Some call it car-schooling, some call it travel schooling. Most current homeschoolers spend part of their schooling on the road. Minimizing the driving is possible, but change happens with every stage of homeschooling, and with that, the amount of driving fluctuates from semester to semester.
Every year we have a different schedule, because our kids are growing older, and their interests and curriculum changes. The early years of homeschooling were easy on the driving, as we stayed home in the morning and ventured out in the afternoon, with everyone involved in the same activity; library, tumbling, swim lessons, or science class. At home, we schooled at the kitchen table, everyone was into the projects we did as a family, and leaving the home was an adventure.
Minimizing the driving starts with intentionally keeping the homeschooling at home. Back when I was a child, during the bi-annual seasons our family homeschooled, we did everything at the kitchen table, and waited for our friends to get out of school. There were no daytime homeschool coops, homeschool tumbling or swim classes, and we knew no one that was homeschooling. I look back and it must have been hard for my mother, but also a sweet blessing to homeschool without distractions. It didn’t hurt that in the 70’s, as a family of four, we only needed one car and my mother would arrange to keep it on days we needed to get out. Times have changed!
Fast forward a generation, we have two cars and it is easy to say yes to trips to the art museum, pumpkin farm tours, and taking a French class with the coop. We could be schooling on the road, every hour of every day.
Saying yes is easy, saying no is hard. We homeschooled for opportunities not available through the traditional schools in our area, and at times I feel that these out-of-the-home opportunities are too great to pass up. Yet saying no brings some beautiful blessings to our family, time to connect with each other, to enjoy our own home, to study at depth. Cutting out these extra trips also saves on gas and the chaos created by transitioning in and out of the home.
For us, it is balance. It’s not a one time event of choosing a schedule at the beginning of the school year, but a thoughtful decision at the beginning of each week, and each day it is mindful act as I focus on adding fewer last-minute extras. Already today, I have been tempted with our “empty” schedule to run and pick up ink for the printer, or we could run in and get sized for new ballet shoes, or I could accept a “tea” date with another mom. But today is our one solid stay-at-home-homeschool day, and come mid morning, as I watch our kids immersed in a project, I will be so thankful we spent the day at home.
Keeping home time sacred and choosing those activities that really follow the plan of creating a beautiful homeschool experience is the choice I am making at eight in the morning.