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My family will be taking a year off to travel starting this summer. I hs'ed in the past, and they are in school now, but I will be hsing again while we travel of course. We are traveling light with 1 carry-on sized bag each, and 2 backpack/day packs for the whole family of 5. My kids will be in 2nd and 8th, the youngest is only 3. Here's my questions. We are looking for PDFs and offline options for some things in case internet is unreliable or we are on a long flight/train.... But know that having an online options would be great too.


Reading 2nd grader

Explode the code


Raz-Kids or Raz-Kids plus


Math-2nd grader

Scan in MUS pages and save to a PDF to use notable?

Or scan in Beast Academy to PDFs

Math Mammoth light blue


Reading 8th grader


Kindle book app




MUS ? Scan in the worksheets

Something else?!



Both kids will be doing writing with me so I'm not concerned.


Anyone have experience with any of these or ideas on others?

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I'm not sure exactly what you are asking, but this is one of my favorite topics.


You will need more screens than you think. When you start using them hard, some types/brands just don't do what you expect and get glitches after receiving forced updates. They get dropped and just break.


Eyes get tired on screens. You will need some hardcopy and an eReader. I strongly recommend a 3G paper white. With 3G you can download at least something from anywhere there is cellphone service. You can click on a month of free Kindle unlimited, or pay $10 and have access to enough to stay busy. There are lots of free public domain books, too.


For hardcopy, make small books your spine, even if you supplement the hell out of them. Especially math.


What is your budget? What do you have already for tech and eBooks?

Edited by Hunter
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For me, I wouldn't leave for a year without this small pile of books in hardcopy


RV curriculum


Ray's Arithmetic

Wallace Boyden First Book in Algebra

How to Tutor (Arithmetic chapter torn out or printed)


Phonics for Success

First Readers Anthology

Don Potter Phonograms (printed out)

Spalding Handwriting (torn out or printed)

Ruth Beechick The Three R's

Marvin Terban Checking Your Grammar

WWE teacher manual only

Composition in the Classical Tradition

NIrV Bible for copywork. (The consistency of the punctuation is unparalleled in any other book.)



Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook

Hillyer's A Child's History of the World


Clapham's Best Fairy Stories of the World

Lamb's Shakespeare

Aesop's Fables


The Drawing Textbook


American Heritage Desk Dictionary

(Pronunciation respellings used in Beechick style spelling lessons and match Don Potter Phonograms. Not optional)


Navigating the Bible the Five Minute Guide

Small book that breaks the Bible up into 390 5 minute lessons by summarizing long passages and providing a short high-interest portion to read from the Bible. Great for Beechick and WWE language arts lessons.

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It would be a shame to miss out on adventures because of school work, so I would keep it light - reading for content and doing math. Maybe see if something like Time4Learning would allow to you log in from anywhere in the world. The lessons would be short, and it would keep you from having to coordinate a bunch of different resources. If I was traveling for a year, I think that is what I would do.


I do a lot of schooling in the library, so I try to get as much of our curriculum into digital format as possible. I have a $200 ASUS 11" laptop that weights I think 2# and works perfectly for most things. I save files to a 128GB mini SD card - I got the kind for cameras that is supposed to be extremely durable. This way I can transfer files to another computer easily - you could even keep one as a backup. I also have an iPad, which is nicer to read PDF textbooks, plus you can "mark up" documents in an app like Notability.


You could try to do regular schoolwork - but the idea of printing tests, grading assignments - ugh. If you do want textbooks, look for science, history, and math textbooks that have a textbook in PDF format, or as an iBook. I buy digital access codes from Holt (HRW, HMH) and then manually save page-by-page while listening to a podcast so I don't go bananas. I then combine files into one PDF for each chapter using Adobe Acrobat Professional. I know Rainbow Resource sells the codes for many subjects. I'm not sure if other publishers let you download the pdfs - they might have you log into their site to view the pages (very annoying because you have to have wifi, and they don't fit well on an iPad screen). All of my Holt codes have been easy to download though. Many of those packages include the audiobook for the textbook - just download each lesson and import into iTunes. For middle school they have Holt World Geography, Holt U.S. History, plus a lot more for high school level. (Their description says that the online access still requires a textbook, BUT the textbook is online so really you don't need it). iBooks are even better because they have embedded videos and quizzes, but they take up  ton of disk space.


