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Is It Legal to Homeschool While Traveling?

The homeschool movement is taking hold in America, but it comes with plenty of legal stipulations that can be especially tricky for nomadic families.

If you’re interested in homeschooling or roadschooling but worried about the logistics, you’re not alone. But you’ll want to know some important details before you pull your kids out of traditional schools.

Join us as we look into homeschooling to determine if it’s right for you and your family. And more importantly, if it’s legal.

Let’s roll!

What Is Homeschooling?

Homeschooling is when parents teach their own children at home instead of sending them to traditional schools. Families may choose this method for a variety of reasons. 

The reasons parents choose homeschooling vary. Perhaps the local school system is sub-par. In some cases, families might have particular educational philosophies that don’t align with the norm. Other times, students may have specific needs that conventional schools can’t accommodate.

In recent years, the number of homeschooled children in the US has nearly doubled as parents seek alternatives for their kids. 

Pro Tip: If you’re getting ready to hit the road with your little ones, you’ll love These RV Accessories That Teach Kids As You Travel.

RV family in front of RV
Give roadschooling a go to help your little ones learn while on the road.

While homeschooling is legal throughout the US, that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, some states considered the practice a crime until 1993. 

Today, state governments regulate homeschoolers. Each state sets its own criteria for things like curriculum and “classroom” time. Families must meet and maintain their home state’s requirements to legally homeschool.

Naturally, there’s a lot of variation, with certain states imposing stricter rules than others. Colorado, Florida, and Hawaii have some of the highest standards in the country. On the other hand, Alabama, Arizona, and Texas are among the least stringent. 

What Is Roadschooling?

One of the most significant benefits of homeschooling is the ability to travel. Roadschooling is when families live nomadic lifestyles and teach their children on the road, and it’s increasingly popular among RVers.

However, navigating the legal particularities of this homeschool alternative can be difficult. Since states regulate homeschooling, each family needs a home base. While having a permanent address is unnecessary, you’ll need to ensure you’re meeting the requirements of your “home” state.

Roadschooling allows you to set your own learning pace and school hours while exploring.

The Benefits of Homeschooling While Traveling

People choose to homeschool for a whole host of reasons. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, here are a few benefits.

Increased Flexibility

Flexibility may be one of the most significant driving factors of the homeschool movement. Families can take vacations when it suits their schedule instead of waiting for limited school holidays. Plus, parents love that their kids can participate in activities that fall within regular school hours. 

Daily schedules also allow for more variation. If students meet the legal requirements for instructional time, the home school enables them to learn when it works best for them. 

Set Your Own Pace

Traditional school schedules are notoriously rigid. Teachers expect children to conform to the institution, which may make it easier for instructors but isn’t necessarily great for helping students learn. 

Homeschooled students can take time to absorb the material rather than rushing to beat the clock by test time. Of course, many states require standardized testing to ensure children are on track for their age. Interestingly, one study found homeschoolers score higher on these tests than traditional students.

More Diverse Educational Opportunities

Another major draw for families is that learning isn’t limited to the classroom. Parents can take their children to places like museums, science centers, and art classes and have it all considered part of the curriculum. 

Many children learn best in a hands-on environment; rote memorization doesn’t cut it. In these cases, practical learning can give kids a significant advantage.

More Personalized Education

Every child is different, especially when it comes to learning. Some function better in the morning, while others do their best work in the afternoon. One student may excel working for long periods, and another may need frequent breaks to engage fully. 

In a conventional setting, students suffer when they can’t keep up. Instead of offering more time to ensure students grasp the material, teachers must keep moving. 

Homeschooling allows parents to focus on challenging subject matter for as long as it takes the child to understand it. This means they’re less likely to fall behind their peers.

Pro Tip: Your little ones can learn a lot while on the go. Check out these 7 Camping Mistakes You May Be Teaching Your Kids.

Mom and child in RV
Teaching your child while on the road is a lot of work and requires a big commitment.

The Disadvantages of Homeschooling While Traveling

Of course, homeschooling has drawbacks and isn’t feasible for every family. Here are some of the disadvantages of the practice. 

Materials Can Be Expensive

Traditional public schools are government-funded, meaning parents don’t pay out of pocket for their child’s education. 

The financial burden can be prohibitive for homeschool families because it often means at least one parent won’t work a standard nine-to-five job. Parents must pay for homeschool curriculum, books, materials, and outings. 

The Massive Amount of Work

Homeschooling your child isn’t for the faint of heart. Many parents are accustomed to a daily window when they can work or handle household chores. Heck, many just need this time to take a deep breath. 

But homeschool parents are on duty around the clock. They need time to familiarize themselves with the materials and teach their child every subject.

Teaching multiple children at different grade levels is even more challenging. Typical teachers may instruct one or two classes, but homeschool teachers do it all.

It’s a Serious Commitment

Homeschooling doesn’t allow mom or dad to wing it; going in unprepared sets children up to fall behind. Further, there can be legal ramifications for parents who slack off on their homeschool duties. 

Parents must ensure they have the time and ability to prioritize their child’s education. It’s a full-time job that requires consistency and creativity.

Dealing with Judgements and Biases

Finally, parents and children who homeschool sometimes face negative stereotypes from their peers. Some may associate homeschooling with religious cults or anti-social behavior, and others may doubt a parent’s ability to teach their child everything they need to know.

But it’s important to remember that such criticism often comes from a place of ignorance or misunderstanding. Sure, homeschooling isn’t right for every family, but it’s best to reserve judgment. After all, parents tend to know their children better than anyone else.

Homeschooling and roadschooling aren’t for everyone. Some students thrive in the traditional classroom setting. But for others, it opens the door to a flexible lifestyle and learning environment. 

The legal requirements are pretty straightforward, and jumping through a couple of hoops is worth it for many homeschool families. It can be an incredible opportunity if you’re interested in unconventional schooling and have the time and resources to devote to the practice.

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