On more than one occasion I’ve heard someone worry that by hitting the road full-time, their kids will be missing out on extracurricular activities. However, believe it or not, this fear is actually completely unfounded, for two reasons:
- You are already giving your kids more than soccer, ballet, or karate ever would simply by traveling, showing them the world, and spending time with them.
- That said, there is absolutely no reason your kids can’t participate in these activities while RVing full-time.
While I don’t think extracurriculars are at all necessary to a full and happy childhood, I also know that several kids want to participate in such activities very badly. Heck, my own son is dying to try out karate, and guess what, we are going to make it happen. Yes, it is 100% possible, and in many cases, traveling can even be helpful to those kids out there who are trying to develop a particular skill.
Wondering how in the world you would go about this? Below are the best tips and tricks I’ve come across in my years of travel.
The easiest and most common method of learning a skill on the road is through video lessons. Super basic beginner lessons are available for free on YouTube for those who are only dipping their toes in a subject.
However, those who are looking for a) higher quality, b) more in-depth, or c) more advanced lessons, paid video lessons are usually the way to go. In many cases, these lessons can be found on websites such as Udemy. However, some online teachers prefer to offer lessons through their own websites, such as my online Irish dance school, Aistear.
Go Through Skype
If your child works better in more personal situations, or if you can’t find a particular subject in video form, Skype lessons might be the option.
I’ve met kids who take piano lessons and guitar lessons over Skype, and all have had good experiences. This is also an excellent option for those who already have a teacher they know and love, because they can continue to learn from their current instructor even while traveling.
Don’t have a teacher currently? Try searching the internet for good teachers and email a few until you find one who is willing to meet via Skype. Alternatively, you could look on Outschool which offers a similar system and has hundreds of teachers to choose from.
Extend Your Stays
Some things just can’t be experienced over video. For instance, kids who want to be involved in sports won’t be able to join a team and play real games online.
In these cases, many parents choose to extend their stays in order to remain stationary for an entire season—or in the case of some other activities, a semester. After the designated time is over, they move onto the next location. Some choose to travel more frequently in the subsequent months, while others move to another location and sign up for extracurriculars in that city.
We will be trying this method soon when we are in Florida for the winter. Since we will be relatively stationary for a few months, we are going to use the downtime to sign up for karate classes and a homeschool science class.
Find Private Tutors
For subjects that can be learned through one-on-one instruction, there is also the option of finding private teachers along your route. Piano teachers, for instance, aren’t hard to come by and are generally happy to do one or two lessons while a person is in their area.
By finding teachers along your route and lining them up ahead of time, you could potentially even continue weekly lessons if you and your child wish it.
Seek Out Online Groups
In some cases, social media groups can help provide the extracurricular experience. These groups provide the friendships that so often come with extracurriculars, as well as peer competition, mentors, and a source of tips and tricks.
Social media groups can be found on almost any topic, and—depending on what it is your child wants to learn—they can be used as a way to seek out info on a self-guided learning experience, or as a supplement to structured online or in-person lessons.
Last, but not least, I must mention RV rallies. Many RV rallies, and especially those offered by Fulltime Families, provide fun activities for kids, which allow them to take part in Scouts-like experiences, dance or music classes, and even science activities.
While an RV rally may not provide advanced training on any particular subject, they do provide the peer-group activities so many children crave. Additionally, a rally could potentially connect you with tutors and instructors who are also traveling and able to work with kids on the road.