Most families with school aged children spend a great deal of time in the car. Whether you homeschool or not, you may be looking to make the most of your time. You don’t want that car time to be wasted time. There is simply too much to do.
We spend a GREAT deal of time in the car. Our co-op is over one hour away, and many of friends and fieldtrips are at least an hour’s drive. Therefore, we have learned to maximize our car time and effectively “carschool” on these days.
If you find that you spend time in the car, whether it is driving an hour to a lesson or co-op, or just several 20 minute jaunts across town each day, using your time wisely can help you feel that you are being productive and help you get through your schooling more efficiently.
Here are some great ways to use your time in the car to work on schooling:
Flashcards – whether you are working on your A-B-C’s or multiplication facts, flashcards are an easy take-along for a car ride. Siblings can quiz each other or just have your student go through their cards in the car.
Flashmaster (a math drill game) – if you have not seen the FlashMaster, you should check it out. It’s an excellent tool for on-the-go math fact practice. You can program it for any level your child is working on and there are many settings to allow timed and untimed practice, quizzes, and combination of types of facts for practice. And the last 5 scores are kept in memory so you can see it when you get home.
Educational games (tablets) – If you have a tablet or iPad, you can download educational games to be played in the car. Practice states and capitals, geography, ABC’s and counting, color matching, or rock and mineral identification on the run. Some fun education apps include BrainPop, Endless Alphabet, and Kids Piano Lite (there are so many, I’m just naming a few we like). For the younger ones, consider the LeapPad, it is easy to use and has some fantastic educational games to practice for every level from ages 3 to 10 and you don’t have to worry about ads and
Practice foreign language (CDs or dialogue) – The car can be a great place to work on your children’s foreign language development. You can find some great resources to use in the car and even a few minutes a few times a week can get your kids learning a new language. (And watch out – you might learn something too!) We used Sara Jordan Publishing Bilingual Kids Series for Spanish last year. Midyear we switched to French so we will be purchasing the French cds for next year. They are easy to use and you can use them with the activity workbooks that come with it or just as extra in the car. We also check out books and cds from the library like Songs in French for Children, My First French Book, and others that have CD accompaniments to play in the car. If you are already fluent in a language, the car is an excellent place to practice conversation in your new language.
Reading – We use short trips as reading time. Obviously if you have a child that can’t read in the car, this doesn’t work, but, fortunately, that is not a problem for us. We use the time to take library books or chapter books with us to get in some reading times. This summer we are participating in the library reading program, like many are I would assume, and this is an excellent time to get in some reading minutes for the program. Sometime each child reads their own book and sometimes our older child reads out loud to us all. We have also used longer trips for audio books as well.
Memorization practice – We like to practice memorization in the car. We participate in Classical Conversations during the school year so we play the memorization CD in the car to practice each weeks memorization materials. We also practice Bible verses. We use CDs like Songs for Saplings and Wee Sing to work on Bible verses and other Bible related memory work.
Spelling – Another great thing to do in the car to maximize learning time is to practice spelling words. You can do them verbally as well as on wipe off boards in the car. We keep wipe off boards with dry erase markers in the car for each child. After we are done with other activities the kids can use the wipe off boards to draw on as well.
There are just a few ways that we use our car time to maximize our schooling. We find that we can get a lot done in the car and then not feel badly about our time away from the house during our school day.
Do you use your car time to maximize your school day?