I have been going back through my files, recreating and reposting some of the pieces I inadvertently deleted a while back. I came across this today, and felt it was appropriate for today. Yesterday, we celebrated our one year “nomadiversary.” That is, we left California a year and a day ago and hit the open road in an RV, crossed the country, wandered about, and learned a lot along the way. Our celebration was marred by an unwelcome guest: A stomach virus made its presence known in a violent sort of way. Funny and appropriate I think that I should come across this oldie today.
Traveling With Children | Are We There Yet?
The great thing about homeschooling, I’ve always said, is that we aren’t tied to a schedule. Over the years, we have enjoyed taking off on day trips and even a cross-country adventure. Each time, we were able to take our field trips at off-peak times so we could avoid crowds.
Then we started our farm. Farm animals have a schedule that is stricter than any employer or any traditional school calendar. In the past year, we have enjoyed learning alongside our children, but unless you count trips to the feed store, we haven’t gotten out much.
Our wanderlust runs deep, and so we began planning a getaway. Our children helped us build our farm, so we promised them a trip to Disneyland as a reward for a year’s worth of feeding hens, building fences and moving poultry shelters. Planning for the trip would be an economics lesson as well. The kids watched us juggle farm income with feed costs and other expenses, always setting aside a bit from each sale for our trip.
With a month to go, the kids began marking off the days on the calendar, checking back several times a day as they tried to imagine what delights Disneyland might hold. Only three of them had been before, and two of them had been too young to remember. The last time went to Disneyland, we packed 35mm film and paper maps. We couldn’t think of a good reason to bring a phone along. Now our phones do everything but drive the van.
“Mom, I have a sore throat,” the first one announced. “Is this a rash?” was followed by, “Oh, no, Mom, I think I’m gonna …” She took off running, but didn’t make it. It was two weeks before the trip and the kids were falling sick, one by one. In the end, six out of seven succumbed and recovered. We started packing.
Between cooking food to take on the trip, tending to sick kids and setting up the neighbors to take over our farm routine, the laundry started to pile up. In the interest of clean clothes for all, I tackled Mt. Washmore the day before departure.
“Mom, the washer is making a lot of noise,” I heard my daughter yell. “And there is a lot of water.” Another problem to be solved.
We made it out only a couple of hours behind schedule. We had not been on the road for 10 minutes — we were not even out of Marysville — when Olivia piped up from the back of the van. “Dad, are we almost to Disneyland?”
Just past the Grapevine, we found a station playing only Christmas music. That was about the time the social order started breaking down. As Elvis lamented that he’d have a blue Christmas without me, the road ahead congealed into a thick mass of blinking brake lights. The baby began to wail. Sophia started singing “God Bless America” in attempt to calm the baby as a backseat brawl began.
“We are almost there,” I assured the kids. “Start looking to see if you can see Disneyland.” Never mind that we were inching along an ivy-covered privacy wall, I thought it might keep them busy. It didn’t work at all. Olivia beaned Bella with a pillow. The boys started whining. It was pure pandemonium, the stuff family vacation memories are made of.
I think the economics lesson worked. On the way home, Bella started calculating how many chickens we’d need to fund another trip next year.
The story above was written before we decided to make travel and adventure a priority. Read about our journey across the USA at www.LearningAcrossAmerica.com.
Her most recent book, Start Homeschooling Today: No Experience Required provides a simple set of instructions that will give the beginning homeschooler the tools and the confidence to begin homeschooling successfully.