Roadschooling is a simple concept: We remove our children from the school system and use the locations we visit while traveling to create a scholastic experience.
We are seeing a shift toward roadschool as a mainstream educational option. The perks of roadschooling are obvious: An abundance of family time; parent and child control of the curriculum; the adventure of a lifetime, etc. It is easy to envision our family making a lifestyle of visiting historical sights and National Parks.
Even those that long for freedom must be able to check important boxes, such as:
We must also address the emotional concerns of family members, such as:
Above all, a family needs to possess the gumption to let go of a “normal” life, because of all the things the roadschool life may be, normal is not one of them.
More than a few friends have told us us they are inspired by our example and wish they could leave “normal” behind, but even those with the hutzpah to do it will find significant roadblocks in their way. The reality is it can take years to put arrangements into place to become a full-time RV family.
Regardless of what it takes — going back to school, selling the house — it is our opinion that NOW is the time to make the switch. In fact, we will give you FIVE GOOD REASONS to throw up your hands and say, “Screw it, honey! We’re leaving today!”
We hope you enjoy.
We could spend a few days in Boston, enjoy the Freedom Walk, and take some historical tours. Or if we wanted to gain insight about early immigration to the USA, our family could tour Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
If we want to learn about how Native Americans hunted bison on the central plains, or how gold fever in the Dakotas impacted them, we can have the time of our lives perusing culturally and historically significant sites in the Black Hills.
Maybe we want to teach our kids about the last ice age. We could stay in Eastern Washington for a week and trace the perimeter of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet. Our children could climb on the glacial erratics, walk on the eschars, sit in a prehistoric rhino cave, and fish in the plunge pools beneath the largest waterfall the world has ever known.
A hot-button topic in schools these days is the history of slavery in the United States. Teachers use it as a foundational component to educate our children about the birth of our nation. No matter how we feel about the subject, our children are going to hear about it through someone else’s filter. Or maybe not.
We could spend some time in Charleston, SC as part of our roadschooling curriculum. Charleston had more slaves than anywhere else in the United States. It isn’t a stretch to suggest the entire coastal Carolina region is defined by deep roots in slavery, so we can’t think of a better place to learn about it.
And learn about how slaves lived during this dark period of our history. Here our children can develop an understanding of the skills they learned, the Gullah-Geechee language they invented, and how they stuck together (or were torn apart).
Stop in at the Old Slave Mart Museum, the last slave auction house in Charleston. Read the nuanced signage with your children — the whole story is told here. Learn how the slaves were transported, how they were purchased, how they were treated, and how they became slaves in the first place. Did everyone in the south support slavery? Were all slave owners awful? How did the slaves rebel?
We can learn about slavery from the source — hear the stories and the songs, and walk amongst the living quarters. Our children can form their own ideas when we give them the objective information.
The advantages of getting hands-on with our lessons are obvious. Roadschooling with the family is an adventure in learning that no standard classroom can surpass. No information will live in the memory of our child more than that in which they physically participate.
When we roadschool, we are no longer limited to the excursions near our home. Our child’s good behavior could be rewarded with a trip to the local arcade, or a trip to the biggest arcade in the nation. We could enjoy the rollercoaster park an hour away from home, or scream down the biggest rollercoasters in the world.
And guess what? Rollercoasters teach terrific physics lessons!
Learning is everywhere. Roadschooling allows us to go big with our learning.
A lot of folks don’t think about this. With the current political push to end fossil fuel production, why would the government allow the lowest fuel efficiency vehicles on the road to keep rolling around the nation at the discretion of overprivileged renegades?
Maybe y’all don’t take the rhetoric seriously, but we do. This is a world-wide movement pushed by the wealthiest, most powerful people on earth. It is not outrageous to suggest Americans are living in the final decade of free-will travel in gas and diesel vehicles.
Now, motorhomes and trailers might fall into separate categories. Our 40′ Class-A motorhome manages a woeful six or seven miles to the gallon. Nonetheless, even if you’re hauling a trailer, chances are you’re pulling it with a gas or diesel powered truck.
It is clear the global elites view electric cars as the future of transportation. They say it all the time, so are we not taking them serious? The better question probably is, do we think they will win in the end?
