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Since I am a bit overwhelmed with the large number of variables in the next few weeks I have decided to focus a bit on my travelschooling road trips and from there we can piece together where we are going once we close on the house.  Since coronavirus continues to be an enormous concern we will overlap a map of the worst outbreaks at the time of our departure  with a map of where Christopher Travel’s road trip itineraries visit and work our way across country that way keeping our masks on an focusing on outside attractions. 

I’ve done a fair amount of research in the past few weeks talking to fellow travel agents about what to see and do in each state and I have a rather large list.  We have also done quite a few road trips through the years criss-crossing the country multiple times and, of course, I also have a lot of feed back on road trips I have planned for clients.  Putting all this information together into trips that are interesting and make sense has been my goal for the summer.  We’ve done a lot of general trips which are up and ready here, but the travelschooling ones are a bit more complex as I like to pair the itinerary with reading lists and curricula.  Ideally they will include multiple subject areas as well even if only loosely related to the theme.  

I’ve decided the first two trips to work on will be a Little House on the Prairie one and a Trail of Tears one.  These two both hit on Westward Expansion in the mid 1900s and I like to juxtapose the experience of settlers with that of Native Americans to give a balanced view.  It would be far too complicated to include the entirety of both itineraries in our master trip so we will likely just do some of the sights and mesh them together to make the most sense as we head west, but for the purposes of those who want preplanned options I am doing them both as separate units which will be up in due time. 

In the mean time I thought I would share with you my general process for planning a travelschooling unit.  Older children should be included in this process as well as in the actual unit.  (In fact, for armchair travelers who can’t actually take the trip, the planning process is just as important as the actual trip in terms of educational value. I’ve done entire world cultures units with my kids just having them research and plan trips to remote parts of the world and then watching an educational video and cooking some local foods instead of actually taking the trip!)

Anyway, in short here is the planning process for the trip itself:

  1. Decide on your theme and establish your objectives.
  2. Make a map. 
  3. Do your research.
  4. Make a list of highlights and plot on maps.
  5. Make a list of optional stops and plot on maps.
  6. Break it up into sensible days.
  7. Establish a budget.
  8. Decide on hotels.
  9. Decide on which paid tours/activities fit your budget.
  10. Determine coordinating curricula/reading list.

There is a little more to it than this and I’ll follow up in my next post with more context for each of these steps.  Rick just made an enormously delicious Saturday brunch—eggs, onions and hashbrowns sautéed in bacon fat.  I love him. 

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About Mary

Mary Stephens is a long time homeschooling mother of four: two still at home, one in seminary and one graduated from college. Mary holds a degree in international affairs from Georgetown University and a Masters in Teaching from the American University. Passionate about both travel and education she offers homeschooling tips and tricks as well as free travelschooling units on her website penciltreks.com. Mary also owns Christopher Travel, a luxury travel company specializing in exquisite vacations around the globe.

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