FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

Unschooling:

Is not following curriculum legal?

Yes, it is. Unschooling falls under the homeschooling umbrella in all of Canada and the US. However, each state and province does have different requirements in terms of registering, reporting and communication.
Canadians can check provincial requirements here, and Americans can check state laws here.

So you don’t have tests? How do you know he’s learning?

Nope, no tests, books, curriculum or marks. I know he’s learning just by listening to him talk and watching him interact and go about daily life. The knowledge he shares and displays on a daily basis, and the way he interacts with the world around him throughout our travels is more advanced than many adults we know! When kids are young we trust them to learn how to walk, talk and dress themselves without scheduled, intentional learning.. We just go about all learning with that same mentality- when he needs to learn it, he will! Much like an adult learns skills and information as they need it, so do children! Unchooling relies on the principle of stepping back and allowing natural learning to occur.

Will he go to college?

If he wants to, Sure! I’ll support him every step of the way, regardless of what he decides to do with his life and education. The beauty of unschooling is that the whole practice centers on empowerment and following interests. Empowerment both to make those important choices, and to learn the self-discipline required to follow through with whatever choice he makes.

Unschooling itself does not close the door to a high school diploma. MANY unschoolers go on to have a successful post secondary careers. Because we focus on following interests and not curriculum, if his interests lead him down the road to post secondary education, we’ll work together to reach whatever goals he sets for his life.

In a 2015 study, psychologists Peter Gray and Gina Riley found that of 75 adults who had been unschooled for at least what would have been their last 2 years of high school, 83% of them went on to study at a post secondary institution:

“Almost half of those had either completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, or were currently enrolled in such a program; they attended (or had graduated from) a wide range of colleges, from Ivy League universities to state universities and smaller liberal-arts colleges.”

“Those who had been unschooled throughout what would have been their K-12 years were more likely to go on to a bachelor’s program than were those who had some schooling or curriculum-based homeschooling during those years.

“Getting into college was typically a fairly smooth process for this group; they adjusted to the academics fairly easily, quickly picking up skills such as class note-taking or essay composition; and most felt at a distinct advantage due to their high self-motivation and capacity for self-direction.

“Most of those who went on to college did so without either a high school diploma or general education diploma (GED), and without taking the SAT or ACT. Several credited interviews and portfolios for their acceptance to college, but by far the most common route to a four-year college was to start at a community college (typically begun at age 16, but sometimes even younger).”

                *From http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/09/02/how-do-unschoolers-turn-out

 

 

 

World-Schooling:

Don’t you miss/need the stability?

That’s an easy one… NOPE! We’ve learned that we both thrive on the instability and unknowns of full-time travel. When we first set out, we were a little unsure of how we’d take to it. But after 6 months of this lifestyle, we find it just suits us!
Our stability comes from being together. No matter where we go or what troubles we may face, we know that we are in this journey together, and that’s all we need!

How do you find cool places to stop or tour?

When we have a few minutes, and know some upcoming destinations, I spend some time online researching what to do in each area. There are 2 main websites I use: Tripadvisor.com and factorytoursusa.com. Both offer great suggestions. I also use Roadtrippers.com to help plan our route, and search for ‘out of the box’ things to do. And, when I’ve completed those 3. I do a quick google search: ‘Things to do in (city, state)’. Often this just shows the things I’ve already found, so I don’t spend much time on it, but occasionally something new pops up!
Tripadvisor is great in that it offers a ‘Top ___ things to do’ in whatever city you choose. Scrolling through the list is easy, and many of the listings have reviews from people who have been there. Don’t forget to leave your review if you make any stops!
Factory Tour USA offers a comprehensive list of tours by state. The listings are very detailed, and most include the price and hours of each tour. You want to make sure you check the actual business website though, as some details may have changed. Some tours do require a reservation, so be sure to check that before showing up to avoid disappointment.
Roadtrippers.com is another app I found that did provide some neat ideas. It does not have a mobile-friendly website though, so be prepared to get the app (its free!) if you plan to use it on your phone. The big benefit to this one is that you can input your route, and choose how far off of it you want to look for things to do. It also offers dozens of options for what to search for, including types of accommodations, activities, shopping and sightseeing locations.

