New Years Goals 2013: Roadschooling!

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We had a very eventful year in 2012…our youngest started kindergarten, while our oldest went off to college. Not to mention my only daughter starting middle school and my big four-oh birthday. It was exciting and scary all at the same time. And 2013 holds many more adventures.  Looking forward to the coming year, there are many things I want to change, improve and accomplish. One in particular has had us excited for several months now.  It’s a huge, adventurous, gigantic dream. My husband and I would like to embark on a 12 month roadschooling adventure in 2014.

What is roadschooling?

It’s a fairly new thing, or at least it is to me.  Families of all sizes and income brackets are rolling out into the U-S of A to see the countryside and be a full time family. During this time, they are homeschooling their children and incorporate national monuments, historic sites, live archaeological digs, and museums into their lessons so that science and history become real. A study of erosion will be accompanied by a trip to the Grand Canyon to see it in person. A lesson on civil rights will go hand-in-hand with a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum.  And so on.

The beauty of this vision is not just in the educational benefits.  Families who have taken the leap to roadschooling have shared over and over again how strongly bonded they become with their children and spouse.  Free from the rat race and the trinkets and technology that once separated them, they find a peace and connectedness that had been lost.  I ache for that.

We have spent several years working extra hours to pay off debt and provide therapy for our autistic son who is now doing very well.  When we aren’t working, we have errands to run, laundry to fold, home maintenance and all the responsibilities of a large family.  It has blessed us beyond words to be able to watch our children grow and see the fruits of our efforts.  But the long hours have stretched us.  We have become disjoined and somewhat fragmented as a family.  Now that we are nearly debt-free and our son is doing well in school, we have a deep desire to spend a year strengthening our family ties, teaching our children and making lasting memories with them.

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Despite what it may sound like, this dream is not for the wealthy.  In fact, you can read many testimonials from average families who are living the dream over at Families on the Road or Full Time Families.  But a trip like this take does a lot of planning. First off, we must be debt free. We must pay for our travel trailer in cash. And we must find means to earn an income on the road.  So these are our driving goals for 2013.

Having a job as a blogger means I am able to take my work with me wherever I go.  And without a mortgage, car payment or medical bills we will need less money to travel than we would spend staying put.  So the blog income will suffice, once the bills are paid off and the trailer is purchased.  We won’t be eating in five star restaurants or going to amusement parks every day, but that’s not the purpose of the trip anyway.

As the year passes, I will share our big milestones with you.  We will even be starting a blog to document our journey! We don’t expect to be on the road until 2014, but our goals start this year.

Roadschooling Goals for 2013:

  • Finish paying off medical bills ($8300)
  • Increase blog readership by 30%
  • Finish my first book – more on that later
  • Write three ebooks
  • Pay cash for 5th wheel ($9000)

THE BOOK: For the past two years I have been working on my first book.  It’s called Operation: Dinner – How to Plan, Shop and Cook Ahead for Easy Family Meals.  In it, I share my secrets for simplifying dinner and saving money.  My hope is that I can help other moms by sharing what I have learned through feeding a family of seven on a limited income and with limited time.  I share meal planning tips, shopping strategies, dinner prep ideas and recipes that will take the stress out of the dinnertime hour.  It will be available soon as a print or ebook, with the proceeds being used to help us realize our enormous goal of roadschooling.

Along with these goals, I will be learning all I can about homeschooling.  Particularly in the area of homeschooling a special needs child.  I am blessed to have several experts who have worked with him for years and are helping me maneuver through this.  We are also choosing our curriculum for the other children and formulating a one-year itinerary of places in the US we would like to visit.

IT STARTS WITH A DREAM…

While roadschooling isn’t for everyone, it is valuable to know that having this huge dream has deeply inspired us to stay on track with all of our other goals.  Things that would once tempt us to waiver are no longer an issue.  The excitement we feel about living this dream outweighs everything else by a long shot.  This was the missing ingredient for us in the past.

Not too long ago, I emailed my blogging friend Crystal from Money Saving Mom to ask her how she managed to overcome so much and accomplish her goals.  HERE is what she said.  Her advice was dead on the money.  Once we had a goal that we were both truly excited about, the momentary discomforts that would sometimes push us off track were no longer an issue.  I have no interest in new shoes or curtains or dinnerware if they will set me further away from my roadschooling dream.  I now see them as hurdles that need to be pushed aside.  They are no longer the least bit tempting.

If you have been unsuccessful in the past with goals you have set, I would encourage you to formulate a huge dream for your family.  Find ways to break it down into small, do-able chunks and go for it.  We are well on our way to our roadschool 2014 dream and if we can do it, anyone can.  If you have a giant goal for 2013, share it in the comments! I’d love to hear! Or if you have suggestions for educational trips for our children, favorite campgrounds, homeschool wisdom or any traveling advice I am all ears ;)

Comments

  1. I am so glad to see your post! When I saw the title, I was shocked! Too few people know what roadschooling is. We, like your family, are looking to a life on the road to bring our family back together. We find that when we are in our Jayco 31 by 8 travel trailer, we are the happiest and closest as a family. Our 5 month camping trip this past summer was truly life-altering. Although our blog is much less established than yours (i.e., not providing any income yet), we still hope to use it as a tool to achieve our dreams. We share our experiences with camping, roadschooling, fun and educational activities to do with the kiddos, camping tips, etc. I would love it if you’d take a look and let me know what you think! Congratulations on your goal! I LOVE it!

  2. Amazing goals! Wishing you and your family lots of success and happiness on your road to acheiving these goals this year!

  3. So inspiring! I can only imagine the memories, bond & closeness that you’ll foster as a family on this journey. Praying you through!

