We have been back in our lovely home state of Indiana since the
beginning of August. It has been a great couple of months visiting with
family and friends, being in familiar areas, and finding new things to
explore. A couple weeks ago we took a field trip to the town of Corydon,
Indiana. Even though we are often traveling and exploring new areas, we do have
a curriculum that we are going through with the kids’ homeschooling so we do
have to carve out special days every now and then where we take a full day and
do a field trip.
Corydon, Indiana was the first state capital
of Indiana and is not only chock-full of historical sites, it is a very
charming town to visit. Our first stop on this adventure was the Constitution
Elm, where the first constitution for Indiana was created by 43
delegates. Why were they all hanging out under this tree? Because it was
really hot in June and in 1816 the shade of this ginormous tree was better than
the inside of the stone capital building. Thank you, Lord, for air
conditioning! Anyway, the tree is dead now, but the very large stump is
still there, with a large stone enclosure around it to protect it from the
elements, unwelcome climbers, and graffiti. There are many things to learn
about the early days of Corydon, Indiana. This website was super
In fifth grade, we give a special emphasis on
Indiana History, and even though we were all visiting Corydon together, extra
attention was given to our little 5th grader to make sure she was getting the
full Indiana History experience.
After visiting the Elm, we walked around the city
square checking out the old stone state capitol building, reading the various
historical markers, and taking opportunities for photo opps along the way
including an interesting chat with Governor Frank O’Bannon (hehehe). Just off
the square is the old Governor’s home and The Old Capitol herb garden. We did
not pay for a tour of the buildings, but the herb garden was free to walk
through, and (bonus!) there were some very informative gardeners tending to the
garden. They patiently answered all of my questions about the plants and told
us about the common uses for each one. Apparently, there is a rumor that
Lamb’s Ear was used as toilet paper back in the day! (Well, if you have to use
a leaf, pick a soft one).
After all that learning we took a lunch break
and then drove out to the site of a civil war battle. This battlefield was just
outside of the town of Corydon, we read all the information about the battle,
and walked around a bit. It wasn’t a big battle, but lives were lost and
towns were overrun if even for just a little while. War is scary and I
always find myself thankful for the service men and women that are willing to
risk their lives for love of country and freedom.
We drove back into town to check out the White
House Candy Company because we had heard so many great things about it from
some of Matt’s relatives who live in the area. They were right, not only was
the White House Candy Company totally adorable and stylish, the chocolates were
super yummy. Although we didn’t get any ice cream, I am sure we will be back to
give it a try.
We took a short walk down the block and across the street to
Zimmerman’s blown glass. This family-owned business is now located in an old
Sinclair station. This place was extemely cool. They were not blowing glass
when we were there, but they were making batches of glass in their ovens.
A friendly employee/artist was very informative and gave us a quick
We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the town of
Corydon – history, science, art, and candy! Something else brings us back
to this area periodically. Matt’s family, the Eckarts, are from this part of
the state, and many of his relatives, including Matt’s mom who died of cancer
in 2005, are buried in a cemetary close to Corydon. After exploring the town,
we drove out to the cemetary and remembered. Matt was blessed with a
Godly heritage and it is a good thing when we can pause and remember these
The surrounding countryside of Corydon is beautiful,
and if you enjoy hilly, windy roads, it makes for some fun adventures. Just
past the cemetary is a really cool road that drives right through a creek. We
always try to make a point to go this way and stop the car right in the middle
so we can all get out and walk around. It was a fun way to end our field trip.
Thank you for reading along. I hope you are all having great
If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom
Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org.
I’m sorry for what I said about you in the
past. On roadtrips across the great USA it is often necessary to
drive through Kansas.
So, I have been through Kansas
quite a few times. With the destination in mind, it seems that it has always
been a rush, with no time to stop and explore. I have been guilty of
complaining about the seemingly endless farm fields, flat lands, and wide open
But something happened this week, this week we
are driving through Kansas with time to spare. Our journey is taking us from
southeastern Colorado to North Central Missouri. The trip is about 800 miles
and we have almost a whole week to do it.
Upon entering Kansas from Colorado, we stopped
at the welcome center to enjoy some free coffee, stretch our legs, get a photo
with Dorothy and the rest of the Wizard of Oz cast, and pick up a couple of
travel brochures. I am a sucker for welcome centers and travel brochures/magazines.
Even with my handy smart phone, I find these old-fashioned paper sources of
information much more informative and I like the tactile feeling of flipping
pages as opposed to staring at a screen. Anyway, we were able to find
some great information about some places that we would stop at later.
