“I’m thirsty. I don’t want water. When can we get more juice?”
“How long until we find a bathroom? I really gotta go.”
“Mom . . . are we there yet???”
Anyone who has traveled a long distance with a child in the car can relate to some or all of the statements above. The good news, though, is that it doesn’t have to be like this. In fact, the car rides to and from great places can be as rewarding as the trip destination itself. Honest!
Diane Flynn Keith’s book, Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities to Turn Travel Time Into Learning Time, shares ways to make the most of your miles and to turn a potentially anxiety-provoking car ride into a time of fun exploration with your children. For example, if you have a child who is fascinated with stuff that’s a little yucky, have him or her monitor the bugs that splat on the windshield–and then report on what the bug had for its last meal. How, you wonder? Well, if the liquid is green, the meal was vegetarian; black, another bug. If it’s red, that’s not blood; it’s eye pigmentation. A little gross? Sure. An entryway into the world of science, anatomy, medicine and more? Absolutely!
Diane first came up with the idea of carschooling when homeschooling her two young sons.
She would take them to various lessons throughout the week and, with San Francisco, California traffic, she one day realized that they were spending four hours a day, five days a week, in their car. So, what did Diane do? She made the world their classroom.
With something as simple as a magnifying glass, plastic bags, pen and paper, as just one example, the family could explore and record the miracles of nature, from rocks and trees to animals and birds and feathers. They could also explore and record the miracles of themselves, seeing what freckles, blue jeans, hair and leftover French fries look like until the power of a magnifying glass. Keep your field guides in your car, not on your bookshelves, to enrich your experiences even further.
After recognizing how much more her sons learned when learning was fun, Diane began writing a Carschooling column.
This column appeared in a secular magazine that she published, Home Fires: the Journal of Homeschooling. She began asking other parents for ideas they had to entertain and educate the young ones while in the car and their ideas were, according to Diane, “ingenious.”
She compiled the ideas and approached Random House, and her book, Carschooling, was born in 2002. In 2009, she bought the rights to the book back and self published, including on Kindle. Diane has a big platform, world-wide, as a homeschooling mentor, with learning on the road one of her best known specialties.
“Give me an object,” Diane says, “and I will tell you 1,000 fun ways to learn from that object. I’ll show you how to pull a string and see the tapestry of possibilities.”
Each chapter of her book focuses on innovative ways to learn more about a subject, whether it’s math, science, language arts, music, art, foreign language or something else. Ideas go beyond typical car games like Slug Bug and I Spy and will work for any family, not just homeschooling families.
“In a car,” Diane explains, “your family is a captive audience. It’s a perfect place to create heartfelt memories and bind together in the most profound ways. In such close proximity, your children might tell you things they never would otherwise share. You can trigger something within them that allows them to discover that, yes. They can create.”
Editor's note: We hope you've enjoyed our author interview with Diane Flynn Keith. Be sure to watch for more author interviews. In the meantime, visit Advance Auto Parts for quality auto parts and more.