Another option is to have your 8th grader read popular science & history books instead of using textbooks - The Botany of Desire, Gulp, Rare, Longitude, What Einstein Told His Barber, Stuff Matters, Why Is Milk White, The Violinist's Thumb, Salt, etc.


Your 2nd grader could work through Free & Treadwell readers (on Kindle). For digital stuff, I would look for an app that doesn't require an internet connection. There are some decent apps for each grade. I'm not sure you would be able to log in to online accounts for RAZ-Kids, Headsprout, and such from overseas. I wasn't even able to download my Kindle or Audible books when I was in Costa Rica. You would need to plan ahead and download things ahead of time.




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We are leaving the US. And we are in fact traveling w/o an RV or home base do to speak. Right now we have iPads that are old and slow. We will be upgrading to new devices and wondering which ones to get. My guess is that we will have some e-readers and at least 1 iPad. I'm not familiar with nook/kindle/3G paper white/e-readers. What's the best and why?


I didn't think about not being able to download certain things out of the country, so that was a great point. Does anyone know why downloading doesn't always work internationally? I may store a bunch of stuff in Dropbox and then pull as needed if possible.


I plan to have the 8th grader read period/location themed material. Both kids will be journaling and writing summaries regularly so writing will be covered.

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Us too.

For my then first grader I do plan to bring the little Singapore math books. MEP math is totally online and I will supplement with that.

I hope she can read by then 😒. I plan to come up with booklists by country/region, for her it will be mostly read alouds. We will fill the kindles and ipad with books.

Otherwise, most museums/zoos/temples etc have some sort of kid program.

Edited by madteaparty
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If you plan to use internet get a VPN. Internet access is not the same around the world 😉

That goes for using google books too and other things.


My experience is not traveling all the time, but plenty through the year. What I have found for the need to do subjects having a workbook means it gets done. Just do the next page. So if you use MUS just bring the hard copies. It gets done that way. Electronics die, and need recharging often. They are hard on the eyes. And it is harder to see progress with hard copies. Read alouds are good on tablets though. Pick more than you think you will read (waiting for planes, sitting on trains, waiting in lines all are easier with a book)


Also don't expect much to happen on plane rides. 😊 other than rest


For a year I personally would drop (even for 8th grader) all extra work beyond basics. Then plan according to your trip extras. Places you will visit learn about. Language- knowing a little in several languages goes a long way. History of what you are seeing. Local food, entertainment, stories etc. And have the kids journal. And give each kid a camera and have them take pictures they can write about in some way.


Enjoy the experience for a year- then pick back up with all the other extras.

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Okay, if you are going to be this dependant on tech and out of the country, I would want iPad and the newest possible. I have used iPads over the years, my own and friends. Pdfs choke on older iPads. And will not download properly. New is better.


iPad doesn't have a card slot. I don't know anything about the newer options to use a special thumb drive. I know they work for pictures and video, but am not sure about PDF and eBooks.


I only know enough about Kindle and downloading overseas to know it makes people cry. In the USA, a 3G Paper white is an awesome backup. Overseas, maybe not.


I would want at least one tablet with a card slot, with my books loaded on the card. I would want all 3 volumes from Yesterday's Classics. They are great on a eReader, but the regular eReader Kindles can not hold even all of volume 1. I'm not sure what options of other brands there are for the Yesterday's Classics. I'd be willing to buy an eReader just to hold the YC books if I could find one to do it.


On the Ambleside Online forum are people homeschooling overseas. You might want to sign up there to ask about tech overseas.


I do not like to lesson plan and teach math and phonics from a tablet. Reading narratives is a breeze, though. I have switched to a more narrative way of teaching and fewer textbooks, just because I use tech so much. I adore good narratives in professionally formatted flowing text eBooks.

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iPads charge faster and the battery lasts longer than Kindle Fire tablets. Kindle eReaders last longer than both iPads and Kindle Firebtablets. That is important when power-using tech.


Old cell phones are great to load up with audio books to save the tablets for other things. Most cell phones can just hook up to wifi with no cellular hookup needed. And if they have a card, can just play what is on the card.

Edited by Hunter
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Layers of Learning curriculum PDFs work great on a tablet.