We drove a little further into the state and
stopped along a rest stop. I had read on my RVParky app that Kansas rest stops
offer free dump stations and overnight parking was allowed. The rest stop had a
large circle drive past the dump station. There was adequate space for us to
park and have a picnic and run around in the yard. It really was a park-like
setting and we decided to stay for the night. Thankfully the extreme heat from
last week had passed and we stayed cool with our windows open.
The next day we made a pitstop at Walmart and
then drove on to the town of Oakley. We stopped at the Buffalo Bill
Cultural Center. I didn’t know much about Buffalo Bill apart from his famed
wild west show. Apparently it was near the city of Oakley that William F.
Cody earned his nickname after winning a Buffalo hunting competition against
William Comstock where he killed 69 buffalo in one day! Poor Buffalo, but there
was a purpose for all that hunting – the meat was used to feed the railroad
We enjoyed taking a few photo opps with the
giant sculptures and face-cut-outs of famous western figures outside of the
center. Inside the center we talked to the friendly, helpful workers and did
some shopping at the gift shop. I found an interesting book about Annie Oakley
(but no, the town was not named after her)
Also in the town of Oakley is the Fink Fossil
Museum, housed in the same building as the public library. This museum has a
very impressive collection of fossilized shark teeth and various sea creatures.
These sea creatures’ bones and teeth were found right in the middle of
Kansas! I am often amazed that there is no mention of a world wide flood
in museums around the USA, as the evidence seems to point to that possibility,
but there is only one accepted viewpoint on the history of things and I wish
alternative theories were mentioned. Nevertheless, the fossils were very
interesting to look at, even if I disagree with the timelines that were
In this museum there were also several
displays about the local history of that area, including a sod house, a replica
of a train station, local shops, an old firetruck, and a nice collection of
artwork by local artists. Before we left we bought a few pieces of candy and
the nice lady at the counter gave each of the kids a fossilized shark
The area where all these fossils were found is
near Oakley and is called Monument Rock. It is kind of like a minature version
of the Badlands. Is it terrible that we didn’t actually go and explore it? The
kids were much more excited about the playground next to the library, and I
figured I had given them enough learning opportunities for one day. Maybe next
time we come through.
We made the trip into Kansas City for some
famous bbq. It was difficult to choose where to go, there are so many choices
and they all had great reviews. We decided on Arthur Bryants for pure
historical/nostalgic value. Technically they are in Missouri, oh well, close
enough. Arthur Bryant’s did not dissappoint. Yum! Everything was messy and
After our bbq adventure of yummyness we spent
the night in the Cabella’s parking lot just west of Kansas City (we actually
left our RV there while we drove into the city for dinner). This particular
Cabella had a wildlife museum and the world’s largest collection of mule deer.
It was interesting to see all of the varieties of animals and the large
aquarium. It is funny to me that sometimes we seem to enjoy boondocking in
store parking lots just as much as a campground.
An amazing perk of full-time travel is there
is plenty of time to explore small towns all across the globe. Even if you
don’t travel full-time, there is always something new to experience and explore
if you look hard enough. It is worth the effort, who knows what kind of
adventure you will have!
The lesson I learned in Kansas could apply to
other areas of life. Complaining about boredom is never a good
idea. I don’t let my kids do it, so maybe I should take my own
advice. I remember reading somewhere the words of one wise mother who
would reply to the classic “I’m bored” complaint from her kids
“There’s no such thing as boredom, only a lack of creativity.” True.
Thank you for reading along, I hope you are all having wonderful
If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom
Pursuit Ministries check out www.kpministry.org.
Canada, Oh Canada, you are large and beautiful!
As a location-independent family, we always enjoy the experience of traveling
to the unknown and unfamiliar. It is so exciting to say, “We’ve never seen
this before!” and we have been saying that alot this week! This leg of the
journey started in Miles City, Montana and ended in Whitehorse, Yukon
Territory, Canada. What a fantastic journey it has been, I can’t wait to
tell you all about it.
Wednesday, May 8th –
Miles City, Montana to Conrad, Montana
We left our Walmart
“campsite” in Miles City Montana and continued northwest across this
massive state. It is massive, but not boring. I found the views today peaceful
and beautiful. I love that we are traveling in the spring and among all the cows
are adorable calves running around.
We stopped in the town of
Roundup, Montana where there was a nice park and wide side street for us to
park the RV. We had lunch and then ran around and played an impromtu game of
tree tag. It was just the bit of exercise and fun we needed, we got back in the
RV refreshed and ready to drive some more.
We stopped at the Great
Falls Walmart and I made dinner in the RV while Matt picked up a couple of
things. We kept on the road and drove to Conrad, Montana to a small campground.
