I’ll admit that my favorite homeschool days are the ones we spend at home with no outside commitments or activities on the schedule.
I protect our days at home as much as possible.
But there are days that we have to take this show on the road.
This year, my oldest attends a science class located 15-ish minutes away and it begins at 9 AM on Thursdays.
I had two choices when handling this situation:
- I could drive her there, drive home, spend an hour teaching my other three kids, and then drive back to get her.
- Or we could all go, drop her off and then find somewhere nearby to work on schoolwork.
I was not interested in driving back and forth all morning, so we opted for a morning of what I affectionately call, “Panera-school”.
I prepare for Panera-school the night before.
I make sure that everyone’s independent work is in their bin and their bin is on the table and ready to go. My kids typically include their math workbook, spelling workbook, handwriting, copywork, and their tablet.
I prepare my laptop bag with my laptop and a book to read to them while they eat bagels and muffins. Some days I read our science textbook. Other days I bring a favorite book of stories, a current non-fiction title, or a picture book.
I eat a quick breakfast at home before we go, but my kids enjoy breakfast at Panera. Of course, I enjoy a steaming hot tea while we work.
After breakfast, the kids dive into their individual work and I am often pulled in a few directions.
“Mom, can you help me with this math?”
“I am ready to do my spelling now.”
“I don’t understand what this is saying.”
I focus on answering questions and helping people through their lessons, one at a time.
My kids have short daily lessons, even in math. We focus on consistent short lessons, leaving us lots of time for group lessons and other projects when their independent work is complete.
There are times that I pack up a group project instead of their daily work because all good things need variety.
Typically I call it quits (or they finish) with enough time left to play on their tablets for a little while.
Panera schooling helps me look forward to our morning out instead of dreading the early run to an outside class.
Clearly, you don’t have to go to Panera. We have packed up our school bins and headed to other local coffee shops and outdoor cafes. In addition to our school work, we often toss a card game into the bin.
Other times a card game is the only “school” we take. Yep, we like to take our game schooling on the road too.
So whether an outside commitment forces you to take school on the road or whether you change location by choice, try your own version of Panera-schooling and enjoy the change of scenery.
Handy “Homeschooling on the Go” Supplies:
Storage Bins with Handles – We picked similar bins up at the Container Store and they are perfect for school on the go. In fact, we store all of our school work in them so we can hide it away on the weekend.
Pencil Containers – Keep these handy with pens, pencils, and a few colored pencils. It’s easy to toss one in a bin and have your supplies on hand.
Laptop Bag – This is my exact laptop bag. I love it. It fits my laptop (a slim Mac) and several notebooks, pens, and even a book or two.
Game-Schooling on the Go – Our Top Five Card Game Picks
Coup – This game could just remain in my purse. It is our top choice to play at a restaurant while waiting for food or a coffee shop while enjoying our snacks. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and we love it. (ages 7 and up – your kids under 10 will catch on if you have older ones playing)
Exploding Kittens – This game probably ties Coup for “game most travelled with” in our family. Fantastic option.
Sushi Go – Another fun game at the coffee shop or Panera. This one takes a little more time, so we prefer it when just relaxing at Barnes and Noble and not dinner at a resturant.
UNO – This is a classic favorite that our whole family still enjoys. It’s another easy one to play when schooling on the go.