4 RV Trips to Get in Before Kids Go Back to School

4 RV Trips to Get in Before Kids Go Back to School
How to plan for adventure as a family, whether staying near of going far.
By: Tera Wages

I will start by admitting something - I never imagined myself as a homeschool mom. I didn't see a world where I would sit across the table from kids and teach them how to subtract 34 from 63. I am not a naturally good teacher ... nor am I known for my patience. But I suppose no one saw what the world brought us in 2020 that threw me into this foreign role.

And while I was in that season, I was pretty miserable .... except when we decided to hit the road. The beauty of homeschool was that I didn't need permission from anyone to take four weeks with my kids and explore the Midwest. That part was wonderful and kept me motivated to keep going. But now, one month before tree of my four children step back into a classroom, my heart is unexpectedly sad.

My brain is telling me to soak in every single moment and create adventure while I can.

Planning for Adventure as a Family

When I first think of the word adventure, my mind goes big. I mean, go big or go home, right? But big isn't always the best option. We can't always load up for weeks at a time to walk through deserts and mountains. 

So, in that moment, once I realize I don't have the time for something grand, I ask myself, what is the goal of the trip? Learn something new? Move our bodies and hike? Simply connect with each other?

Then I look at how much time I have. If I only have two days, I don't want to drive more than three hours. If I only have a week, I don't want to drive more than eight hours.

Once I answer those two questions, I pull up my map and start looking around.

Ideas for Trips to Take Before the Kids are Back in School

Here are four trip ideas to help you decide what to explore with your own family before that first day of school drop off.

1. The Local Campground

Goal Achieved: Connection without much effort or planning (1-2 days).

Often, we overlook the local campground because we want to go somewhere new. And is it really worth the work of packing everything up to just drive up the street?

Personally, I have found that 5- 20 miles down the street is just far enough to change our mindset. When I am home, I have a list of things to do, there is always a closet that needs organizing. But magically, it takes just driving up the street to see that list disappear.

When we are at our local campground, we focus on building skills like riding our bikes, conquering the monkey bars, actively practicing our cartwheel. We play charades and actually sit to read a book. We take a time out to only focus on spending time together- no agenda included.

2. The State Park

Goal Achieved: Exploration, agenda without the schedule (2-3 days).

When you only have two days, find a state park close by. I will admit, I have lived in my town for 15 years and there are famously known places within two hours of our home that we have never explored. There is always somewhere within a couple of hours just waiting to be chosen.

State parks are great for quick weekend trips. They tend to offer more amenities like swimming, trails, and play equipment. This helps my adventurous husband still get his fix of crossing things off his list without it feeling over the top. We can have an agenda without the pressure of arriving at a certain time or being on anyone else's schedule.

3. The Event

Goal Achieved: Easy entertainment, but takes some planning (4-5 days).

Enjoying Winnebago’s Grand National Rally event in Iowa.

Events are finally happening all over our country. And while, we still need to take precautions and be smart with our decision making. There are plenty of things to do that are outdoors and exciting for kids to be a part of.

Wes discovered recently that we were only five hours from Oshkosh, WI, where the EAA Airshow was taking place. It had been on his bucket list since he was a kid. This is a great option if you want someone to entertain you and tell you what to do, you just have to show up.

Searching community calendars of neighboring cities within a six-hour drive will certainly bring up something fun to jump into.

4. National Parks

Goal Achieved: Education, activities, and seeing something new (1-1.5 weeks).

Are you ever really done exploring a National Park? Whether it is a new season or different time of day, our parks are changing constantly. National Parks are perfect for school-aged kids who are curious and always turning over every stone.

Our favorite part of any national park is the junior ranger program. This teaches our kids about goal setting and gets them excited about what we are finding, using their workbooks to draw pictures and write out descriptions. I feel like each time we go, our kids leave feeling confident and proud of themselves for achieving something. They walk a little taller when that badge is pinned on their shirt.

Plus, there is so much history in our parks that I feel like I am teaching them about our country and life in a tangible way. Now, when the teacher brings up Mammoth Cave in their reading lessons, my daughter can say she has been there! Being only six hours from home, it was perfect for a quick trip.

I have gone from dreaming about the day I walk these kids into their classroom to feeling emotional every time I think about it. I am not ready to see them go anymore. The one thing that makes it easier is knowing that I took advantage of the time we did have. And I said yes to the trips whether it took days to get to the destination or five minutes. 

Because, to be honest, the kids didn't care either way. They just wanted undistracted time together. And, however we plan our trip, I know when we are in the RV, they are getting it.

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