SCHOOL ON THE GO

THE 2018 FLORIDA PARENT EDUCATION ASSOCIATION

 

NO MATTER WHERE OUR RV TAKES US, WE ARE ABLE TO BRING EDUCATION ALONG FOR THE RIDE.

 

Many families, like ours, have discovered RV travel is the only way to really see this country.  If you have two or more children, it just makes financial sense to make the most of your vacation time and money by hitting the road in an RV.   Countless families have also made the difficult yet rewarding decision to homeschool or even road school their little Einstein’s.  We have found that blending RV travel with homeschooling is the perfect recipe for a well-rounded education and an abundant life.

 

Yes, over three years ago we decided that we loved hitting the road so much so, that we did not want the school calendar to dictate when or how far we could travel at any given time. Needless to say, once we made that decision to home educate our three lively little boys, reality hit me that I was in charge of determining our children’s curriculum and ultimately their educational destiny.

 

THE FPEA PROMISED AN AWESOME CONVENTION AND THEY DELIVERED!

 

When I was introduced to the world of homeschool conventions, it became a resource I would continue to tap into every year.  This year I was lured to beautiful Orlando, Florida to explore the Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA) 2018 Homeschool Conference.

 

Who could turn down a trip to Florida, right?

 

These homeschool conferences can be huge and somewhat daunting to many families, but I want to share some tips that will allow you to consume this large educational meal in small digestible bites.  These four tips will get you started on successfully completing your first homeschool conference.

 

  1. Pre-register for the event and print out the vendor list and speakers schedule. This way you are able to highlight the vendor booths you are interested in getting more information from and which speakers you feel have information you need to be successful in your homeschooling journey. These conventions usually have a broad spectrum of topics for families, no matter if you are thinking about beginning homeschool in the near future, you’re a newbie to homeschooling or even if you have been homeschooling for years.
  2. Wear your most comfortable shoes because you will be doing a ton of walking. The larger homeschool conventions will have several breakout sessions that you have to navigate through as well as a large curriculum fair, where you can browse through hundreds of curricula books and other related homeschool wares and services.  All this amounts to a lot of time on your feet.
  3. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water, snacks and a brown bag lunch. The convention halls are notorious for expensive food. (I usually bring my boys with me to the curriculum fair so that they can have some input in what we choose for the upcoming year.)  If your kids are anything like mine they will want to snack frequently.

 

THE SNACKS AT THE CONVENTION ARE USUALLY SOLD THROUGH THE VENUE’S VENDORS AND CAN BE PRICEY.

 

  1. I usually bring a rolling cart to carry away my curriculum finds. Who wants to be stuck carrying around heavy books and what not? Mine also doubles as a handy-dandy seat to take a load off my feet when a chair is nowhere in sight.

 

 

Personally, I really enjoy attending the homeschool conferences every year.  Why?  Mostly, I believe the speakers usually provide topics that speak to my needs and give me that extra motivation I need to tackle another school year. Homeschool is not easy, but it is probably the most important job I have ever had.  Just like public school teachers, home educators also need to have classes that are able to uplift, inspire, and offer them with new strategies.

 

The speakers this year spoke on topics such as How to Choose and Adopt Curriculum, Homeschool 101, How to Teach Multiple Levels, Teaching, Critical Thinking, and Creating a Roadmap for High School.  This is a very small sampling of the topics that were addressed in the workshops.  As you can see there was something for the newbies to homeschooling, as well as for the seasoned homeschooler.  It didn’t matter if you were educating your preschooler or your high school student that is juggling dual-enrollment courses; there was a workshop to meet your needs.   This is one reason why I continue to go to the homeschool conferences every year.  I always learn something new that nourishes my soul and equips my toolbox so that I can soldier on.

