I’m sitting here in the middle of suitcases, sorting laundry and feeling a bit disenchanted by the whole concept of traveling. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed the last three weeks, (Did I mention that we have been traveling for three weeks?) but three weeks is a long time to be away. We’ve visited three states in three weeks, one week for each state. Plus we’ve had a layover in a fourth state. We’ve spent some lovely time with family, including cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, second cousins and great-aunts and uncles. The kids got to ride in a real John Deere combine. (Remember, my oldest son calls himself John Deere Boy… He was a happy little man.) We picked cotton (just a handful). We visited a museum. Went out to eat more times than I’d like to pay for. We drove by two houses that I grew up in. Saw the school that I went to for elementary and high school. (I was in a small rural school.) Met up with my highschool biology teacher. (That was a treat!) Stayed with grandparents in the house that my husband grew up in. Saw the school he went to. (Well, he was homeschooled, so I guess we saw the room where he went to school!! He did take a few science classes at the local high school, and we saw that too.) Drove through the campus of the university that my husband and I graduated from. We visited two cemeteries and found the markers of six loved ones.  We visited parks. We learned some geography. We played with cousins until we could drop. We flew on four airplanes and drove around 1400 miles.  And last but not least, we did some schoolwork.

Now we’re to what has me wondering about traveling. I don’t know if you travel so much that on some of those travels, you need to keep working on school work. Well, we do. For this trip, I packed a whole suitcase full of books. Now I’m unpacking and realizing how many of these books never got touched. We did work on the 3 R’s, nearly every day. For math, one of the interesting things we did, was weigh suitcases and get them to exactly 50 lbs. Actually my daughter finished up her first math lapbook too. She did spelling a few days. They both read to me nearly everyday. We did do a little nature study, but I had grand plans for that. Maybe I should be thankful for the nature study that I didn’t plan though. My kids got to feed, chase and hold chickens over and over and that’s something we don’t have at our house. They got to harvest soy beans and learn how weather affects the harvest. They picked field corn and learned that each cob always has an even number of rows. They picked cotton and found out where cotton comes from. They learned that there’s a big difference between Kansas mud and Nebraska mud. Maybe they learned more from that nature study than what I had planned. I also had great plans for reading some biographies while we travelled. We read part of one. I had three along. That was for history. Maybe I should be glad that my kids had the opportunity to visit so many places that have shaped and formed their dad’s and my life. Maybe that’s history they’ll remember and that is important to them. I took along a book on drawing. We thought we’d have fun doing some drawing. Never opened it. They did draw and draw and color and color with the cousins though, so maybe that was better, especially since they don’t get to spend enough time together. One thing, I’m not concerned about is whether they got exercise while we were gone. There were six kids between three and nine and they played and played and played some more.

So now I’m trying to figure out if I should feel guilty that we didn’t get more schoolwork done or if I should feel thrilled that we got any schoolwork done. What do you think? What’s your philosophy about taking books along with you when you travel? Or do you travel that often?

I did learn a lesson, I hope. No matter what I plan, when we’re traveling, it needs to be less. I shouldn’t pack quite so much in the way of schoolwork. Then maybe I won’t have to mess with weighing my suitcase!!

P.S. Sad to say, my camera broke. So this is a pictureless post.

7 thoughts on “Travelling…Travelling…Travelling

  • October 26, 2009 at 11:35 am

    We usually take school with us if we are going to be gone for any length of time. What we take with us varies according to where we are going and our plans for activities during the trip.

    When we took an extended trip to Hawaii a few years ago, we took books with us in a suitcase along with art supplies and journals. I made up school binders for each boy with each days work inserted. We made all our work surround the theme of HI. It was wonderful.

    Our road trip last fall was with books as well for our marine biology. Field guides and books about Oregon were packed in the motor home. They wrote in journals everyday and they had lots of literature to read on the rides between destinations.

    Most often, we do pre-study before trips so they know a little before we arrive. This leaves us open to learn things that come our way as we build on what we already know. I think that is what you did with your trip this time. We are planning a trip to Washington DC next year and we will definitely pre-study and then have some work to complete as we go through our trip……history, geography, science, art, etc. It makes the whole trip seem more like a big extension of our school.

    Sorry your camera broke, I miss your photos. :)

    Great post,

    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  • October 27, 2009 at 7:19 am

    I am so envious of everyone that gets to travel so much. I would love to just hit the open road and keep going as long as we could. Things like pesky jobs, pets, obligations, etc. lol, keep getting in the way. I daughter is an avid drawer – so we would definitely take drawing materials and books to read. It is hard to saw what else we might take. Depends on the length of the trip and how many field trip opportunities there were. Sometimes unschooling looks so good!



  • October 27, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Thanks for your comment. We do love road trips here. What you just did sounds like something I would love to do. @ year ago, we went from Toronto to Maine, starting in Michigan. That was lots of fun. I was not doing much school then, so i did not have to worry about that. All the best in going back into a routine.

  • October 29, 2009 at 9:34 am

    It sounds like lots of learning went on, so yes, you did do school. This time of learning was life learning. It was all hands on and that's the best kind of learning. Do you think that you're children would have learned as much reading books and taking tests? I know as moms that we think that learning isn't taking place or not as much learning is taking place, but sometimes it takes other people to point out to us that learning did take place. I'll think that we didn't do much for the day or week, but when I look back at their notebooks, I can see that they did a lot of learning.

    We don't travel to visit family. We all live in the same state, so I can't answer your question on taking books along.



  • October 29, 2009 at 10:49 am

    I could have written your post! Our children have seen 49 states…so we have traveled! The first couple of trips I too carried their books along…and they remained unopened for the most part.

    Take courage! Mine are at the upper end now, and I wouldn't trade their "travel learning" days for the world.

    marci from AHE

  • October 29, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Sounds like you were nearly down in our neck of the woods! I had forgotten that this is cotton harvest time as where we live now in OK is so much further north than where I grew up (big cotton country).

    My goodness you guys travel a lot. Sometimes I wish we did but in all honesty I'm a homebody.

    Regarding being six and a half years older than my husband, I do get teased about it. I usually dread when people ask our ages cuz I know what's comin next :-).

    I'm so sorry about your camera, I would feel a bit lost without mine.

    Have a great rest of week!

    Blessings, Julie

  • October 29, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks for the nice comment on my blog about our first lapbook. ;0)

    We just got back from a 10 day trip (we traveled along with my husband on a business trip) so I can relate to the traveling issue, though not nearly as long. I also took a lot of stuff that we didn't end up using. I'm all in favor of the "world as a classroom" so it sounds to me that you had full days and I wouldn't worry that you didn't cover all that you expected. I think just giving them time to be kids and enjoy is very important! ;0) Don't be too hard on yourself. I know I should take my own advice. LOL Anyway, we managed to see the Statue of Liberty, which inspired my daughter to paint a watercolor of it and now we're going to do a lapbook about it. Not what I expected or "planned" for this week, but it worked out well for us and she's enthusiastic about it. Sometimes it's nice to just see where life takes your learning adventures!



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