Do you find that you spend more time than you care to admit in the car? I can vividly remember a friend’s mom mention to us while we were in junior high (yes, not middle school, I’m getting old) that if she lost weight driving her kids around that she would be much too thin. I guess it’s a good thing that wasn’t the case but I’ve often thought about that sentiment and wished it were true for myself. As a homeschooling mom I want to make the most of the time I spend with my kids and find ways to fit in educational moments throughout the day, even on errand days and between trips to the park, friend’s houses, co-ops, libraries, and Walmart pick up (which is such a blessing!). We don’t do school full on all the time, but I wanted to find ways to utilize the time in the car and not spend it surfing the radio endlessly. Here are the tips that my family make use of and I hope it helps your family enjoy spending time with their kids in the car, whether you call it “carschooling” or not.
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- – Talk
Okay, I had to start with this one because it seems the most obvious to people and it is the thing we do most of all. We talk about what we’re doing (as has been the practice since before my kids could talk), plans we hope to do in the near future, how we feel about things, what we’ve been reading, things we saw on Alexa (which brings up so many interesting political and earth science discussions), and the list goes on and on. Discussing things with kids opens the lines of communication and can help develop healthy relationships…the educational aspect is just a bonus.
- – Audio books
By clicking here you can see the list of my favorite audio books for the whole family. Audio books are better for long trips but they can be utilized for shorter trips as well. My kids get so into the books though that they always hate to stop a story without things being wrapped up neatly.
- – Twenty questions
We play this game a lot in our house. Sometimes we’ll pick a book that we have and everyone else has to ask questions to figure out which one it is. Animals and people are also good choices.
- – iSpy
iSpy is a game that can be played with younger and older kids a like and it’s always fun. To make it a little more challenging you could have the kids guess that particular -ing word, or -ly adverb.
- – Memory work
If my kids are working on memorizing verses or a particular poem I’ll make a copy and set it in the passengers car. Every time I get in the car I’ll recite the memory work. After a few days I’ll expect them to finish it after I start it. Then a few days later they’ll try reciting it on their own. I’ve been amazed at how very quickly they can recall information when repeated in this way.
- – Observe the world around you
My kids have always spotted school buses and city buses when we’re out. It’s always been something they point out. Other favorites are three wheel motorcycles (I don’t know the correct name, sorry!), fire trucks, diggers, trash trucks, Ashley furniture trucks (because my name is Ashley), etc. One family I know assigns points for each special vehicle and the family keeps score of what they’ve all seen for a month. For example motorcycles=10 points, emergency vehicles=10 points, emergency vehicles with their lights on=15 points. I haven’t tried this yet but I can see how it would be helpful to practice math skills.
I’m sure there are more but these are our main ways to make the best use of the time we spend together in the car. If you have anything to add I would love to hear your ideas.
Update: I’ve added more ideas for homeschooling in the car here.
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