Zooming in on small pictures is crystal clear. There is no lag and freezing. I don't know what they did that other curriculum makers did not, but these people are lucky or got some awesome advice.


Because the text is broken up, you can zoom in on a text section, when on a smaller screen.


I use Layers of Learning like a digital encyclopedia and reference. Great supplement to lots of vintage narratives. Great pictures. I don't use the hands on activities, but they are nice.

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Hmmm....thinking more about this, you have bigger problems than books. Like clothing for change of seasons.


I don't own a winter coat. I just do layers under a wind breaker. Some years I bought a cheap pair of kids snow pants, but other years I wore a bigger pair of sweats over a tighter pair, on the coldest days. But I do layers instead of having any real winter wardrobe. And I wear the warm stuff as pajamas in the summer, as I often live in high rises with freezing cold air conditioning that leaks under the door and through the vents, even when I have it off.


But, yeah, okay, the number of hardcopy books has to be almost nothing.


One carry-on for a year, change of countries and seasons. Wow. I hope the expectations to dress for career and social are minimal. Unless you can afford to just purchase and dispose of clothing.

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I have used Master Math Essentials on a tablet. There is a PDF and online streaming video. You can also buy hardcopy and DVD, but I have never used anything other than the PDF and streaming.


There used to be kindle books at kindle unlimited, but they seem to be gone.


I have used Math Mammoth dark blue 1-6 and light blue 7, and found it awkward but possible.


The screen turning off while doing math makes me nuts.

Edited by Hunter
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Having lots of screens, means being able to charge one device while burning through a battery on another to do something like setting a screen not to turn off during an hour long math lesson.


As I said, I really like audio books on their own little device.


Extra long cords to charge while using a device help. But batteries break down faster when charging and being used at the same time.


External battery packs help. My friends and I have a collection of these battery packs, mostly bought at Marshalls and TJ Maxx on sale, and we got what we paid for., unfortunately We hand them around the best we can, while tapping off public wifi and dealing with old tech that is dying.


I have a one month wifi pass again this month, but frequently rely on public wifi for long stretches of time. And so do my friends. We can be a mess.


Kindle Fire tablets are cheap, but win no awards for battery life. And the largest screen model is dead slow. Sloooooooow. We have tested the cheap 7 inch model next to the large screen and the 7 inch is so much snappier.


If you are using an onscreen keyboard and not an external keyboard, the iPad keyboard is much easier to type on. Much easier.


Word processing on a tablet is much better on the iPad. The large screen kindle fire doesn't have a single full word processor that doesn't lag, or at least not one we could find. Pages on a new iPad is very very good.

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Hmmm....thinking more about this, you have bigger problems than books. Like clothing for change of seasons.


I don't own a winter coat. I just do layers under a wind breaker. Some years I bought a cheap pair of kids snow pants, but other years I wore a bigger pair of sweats over a tighter pair, on the coldest days. But I do layers instead of having any real winter wardrobe. And I wear the warm stuff as pajamas in the summer, as I often live in high rises with freezing cold air conditioning that leaks under the door and through the vents, even when I have it off.


But, yeah, okay, the number of hardcopy books has to be almost nothing.


One carry-on for a year, change of countries and seasons. Wow. I hope the expectations to dress for career and social are minimal. Unless you can afford to just purchase and dispose of clothing.

I'm not the OP, but save for a skiing trip, we plan to chase spring and summer when we set out, so as to avoid the winter clothing issue :)
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We have been having trouble here with Android Nougat. Especially me. Especially me. I won't purchase anything with android nougat in the near future.


Like Windows, in theory, android can work on any hardware. When put to the test and with forced updates, bad things can happen with no warning. My android phone just about bricked in October(?) after a security update, and the manufacturer still has not fixed the problem. The overheating is better, but not gone, but now has othe super serious problems, like not being able to properly answer the phone. :lol:


The operating systems on Kindle Fire and IPad are only being tested on a very few types of hardware. There are less unexpected problems and they are fixed quicker.


There was some type of internet security problem last fall, and after that, forced security updates became much more frequent. We live in a new world afte that. Sprint called it "unprecedented" when discussing what happened to my line of phone. The people I have talked to about the near future recommend iPhones for right now.


And what goes for phones goes for tablets.

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What a wonderful experience! Definitely plan the minimum and enjoy the experience!


