Homeschooling and Traveling: How I Prepared my Kids before traveling and what we saw - Sisters, What!

Homeschooling and Traveling: How I Prepared my Kids before traveling and what we saw

Traveling while homeschooling is one of the greatest things about homeschooling. You can go when you want to and can incorporate your travel adventures into your curriculum. Learn below how we prepare for a big trip.
how we homeschool and travel
"The best education does not happen at a desk, but rather engaged in everyday living - hands on, exploring, in active relationships with life." Vince Gowman

Before I took my oldest out of public school to homeschool, we were racking up school absences with trips and adventures. I was potentially going to get fined if I kept taking my son out of school. I soon realized that school was getting in the way of the education I wanted for my son and homeschooling seemed the best way to do it. 

Since we pulled him out of school during second grade, we have been going on adventures all over the west side of the US. Right now my parents are serving a mission in Poland for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. After debating, I decided to take my three older kids (12, 10 and 8). 

How My Kids Earned their Way
Since this was such a big trip (and a bit more expensive than a normal trip), we decided that they should earn some of their own way. At the start of summer we sat them down and asked if they wanted to go and gave them the option to help earn some money to pay for the trip. We decided to pay them the $10 for every hour they do an extra outdoor chore. They had to still do their regular chores, but after they could do more to earn. They weeded, helped with the garden, mowed the lawn (the older two), cleared branches, laid bark, helped process garden produce, etc. A summer is full of lots of great outdoor chores, especially on an acre. At first they were motivated, but after a while it got harder for them to want to do chores. But they kept at it even up to the day before we left. They didn't end up getting the full amount earned, but they felt like they worked really hard to earn that the trip. 

What We Studied to Prepare for the Trip
You can definitely prepare your kids before anywhere you go, but since we're homeschooled I was able to incorporate into our daily studies. We were just about to go into Medieval history and I found that Poland was rich in medieval culture/history so it coordinated beautifully. But here are topics I researched to be fine tuned for Poland.
how to travel with kids homeschool
 Medieval - Castles, Cathedrals, Peasant life, Inventions. My parents live near in the eagles nest of Poland, which is where a line of castle defence was built. With the castles so close to each other, we saw 4 in one day. 
          some books used: Castle and Cathedral by David Macaulay, Cross Sections Castles
homeschool travels to castles
Auschwitz - we read some holocaust books that took place in Poland to help prepare us for that visit. The Auschwitz visit deserves a post on it's own. That visit turned out different than I thought. It is not recommende to take kids under 14, but I decided to do it anyway. We didn't do a tour and only stayed for an hour. It was a sombering experience that I think will stay with me and my kids for along time. 

We studied the geography of Poland and it's surrounding bodies of waters and countries. We also looked closely at the area of the country that we were visiting. While there, my kids then used google maps to see where we were. 

 I looked up an geologic features that we could learn about. Lucky for us, my parents were 45 minutes from a huge salt mine which is part of the salt resevoir of Europe. So, we learned about the history and science of Salt. Salt is huge in medieval times so that was fun to have that overlap with our history. Reading the Story of Salt made the tour we did even more enriching. We already know much and understood even better what was talked about. The most fascinating part was all the sculptures carved out of the rocks by miners. So much beautiful art. 
        books used: The Story of Salt
We also took the time to go to see a national park. It was very small, but still worth stopping to see the nature in a different part of the world. 
Marie Curie was from Poland so we read about her. By happenstance, our homeschool group also did a day on Marie Curie so the kids were able to do some projects about her discoveries. Unfortunately, we didn't go to the area of the country where she was from, but it was still cool to learn about her and know she was from Poland. 
        books used: Marie Curie

I looked up some of the art we might be able to see in the National Art Museums and printed off some to study. We also had been studying Leonardo Da Vinci with our Homeschool group and my kids were so excited to learn that the Lady with the Ermine was in one of the Museums that we could visit. That was definitly a high light for them to see a painting that we had been learning about and see it in real life.
 My daughter said "This is so exciting, we get to see those paintings that we have been learning about in real life!" 
lady with an ermine krakow poland
I even looked up any famous composers or songs from Poland. We learned about Fredrich Chopin and listened to his music. My kids were excited to recognize his music that was played during a part of the Salt Mine tours we took. 

Local Fairytales and Stories
My kids loved this part the best. We read some really interesting stories. But the favorites stories were origin stories for some of the cities. In Krakow, we read the story of Krakow dragon and the kids were excited to go and find the dragon. 
         books used: The Glass Mountain and The Dragon of Krakow
dragon of krakow

My Kids Poland Project 
With my older two kids, I helped them come up with questions they might ask about being a tourist in Poland, such as: 

What are some important famous or historical landmarks in Krakow? The best things to see in Krakow? Some stories that take place in Poland? etc.

I then open a google doc for them, a google tab and had them start searching google with their questions. In the google doc, they took basic notes of places that looked interesting to them, what they were and why we should see them. My second son is still not fast at typing, so I typed for him when he got too tired of typing. By the time we left for Poland, we had a list of things to do that THEY had come up with. When we got to Krakow, one of my sons was so excited to see the Church where the Trumpeter of Krakow famously played his trumpet before being killed.
travel school with kids
 They got more out of the trip because they had helped find alot of the things we did and were excited to see it all in real life. As we were going, I felt we still had so much more to learn, but I think that's the case about anything when you start learning about it. But, I was impressed with all they learned and it really enriched their whole experience there.

I think travel schooling is really a great way to educate your kids. I love homeschooling in our house, but it is quite a whole new experience taking them on a homeschooling travel adventure. They will learn in a completely different way then just sitting and reading books. 

This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Sisters, What!

No comments

We LOVE hearing what you think. Thank you for your sweet comments!