See our list of recommended tours and museums HERE
And our list of Must See Stops in the USA HERE

 

 

Road-Tripping:

Isn’t sleeping in your car dangerous, especially with a child?

We get asked this a LOT, especially when people hear ‘truck stop car camping’!
And the answer is NO. Sleeping in a car, with the keys in the ignition, doors locked, and windows covered, is WAAY safer than sleeping in a tent! We feel right at home in our little tent on wheels. There’s no nervousness at all. We know that if anything were to happen, it would only take a few seconds to turn the car on, rip down the front cover, and hit the gas.
As for going into the truck stop/business and having people see that we’re just a young mom and child, we often don’t park for the night in the same place we park to go in. And people move so quickly through there, that no one would notice us moving our car to a different spot.
The people IN truckstops are wonderful. We’ve never encountered even a weird vibe. The biggest thing to remember is that we’re all there for the same reason: to refuel, rest up, and get home/to our destination. People are generally good.
We also don’t park in the same section as the large trucks, which makes a difference in how many people walk past our car while we’re inside. (See my blog post on how to use truck stops for more on this)
Also, some Walmarts have a security team or police unit that patrols the lot overnight, which definitely adds to the sense of security.
When you pull into a lot, whether at a truck stop or retail store, and see several other trailers, semi’s and vehicles clearly parked for the night, you feel comfortable that you don’t stick out.
Our smartest investment before the trip began was these window covers from amazon. I bought 2 sets so I could double them up, and they allowed us to have our back windows covered so no one could look in on us while we slept.

How do you find places to sleep?

I use a number of apps and websites to find a place to lay our head. I’m not much of a planner, and don’t want to be bound by a schedule or reservations, so planning ahead doesn’t really happen too often with us.

I use AirBnB, Booking.com and Priceline to book a room in some of the bigger cities that we want to spend a few days in. Searching all 3 of these sites helps ensure I get the best possible price for the days we’re there, without needing a lot of advance planning.

We often plan to sleep in the car a number of nights. This helps cut costs and is overall much more convenient than unpacking and packing our car daily. We found pretty quickly that our car offered a rather comfortable sleep, and allowed us to have late nights and late mornings without worrying about unpacking or checking out in time.
There are a number of businesses allow overnight parking, so it was rarely difficult to find a place to park. Most Walmarts, Cabelas, Sam’s Clubs and Home Depots allow it, and there’s a couple great apps that make finding them easy. Try ‘myPilot’, ‘Overnight Parking Finder’ and ‘Big Truck Stops’, all available in the Google app store. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to call the store, or go in to ask a manager if they allow overnight parking.

How do you find cool places to stop or tour?

When we have a few minutes, and know some upcoming destinations, I spend some time online researching what to do in each area. There are 2 main websites I use: Tripadvisor.com and factorytoursusa.com. Both offer great suggestions. I also use Roadtrippers.com to help plan our route, and search for ‘out of the box’ things to do. And, when I’ve completed those 3. I do a quick google search: ‘Things to do in (city, state)’. Often this just shows the things I’ve already found, so I don’t spend much time on it, but occasionally something new pops up!
Tripadvisor is great in that it offers a ‘Top ___ things to do’ in whatever city you choose. Scrolling through the list is easy, and many of the listings have reviews from people who have been there. Don’t forget to leave your review if you make any stops!
Factory Tour USA offers a comprehensive list of tours by state. The listings are very detailed, and most include the price and hours of each tour. You want to make sure you check the actual business website though, as some details may have changed. Some tours do require a reservation, so be sure to check that before showing up to avoid disappointment.
Roadtrippers.com is another app I found that did provide some neat ideas. It does not have a mobile-friendly website though, so be prepared to get the app (its free!) if you plan to use it on your phone. The big benefit to this one is that you can input your route, and choose how far off of it you want to look for things to do. It also offers dozens of options for what to search for, including types of accommodations, activities, shopping and sightseeing locations.

See our list of recommended tours and museums HERE
And our list of Must See Stops in the USA HERE

 

 

Travelling as a Single Mom:

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