Homeschooling on the Outer Banks: Visit, Play and Learn!

Welcome to our classroom!

If you homeschool, the Outer Banks should play a starring role in your curriculum. There are three important things we want our homeschooling readers to know. Read on to get the scoop.

1. Win a FREE Outer Banks Vacation – your odds are excellent!

You absolutely need to enter our “Free OBX Vacation” contest. You might win a free week in one of our beautiful Great Escapes Vacation rentals for the week of September 1-8, 2019.

While families with school-aged children might be hesitant to enter our contest (because traditional schools are in session at that time), you can take your school on the road! Take advantage of your flexibility and enter the contest here. We would love to host your family and show you all the Outer Banks have to offer.

2. You will get lower prices and better rentals.

Our best rentals get scooped up really quickly. Some are even booked a whole year in advance. Peak season (summer) has higher rental prices and lower availability because families with kids on a traditional school schedule only have a certain amount of time off every year.

Homeschoolers have a huge advantage here. You are free to book your trip right before or right after peak season, when the weather is still awesome but the prices are lower. And, you can schedule an off-season trip during the fall or winter, when there is still so much to do and learn. Our rental prices fall dramatically and you will have an excellent selection of homes from which to choose.

3. We have awesome hands-on learning, all year long.

Our beaches, nature preserves, historical markers and activities all add up to one amazing field trip!

Research shows that travel does some pretty cool things for our brains and bodies. By forcing us out of our normal routines, our minds “wake up” and become more willing to readily take on new information. This is especially true for children, who seem to learn best in a hands-on environment. The world is truly the best classroom!

We teach all subjects here on the Outer Banks. Here are some examples of how your vacation can actually become a useful teaching tool (for all of you!).


List of subjects:

? History & Social Studies

Many children struggle with history and social studies. It can be hard to really understand why the Civil War was important, or that there was ever a time before air travel (or smartphones!). By visiting some of our historical sites, children are better able to grasp concepts, ideas and feelings surrounding important historical events (perhaps by standing on a real Civil War battleground, or seeing a lighthouse keeper’s original home).

According to an article by USA Today, “Seeing and experiencing historical sites up close can make history come alive for young people and help them to make sense of the names, dates and events that they learn in school.”

Here are a few spots on the Outer Banks that will make learning come alive!

Lighthouses of the Outer Banks

Adults love them for their pretty photographic potential. Kids love to climb them. Everyone can agree that lighthouses are full of cool history.

It all starts with the difficult task of building the lighthouse, brick by brick. Then there is the challenging chore of lighting and maintaining it (before automation, this was a full time job!). And of course, lighthouses have a very important task at hand: to prevent epic shipwrecks! Lighthouses are a pretty big deal out here on the OBX. Add one or two to your list.

Read more

Wright Brothers National Memorial

Kids today think nothing of powered flight, but they might reconsider once they learn more about those first dangerous missions performed by the brave Wright Brothers, right here in Kill Devil Hills.

“Exploring the grounds gives you an opportunity to see reproductions of the brothers’ 1903 camp buildings, and stand at the place where Wilbur and Orville Wright first took to the air in their 1903 flyer.”


Read more.

? Science

Science is all around you! The topics are endless in a place like this. Sand, wind, ocean, wildlife, plants, beach erosion, sea turtles, stars, space, and weather are all ready to be explored and experienced first hand. Here are some A+ activities we recommend.

North Carolina Aquarium

Located on Roanoke Island, here you can travel through our coastal fresh waters with river otters, turtles and alligators. Of course, there are also several saltwater habitats to enjoy. For kid-friendly hands on learning, be sure to stop by the touch tanks. Love sharks? Don’t miss the 285,000-gallon “Graveyard of the Atlantic” tank that is full of them! If you plan your trip right you and catch a free program like shark feeding, Creature Features, Shipwreck Stories and more. Take a break from teaching and let the pros tell the kids about the beautiful ocean right outside your vacation rental.

Read more

Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education

Corolla is home to this wonderful spot, right next to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Stop here to explore the history and vast diversity of North Carolina’s wildlife all under one roof.

Featured exhibits include a 12,000 aquarium full of beautiful fish, a decoy collection, excellent museum store (teach some math and budgeting, perhaps?) and daily educational programs for young learners.

Read more

Searching for Seashells

First, please read our blog about When, Where, and How to Hunt the Best Shells on the OBX.

Then, you will have a blast teaching the kids about the animals that live in the seashells you find on our beaches.

For more fun, try this easy (and super cool) experiment to dissolve seashells in white vinegar.

➗ Mathematics

You might be surprised how often you do math and not even realize it. These little teaching moments can really add up, and when you are out and about on vacation, there are plenty of opportunities to brush up on those math skills.

  • Ask your kid to calculate the tip at the restaurant.
  • Give your child a budget. Allow him to keep his money in a special wallet and decide how and when to spend it (when it’s gone, it’s gone!).
  • Kids can help cook dinner in your vacation rental kitchen. Measuring ingredients = math!

? Physical Education

The Outer Banks are truly nature’s playground. Depending on the ages of your children, you can give them the gym class of a lifetime!

Kids in public school might have dodgeball, but your kid can brag about her surf lesson, kayak adventure, or beach yoga class. Smaller kids tend to get physical naturally, and will have a blast playing in the surf, building a sand castle or kicking a soccer ball around on the beach.

? Arts & Music

Type “seashell crafts” into Pinterest and you will be amazed at how many items pop up! You can try your hand at a beach-related craft or just keep it simple; drawing is always a great option. If you check the events calendars of the towns you are visiting, they will often have festivals and events that are full of art and music.

✍️ Reading & Writing

Your vacation is a great time to keep up those writing skills. Perhaps you could have each child keep a journal of your adventures (smaller children could draw pictures, or dictate to you). Then upload their thoughts and drawings to a photo book site like Shutterfly and create an amazing keepsake of your time together, all while honing those writing skills!

There are several wonderful libraries here on the Northern OBX if you need a spot to grab a book and chill for a while. Try the Corolla Public Library (1123 Ocean Trail) or the Kill Devil Hills Library (400 Mustian St). Both have small children’s sections, helpful staff, and provides services like wifi, computers, copy machines and printers (all very helpful for a homeschooling family on vacation!).

On your way to and from the Outer Banks, consider downloading an audio book for the family to enjoy.

It’s official. Report Cards are in and the Outer Banks has received an A+ in every subject. We really hope you will consider visiting us with your family and let Great Escapes OBX show you that there is always something new to learn!