 

If you are worried that these events are dry and boring, let me assure you that they are not.  This year’s FPEA homeschool conference offered the parents some fun activities to participate in such as the Mom Strong Pajama Party and the Guys Night Out.  Kids of all ages were able to participate in the conference by attending the FPEA Teen Town Hall and having special workshops designed for teens.  The younger kids were invited to register for a special children’s program where parents were able to drop them off in a supervised environment for loads of games and activities.

 

 

THIS IS ONE OF MY BOYS’ TOPS PICKS FOR SCIENCE CURRICULUM THIS NEXT YEAR.

 

I had a chance to chat with new vendors and others that were more established.  Why is this important?  Well, like many other homeschoolers, I too have researched curriculum online and thought it would be a perfect fit for my family.  However, once I received it I realized it wasn’t what I thought it would be.  That is the beauty of the Vendor Hall!  In the hall you are presented with hundreds of vendors who are eager for you to browse through their curriculum and ask the questions that you need answered.  Oh, and did I mention the discounts?  The majority of the vendors offer conference discounts and/or sample curriculum so you can be sure this is indeed right for your family.  My boys enjoyed the vendor hall as much as I did.  I really love bringing them in so that they are able to sample the material. They are really good at offering their impressions of the curriculum.  Lately, I have found that when they are able to weigh in on what curriculum that we use they are more likely to be invested in their work.

 

SPEAKING TO VENDORS IS THE BEST WAY TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE VENDOR HALL AND LEARN ABOUT CURRICULUM.

 

All in all, I found the 2018 FPEA Conference to be one of the best homeschool events that I have attended.  We are one step closer to making some curriculum changes for next school year due in large to the generous variety of vendors and workshops that were available at the conference.  Having had the opportunity to physically view and in some cases, allow my kids to sample a couple of our curriculum picks was worth the price of admission to the conference.

MEGA BACON CHEESEBURGER

Nothing beats a terrific burger. It is the easiest and most delicious food to cook while you are camping because it is packed full of carbs and meat. Add some cheese and bacon to the top and you are in burger heaven.

 

The biggest problem with burgers is that you have to cook a bunch of them all at the same time. This can be a pain at the RV campsite because some grills are not large enough to fit everything. Plus, who wants to waste time cooking burgers when you are super hungry from a day adventuring?

 

Here is the solution: Mega Bacon Cheeseburger. I had a vision while cooking burgers with my friends about turning 4 burgers into one mega burger. This massive monstrosity of meat and cheese is what was created.

 

The Mega Bacon Cheeseburger is a double-decker beef paradise with tons of cheese, mayo, bacon and meat. It can be created at any campfire or campsite that can handle its mega patties. Best part is that all these ingredients are super easy to get while traveling the road in your RV.

 

So, whether you are in your backyard or on the road, I dare you to try this Mega Bacon Cheeseburger. You will not be disappointed!

 

 

Recipe:

COOKING DETAILS

Yields: 2-4 Servings

Cook: 20 minutes

Prep: 20 minutes

 

Equipment Needed: Fire pit, cast iron skillet, spatula, wood, and fire starters.

MEGA BACON CHEESEBURGER

  • 2 lbs of Ground Beef
  • 2 Fresh Eggs
  • 1 Italian Round Bread
  • 10 slices of Colby Jack Cheese
  • 10 slices of Center Cut Bacon
  • 3 tbsp of Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp of Chipotle Powder
  • 2 tbsp of Chili Powder
  • 1 tbsp of Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tbsp of Sea Salt
  • 1 tbsp of Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp of Cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp of Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp of Butter

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS

 

