From extra classes to sports activities to doctor’s appointments, the kids and I are in the car.
And with all that we have planned this year, we’re guaranteed to be inside our beloved mini van even more than ever.
And so, as I drive back and forth all over creation each day, my tendency is to complain and whine about all that we can’t do because we’re driving somewhere.
But honestly, I can say that I’ve discovered so many ways to redeem our car time! It’s just become a continuing part of our homeschooling.
1) We listen to news and engage in discussions about current events.
I believe this to be one of the most important (and engaging) things to do with the kids during car time. Obviously we censor for age appropriateness, but we are a family that truly believes that if we’re to raise kids who will change the world then we need to educate them about current events and allow God to develop passions in their hearts. And wow, the discussions we have! Just today, here were the questions they asked me based on what we heard today:
- What is “fracking”?
- What does it mean for a person to be in our country illegally?
- What is the stock market? Why does it change everyday,and why is it important?
These kids keep me on their toes with their questions! And honestly, hearing about world issues gives us topics to pray for as a family, and it gives a greater depth to our other studies such as history and science.
Note: We try our best to listen to a news programs that’s aren’t necessarily “slanted” toward one opinion or broadcasting with the intent to “bash” one side or the other. We try to find news programs that are just reporting the news or giving feature-type , in-depth stories of current events. We feel that presenting just the facts (and engaging kids in discussion about it) encourages them to come to their own conclusions based on what they’re learning in their Bible time and other character training (instead of us sharing that one opinion or another is “right”). We challenge them with questions like, “well, what do you think God’s word would say about that?” and help them develop well-thought-out conclusions.
2) We talk about spiritual matters (as appropriate by age).
We study the same scripture on our own each morning, and so we discuss what we’ve learned. Or sometimes I simply ask them questions like, “Through (XYZ experience), what is God teaching you right now?” Listening to an audio Bible is also a great way to share spiritual truths. And speaking of audio…
3) We have an ever-growing collection of awesome audio dramas.
Audio dramas are an excellent way to add depth to character training, literature, history or science studies. They are intriguing and interesting, and they teach kids the art of listening (and of creating beautiful images in their mind while hearing a story). Some of our favorites include the the Jonathan Park series, the Jonathan Park series, and anything by Lamplighter Theatre.
You can see our family’s ultimate list of audio dramas here (it’s Vibrant Homeschooling’s most popular post ever!).
4) We play on-the-go educational activities.
We love these fun, interactive tools for car drive time:
5) We finish up homework or other assignments.
Sometimes we finish math worksheets, read literature books or do whatever else we need to finish up. From time to time, I do allow (in limited amounts, and only if I trust the child) online research for a project via a laptop or another portable device. My iPhone has the ability to turn into a portable Wifi hotspot, so this makes online learning activities easy during car time.
6) We memorize.
I have found time and time again that what my kids listen to, they memorize. So why not use that same skill to reinforce multiplication facts or Bible verses? Here are some great multiplication facts CDs, plus some of our favorite Bible memory verse CDs.
7) We study different music genres.
Sometimes we’ll just turn on a radio station with a completely different musical style than we’re used to. Car time is an easy way to study a particular composer, instrument or musical style. Classical Music for Dummies is a great resource for studying classical music if you have no idea of where to start (I didn’t).
8) We listen to Christian music that encourages us or praises God’s name.
There have been many times that our car has been rocking with the sounds of people praising God. Not that we do it perfectly or sing along to every song, but listening to Christian music during car time certainly encourages my weary heart (and that of my kids).
9) We turn off everything and enjoy the silence!
Our society is drowning in noise. And on days when I feel overwhelmed and exhausted, I know that only quiet and respite with soothe and restore me. So we’ll turn off the radio and call for five minutes of silence (including no talking). I find that just five minutes can bring so much restoration! And I’ve noticed several times how my kids seem refreshed by this too.
10) We just listen to each other.
Relationships are built in the everyday moments together. Therefore, car time is an excellent opportunity for sharing, connecting and growing in relationship. I try to ask purposeful questions such as:
- What was your favorite thing that happened today?
- What are you most looking forward to today?
- What happened today that disappointed you or was sad?
- What’s something new you heard about?
- How’s (sport, school or other activity) going?
What are your favorite ways to redeem car time? Which of these strategies can you use to turn car time into a blessing for your family?
This post contributed by Alicia from Your Vibrant Family