40 of the Best Ways to Homeschool in the Car

Do you find your family in the car more often than you care to admit? Whether you’re on the way to co-op, ballet, music lessons, ball practice, chess club or doctor’s appointments, all this car time can make a mom feel quite guilty about the seemingly wasted minutes or hours.

Did you know this car time doesn’t have to be “down” time? It most certainly can be down time if you like, but there are lots of wonderful schooling and enrichment activities that can keep your children educationally engaged, too.

In this post, you’ll find more than 40 ideas for to have productive homeschool in the car!

Are there times you need homeschool in the car? These creative ideas will keep you learning while the wheel are turning.

Homeschool in the Car

We live in a rural area where just a trip to the grocery is a 20-minute drive. Co-op classes and music lessons used to be an hour round-trip.  Even to get to the nearest big city for specialty doctor appointments or Costco shopping is almost an hour each way. You can imagine how many miles we have traveled in our cars over the years!

Rather than rush through the school day (or ditch school altogether) in order to get places, we’ve used most of those traveling hours as homeschooling. Of course, we could always bring along workbooks and reading books and just do “regular” school in the car, but our carschooling activities are way more fun!

I realize the idea of carschooling can seem kind of lame and not really fruitful, but those less “schoolish” lessons have always reaped big results! Because many of our activities are game-like, everybody is pretty joyful about playing along and we get in quite a lot of learning.

As you’ll see below, most of these homeschool in the car ideas are most appropriate for elementary and middle school students.

Find more than 40 creative and productive ideas to homeschool in the car on those busy days when you're running all over town.

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Bible Memory Work

Recite Bible verses

Recite the books of the Bible

Academic Skills

Drill math facts

Complete mental math problems

Round license plate numbers to the nearest ten or hundred

Drill spelling words

Read signs

Quiz vocabulary definitions

Drill important dates to remember

Drill important people or events and their significance

Narrate recent readings

Recite poetry

Give copies of a blank US map and ask kids to color in each state when they see a license plate from that state

Bring along Fandex guides or other fact cards to quiz each other on facts

 Fandex Family Field Guides: Presidents Fandex Family Field Guides: 50 States Fandex Family Field Guides: Explorers

Educational Games

Play ABC I Spy – with objects, colors, shapes, or words on signs

Name things you see outside that were mentioned in the Bible

Tell stories

Tell stories where one person stops at the climax and another person continues the story

Play grammar guess – Mom says a sentence and asks child to repeat a part of speech. Example: Mom says, “Name the prepositional phrase, ‘Look for the ball under the bush.’ ” The child then repeats the prepositional phrase.

Hum or whistle tunes and see who is the first to guess correctly

Play 20 questions

Play an oral ABC Scattergories – Think of a topic and the first person names something that fits in the topic starting with “a”, the next person thinks of a “b” word, and so on

Play word memory –  The first person says a word that fits in a certain topic. The next person says that word and adds another word. The third person says the first two words and adds another word.You keep going until someone messes up.  Example:  Topic=animals, first persons says ‘dog’, second person says ‘dog, cat’, third person says ‘dog, cat, frog’

Play Bugs and Cruisers – Assign point values to certain types of cars and have the kids keep a point tally as you drive.  Example: VW Bugs and PT Cruisers are each worth 1 point.  Hummers might be worth 10 points.  Jeeps might be worth 5 points.

Bring along educational travel games (or store them in a plastic tote in the trunk)

 Learning Wrap-ups Math Intro Kit Melissa & Doug Flip to Win Travel Hangman Game – White Board, Dry-Erase Marker Battleship Grab and Go Game Yahtzee to Go Travel Game 2014 by Hasbro Gaming Travel Spirograph Playset Checkers – Take ‘N’ Play Anywhere Game Pop-O-Matic Trouble Grab & Go Game Rubik’s Cube Game Simon Electronic Memory Game

Audio Books

You knew I couldn’t leave out living literature, right? There is NO WAY I could possibly list all the audio books we’ve enjoyed in the car. Not a chance. I decided to ask each of my children to name two of their very favorites and those are what I’ve included below.