  • In a mixing bowl, add all the ground beef, eggs, chipotle powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, sea salt, cinnamon, cumin and ground black Mix the beef thoroughly.
  • Next, use half of the beef to make 1/2-inch-thick burger Make sure to round out the edges and have no cracks in the patty. Do this to the other half of the ground beef till you have equal size patties.
  • Using a fire starter, build your fire and let burn until it coals (about 15-20 minutes).
  • Once fire has reached a nice medium temperature, add a cast iron pan to the grill and place your bacon on it. Cook the bacon to its desired temperature, then pull off and let
  • Using a spatula, place both burger patties over the hot part of the grill. Let cook for 4-5 minutes per side. Make sure to add cheese to patties 2-3 minutes before being done in order for it to melt. ***PS: Beware of flare ups from the burger grease! Also, use two spatulas to flip the This will help them from breaking apart.
  • Once burgers are done, pull them off and let rest. Slice the bread in two, add butter and place on grill for 1 minute to crust up.
  • Once everything is complete, lather bread with mayo on both pieces then add burgers topped with bacon. Use a wooden skewer through burger to keep in place if
  • Cut burger into 4 pieces, serve & enjoy!

 

RV BUYING GUIDE: THE RV PURCHASE PROCESS

This is third blog post in a six-part series aimed at new RV owners. The first post gave tips for choosing the right RV type. Should you buy a Class C, a Fifth Wheel, a Toy Hauler, or some other RV type? We attempted to help you answer those questions. In the second post we gave valuable tips about how to pick the perfect floorplan.  

Now it’s time to dig down deep into the RV purchasing process…

 

The first thing you need to understand is that shopping for a new RV is very different from shopping for a new car or truck. While there may be some similarities, there are many more differences. Chances are you have dozens of car dealerships, representing every major brand, within a short drive from your house.

This is not the case with RV dealerships. They can be spread out far and wide. So while you may have a local RV dealership nearby (we consider a dealer within two hours drive to be “local”), you may also need to drive a few hours to a non-local dealer to find the RV of your choice, or you may need to buy at an RV show. These are all good options, but there are some important things to consider with each.

 

 

PURCHASING FROM A LOCAL DEALER

 

  1. Purchasing local is very convenient for shopping: Shopping at a local dealer saves you precious drive time and if they have your dream RV, may just be the ideal situation.
  2. Purchasing local is very convenient for warranty service after the sale:  Every RV needs to go in for either warranty service or basic maintenance at some point, and when the dealer is close to home a trip into the shop can be very convenient–or at least not too inconvenient!
  3. But a local dealer may not have your dream RV, or a preferred brand: Very few dealers carry every, or even most, RV brands. So, if there is a certain dream RV that tickles your fancy you may need to expand your search geographically to find it.

 

 

 

Purchasing From A Non Local Dealer

  1. Purchasing from a non-local dealer greatly expands your RV brand options: If your local dealer doesn’t carry your favorite brand don’t despair, just get ready to drive further to find it.
  2. Expanding the reach of your search may also increase your bargaining power: The more dealers you look at geographically, the more bargaining power you have when it comes to negotiating a purchase price.
  3. May not be convenient for warranty work or maintenance after the sale: This might be our most important tip–so listen up! If you do end up buying your dream RV far from home, are you prepared to drive it back for warranty work and maintenance? We strongly recommend that you call around to your local dealers to see if they will do warranty service on an RV purchased at another dealership. Having a game plan for this type of situation will save you a lot of irritation in the long run.

 

 

Purchasing at an RV Show

 

  1. RV Shows have a carnival like atmosphere making for a fun shopping experience: We love going to RV shows because they are a complete hoot! RV owners are a tribe of happy and adventurous folks–when we go to shows we feel like we are among our people and you will too!
  2. Free educational seminars prepare you for RV ownership: Many RV shows have free seminars about maintenance, RV travel, and RV culture. As a potential newbie RV owner there is so much to learn, and you can learn a whole lot of it by attending a good seminar.
  3. Many brands and floorplans to explore all in one place: While a good local dealership may carry three or four brands and dozens of floorplans, a good RV show will give you a chance to look at dozens of brands and hundreds of floorplans. A massive national RV show will enable you to look at the vast majority of RV’s in production. Bring good walking shoes!
  4. RV Show pricing is very good because many dealers are competing in one place: If you are not a big fan of heavy negotiating, but you still want a great price, an RV show may hit the sweet spot for you. RV show prices really do tend to be very competitive–dealers are competing with each other and they are motivated to move a lot of inventory in one day.
  5. But you don’t get to drive the rig home that day: You will need to pick up your RV at the dealership even if you buy it at a show. They will want to prepare the rig for you, and give you a walk through to teach you all of the RV’s systems and operating procedures.

