Is Roadschooling A Viable Option?
This new school year presents many challenges for families. Even with the many restrictions put in place because of the pandemic, there are still several options open to parents when it comes to educating their children.
Some families are viewing this predicament as a chance to do something surreal in their way of living and learning. They are looking closer into the concept of roadschooling.
Parents like Bridy and Kurt Oreshack had, on many occasions, entertained the idea of taking off in an RV for a year and roadschooling their kids, who are now 5, 9, and 10.
“We thought, there’s never going to be an opportunity like this in our careers,” says Bridy, a wealth advisor in San Diego. When COVID-19 happened, their employees encouraged them to work remotely. That’s when their ideas of traveling turned into actions.
Their plans are already set in motion. They have taken the route of roadschooling their children for the 2020-21 school year. Instruction will include trips to national parks, the Pacific Northwest, and Hawaii. A French tutor is joining the family on their travels for in-person instruction. The kids will also engage in virtual classroom learning with an English teacher as well.
Similarly, the Raspa family of Baltimore is not letting the coronavirus disrupt their plans for the new school year. Katie and Matt Raspa are taking the unconventional route of roadschooling their 8 and 6-year-old children. The family is enjoying their new full-time RV life, and they want to continue it permanently.
Reflecting on how her children have learned and grown in their new role as roadschoolers, Katie said,
“They’re really getting to see a lot more. You know, obviously, when you live in one home and in one neighborhood — we were in our house for 12 years, so we were in the same place– they’re really learning how to meet new people, how to interact with people that are different from them, have different backgrounds from them, which we love. I think the biggest thing is flexibility, everybody going with the flow. Things don’t always go as you anticipated, so just taking it as it comes.”
Benefits of roadschooling
In a nutshell, roadschooling is combining homeschooling and traveling. It isn’t a new concept, but it is definitely becoming a sought after alternative amid the pandemic for families seeking freedom and flexibility in their lives and educational options outside traditional schooling.
Some children are enrolled in remote programs with public or private institutes, while others are using a variety of curricula that incorporate online programs and in-person teaching. Although it is not clear how many families are choosing to roadschool this school year, it appears to be a popular choice according to the latest report by K12. This online education company, alone, has seen a 40% increase in online public school enrollment this year.
Roadschooling looks like many things for different families. The section “How do I choose the best curriculum for my child?” from the following Camper Report article gives a breakdown of the different approaches to roadschooling. These methods can be combined to make the optimal roadschooling experience for a family.
Instructors are seeing promising prospects with roadschooling as well. Whether it is virtually or in-person, the demand for instructors has grown exponentially since the start of the pandemic, according to Katie Provinziano, managing director of Beverly Hills-based staffing agency Westside Nannies. Private education requests have increased by 2000%, with 40% of new clients planning to travel in their RV.
Instructors have seen a significant rise in hourly rates with this demand. Provinziano reported that at the beginning of the pandemic, an instructor’s hourly pay ranged from $30-$60 an hour. Now hourly pay ranges from $40-$100 for virtual instructors, and those willing to travel with the family will see at least a 20% premium.
The tourism industry took a big hit on the onset of COVID, and some businesses are just beginning to climb up out of their rut. Roadschooling incorporates travel and location exploration, which is where this industry sees one of its roles come into play.
Families need places to stay while they are sightseeing and taking their children on educational field trips. Campgrounds like Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort: Tower Park in California are promoting their location to roadschooling families in many ways. The park’s website advertises that it is a roadschooling destination. “With dedicated outdoor study spaces, free Wi-Fi, and after school activities, it’s the ideal spot to spend your new school year.”
The Four Seasons Punta Mita, located on Mexico’s Pacific coast, is opening up a “schoolcation” program. The resort has organized a myriad of classes, beach cabanas equipped with WiFi, tech support at the ready, and in-person tutors. It costs $475 a night to stay, and one semester of learning comes at a price tag of $50,000.
Learn all about roadschooling in a new online RV Masterclass
For parents interested in the concept of roadschooling, the creators of RV Masterclass have a new course called Ready to Roadschool available September 7th, just in time for the back to school season.
Kristen Murphy, of Where Wild Ones Roam, is the course instructor. The course incorporates her personal experience with roadschooling her two sons, experiences of others, and her educational background.
While explaining the idea behind Ready to Roadschool she said,
“In talking to families who are exploring the world of roadschooling, the biggest hurdles are often the transition from their current, often traditional, school option to schooling on the road, understanding how homeschooling works while traveling from state to state, and keeping their kids connected when away from friends and family.”
Read more about the RV Masterclass courses in this RV LIFE article and on their website. You can also get some great tips on roadschooling in this Do It Yourself RV article.
Natalie Henley is a freelance writer and has also been full-time RVing with her husband and pets since 2015. She covers a wide range of topics from RV lifestyle, RVing tips, DIY projects, RV news, and more.