Those of you who know me outside of She Might Be might know that I also have a home education blog. It’s pretty new, but I mostly talk about the benefits of home education, and some of the things we get up to. As with anything, though, once you get a taste for something you want more: and as much as I am probably never going to get to experience it, I keep dreaming about a life of roadschooling.
I guess it makes sense when you think about it: if homeschooling (which we tend to refer to as home education within the UK home ed community) is schooling your children at home, then logically roadschooling is educating your family on the road. I even love the idea of keeping our flat as our ‘home base’ and travelling for three or four days at a time to places all across the country. The freedom and the multitude of new experiences we would be exposed to every single day is so exciting to me – we don’t even have a garden at the moment, so the idea of the whole of the UK being our garden if we want it to be is just fantastic!
Of course, on top of work and shared custody, there is also the fact that we do not have a budget that allows us to look at the kinds of cars you need to successfully live on the road. In an ideal world I would be lounging in a Winnebago (scratch that – I would be in Priscilla) but realistically that is something that is way way in the future, if ever. I also love the idea of getting a people carrier or a minivan and doing a complete DIY makeover on it ourselves. I have spent so many nights poring over websites that sell cars and vans, wishing we could just bite the bullet and go ahead with it. I definitely feel like getting a pickup truck could be realistic for us one day, and maybe just packing a tent and a couple of spare pairs of underwear, and seeing where the road takes us.
I’ve always been a bit of a free-spirit. As a child I lived in the countryside, and would spend entire days on my own just exploring. I liked to act out adventures, make daisy chains, climb my way over any terrain – I just felt free. I would love that for my children. When you take it back to its root, I suppose it doesn’t matter about where you’re going, what cars you’re travelling in or how long you’re gone: I want my children to experience life, and learn through experiences that they could never have if they were sitting in a classroom, and I would love to be able to enjoy that magic with them and be part of their happiest memories when they grow up.
Well first of all, you can make room in your bag for me! But in all seriousness – research. Research research research. This is not going to be something you can start next week. You need to look into the right kind of vehicle for your family – which I will get in to in the next paragraph! You need to start a nest egg that is just to be used while roadschooling. You need to study maps, look at efficient routes to take, talk to locals in the areas you want to visit via local Facebook pages and think about the right kind of times to go to certain places. Your children can be involved in the planning stage, learning about the places you want to explore and helping you plot imaginary routes as part of their home education experience.
Choosing the right car – or van, or whatever you decide on – is at the crux of roadschooling. Before anything else, you need to look at the needs of your family. Does it have enough space? Is it big enough to accommodate you all comfortably, as well as the belongings you’re bringing with you? You need to look at the miles per gallon (MPG) that you can get from a vehicle before you buy it. Normally websites will give you the ‘combined MPG’, which is the average MPG when you take into account city driving and country driving. City driving tends to offer much lower miles per gallon because there is a lot of stopping and starting, so try to look at the countryside MPG if it is available to you, and try to go for something in the late 30s at least. You also want to look at the suspension in your car, because it is going to need to be able to stand some bumpy roads and some long adventures! It might be cheaper to buy a second hand vehicle, but it is so so important to do a full check of things like tyres and brakes so that you don’t end up paying much more in the long-run than if you had just bought a new car. Personally, I’d look for pockets in the back of the seats so that the kids could store activities such as journals, art supplies and cameras, but of course those things are all just added extras, and can even be customised once you own the vehicle.
Who knows? Maybe, like me, you will find that it is all just wanderlust and probably won’t ever come to anything. But maybe this post is about to spark an entire change of lifestyle for you. And how exciting if it does!
Have you ever thought about getting out on the open road? Does the idea terrify you or, like me, does it make you want to drop everything and hop in the car right now?