Coronavirus and the media reaction to the virus has upended the lives of American families. It’s easy to see the downside, but if you are looking for a silver lining, look no further. With the onset of Distance Learning and Remote Working, the idea of a school and workation has taken root. The world can now be your classroom and office, as it has been ours for over a decade! Read on for distance learning tips from this veteran road schooler as well as “deals” from destinations courting distance learning and their families.
As fall is now in full swing school district Covid plans continue to morph. When will they allow students back in the classroom full time for face-to-face in-person instruction? If so, when? What will the social distancing rules be? Or are kids going to spend the whole year online learning via Zoom? And if they open, what will happen if local infections increase? What about masks? What about special needs kids? The confusion is difficult and trying for parents and kids across the nation.
I hear from my friends with school age children and they are beyond stressed. Many have pulled their kids from the public school systems for a host of reasons and are now on the homeschool journey mid semester, trying to pull together curriculum. Others are still waist deep in the confusion and stress of distance learning and all the bizarre intricacies associated with that. But, regardless of which road you have chosen for your family, there are a plethora of option to make the most of the school year.
“Not being tied to a physical classroom this school year and beyond means more opportunity to travel as a family for parents who have the option of working remotely.”
This is my specialty. We have been doing this for nearly 9 years. Our kids are thriving and we are super close as a family. I thought I could offer some insight as to how to be a nomadic family that both learns and earns whilst traveling.
Learning Tips for Outside the Classroom
As all homeschool, roadschool, unschool and otherwise families will tell you, it can be overwhelming, this being in charge of your kids education and all. Ya know? Sometimes you will feel fully underqualified, too impatient, too busy, too frazzled, so not a teacher and more. But, I’m here to tell you to breathe. It does not have to be stressful. Parents all over the world have been teaching their kids at home and on the road since the beginning of time.
Here are the most basic of tips for making remote and/or distance learning fun, exciting, unstressful and very doable.
I’m more of the glass is full type person, so I look at almost everything as an opportunity. And, this may very well be the only opportunity in your lifetime where you have this kind of freedom. This is a time where the world is truly your oyster. When you adopt a homeschooling attitude you begin to see learning as fluid. It’s not just done between four walls. We, KelloggShow, are what you call digital nomads. Dan works remotely from Spain, from Alaska, from Italy and from Missouri. We use everyone of these locales and more as classrooms for our kids.
Italian language in Italy. Metric and monetary (math) conversions in Spain. Science happens at night around the campfire as you gaze at the solar system or when you break open rocks while hiking and are surprised by their beauty. Gym class can be SUPing on the lake or sledding in your campground. Civics class occurs when you visit can focus on learning how local government works in the area you’re visiting. Geology, Social Studies and Language Arts are naturally occurring learning opportunities every day while on the road.
WIFI is a Must
Second Tip: If you will be working on the road and/or Zooming on the road, you need GREAT WIFI!
Make Your Space Amenable to Learning
Distance learning plays by very different rules than typical classroom attendance. The upsides of distance learning are blaringly obvious, more freedom! And the downsides, really just take a little preparation and foresight to overcome.
For instance, it can be difficult to concentrate if one child has a class and their siblings are not on the same schedule. Likewise, it’s difficult to conduct meetings with kids around. And, I’m not going lie, it’s hard for anyone to buckle down and get work done if you are camped on a beautiful California beach.
So, we found out early on in our RVing adventure, that space is critical to success. Now, as a homeschool family, we don’t have to adhere to a schedule, really, but we do encounter much of the same difficulties. For one, we don’t each have our own room, our own office, or even our own desk, so we bought a few of these amazing foldable desks from Amazon. Now we can lie in bed while distance learning, remote working or remote surfing facebook in comfort.
Also, whether at home or on the road or hunkering down in a vacation home everyone needs a quiet space for school and/or work, which doesn’t exactly happen in an RV with our numbers so we purchased these noise-cancelling headphones, for cheap!
Do The Seemingly Impossible: Relax
Plan Around the Kids Curricula.
