Student journals should be creative and involve drawings, charts, and photos. For example, in Germany we had our kids buy a type of candy they had never tasted before and staple the wrapper to a journal page. Below the picture, they described the candy and wrote about whether they liked it or not. On a ferry trip from Sweden to Denmark, they cut out pictures of the boat they were traveling on and described their journey across the North Sea.

Student writing can be enhanced with prewritten prompts. Before you leave, make a list of prompts for your child. Each day have him get out his list and work on the next prompt. Prompts can fall into several categories:

1. Compare and Contrast: How is this place different than the place where you live? How is it the same?

2. Descriptive: Describe the Lincoln Memorial. What did it look like? How did    it make you feel to be standing in front of it? Why? Remember to use adjectives and transition words.

3. Opinion: What was your favorite piece of art in the museum? Why?

4. Ethics: Do you think it would be a good idea to charge money to enter the Smithsonian Institution? Why or why not?

Keeping a Schedule

During the school year, keeping a schedule is important, even on the road. Starting the day with a short work period after breakfast is advisable, even if it’s for only thirty minutes or less. By keeping some semblance of a schedule, your children will keep the “learning” mind-set when on vacation, and this will help you start your normal schedule again when you return home.

Don’t Panic

You’ll never be able to get as much done on the road as you do at home, but realize that traveling is an education in itself. Having to complete assignments in different environments and on different schedules teaches them to be flexible. In addition, traveling teaches them to get along with their siblings in small spaces, such as hotel rooms and the back seats of cars. Most of all, it teaches them about different cultures and that God’s world reaches far beyond the confines of their own neighborhood.

So when you homeschool from a suitcase, remember to relax, and realize that by choosing to travel with your children you are giving them unique educational experiences that cannot be discovered.

Pre-Trip Projects

Below are several projects your kids can complete before leaving on your educational adventure.

1. Write a skit that portrays an event in history that is related to your location.

2. Make a board game that includes important facts about the place you are visiting.

3. Draw or paint a series of pictures that portray historical events related to the place you are going.

4. Create a comic book about the culture, food, history, and language of the place you will be visiting.

5. Make a travel brochure about the place you will be visiting, and share it with your family.

6. Write a story set in a city you will be visiting. Be sure to include specific details about the setting.

7. Create a videotaped newscast about your destination. Include facts about the weather, tourist attractions, food, and language.

8. Design a PowerPoint presentation about the country or state you will be visiting.

9. Design a web page about your location, and post pictures from your trip when you return.


Alexander Marestaing has been an educator for sixteen years and has worked as a freelance educational consultant for the Walt Disney Company. He enjoys traveling with his wife and three children and recently returned from a yearlong adventure in Europe. Questions and comments can be emailed to him at

Copyright 2008 The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2008 issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.