Today’s interview is with Yvie from over on Gypsy Road. Their family is a road schooling family, and education includes a lot of travel and hands on learning while on the road. I think it is just fantastic! They certainly know how to have adventures together as a family, and have a lot of good knowledge to share with others.
Interview With Gypsy Road Homeschoolers
Hi Yvie, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a gypsy at heart….as a high schooler, I had this dream of owning a big van and travelling around the country with my guitar…working odd jobs and just L-I-V-I-N (you have to say it like Matthew McConaughey in Dazed & Confused). But then, like any good parents, mine put the squash on that. I got a degree in education, fell into a wonderful man (um, literally…funny ‘how we met’ story), and ended up moving to “one of the boxy states.” Having traveled up and down the east coast, but never having been west of the Mississippi, _that_ was a new experience! Hubby’s job always had him on the road, and when we began a family, my job was to keep the home fires burning….until we decided to join him. My friends would say I’m not Type-A, but Type-AAA, because I’m always running and going and doing…like a busy little bee!
How did you reach the decision to begin homeschooling, or should I say road-schooling? What was that first step for you and your family?
Hubby was always working out on the road, but the kids didn’t get to have a relationship with him because our schedules never meshed. After a few years of public school, we pulled them and hit the road with him. It’s made all the difference in family dynamics and relationships, and they’ve gotten a wonderful hands-on, real world education.
Every family perusing alternative education has their own story, their unique approach and blend of education that works for them. What works for you on your road-schooling journey?
We take a unit study approach…and Charlotte Mason…and classical…I guess it’s eclectic. One kid couldn’t live without his Latin, so that’s always with us. Mostly, I’ll build units around what we’re studying…read books aloud to them, have them read age-appropriate related books, art projects, museums, field trips…stuff related to where we land. They also have their math, copy-work, writing and language arts, science…the stuff that all kids do. I usually pack for the trip, then switch everything out when we regroup and repack at home. I also keep a digital cheat sheet to access at any hotel….it’s a secret, but now you can access it, too. 😉
Which question about homeschooling do you get most often from other folks and how do you answer it?
We often get asked when we’re putting the kids back in school (family), whether they ever learn anything (strangers), and how they have friends (other parents). To those I answer : “I don’t know, but we have no plans to,” “they learn a TON, but it may not be the stuff their age-peers are learning at public school in the same grade,” and “they make friends wherever we go, and keep in touch with friends from home.” As for friends, we also have a couple of houses that we try to visit each year, where the kids have made friends along the road….I’m thinking of one in particular that they beg for us to stop at each year!
From your blog, it is clear that you have traveled to many places within the USA. Which was your favorite spot to visit?
That is SUCH a hard question! I don’t have one. I love taking the kids to the Outer Banks, because it was my favorite spot as a kid. They really came alive studying the American Revolution at Fort Ticonderoga, Boston, Williamsburg, and some other cool spots. I liked going to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado because it was fun to climb in the midst of these wondrous natural creations! They’re all fun, for different reasons.
Do you see yourself settling down in one location in the future? What would prompt that and where would it be?
As much as I’d love to say I see myself settling down at the beach, maybe the Outer Banks, the future holds a small piece of land and home in Oklahoma. Our contracts are based out of there, and that’s where we winter each year.
Come to think of it, where do you see your family in 10 years?
Good question….I see the kids starting their adult lives and us learning to be ‘two’ again. On the one hand, I’d like to see the kids stay close to home so that we can see them often….on the other hand, I want to them go out and experience the world on their own terms. As long as they have a futon mom and dad can crash on occasionally!
What was your favorite place to be in your travels? How long do you typically spend in one place?
We typically spend a week in each place, though we’ve been known to spend up to a month in a location. It just depends on the contract. Honestly, though we may not find anything terribly exciting to do sometimes, I’ve loved almost every place we’ve gone, for one reason or another. You meet some of the nicest people along the road!
If you had to give a single piece of advice to families looking to transition into the world of road-schooling, what would it be?
Plan ahead. You have to follow the homeschool requirements of your home state, no matter where you may travel. Check out what museums and educational attractions are in the area you’re heading to…or even the culture. We visited this one town in Kansas that was Swedish, and a town in Michigan that was Dutch…you can learn a lot from a few days in a different culture. By the same token, if a great opportunity arises, feel free to deviate from the plan…..
Describe your typical day on the road, at the destination? What is your preferred method of travel and why?
We drive. We pack the car as tightly as possible and hit the road…sometimes going as far as fifteen hour days (that’s fifteen hours of driving) at a time. Our contracts cover hotel rooms, and we usually try to stay at the same one or two chains whenever possible. This brings a sense of continuity, since the rooms, layout, breakfast, etc are generally the same within the chain. We have to bring work equipment with us, so flying isn’t an option. On the bright side, as we pass through areas, we will have a chance to pop in and see some wacky things – like the Spam Museum in Minnesota….that was so random!
What makes you happy?
Music. Music makes me happy. Most people don’t notice, but each of my blog posts is a song title. It’s the thing that speaks to my soul. Oh, and chocolate – super rich, extra dark chocolate. Throw in some red wine, and you’ve got yourself a perfect trifecta for girls’ night out!
You can visit them on their blog Gypsy Road to read more about their journey and their family adventure!