 

 

And that is the topic of our next blog post in this series! We will give you a detailed list of items and systems to check while your dealer is giving you the walk through, so that you can be fully prepared to bring your RV home and start enjoying it!

 

 

ROADSCHOOLING

When people meet us and realize we are traveling with our kids 99% of the time they ask us, “What about school?”

 

 

When we first began our journey, we weren’t sure how long we would be on the road and they were still too young to be in school. The more we traveled we realized we really loved the freedom this lifestyle brings and would more than likely be homeschooling our children or in our case, road schooling.  We have now been road schooling since we hit the road full-time! We have been using the entire country as our classroom the last two years without even realizing it!

 

 

Many people think that homeschoolers are not very social or as society says, “socially awkward,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  We quickly learned that there are tons of people road schooling their children. What exactly is it you ask? It is homeschooling, but on the road. Basically, traveling full-time and educating your children through actual experiences versus the traditional way of textbook learning.

 

 

For us personally, our oldest has a speech delay and after we began traveling full-time his speech increased dramatically! I believe it’s because of all the nature hikes, museums, caves, beachside arts and crafts, fishing, swimming, kayaking, petting zoo, apple picking, hanging out at an actual production studio and countless other experiences we have collected over the last 2 years!

 

 

Anyone who travels can road school, it’s just a really huge mental shift for the parents! I grew up in the traditional public-school system in New York City and then I finished my last two years of high school in Pennsylvania and then went to college!  I never EVER thought in a million years I would even think about homeschooling let alone road schooling!

 

 

Allowing my kids to learn about the world by experience rather than by only reading has been one of the neatest experiences for all of us! We all enjoy having a new and changing classroom! Mountains one day, beaches the next! Children are learners by nature and I have learned how to tune into what each of my kids enjoys and I take the opportunity to expand on that. There are many ways to road school; I personally do not believe there is a right or wrong way to do it.

 

 

We intentionally use the entire country as our classroom.  I would never speak for everyone, but we feel we do not have to make our kids step into a classroom to learn.  Our goal is to prepare our children for anything the world presents to them. They are learning about themselves and very valuable world skills at the same time.  I firmly believe that kids should be encouraged to explore what they truly love and learn how to thrive on it!

 

 

I personally hated history growing up, but the more we travel the more I realize I LOVE it the most! There is something about being in the middle of history that makes it come to life.  One of those things that you can’t truly explain, you just have to experience it.  I can tell just by my children’s expressions that they are taking it in and enjoying it just as much as I am!

 

It is important to keep in mind that each state has its own requirements for homeschooling and I highly recommend to research what your state’s requirements are.  Some states require a much stricter curriculum than others. Please make sure to research and choose which state to make your domicile state in order to enroll your child.  Florida happened to be our homebase so we decided to enroll our child with Florida Unschoolers.  After extensive research, we found this private umbrella school to be in perfect alignment of who we are and what we want for our kids.

 

Road schooling might not be for everyone, but it works perfectly for us!  We love giving our children hands-on learning experiences.  We are obsessed with bike riding, discovering the desert, the mountains, and the ocean all hands-on.  If I could truly write down Julez’s reactions as he walked under real bats (during his Batman phase) in an underground cave in Michigan, trust me I would, but it’s something, not even our video camera could truly capture.

 

 

I asked a fellow homeschooling mom for her one tip and Neva from Our Nomadic Story shared, “Do not buy into any one particular curriculum for all subjects. Pick and choose by individual subjects based on how your child learns, what interests them and what works for your lifestyle.  A bonus tip- if a curriculum isn’t working, change it; do not keep forcing it.”  I really took her advice to heart because she has successfully homeschooled her boys who are now furthering their education.

