Whether you are living full-time on the road, weekend warriors or somewhere in between, everyday learning with your littles is not only abundant, it’s fun, too!
When we decided to live full-time in our 37 ft. Vacationer, we knew we wanted to be hands-on facilitators of our son’s education. We wanted to place an emphasis on exceptional experiences coupled with some traditional learning.
Since mainstream school learning was a bit more familiar to us, we started there. The first thing we did was to create a “Learning Center” space inside our Vacationer for traditional learning. We attached magnetic white boards to a bare wall next to our son’s bunk bed area. In this space he uses laminated magnetic numbers, letters, days of the week and months of the year to learn. He also utilizes the white board as a space to draw shapes, letters and numbers.
Beyond our indoor learning center, we packed numerous flashcards, workbooks, learning games and books. We find these come in handy on travel days, long road trips, rainy days and when doing the laundry too! Surprisingly, we found one of the best times for us to work on traditional learning is while we are waiting for our laundry to wash and dry at the laundromat. It’s now become a routine to grab a few books, flashcards and sometimes a small game along with our dirty clothes.
When it comes to experiential learning, we are huge advocates of honing in on our son’s interests and giving him opportunities to build upon them. By being together day-in and day-out, we have seen him take an interest in cooking and building campfires, among other things. We have used these everyday learning opportunities to teach measurements, counting, time, temperature, and fire care. Our son can now bake muffins from start to finish, including putting them in the oven, and almost completely build and start a campfire on his own.
As we embraced the traveling lifestyle, we quickly realized Mother Nature was not only our home and office, but it is Kade’s classroom too. We often say, “spending time outdoors is like a textbook coming to life for our son”. And to be honest, it is for us too. There are so many times where we have learned right along with our son. It certainly helps that he is curious and generally asks a lot of questions, but we also make it a habit to call out or explain things as we are exploring nature. It really is amazing how much knowledge kids retain when the thing they are learning about is happening right in front of them.
In full transparency, Mother Nature has taught us that we still have a lot to learn too! That’s why we rely on google search and the Seek by iNaturalist app if we are stumped by a question our son asks. If we happen to have service while spending time outdoors, we can open the Seek app, take a photo and information about that plant, bug, or animal appear. If we don’t happen to have service, we will make a note in our phones and take a photo to look up more information later.
We have found our most significant learning time takes place during our hikes, where we all learn about plants, bugs, and wildlife. Beyond that, we also are able to teach our son about things like animals that are nocturnal, trees decomposing, how spiders spin a web, and the circle of life.
Together we have found ways to make every day learning intentional and fun. It’s been amazing to see our son flourish over the past year! And what’s great about every day learning is that anyone can do it! All you need is a little bit of time and an open mind to make daily tasks and experiences in Mother Nature your kids’ classroom too!