What’s in My “Go Bag”

One of the many perks of homeschooling is the ability to do it on the go – in particular in the summer when the weather is incredibly pleasant.

This can be hit and miss if you are hoping to produce outstanding examples of student work – but if your goal is simply genuine learning, homeschooling on the go is for you. There are many, many habits that are part of the fabric of our lives that make learning an extension of what we do. For example:

  • Counting things. Everything. How many boats do you see at the beach? How many trees are there in this park? How many oranges do we need? How many people are here?
  • Telling time. I talk out loud about what time it is and what time we have to go. I point out that it is only 10:00 and that we will have a snack at 10:30. I point out the digits to my preschooler and the actual time to my five year old.
  • I use the terms right and left properly. Just because they are little, don’t tell them “that way” when you could say “left”. They’ll get it when they are ready, and it might be sooner than you think.
  • Take them to the grocery store. I should write a whole post on the grocery store! There is so much learning to be done there. Numbers hanging above the aisle, right and lefts and we walk, counting out produce, find the biggest such and such…. and on and on the list goes.
  • Reading. I read books and my Bible aloud to my kids whenever they ask (within reason) or allow. I also read signs, newspapers, pamphlets, and anything else we are both looking at. I point out familiar letters to my 3 year old and ask my 5 year old to find sounds.
  • Talking and describing. I avoid screens while we are waiting or in the car for many reasons – but a big perk is that while you are driving and waiting places, conversation happens. Sometimes we are discussing what we are doing or seeing, sometimes I am listening to a made up story, sometimes we are wondering about things together but mostly we are connecting. Right now, at 5 and 3, there isn’t often deep and meaningful conversations happening – but foundations are being laid and more than anything my kids are learning this important truth: I care about what they care about. Also, I am their biggest fan. I heard a quote (or something similar to it) someplace, “Every kid deserves to have someone who is flat out, crazy in favour of them.” I want my kids to know that I am a huge fan and that I am in, like all the way in, even if it’s about something that is made up or mundane.
  • Having simple learning tools on hand in my “go bag”. We have arrived to the real topic of this post: The Go Bag. This bag is typically packed and ready to go with some essentials that I don’t like to find myself short on when we are out and about, even if it stays in my trunk. For example, diapers, changes of clothes, water, snacks, story books, towels (in the summer), sunscreen, etc. Also in my go bag are essential resources which help me to homeschool on the go. These items take our learning up a notch and I highly recommend them!

What’s in my Go Bag

  1. Boogie boards. I have two of them because I have two school-aged kids. Not sure what to do with a boogie board? See this post.
  2. Oversized beads. These are great for sorting, making patterns, fine motor practice, and even adding/subtracting activities. I keep them tied up on a long shoe lace type string until we use them.
  3. iPad with stylus. This might seem counter to what I said earlier, as I do try to avoid screens as much as possible. But sometimes, practicing writing or drawing on the app called Penultimate is exactly what the doctor ordered. Also, when there’s free wifi, I don’t mind firing up a little Super Why when needed 🙂
  4. Books! I always have a read aloud book on the go. At first I didn’t think my 5 year old would ever say yes to being read aloud to on the go, but when we started Charlotte’s Web – a chapter book that could not be consumed entirely in one sitting, the willingness to sit and listen out and about began to increase. I previously might have been sceptical about reading a chapter book aloud to a 5 year but gave it a try as part of my learning about Classical Education and it has been an all around success.
  5. Nature study kit. My nature study kit has the essentials needed to document the plants, trees, and flowers we identify and it is often our first stop in homeschooling when we are out and about.
  6. My phone. This, again, seems strange – but when you consider the apps that I have on it for identifying plants/tree/flowers, I’m sure you’ll agree that it is an essential learning tool.
  7. Sticker books. These are especially great to pull out when waiting. Age appropriate and full of learning opportunities (not to mention the fine motor benefits), finding a sticker book can be wonderful to augment almost any subject.

It seems like a large list, but all of these things can fit into my rather small diaper bag for the most part, with a few items finding a home in our tote bag. Without these items, our homeschooling would be far more limited to what we can accomplish at our kitchen table. What do you use to learn on the go?

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