  4. Lori, what a wonderful goal! I am so excited for your family. I have been following your blog for over a yr and am inspired daily by your posts..we are almost debt free, too. (We have never regretted money or time spent traveling, that is for sure.)
    I took this trip right several years ago and can make some suggestions as it gets closer. For instance, you must go to the ‘four corners’..after visiting the Grand Canyon. California and Florida were my favorite states to explore, although New York is not to be missed.
    take the kiddos to the bookstore, Barnes and Noble have good travel sections. I especially like “1,000 places to see before you die ” by patricia shultz and “The Great American Road Trip” by Eric Peterson(quirky and fun stuff to see) Best of luck and blessings to our family

    • Thanks Christy – I look forward to seeing the quirky and fun stuff too! We borrowed a book called “Weird U.S.” – all about unique and offbeat things to see across the country. I love that kind of stuff. We are going to do our best to see at least a few of them – I think they’ll make fun memories for the kids.

  5. Sounds fantastic! I’d never heard of ‘Roadschooling’ before so I look forward to learning more about it from you.

  6. Here’s to making your dream come true! Wishing you the best of luck on your journey! May it be filled with cherished memories and many blessings. Have a safe and joyous trip! Sheri

  7. I LOVE it when people make family more of a priority. You guys will have so much fun making memories. It will be something your family can always look back on and say remember when we saw___?! I have so many questions. Will your Red Raider boy get to come along for part of it? Is there a chance you guys will decide to roadschool for longer than a year? Do you think Dylan will handle it okay? ( I have 2 autistic boys and they don’t deal with change well). Now I want to go buy my own camping trailer! So excited for you guys!

    • Hi Wendi – We are so excited too! The kids are already thinking about things they want to learn and see. We hung a map in the hallway, and they are putting stars by the places they are hoping to visit. My husband is a total outdoor guy so he is beyond thrilled.

      Our college son will have the option to come with us on his summer vacations. For his other breaks from school (like spring and Christmas) we are planning our trip so that we will be in Texas camping during those times so we can see him. He is on the fence about coming with us in the summer but I think I will be able to convince him once he sees it!

      For Dylan we will introduce him to the trailer slowly (first just short visits in our driveway). Then we will camp at a local campground a few times to get him use to it. We have ideas for gradually adding a favorite toy or blanket so he sees there is a space just for him. He is okay with change as long as it is gradual. I know for some kids its much more of a challenge. As far as going to different campgrounds and cities, it will be tough at first but having the same home/trailer with us everywhere we go will help him feel safe. In the end we think the travel will help him with his fear of change :)

      As far as doing it for more than a year, we are sure hoping to do it for 15 months (two summers and one school year) but we wanted to aim for 12 months first to see how it goes. Can’t wait to see this dream become a reality!

    • Wendi, do you homeschool your boys? I have just taken my 7th grade son who is autistic out and am starting homeschooling him but am having problems with getting any work done.

      • Hi Mary – I know that question was for Wendi but wanted to mention how much it helped me to have an ABA therapist come and set up a home program for me. I know they can do it for older kids too. At age three, my son was able to sit in a chair and attend to tasks for 3 hours at a time. I would never have been able to get him to do that. Once he understood “the rules” he sometimes still doesn’t like it but he will always do it. Also rethinkautism.com gives web-based education training (aba based) but I’m not sure what ages they cover. You can get a week for free though to try it out.

  8. Wow what a wonderful goal and opportunity for your family. I will be looking forward to reading about your journey and the books that you are writing. I would love to do this some day when I have children, I think it would be a great experience. Good luck to you and your family!

  9. This sounds so exciting! I can’t wait to read about all of your adventures and how you save up for it along the way. You guys are going to have a blast together as a family. So proud of you for making any sacrifices needed to make your family stronger.

    I’m also looking forward to your book! You must be so excited to finish it and release it soon. Give me a heads up when it’s out and I’ll advertise it for ya. Best of luck to you with every endeavor.

  10. How exciting!!! I would love to do something like this, so much great family fun. I am so excited to follow you along with your journey. Best of luck to you & your family.

  11. I just want to say how proud I am to tell people that i went to school with you! I am also super excited for what you have already accomplished and would like to do. It sounds wonderful and I would love to do that with my family as well. I have a goal of being out of debt as well and I’m now working two jobs to meet it. I want more out of life than just looking at the bill box. I do have one question since it has been such a rough year with my family in the hospital. How do you plan on providing insurance for your family while you are on the road in case something major happens and so that you don’t end up with medical bills again? I have been thinking about that heavily for myself if I decide to own my own business. Good luck with everything!

    • Julie – So great to hear from you! Lately with all the working we’ve been doing I have been missing out on too much of my kids childhood. So we are very much looking forward to doing this. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we were both on the road at the same time!

      As for the medical expenses. This is an issue we have been reading up on. I found a great article on Money Saving Mom and after researching it, we decided to get a high deductible health plan and a health savings account. You can read the article here: http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/02/ask-jesse-should-i-set-up-a-flexible-spending-account-2.html

      Take care Julie!

  12. Thanks for the advice and the article. I have such a great need to own something of my own and have more control of my life, but there is the reality of needing health insurance. Good luck with your goal and I will be looking for your new post about frugal living to see where I can make cuts to get to my goal faster.

  13. Lori, I would like to offer to be a support to you when you go on your Roadschooling adventure. I am a BCBA and have 4 kids–2 boys on the spectrum. If you have questions about programming, please feel free to ask

    • Rebeka – that would be amazing. Thanks so very much. I have always wanted to have a second BCBA look at our program and offer a new perspective. I will take you up on that for sure. Thanks again!

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