Perhaps someday they will make an electric motorhome with solar panels. While we would be open to the possibility — why not? — we seriously doubt they would be affordable to everyday Americans.
It is easy to envision a future without gasoline powered vehicles. Can’t you picture the fields of cars and motorhomes — called something like “subsidized housing auto-rrangements” — littered with the moldy relics of a “thoughtless era of eco-terrorism”?
Motorhomes are soon to be an endangered species. Some states will stop licensing them in the future. The production of new models will be thwarted by legislation that makes it cost-prohibitive.
2030 seems to be a deadline year for climate change goals. We hear it referenced over and over. These people are clearly not joking, so our time to own a house on wheels is now. We didn’t want to miss our chance due to injury, accident, or climate change idealists seizing control of our freedoms.
Truth be told, we weighed the choice of roadschooling heavily against waiting until retirement and traveling without the kids, because it would be much easier to do it just the two of us. We eventually decided our children’s lives would be better for the experience. And in the background was the gentle nudge that RVs might not be on the roads when we finally get around to it.
If RV travel is something you’re interested in, but you still aren’t sure if you want to take the plunge, please read our article, Don’t be Afraid to Buy an RV: Be Very Afraid and Buy One Anyway.
The competition for campgrounds is increasing every year. These days many people are adding themselves to the RV park consumer pool, yet not many RV parks are in development.
We have four primary thoughts here:
1. Population increase means more campers.
2. Online work means more campers.
3. Baby boomers hitting the road means more campers.
4. Alternative lifestyle popularity means more campers.
We have found that unless we are willing to endure undesirable conditions — freezing winters, scorching summers, disgusting trailer parks — there is ferocious competition for good RV campground availability in many parts of the US. This means folks are booking reservations further and further in advance to avoid a bad arrangement.
To make reservations six months in advance takes incredible planning, and fortune, because the roadway of life is unpredictable. If travel planning is a skill you’ve yet to master, check out our FREE e-book, The Skills to Cultivate a Lifetime of Travel. It is a 24-page, beautifully designed e-book in which we discuss our planning methods. We would love for you to have it.
Ryan’s parents have been part-time RV travelers for the past 17 years. Over that period of time they have lapped the country twice. They said that in the past five years they’ve had much less success pulling into a campground without a reservation. The mere thought of this is ludicrous to me: There was a time I could just pull into a campground unannounced and get a spot? It really is hard to believe you could just show up at Teton National Park and camp.
We found one long-term spot — one spot! Not one campground — one parking spot in the entire Charleston area! It isn’t all that great, either, and we’re still here a couple months later because nothing has opened up anywhere else. If we wanted to bounce around from location to location, parking at Walmart on the weekends, we could probably make it work. But who wants to do that? Monthly RV reservations are in short supply so we need to book them far ahead of time.
Here’s another factor to consider: The days of the $25/night campground are ending. Some State Parks are still affordable (with restrictions), but the vast preponderance of RV spots charge nightly rates in the $50-65 range. Weekly and Monthly spots are more affordable, most operating in the $600-$1300 range.
Now, if people like to camp off-grid on BLM land and live that way, more power to you. That’s a very bohemian lifestyle. If you choose to run back and forth to water supplies, meter out solar powered energy, compost your waste, etc., all while living with your children, we wish you all the best. You are stronger than us (and you probably smell).
The bottom line is, its getting crowded out there. If a tipping point occurs in the RV lifestyle, it will become ridiculously hard to roadschool without perfect planning.
The public education system in our nation is in decline. The numbers don’t lie… Americans are not testing nearly as well as we once did. The teachers and administers work hard to make the system go, yet a combination of issues make it increasingly difficult to provide the quality of education once freely available in the USA.
Classroom sizes have ballooned to over 30 students per class. Children of all learning abilities, special needs, cultural backgrounds, and first languages, are packed together in classrooms. The teachers struggle to cater to the many different IEPs which monumentally slows the pace of learning.
When we factor in the decrease in parental involvement, distracting elements like smart phones and social media, the prevalence of drug use, sexual imagery, and profanity among adolescents, and the covid-19 experience, it is no surprise we are watching an exodus of tax-paying families out of this foundational institution.
