Tips for extended travel with your child during the school term

Should you take your child or children out of school to go travelling? Guest blogger Janelle Boynton explores this interesting topic in her latest article.

Two smiling young girls lean out of the open boot of grey car on sunny day.

Extended time on the road can help to make children more confident.

To travel or not to travel with kids during the school term? This is a question you may have grappled with as a parent. I’ll declare my position straight away – I’m definitely in the pro-travel corner.

Recently, my husband and I took our children out of school for a whole term to go travelling. I believe the experience of travel provided our children with a host of benefits.

However, if you are going to take your children away for an extended time, you need to be prepared. So here is my guide to giving children an education on the road.

 

1. Think about your timing

When planning the trip, it is worth considering the following:

  • How long your child would be away.
  • What stage of the school year it is.
  • Your child’s grade level.

We wanted our kids to be old enough to enjoy the trip but not too old that they were missing senior school years. Somewhere between grade three to eight was our goal.

2. Coordinate with the school

To start the planning, we had an open conversation with our children’s school roughly 18 months prior to our anticipated departure. As part of this, we discussed our children’s development and decided to follow the school’s curriculum while the kids were on the road. This was particularly crucial considering they were absent for an entire term.

Blonde mother holds little boy’s hand while pushing a red pram out of a school building.

Involve the school well in advance of your departure to allow adequate time for planning.

3. Plan well ahead of departure

As we had a close relationship with the kids’ school, on its recommendation we purchased the Australian Curriculum workbooks online from Oxford Press. These are books that many teachers reference. With the assistance of the school, we received our children’s work plan for the term that they could follow week by week.

4. Avoid becoming nagging parents

The last thing I wanted was for our trip to turn into an ongoing saga of Mum and Dad nagging about homework. To avoid this, we marked pages with due dates for each activity and entered the corresponding deadlines on our caravan calendar. We suggested to the kids that they complete their activities in the car when on the move, so there was more time to enjoy the exciting facilities when we arrived at a BIG4 park.

Surprisingly, our children embraced responsibility and stepped up to taking ownership of their workload. By scheduling activities and breaking the workload into bite-sized pieces, it never seemed daunting and allowed them to stay on track to complete all their work prior to returning to school.

Daily calendar planner with homework written in child’s grey lead pencil.

Rostering school work will allow the kids to manage their own workload.

5. Take essential items

A handful of essential items made our classroom on wheels a much smoother operation.

  • Stable table: a beanbag-bottomed lap tray that the kids can use in the car for writing.
  • Pencil case: with only the essentials (pens, pencil, ruler, and eraser).
  • iPad or iPhone: there are plenty of fun, offline learning apps available, and these devices also have a calculator.

6. Consider supplementary items

Other items to assist with the kids’ learnings include:

  • Travel journal: where they can record favourite memories along the way.
  • Books: They’re a great tool for keeping kids occupied in rainy weather. Also, some BIG4 parks have book-swaps and book libraries.
  • Postcards or letter set: To send to grandparents or friends back home.
Two young boys strapped in to back seat of car share an iPad.

There is a wealth of educational apps available to download on tablets.

7. Don’t stress about schoolwork

If you are travelling as a family, you are providing your kids with the opportunity to see and experience Australia, which makes for life-changing learning. Therefore, don’t stress over the little things.

During the last few months on the road, I noticed an increase in my children’s confidence and problem-solving abilities. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the kids develop throughout our time on the road.

 

If you have any tips for travelling with children on an extended break, please share them in the comments section below.

Good luck on your travels! And remember, road-trip adventures begin at BIG4.

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