When we committed to Veritas Academy, we knew there would be a few sacrifices for our family, primarily financial and logistical. While busing may be available to some families choosing private school, for other families it is not an option - whether it be bus ride length or location of home outside the bussing radius.
In this busy season of to-do lists, growing laundry, and constant distractions, a daily commute to school can certainly feel like just one more obligation. However, I have found a couple things that really help make the most of the car time. The key to each of these is intentionality. With a little bit of planning, you can make the chunks of time driving to and from school something really special.
This one is obvious, isn’t it? But it goes beyond whatever is on your radio or favorite play list. Take some time to invest in what your child enjoys or discover new tunes together. Our family just loves the silly songs of the band Slugs and Bugs, and even I have benefited from music like Seeds Family Worship and the Rizers to help memorize scripture. We have also enjoyed listening to Broadway soundtracks from start to finish over the period of a few car rides.
3. Embrace the Silence
Many mornings we are quiet. The radio is off, the heater is humming, and the orange and peach sky is lighting up in front of us, glowing over the fields as we drive. On these mornings we are more mindful of the beauty of God’s creation and enjoy the quiet to start our hectic day. Some days my son needs this on the way home from school too - a little commute is a great way for him to decompress after a grueling day of reading, writing, arithmetic, and light saber battles.
4. Embrace the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Time
Did you ever notice when you’re on a roadtrip with a friend or family member how easy it is to get in to deep meaningful conversations? Consider the opportunity you have for a mini-roadtrip every day. Every day may not produce a heart-baring conversation, but some my son’s most thoughtful questions come during a car ride (usually after long bouts of silence). He knows he has my full attention because we’re locked in a moving box together and I can’t look at a screen or tackle my to-do list.
5. Ask Intentional Questions
It’s a proven fact that the question of “How was school today?” ends with the answer, “Fine.” When questions are more poignant and open ended, students are drawn out and more likely to engage in conversation. For example:
- “What was your favorite part of the day?”,
- “What kinds of things did you do at school today?”
- “Who did you play with today?”
- “What new thing did you learn today?”
It seems like other people are catching on to this, too. Just recently, a toy my son received in a kids meal was a pack of cards, each containing questions to spark conversations between family members. Check out any of these articles for some examples:
I’m always looking for more ideas to maximize this precious time that, while seemingly transitional, can be really special. Please feel free to comment with your favorite kid-friendly music, podcast, or car activity!