One of the difficult things about education in a classroom is that it can be nearly impossible to spark a child’s curiosity and interest in something. But imagine reading about the Battle of Bull Run and visiting the exact location it occurred in Manassas, VA. Or learning about Our Blessed Mother and visiting Our Lady of La Leche the first shrine dedicated to Our Blessed Mother in the United States. Or how about studying Colonial America and visiting Williamsburg, VA? These places, these devotions, these battles, they come to life in the minds of our kids.
This is what distance learning offers.
It’s the same when learning a new language, or studying abroad, or visiting new cultures, suddenly everything is relevant and the desire to learn more is piqued. If you are flexible, and can travel to places that are applicable to what your kids are learning, their schooling will be that more alluring.
Distance Learning from Anywhere
One of my favorite quotes, that keeps me inspired, as we continue in our distance learning via travel is, “Not All Classrooms Have Four Walls.” I love it and if you meditate on the meaning for a minute it will navigate it’s way to your heart. Classroom settings have never felt conducive to learning. Sure, some Type A kids thrive, but those who like me, learn from doing struggle. A lot.
For families who have the flexibility and the opportunity to be remotely connected, you don’t have to be at home, you know this right? You can literally go anywhere and combine instinctive learning as well as lecture learning. Whether it’s temporarily relocating to be closer to family or taking the opportunity to explore a new community, distance learning and earning offers an opportunity for quality family time and education.
There is still a lot of uncertainty about what the next year will look like, and beyond, but families are experiencing profound shifts in the way we live and work. Many of these changes will remain long after the pandemic, it’s imperative we embrace the good and focus on decreasing stress and anxiety for our kids.
Read More: The Benefits of Homeschooling
The Options Are Endless
As a veteran homeschooler, turned RV roadschooler, turned distance learning guru, there are literally endless ways to make this work for you. Every family is different, therefore your ideas of success will vary greatly. Following are a few options that I and other homeschool families have engaged in for decades, long before the Corona Pandemic of 2020.
Distance Learning in an RV
Schooling in an RV was a natural step for us as a family. We loved homeschooling, we loved to travel and we saw the complimentary lifestyle as being beneficial to us all. When we embarked we took a lot of heat, this lifestyle was nearly unheard of. But, fast forward 9 years and road schooling is all the rage.
We just took an 8 week trip back East to visit Dan’s family and attend his brother’s wedding. We kayaked in MO and TN, we went caving in GA, we toured a bit of DC, went shooting with friends in NC and we spent time in VA meeting new people and networking. The boys worked hard cutting and splitting wood, they fixed their Uncle’s power steering, they built huge bonfires and we visited family we haven’t seen in years! None of this would have been possible had we been tied to a daily classroom.
In two weeks, we will be taking another RV road trip, continuing our expansion in distance learning, to Utah. We will hike Moab National Park, ride dirt bikes on Slick Rock and head to Zion to explore the gorgeous slot canyons.
KelloggShow Tips: Distance Learning can be done cheaply via RV, which is why we began our extended travels this way. Head to family or find free camping in National Forest or BLM lands.
Distance Learning Budget Friendly Family Fun
For those whose school and work-cations will definitely not entail leisurely days sans kids (ours, for instance) check out other less pricey, and more family oriented options.
Harvest Hosts is one fantastic option! Harvest Hosts is a membership service that connects RVers with a network of wineries, farms, breweries, museums and other unique attractions that invite RVers to visit and stay overnight for free, dry-camping style. With two membership tiers that provide unlimited overnight experiences at nearly 2000 unique locations around North America, your options are endless for a mere $119/year for the highest level which includes … GOLF! Imagine Distance Learning while at a winery…
Or you could choose an option like, Campland on the Bay in San Diego, CA. This waterfront RV resort offers a place for distance learners to complete their schoolwork in a quiet, beautiful shady setting complete with tables equipped with power supplies and wireless internet access. Parents are required for supervision and masks are required 100% of the time. After studying, families enjoy, swimming, SUPing, bubble soccer human foosball, campfires and more.