 The Witch of Blackbird Pond Publisher: Listening Library (Audio); Unabridged edition Ella Enchanted The Chronicles of Narnia Complete 7 Volume CD Box Set (Unabridged) The Secret of the Mansion (Trixie Belden) The Enchanted Castle Nancy Drew #1: The Secret of the Old Clock

Educational Audio Ideas

There are many other audio resources which have been favorites over the years that have served to teach us academic subjects as well.

Adventures in Odyssey

Jonathan Park Adventures

Foreign languages

Bible verses & songs

Story of the World

Lyrical Life Science

Classical music

 Beethoven Lives Upstairs The Story of Swan Lake Peggy’s Violin a Butterfly in Time

Other Ideas

Keep a lap desk or clip board in your car, along with a supply of pencils, crayons, etc. and bring along some drawing books and paper.

 Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book: Make a World How to Draw Princesses and Other Fairy Tale Pictures (Dover How to Draw)

On a familiar drive, ask your child to create a travel brochure of the sights you see

Stop at a rest stop or hotel in an unfamiliar area and pick up a few brochures. Let your child be the “tour guide” of attractions in the area as you drive. You never know when an unexpected field trip might turn up.

Listen to a preacher on the radio and discuss the sermon

Turn up the music and practice singing harmonies

Pack educational coloring books and crayons or colored pencils

 Around the World Coloring Book (Dover History Coloring Book) My First Book About Outer Space (Dover Coloring Books for Children) Human Anatomy Coloring Book (Dover Children’s Science Books) Wonders of the World Coloring Book (Dover History Coloring Book) A Walk in the Woods (Dover Nature Coloring Book) United States Coloring Book (Dover History Coloring Book) The Biology Coloring Book Art Masterpieces to Color: 60 Great Paintings from Botticelli to Picasso (Dover Art Coloring Book) Historic American Landmarks (Dover History Coloring Book)

Tell me how you homeschool in the car!

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13 Comments

  1. Thank you for posting these ideas! We have a subscription to Audible.com and listen to books being read on our Kindle while driving. It’s a great way to keep them off tablets and the whole family is engaged.

  2. I still haven’t taken the plunge into Audible yet. I really, really should because I know we’d use it all the time!

  3. Wow, these are fantastic ideas! I especially love the idea of working on math drills and spellings words, as well as rounding license places to the nearest ten or hundred. Honestly, that last one is probably my favorite. My parents would have us kids play a game like “road Bingo,” where we would mark off road signs on a board once we saw them. It definitely helped us learn the signs, keep us attentive, and occupied! Not sure it was really schooling, but I remember it being fun!

  4. My favorite car game growing up was the ABC game. I loved it when I beat my dad! LOL

  5. Love these ideas, especially the ones that don’t involve any writing or reading (motion sensitive). My kids are preschool/toddler age, but I look forward to taking advantage of car time for listening. We live in a city so we’re rarely in the car for very long, but every bit counts!

  6. Every Thursday is a homeschool on the go day for us as we have gymnastics that day. The kids work on math facts in the car, practice spelling words and other simple activities.

  7. I never considered motion sickness, but that’s a great point!

  8. Thank you so much for all the wonderful ideas. We mostly do the audio books from our library. At first I thought it would be hard to get them all to tune in, but to my amazement they were asking me to turn it back on before I could get my door shut lol

  9. Yep. Even my kiddo who doesn’t prefer to read gets into audio books! 🙂

  10. Sandra Clark says:

    Another idea for when you’re running errand in the car…instead of stopping for fast-food, we would run in to the local grocery store and get a bunch of grapes (and rinse them off if at all possible), a carton of juice, crackers, cheese slices and a package of cookies, then head to a park for a picnic (we stowed an old thick comforter and solo cups and a paper plates in the trunk. It was a nice break from being in the car and allowed the children to stretch their legs and get a little fresh air.

  11. We love listening to podcasts in the car! Our favorite is Brains On, but there is also Wow in the World and Tumble, just to name a couple.

  12. Hannah, what ages do you think those podcasts are geared toward? I love podcasts, too, and I think I could get my son on board if I found the right one(s).

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