 

 

Although I am a very positive person and I would love to say it is always unicorns and rainbows in life, I know there are always “challenges.”  I decided to ask my great friend Jessica from Exploring the Local Life what her biggest obstacle has been so far in her road schooling journey? Her answer was, “The biggest obstacle we have faced is not burning out.  There are so many opportunities on the road that we have had to pick and choose carefully.  Otherwise, we would be broke and exhausted!”  This is great advice. I am newer to the road schooling world than Jessica is and I can see how it can easily become exhausting if we do not pick and choose carefully.

 

 

I will end this with a quote I love from Benjamin Franklin, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”  Can you relate to this quote? I truly can!  My best way of learning is to be involved. When I am immersed in what I am learning it is very hard to forget!  It leads me back to our decision to road school our little ones because I want them to enjoy their childhood years of learning as much as humanly possible.

 

CAMPFIRE SURF AND SURF

Adventure is my middle name…

Getting out into nature and enjoying cooking in the great outdoors is how I want to live. One of the best ways to do that is by RVing! I am so excited to announce that I am teaming up with Go RVing to show how easy it is to cook delicious meals around a campfire while you are exploring nature. Whether you are in a different state or at a nearby campground, RVing doesn’t have to limit the flavor of the food that you eat. Everything I will cook will be simple, easy and delicious. So to kick it all off, I have decided to cook some Campfire Surf & Surf.

The old Surf & Turf is a classic grilling recipe. But for all you seafood lovers out there, why not substitute the heartiness of the steak with a thick piece of salmon? Top that off with some skewered shrimp and veggies. Now you are talkin’ my language!

In my Campfire Surf & Surf recipe, you will first grill up a massive chunk of wild caught salmon over the fire. Seasoned with parsley, garlic, cayenne powder and more to make sure you have a savory and tangy fish. The same seasoning will go on the shrimp as well! This will balance the flavor of the food with the same seasoning on two very different seafoods. The tenderness of the salmon really complements the robust flavor of the shrimp to make sure you get that variety that you are looking for in a combo dish like this. Lastly, you will add some charred veggies cooked on a skillet/plancha over the fire. These veggies round out the whole meal with their salty and charred flavor.

My favorite part about this dish is how easy it is to cook. All the ingredients you can find on the road at any local grocery store! Plus, they do not take up a lot of space in your RV while still giving you delicious food. Stay tuned for more recipes to come while I cook over fire in an RV!

Recipe:

COOKING DETAILS

Yields: 2-4 Servings

Cook: 30 minutes

Prep: 15 minutes

Equipment Needed: Fire pit, wooden skewers, cast iron skillet/plancha, tongs, wood, and fire starters.

CAMPFIRE SURF & SURF

  • 1 whole salmon (un-filleted)
  • 1 lb. of shrimp (no shell & de-veined)
  • 2 zucchini (diced)
  • 2 yellow squash (diced)
  • 1/2 white onion (cut into halfmoons)
  • 1 tbsp of dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 2 tsp of cayenne powder
  • Sea salt & black pepper (to taste)
  • Olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Using a fire starter, build your fire and let burn until it coals (about 15-20 minutes).
  • While the fire is burning, skewer the shrimp & lather both the shrimp and salmon with olive oil on all sides. Season both shrimp & salmon with dried parsley, minced garlic, cayenne powder, sea salt & black pepper.

  • Once fire is hot, season skillet/plancha with olive oil and start cooking zucchini, yellow squash and onions. Let cook until nicely charred & soft (about 10 minutes).

  • While veggies are cooking, place salmon on grill skin side down. Let cook for 8 minutes per side. Cook until internal temp reads 145F. PS: You can also smoke the salmon if you prefer!

  • Lastly, place skewered shrimp on grill and let cook.