Education comes in many forms and it is said that the multitude of experience will add to that enrichment. Schooling kids on the road is quite common and in some cases, perpetuated by the current pandemic. Whatever the reason, kids are getting a real-life civics lesson that includes history, culture, biology and with some creativity, math and science. I am impressed with the families I saw.
First, let me paint the backdrop. There was a couple with their son from California living out of a travel trailer. A father from Minnesota with his daughter tenting, traveling the south since school at home is remote learning. Another family with 3 kids in a converted Greyhound bus. A young couple with two elementary-age children in a very modern large class A. And who can forget the couple from Vermont with a modified old school bus with 1600 watts of solar panels. Yes, being camphost, we saw everything.
The National Parks and all its entities (preserves, historic sites, wildlife management areas, etc.) is a treasure trove of information. We offer junior ranger programs, fireside chats, 15 minute boardwalk presentations, ranger-led programs all within the context of a particular area. In big Cypress, we have canoe trips and ranger-led programs of swamp walks and back country buggy rides. And there’s much more. What a great way for kids (and adults) to learn about the flora and fauna of an area.
In my conversation with many of the adults, they plan and take advantage of the many free learning experiences available. I often reflect back to my childhood where learning about the Grand Canyon or the Everglades was from watching TV shows or in social studies class at school. These kids are living it! And when it comes to history, here we have the Miccosukee and Semiole native Americans. When in the Deep south up to Gettysburg, Civil War sites abound. When visiting Dry Tortugas NP, find out why Fort Jefferson is two colors?! And when one is in the southwest or up in Yellowstone, learn about how the “West was won”.
I didn’t get into personal detail but parents loved to share how the kids were learning. They had agendas, planned lessons, were very flexible, and supplemented the experience with seat time. Yes, they even bought books on the history of an area and used the internet as a major resource. The reality of it all, I think the experience was as much of a learning experience for the adults as it was for the kids.
The one question I had and didn’t ask; how were they able to pull it off financially? Some openly shared how. Many had online jobs where they could work remotely. Others planned this and saved for it. Still others did not share nor did I probe. Kudos for those who found a way.
America the Beautiful!
Coming soon, more tales from the Campah!
… Next adventure; “Land O’Lakes”
STAY TUNED! More “tales from the campah”!
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