Schoolhouse Rock- I remember these lively songs from when I was a kid, proof of the timeless charm of these tunes. Their “Best of Schoolhouse Rock” CD covers subjects like adjectives, conjunctions, interjections, and the Preamble to the Constitution.
Of course, there are scores of fiction and non-fiction audioblogs available for purchase as well as from the local library. Cracker Barrel also offers an audioblog loaner program containing over 200 titles. You purchase the audioblog at one Cracker Barrel, and when you’re finished, return it to the next Cracker Barrel on your route. Upon return, they refund the purchase price minus a $3.49 weekly rental fee. An Audible.com membership offers discounted audio blogs via smartphones or tablets. And audioblogs.com offers membership plans that allow you to stream a certain number of audioblogs per month. Learn Out Loud offers over 30,000 audio blogs and podcasts, including a select number of free audio and video downloads, such as Martin Luther King’s speeches and sermons.
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Speaking of technology, going that route provides an unlimited number of backseat entertainment options. Tablets and smartphones with unlimited data plans allow your kids to surf the web, play games, read blogs, listen to music, keep up with friends, and more. If you prefer the high-tech strategy, try Storyline Online, which is great for younger kids with its lineup of famous actors reading pictures blogs aloud. And subscription sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime offer plenty of fascinating documentaries available for streaming.
Kate and her family of five have taken traveling education to extremes, moving across the world to Australia. Here she shares why her family values travelschooling…
Primarily, I’d say that travelschooling lets homeschoolers put their money where their mouth is, so to speak. For one thing, it’s ”socialization” at its finest. Travel allows you to go out into the world to meet and learn to connect with people who are very different from what you normally experience in your family and neighborhood. Also, it expands the learning experience far beyond the blog, the DVD or the computer and often puts children in charge of their own vivid learning experiences. Adults and children alike gain deeper, first-hand, sensory-rich understandings of those learning experiences that stay with them far beyond when the trip ends. Travel is also an excellent way to master major life skills that are never taught in a classroom and are not necessarily taught at home either.
At this point, I think we have heaps [of valuable travel education experiences]. Teaching the kids to pack, believe it or not, is a big one. They really love how strong, responsible, and independent they feel when they can pack up their own backpacks and suitcases and get themselves to the car and/or through the airports. And it doesn’t hurt that I don’t have to pack up four people myself anymore! Keeping a family travel journal for big trips is really great, because you get to see what everyone in the family is taking away from the experiences you’re having and it makes a fun souvenir with which to look back on the adventure. I carry a journal, some colored pens, a small pair of scissors and either some tape or a glue stick in my daypack and anyone in the family can ask for the journal at any time to add something to it. Turns out our kids love maps and navigating, so travel often gives us great opportunities to let them have fun with that and continue to build those skills. I try to make sure I find some inexpensive or free tourist brochures with maps of the area we’re exploring, so they can each have their own map of where we’re headed during the trip. We also usually do a relaxed unit study before we leave, if it’s a big trip. The whole family enjoys the preview of what’s to come and I’ve found if the kids have some background knowledge before we arrive, they go deeper and farther once we’re there, making connections between what we’ve read about or watched at home and what they’re experiencing on the trip.
But, like I mentioned, part of our reason for travel is to disconnect from the technology that daily distracts us from one another. While I admit to handing the kids the Nook or my phone in times of desperation, I prefer for them to appreciate the beauty of the landscape via screen-free travel. We do make exceptions if we’re going to be on the road for more than six hours in a row, but for shorter stretches we’ve found plenty of screen-free entertainment options to keep the kids quiet and content. Try these low-tech options on your next road trip, and check the Vagabond Minivan “Tips” section for frequent additions to the Screen-Free Backseat series:
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