants and vendors here.
Homeschoolers can expect less bureaucratic interference in states like Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey and Connecticut.