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Impromptu Roadschooling (Hands on Learning)

Impromptu Home Schooling on the Road

Traveling on the road permanently with children often raises questions about schooling. Fortunately home schooling has increased in popularity over the recent years and it raises less eyebrows when mentioned in answering those questions. Even movies, like Dolphin Tale, are presenting home schooling in the positive light. However, roadschooling is just starting to gain traction as more families choose a nomadic lifestyle.

Roadschooling is educating your children while on the road. It’s the perfect combination of getting new educational experiences while traveling fulltime and home schooling.

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Impromptu Home Schooling

Simple outings can become impromptu field trips to learn about everything from nature discoveries to answering questions that pop up along the way. And this is why I love the idea to home school, or rather roadschool, Spirit.

There is built-in flexibility to learn through living our lives. There is time to answer questions whenever they come up, even for me. Just a few weeks ago I found my first double yolk chicken egg. (I still love learning and hope Spirit inherits that passion.) Before that egg I never knew chickens were capable of having twins, or rather I never even thought about it in the first place.

Impromptu learning experiences happen everywhere, at all times.

Sometimes we will be hanging around outside the RV at the campsite when we find a new insect. Other times we will discover nature first hand when we are out at the beach or park. And even trips to the grocery store can be a learning experience with new foods and counting produce.

Most of the time I try to have a plan when I want to educate. I will have a basic idea of going somewhere to learn something, or see if there is any interest. However, the idea of impromptu education, for me, is to allow us room to do something else along the way. Maybe we’ll stop at a new park on the way to the grocery store or stop at a local zoo if we have extra time.

An example would be our quick trip to Newport Beach after meeting with our tax guy during tax season. We had a little time and thought, ‘why not?’ And I’d glad we did. On that trip to the beach Branndon caught the largest sand crab I had ever seen, a normal crab, and two sea stars. We even saw a pod of dolphins just off shore. If we didn’t allow this detour we would have missed this amazing hands-on learning opportunity.

No matter where we are there are always opportunities to learn something new. Hands-on learning happens easily without having strict schooling schedules. There is no need to worry that we are not moving fast enough, or following a plan precisely. Here are a few of our more recent learning experiences as a family.

Catepillar Fell from Tree

Caterpillars Falling from the Trees?!

Recently Spirit found this interesting caterpillar. It looked more alien-like and fascinated all three of us. Neither Branndon or I ever saw a caterpillar like this before. In addition to it looking more like it belonged underwater or in outer space it moved in ways we’ve never seen. It actually seemed to dance. It had fallen out of the tree we were sitting underneath and Branndon helped it find the tree trunk, after we took lots of pictures and video. Then Spirit found another, and another. Each was returned to the trunk so they could start their way back up and not get squished.

Charcoal for Drawing

Our tax guy is in Huntington Beach and quite close to the pier. We enjoyed an hour playing in the sand and surf before heading home after our appointment. In the pooling water next to the pier supports we found baby sand crabs. You could see about a dozen of them swimming in my hand when I scooped up some of the water. Later I found some charcoal, or burned wood, and encouraged Spirit to draw with it on the cement pier columns. It was a simple art project. (FYI: I did the heart as an example for her.)

Charcoal Drawing at the Pier

Sea Stars and Crabs in Newport Beach

After our (second) tax appointment during tax season earlier this year Branndon and I drove to Newport Beach. It was late in the afternoon and Spirit had, inconveniently, fallen asleep on the drive there. While I waited for her to wake up Branndon went off to the beach. He reappeared when she woke up with the largest sand crab I had ever seen and another crab, the kind you typically think of.

Learning at the Beach Sea Stars (aka Starfish)

We walked to the rock breakers to return the crabs and Spirit watched the sand crab bury itself quickly into the wet sand where the waves crashed. She was able to ‘pet’ the other crab before Branndon let it climb his arm. While Branndon walked out on the rocks to return it to the same area he spotted two large sea stars that he brought back to us.

Blue Bellied Lizards

Blue Belly Lizard
Blue Belly Lizard

Branndon loves catching lizards. He loves catching all kinds of things, especially to show Spirit. Lizards are common around here in California, especially the Western Fence Lizard. It is also known as the blue-bellied lizard as the adult lizards have a striking blue color, almost translucent, on their abdomen.

Just the other day after enjoying a Gluten-Free pizza at BJ’s he managed to catch a blue-belly lizard. It was actually quite humorous as a large family was leaving another restaurant and the kids crowded around to see the lizard. They were all dressed up and each took a turn petting the lizard before Branndon released it back into the bushes.

Although these blue-bellies are easy to spot sunning themselves on rocks they can be difficult to catch as they are extremely quick with lightning reflexes.

Branndon mentioned he was chasing this particular lizard for about 20 minutes before I joined them. It was jumping off tree trunks and running all around. And it was an aggressive little lizard trying to bite every finger that came close.


Roadschooling and living fulltime in an RV offers plenty of learning experiences, as you can see from a couple examples above. Most of ours include small animals and insects (thanks to Branndon), and the beach (more my style). Plus, the ability to learn from others at the various campgrounds and RV parks happens. That’s actually how we learned the caterpillars fall every year, our neighbor in an adjacent site mentioned it while we were outside playing and he was barbecuing.

What are some of the unexpected learning experiences you’ve happened across? Feel free to let others know in the comments.

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About Brianne

Born and raised in Orange County, California, I am definitely a "summer" girl at heart. Today I am a full-time mother to a rambunctious two-year old living in a RV. Together Branndon and I are learning how to become financial and location independent.

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