It was with the school district in which my children attended school. During the interview process I attended a zoom meeting with 1300 district employees, wherein they discussed the continued implementation of critical race theory. Monica was already a nurse with the schools, and she was required to attend the meeting. So I sat in and observed.
The man leading the meeting was asked a question: “What if people who work for the Highline School District don’t believe in what we are teaching?” It was a good question. I was impressed someone had the gall to ask it.
The man replied, flatly, “Well, if you don’t believe in this (ideology), you probably shouldn’t work for the district. You should probably go work somewhere that teaches what you believe.”
Universities have similar issues. Where once an education was intended to open the mind, it is now intended to shape the mind in the preferred direction of professors and administrators. Teachers, school boards, and unions believe they know what society needs children to think. They see it as their responsibility to mold our youth to fit their vision of the future.
You may very well agree with the direction the schools have taken. That’s perfectly fine with us and more power to you. That said, many conservative-minded families do not share the attitude that school administrators know what is best for our children.
We have witnessed the national frustration in places like Loudon County, Virginia and San Francisco. Parents are fed up. School boards are getting lambasted across the country. Homeschool is a more popular option than ever before because of Covid, but it is also because parents are losing faith in the judgement of our public school officials.
We would like the public schools to focus on our children’s education, and our family will be responsible for teaching the belief systems. We want our children to grow up with big ideas that lead to a happy life. Unfortunately, we don’t see the modern schoolhouse ideologies leading to happiness. Until the public school system decides to refocus their efforts on apolitical learning, we will not require their services, and we will enjoy traveling around the nation and teaching our children ourselves.
We don’t take much with us when we die. Our relationships, knowledge, and experiences are pretty much the extent of it. Earthly accomplishments, while great on earth, don’t hold weight in the eternities. The things we own are completely irrelevant upon passing.
I played on a championship soccer club for many years. In retrospect, would I give up that experience to travel the country with my family for a few years? In a child’s heartbeat.
Half the kids on the team were jerks, anyway.
Would I really miss the middle school years? They were horrible.
My fondest memories are vacations with my parents. I learned how to speak Spanish (un poco), while in Mazatlan when I was five. Getting lost at Expo ’86 in Vancouver, B.C. was a formative misery. Disneyland, house boating on Lake Shasta, driving the pacific coast highway from Washington to Southern California… all wonderful experiences that adorn my reflections with joy.
Our children spend a growing number of them on media devices, and so do we. Between the kids’ sports, music, dance, and friends, and our careers, our most treasured possession — our family — can easily devolve into a unit of cohabitators.
None of this is possible when you’re stuck in a motorhome. We see a lot of each other in the tiny house, perhaps waaaay too much. Lord knows, we’ve all seen too much of Parker the naturalist over the past seven months. Overly naked children aside, these are the most important people in our lives. There is nothing more important than them, in the here, and in the hereafter.
The world is rife with spuriousness. Our nation has become a strange, uncertain place where tradition is the enemy and new ideas become absolute ideals overnight. How can a child know which way is right in today’s ever-shifting culture?
Yet it somehow feels like they need it now more than ever. Many of us recognize that protecting our children is a fine line — not enough and you might lose them, too much and they might rebel.
With all the problems happening with the youth in our country — drug abuse, unwed pregnancies, suicidal ideation, radicalization — the Hoffmann family decided it was time to err on the side of caution. Our little clan will take the chance our children rebel against our ideals while we give them morally clean formative years free from the nuttiness that blows in the metaphorical wind. After all, we are the people who love them most. We do not see them as citizens to be formed in the ideologies of a political climate. They are our children — they are us — and we intend to keep them close and help them establish a foundation upon which they can firmly stand.
More than anything, we love the gospel of Jesus Christ. We want to serve our Savior, and we want our children to learn to serve Him, too. We are an eternal family with a divine purpose for coming to Earth. Our relationships with each other are more important than anything.
Honestly, we can’t believe this is our life. Traveling together; experiencing new places together; learning new cultures and histories together; meeting new families across the country together; this is one heck of a way to spend our final childrearing years.
Thank you for reading! We hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and invite you to peruse our website. If you would like a little more insight into what it is like to travel with children, we’ve written some of our experiences in an article, titled, The Challenges of Traveling with Children. God bless!
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