Road Schooling | Not all Classrooms have 4 walls
Written by | Trekking Downunder, Ryan & Amy Murphy
A question we are very frequently asked when people hear we are travelling full time with children, is how do you school the kids?
There are a few ways to keep up the education whilst you travel and we have tried them all.
The 3 accepted forms of schooling are;
- Correspondence with your Primary School
- Distance Education
When we first left home we had only really planned on a 6-9-month lap. This was mainly to test the waters to see if we liked the travelling lifestyle and to see how the boys would cope away from family and routine. After being granted the maximum amount of educational leave in NSW of 100 days or effectively 6 months, I approached the boy’s teachers and arranged to take a small amount of additional work with us to ensure they didn’t fall behind in areas like reading, writing or maths. The teachers were impressed with the boy’s enthusiasm for the trip, so they made sure to keep the classes connected with the boys via the inter-school app to share stories, photos and video updates.
After we had been travelling for 4 months, we just knew that we wouldn’t be returning within the 6 months allowed by the school and we started the process of Distance Education (DE) which commenced soon after our 5-month anniversary. Not knowing what our time frame was any more we knew it would be at least 18 months, and were told DE was the best option available to us.
Unfortunately, after 2 solid months of trying to make DE work for us, it was clear we needed to come up with another option. After doing some research and asking advice about DE you can see that it is suited to MOST but not all travelling/ remote families. For us, travelling with a toddler and two different aged school kids proved very challenging. Although the work was impressive, the style of work and specific delivery didn’t suit our boys and it was more stressful than it was worth for both them and us.
As a family who change location every 1-3 days, spending so many hours pushing the boys to do their work was not only counterproductive for their learning but was also making travel extremely difficult and stressful for us. Our boys are not yet at the self-guided learning stage and so whilst I was splitting myself between the two, Ryan was with Wade all day, many times a week.
After working really hard with our DE teacher for 3 months, we found we just couldn’t sustain this type of schooling. After weeks of more research, we found an option to incorporate Home Schooling (or as we like to call it Road Schooling) into our trip. We purchased 2 terms worth of work through a private company and after we were approved, we began what would become our perfect option for teaching our kids as we explore Australia. The work provided in the purchased packages just seems to complement everything we are doing and seeing on our travels. From the solar system in science to sustainable water usage and farming in Geography, to exploring character traits like respect and trust in PDH/PE.
After finding what type of education best compliments our travels and our kids learning needs, we can now comfortably say that life on the road has never been more rewarding and the prospect of indefinite travel so exciting.
Feel free to head over to Trekking Downunder’s website or social pages, if you have any questions, I know Amy and Ryan will be happy to share advice on their experiences.
- hea.edu.au is a great starting point when researching options.
- Homeschooling company Trekking Downunder use; Complete Education Australia https://www.completeeducationaustralia.com.au NOTE: Each state is different when it comes to homeschooling regulations. Each individual needs to look into the conditions and allowances of their state.
- Trekking Downunder used NEPSODE- North East Public School of Distance Education based in Port Macquarie, however also heard great things about Dubbo DE. NOTE: Some schools require you to be within a catchment area, others restriction of state etc.