TeachingTraveling.com: This site’s mission is to inspire and assist more teachers to travel and more travelers to teach, by featuring “Teacher-Travelers” in ALL senses of the term. Today we have a wonderful example: Kate Reilly, who qualifies as a Teacher-Traveler because she homeschools her kids as they travel around America!
Kate, tell us a bit about your background.
Kate: We’re a homeschooling family, so while I’m not qualified for an official “teacher” title, I do teach/guide kids every day. One of the perks of homeschooling is taking the classroom on the road, and we try to do that as often as possible! Over the past ten years, we’ve been able to do plenty of “roadschooling.” Fortunately, as the number of homeschoolers around the country increases, so do the opportunities offered by historical sites and businesses. Williamsburg, Old Salem, and Disney are all places that now offer classes specifically for homeschoolers.
TT: Very cool! I had no idea! Please explain how you “Road-school.”
K: My kids are pretty high-energy, so sitting down and plowing through a textbook doesn’t usually cut it. So every time we go somewhere, I try to “front load” the kids with info that I think will help them really understand the destination. Whether it’s a recap of the American Revolution before we headed to Charleston, pirates of the 1700s before a trip to the Outer Banks, making a model of the Erie Canal prior to a NY adventure, or even the science projects we developed for our Walt Disney World book, all help to enhance the kids’ experience once we’re there. We’ve also volunteered at our destinations, like the time we helped bag oyster shells for the oyster bed restoration along the coast.
TT: Awesome! What’s the story on your book? How does it help teach kids about their destination?
K: Whether kids are traveling with their parents or teachers, today’s kids want to get involved. *Really* involved, not just, “Hey, go pack your own bags.” In our Extreme Travel series (currently, Disney World is out, with Washington, DC coming in the spring), we’ve got more than 30 hands-on ways that kids can learn about their destination, make stuff they can use on their trip, and then unique ways they can capture their memories. Then, when they’re on their adventure, they can remember the science behind what they experience, or the historical story behind it. If you’re understanding what you’re looking at or experiencing, you’re going to take a lot more away from it.
TT: Nice! How do you find the money to fund your travels?