I would bring math workbooks. They aren't that big, and worth the hard copy. I would download The OPGTR PDFs for phonics and use the whiteboard app on the iPad with that.


Reading-- audible and Kindle are great.


If you want science, something like Mr. Q PDF would work.

History I would just download some books for where you are...learning mostly from tours and museums.


Writing you have covered.


For your second grader I would pick copywork passages from reading and do copywork, narration, and dictation from those. Bring a notebook for that.


Internet is not always as accessible or affordable internationally so download when you can and I wouldn't plan much that has to be done online, or anything that involves streaming.


Math and basic LA would be my focus. Enjoy the journey!

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Have you seen this blog post?  http://theartofsimpletravel.net/worldschooling/


Math (younger):  We've done Math Mammoth PDFs with Notability with no big issues.  (you can adjust the iPad's settings so it takes longer before 


Math (younger):  There are apps to provide virtual manipulatives (abacus, geoboards, 10 frames, coins, clocks).  And of course there are lots of fun apps to practice math.  Or a deck of cards to play math games (my old MM book had links to instructions for such games).


Grammar (both kids):  Depending on how you feel about diagramming (or not diagramming in this case), you could buy Michael Clay Thompson's Practice books as interactive iBooks and do one a day.  Here's a link to their first level:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/practice-island/id951882784?mt=11


Vocabulary (both kids):  Knowji app 


Vocabulary (older kid):  Michael Clay Thompson's Caesar's English as an iBook, perhaps?  (You might want the parent's implementation manual, too.)


Cursive (younger):  Download a copy of Don Potter's PDF and just give 10 min practice each day using a spiral notebook.  (But of course there are apps, too.)


modern eBooks (not sure if they'd work outside of the US):  subscriptions to Reading Rainbow's Skybrary or Getepic.com.  Readworks.org has somethings too.


multi-subjects:  I've never used them, and I haven't heard positive reviews of them in general, but what about Critical Thinking Company's eBooks?  You could get a variety of subjects that way in some form.


multi-subjects:  Scholastic workbooks in conjuction with Noteability?


Art Appreciation:  Laurie Bluedorn's eBooks. (want to do this on a color screen)

entertainment / logic puzzles:  krazydad.com has PDFs that I bet you could combine with Noteability.


If you're considering a new kindle as JUST an reader.... consider whether you want it to be read in the dark (while traveling or in bed).  If so, you'd want something backlit (paper white, voyager) otherwise if you go with one of the cheaper kindles, you'll have to tote around a book light or head lamp to read it in the dark.


Also - you might consider getting a bluetooth keyboard to make it easier for composition (yours or the kids).


ETA:  Some more random ideas ... You could really bone up on memory work.  Download Andrew Campbell's Living Memory as a guide? ... I don't know if Treasured Conversations would be right for some LA for your 2nd grader; maybe or maybe not.

Edited by domestic_engineer
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Look into the app xtra math  for your 2nd grader. My K'er and 4th grader are using it for practicing math facts. (the Ker uses it at school and they sent it home as highly recommended as daily homework at school--they do not require ANYTHING using the Computer; even send home books to read for the daily book reading requirement. But they are good about pointing out useful suggestions for free and cheap resources on the net. But I'm finding it useful for my 4th grader as well)  it is free on the computer, but the app is only $5 on the ipad and I've found it worth the money already.


DO get a keyboard for any long term writing. My son uses google drives at school and finds it very difficult to write on the ipad mini or his Android tablet (both of which have access to google drives when we have internet access)

Edited by vonfirmath
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Based on our experiences, I would recommend:

*2 iPhones with the kindle app (to read books on, to play apps for for math drill, etc.)--one for each adult to carry

*an iPad with digital textbooks or stuff scanned and sent to DropBox. Our mini has been great

*a Macbook Air.  


I know that seems like a lot, but there are 5 of you, 2 doing school, and presumably an adult is going to want screen time too!


I would bring a hardcopy of math. CLE, because it's disposable, would give you would have a cumulatively lighter load, or you could have family mail stuff to you if you have some fixed, known stops.  MUS does have a digital textbook option, but this is one area where we found it hard to go completely digital. We also purchased a small laminated math reference sheet with facts, a number line, measuring rulers, etc.


I second the recommendation to journal---blogging would be the best format for traveling light.

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