Campgrounds & Resorts Marketing to Distance Learners
In times of great uncertainty, people’s routines and purchasing habits go out the window, which opens up the opportunity for businesses who can pivot operations and invest in new technologies to adapt to the changing climate. No doubt the entire travel industry was hit hard by Covid-19. But many resorts, campgrounds and vacation rental owners are responding by creating unique and creative distance learning environments for you and your children.
High Roller Options
Long Term School and Work-Cations
In Florida, the Marker Key West Harbor Resort began offering private tutors around mid-September. It has technical support available for kids, and educators to cover local topics, such as the island’s literary history and marine life. There have been a handful of reservations so far.
The extras add between $225 and $250 to the room rate, which are exorbitantly pricey and vary depending on the date and room type.
Family vacations are the new field trip,” said Lee Rekas, the resort’s director of sales and marketing. “The virtual learning has been tough for a lot of kids. They’re stuck on screens all day or sitting there at home, with their parents over their shoulders, doing work sheets.”
In June, Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia told TPG the vacation rental platform had seen an “uptick in long-term stays.” He said people are eager to get out of dense urban areas and escape to more rural places — “not just for a weekend, [but] for a month or more.”
This listing boasts the ability to study on the sand in the desired CA location Newport and Balboa pier. At a much more reasonable price of $238/night it can sleep 7 comfortably.
The options are truly endless for parents with the ability to work remotely from their own jobs.
Ski Resorts: 20/21 Season Passes For Free
Why not go against the grain and head toward winter? The following resorts offer FREE season passes to kids of varying ages. Check out the FREE Power Kids Pass for kids 10 & under … if offers unlimited skiing and snowboarding at participating resorts, with ZERO blackout dates and ZERO hidden fees. It is 100% free.
June Mountain—the “family mountain,” as they call it—in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas southeast of Yosemite National Park.
Here, kids 12 and under ski and ride free all season long. For more information visit www.junemountain.com.
Copper Mountain Kids 15 & U ski receive a free season pass with the purchase of an adult season pass! No blackout dates! For more information visit www.coppercolorado.com.
Hesperus participates in the Power Kids program, which grants a free season pass valid at Hesperus and Purgatory Resort, to children ages 10 and younger. For more information, visit www.ski-hesperus.com.
Loveland Ski Area offers children between the ages of six and 14, a free season pass with the completion of the 3-Class Pass. Children’s full day lesson packages include a lesson, lift access, ski and snowboard equipment rentals, helmet and lunch. For more information, visit www.skiloveland.com.
Purgatory Resort participates in the Power Kids program, which grants a free season pass valid at Purgatory Resort and Hesperus Ski Area, to children ages 10 and younger. Purgatory also offers free lessons to those who have never skied or snowboarded before. For more information, visit www.skipurg.com.
Ski NH offers $30 ski-and-ride passports for fourth and fifth graders at 34 locations, but Bretton Woods also offers a Junior Pass Program that provides free ski passes for kids 12 years old and under. You can apply for the pass online. For More Information, visit SkiNH.com
Waterville Valley Resort gives kids 12 & Under a free season pass PLUS free skis all season with an accompanying adult who buys a season pass! For more information visit www.waterville.com.
Sipapu participates in the Power Kids program, which grants a free season pass valid at Sipapu Resort, to children ages 10 and younger. For more information visit www.sipapu.ski
Pajarito participates in the Power Kids program, which grants a free season pass valid at Pajarito Resort, to children ages 10 and younger.For more information visit www.pajarito.ski.
Brian Head participates in the Power Kids program, which grants a free season pass valid at Brian Head, to children ages 10 and younger. For more information visit www.brianhead.com.
Brighton allows up to two kids 10 & under to ski free with a pass-holding or paying Adult. Child tickets are available day-of at the ticket window. For more information visit www.brightonresort.com.
Nordic Valley participates in the Power Kids program, which grants a free season pass valid at Nordic Valley, to children ages 10 and younger. or more information visit www.nordicvalley.ski.
