I don’t like science textbooks because they have big words I don’t understand and numbers and letters that don’t correlate in my mind. And I thought science was just mixing vials of liquids and recording the outcome.Miranda, age 17
We’ve been a homeschooling family since the kids were born. My children were in:
- A science coop when they were young
- Science classes when they were a little bit older
- Online science courses during their early teen years
Harrison thrived in those classes. Miranda enjoyed being in class, but not the material covered.
She would have told you she “didn’t like science”.
Science Our First Year On the Road
When we set out on our first year of travel, I wasn’t prepared for our upcoming homeschooling year. Mike told me to relax and see what happened.
If I decided we needed more formal materials, we would order them later.
But…but…but… (That’s me being rendered temporarily speechless while visions of Pinterest-worthy pre-planned lapbooks and curriculums started disintegrating in my mind….)
At first it didn’t matter what we had planned for science or any other schooling. For the first few weeks of travel Miranda was a black hole of anger in the back seat.
Then we hit the Atlantic Ocean. Miranda loved beach combing. She bought a guidebook to identify the creatures, shells, and plants she found. One of her favorite finds was a whole whelk shell.
Miranda also identified marine life in the water. While snorkeling in Crystal River, FL, she and a baby manatee had a moment together.
She also swam over schools of fish (even barracuda) in a coral reef off Key Largo.
We spent several months in the Mesa Arizona area. Miranda loves the Sonoran Desert.
When we visited as campers, she attended ranger-led programs. She bought a new guide to identify desert plants and animals.
When we returned as camphosts, Miranda assisted with the New to Arizona and Sonoran Desert 101 ranger talks.
At the end of our time, Miranda led an entire Sonoran Desert 101 class.
Our first non-campground experience was on a ranch in Texas.
Miranda helped earn our spot by keeping the horse paddocks clean. She learned about horse care and was able to take riding lessons.
Vet Tech Intern
This past summer we stayed in a small Michigan farming town. Miranda sourced an internship at the local humane society.
She assisted the vet tech and helped with dog and cat care. One of her favorite jobs was working with fecal samples.
She found the testing process very interesting. She came home that day beaming and saying“I got to take fecal samples!”
That’s nice dear, wash your hands before coming in?
Our Current Science Lab
This winter we are living on an animal rescue ranch in Texas.
- Helping with the twice daily feedings
- Reading up on and practicing lamb care (we’re expecting another birth this week)
- Socializing a 6 week old pig (who was rescued from a neglectful home)
- Helping draw up syringes of vaccine and assisting with vaccinating llamas and alpacas
Have a Science-Hater?
If you have a self-declared “science-hater” in your house, take heart. Suburbia-ditchers have a plethora of ways to learn science.
Most of them are way more interesting than sitting in a classroom.
If farms and animals aren’t your thing you can also:
- Visit National Parks (and take part in Junior Ranger Programs)
- Visit science museums (look for membership plans with reciprocal agreements)
- Visit beaches (always a fun place to learn the natural world)
- Look for Ranger Programs (many state and county parks have these during the busy season)
- Look for factory tours to learn the science behind the manufacturing process (the Tillamook Cheese Factory is a good one)
- Visit museums where often science and history can be learned together
What Did We Miss?
What cool things have you done to learn science on the road?