Distance Learning Year Round Summer
Conrad Punta de Mita, Punta de Mita, Mexico re-opened its doors Sept 12. In celebration it is offering the “Work from Paradise” Package. With starting rates of $260/night this package includes a daily $75 resort credit, access to premium wifi, early check-in/late check-in, and a 50% discount on a massage. With 3 enormous pool, a two-mile-long beach and golf, I can’t imagine a better place to relax and play after Zoom calls and meetings! For more information visit www.conradpuntademita.com.
Mexico’s AAA Diamond Velas Resorts’ ‘Home to Grand’ program is remote workers a 10% discount at their properties in Los Cabos, Riviera Maya, and Riviera Nayarit. Travelers have access to private work spaces, secluded beaches, and a pool. Parents will be happy to hear that kids 11 & U stay free with their parents. For more information visit www.VelasResorts.com.
The “workation” deal at Royalton Riviera Cancun, Royalton Negril and Royalton Splash Punta Cana urges guests to work from paradise for 14-nights. This offer includes 24-hour access to the Diamond Club Lounge, complimentary Business Centre access plus resort-wide Wi-Fi as a part of Royalton’s All-In Connectivity promise as well as endless coffee bar, breakfast pastries and delectable snacks. At the end of each workday, Royalton Fit instructors invite guests to enjoy a sunset yoga session in order to decompress and enjoy their evening in a truly tropical oasis. Royalton also has a supervised kids club, to keep children entertained all day with engaging and educational activities, from learning a new language to time allocated for remote-study so they can keep up with the school work. For more information visit www.royaltonresorts.com.
US Based Retreats
The “Edu-Cation” package at Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, California, includes accommodations and your own personal dedicated study room fully equipped with high speed internet, stand up desk, seating area, printer/scanner restroom and private terrace, one hour of online, on-demand K-12 homework help in all subjects, powered by Tutor.com, a service of The Princeton Review, $100 daily resort credit, on-site Coastal Education Enrichment Center & activities for all ages, outdoor activities, some complimentary like family fitness classes, running & walking app, private beach club access, house bicycles, and some available for an additional charge including surfing lessons, boogie boarding, SUP tours, guided electric bike tours, oceanfront golf & more and a welcome tech gift. For more information visit, www.monarchbeachresort.com.
The luxury Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach in Clearwater Beach, Florida Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach and Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter the Dolphin from the Dolphin Tale movies, are partnering to offer a remote learning experience for children aged 5 & up to study virtually in a fun and stimulating environment. An after school care program is also available where kids will get to visit the Aquarium! For more information visit www.whyndhamhotels.com.
The Ritz Carlton has several promotions aimed at school-age kids in the SouthEast. Kids can join the Junior Artisan Academy in Naples, or the “Ecology Field Trip Package” in Amelia Island. Or they can access the “Ritz Kids Study Buddy” program at Lake Oconee in Greensboro, GA.
Antigua and Barbuda are offering the “Nomad Digital Residence Program” (NDR). The NDR Visa allows visitors the right to reside in Antigua and Barbuda for up to two years, provided you can work remotely as The NDR visa does not allow the holder or dependents to work for any company or organization doing business in Antigua and Barbuda. For more information visit www.antiguanomadresidence.com.
Dubai announced a new “one year virtual working program which allows remote workers and their families to stay in the city for up to a year while working for companies that are based overseas. If approved, the visa allows workers to open a local bank account, get a local phone number and internet access, and enroll their kids in school, with no local income taxes. For more information visit, www.visitdubai.com.
Barbados has officially launched its 12-month “Barbados Welcome Stamp” program which allows visitors to live and work on the island for up to a year. The visa program is also open to Distance Learning families looking to relocate. For more information visit, www.visitbarbados.org.
Bermuda is now accepting applications for its “Work From Bermuda” program.” The visa, which costs $263 USD per person, is designed for remote workers seeking a slice of paradise,” the site claims. For more information visit www.gotobermuda.com