Whenever we are stopped for the night and have internet service, Matt likes to
look up what wildlife are in the area. He discovered that in 2018, there had
been a grizzly bear that wandered into the farm just behind the campground
(yikes!). We decided that the laundry could wait until morning.
Thursday, May 9th –
Conrad Montana to Balzac, Alberta, Canada
The other campers and
camphosts at this RV park were very friendly. One lady told me some cool
stories about her grandfather, he was a circuit-riding preacher in that area.
We did a bit of laundry at the campsite, and I took the two younger girls to
play on the playground (don’t worry, we didn’t see any bear, and there was a
large group from a daycare out there as well). We packed up our rig and
headed north to Canada!
We stopped at a small town
along the way to eat the rest of our produce and dairy products before we
crossed the border. We weren’t sure what to expect, we had crossed the border
before when we went to Niagara Falls, but never in the RV.
Border Crossing at
Sweetgrass: Our passports and the kids’ birth certificates were ready, and we
had left our plants, eggs, milk, and guns behind… The border police asked us
a few questions, made sure we had the children we said we had, and politely
welcomed us into Canada. It was pretty smooth and painless. It didn’t take long
Some first impressions of
1. Canada is living up to
their politeness reputation by offering “litter bins” along the
highway on the frequent “turn outs”. As a mom of 5 kids, I can
appreciate a well-placed trashcan.
2. Awkard and small gas
stations. I have found that since we have been RVers, I am always checking out
gas stations, even when I’m in the Honda and I see a nice spacious gas station,
I notice. So far the gas stations here are a bit small, and that is weird to me
considering the wide open spaces we are seeing, and the large amount of pickup
3. Fantastic Mall!
4. Less Restaurants (at least
by American standards, which might be an overkill of choices if I’m honest)
We continued driving north
through Calgary where our windshield was unfortunately chipped by a passing
car. The campground we stayed at was just north of Calgary in Balzac, Alberta.
We were all pretty famished by the time we arrived because we had emptied our
fridge earlier in fear of the border police. No worries, just 5 minutes from
the campground was a shopping area and we were sure to find a restaurant for
dinner tonight. There were not a lot of restaurants surrounding the mall like
you normally see in American shopping areas. But, as we drove close to the
mall, we noticed the name “Food Hall”. We figured it was the
same as a food court, so in we went.
Excuse me while I gush about
this mall “food hall”. AH – MAZ – ING!
“How fantastic can a foodcourt be?”
You might ask.
We all ate, it was wonderful, and even though I
looked a mess from traveling all day, we decided that we must walk the mall a
bit. I was a happy lady.
After the mall we took the
car and drove through a car wash. Then we picked up some groceries from a very
lovely and clean grocery store. Back to the RV park for the night. Balzac RV
park wins for convenience, but was a bit loud next to the highway. Shew,
that was a long day, I’m getting worn out writing about it.
Friday, May 10th –
Balzac, Alberta to Rochford, Alberta, Canada
There were some adorable
prairie dogs scurrying around the RV this morning as well as some ginormous
rabbits. We left the RV park and drove to Red Deer to have our windshield
repaired. The repair guys were friendly and quick, and even said “Have a
good trip eh” when we left, which totally added to the Canadian
We drove all the way to The
Ranch RV park near Rochford, Alberta. This RV park had actually been the
owners’ cattle ranch for years, but they have since converted it to an RV park.
It was situated in the country on a lake, and was home to many migrating birds.
We really enjoyed relaxing there, I would definetly go back. We met the owners
and they were very friendly and welcoming.
Saturday, May 11th –
Rochford, Alberta to Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Today we slept in and left
for Grand Prairie around 12:00. We only had about 3 hours or so to drive. We
arrived in Grand Prairie and met the pastor of the Oasis Group Ministries,
where Matt is going to preach on Sunday. The pastor gave us a tour of their
facilities, which are quite unique. They have 21 apartment units, a daycare, a
grocery store, and office spaces connected to their church building. They
are truly reaching out to their city by creating housing to help prevent
homelessness and create a place of community in their area.
I have to admit that I was
pretty niave, I just didn’t think of homelessness as being a problem in an area
that experiences such a long and harsh winter. But it is. It was inspiring to
see the work that they are doing.
After meeting with the
pastor, we decided to take a break from our Keto diet for Mother’s Day
weeked and go out for pizza. Yum!
Sunday, May 12th – Grand
Prairie, Alberta to Pink Mountain, British Columbia, Canada
Matt preached this morning at The Oasis Group of Ministries. It was a refreshing service, we enjoyed ministering and meeting with all of the friendly congregation. After church, several of the people gave us tips and advice for our trip farther north. This was the first time we talked with people who had actually done the trip. (Other than my Grandpa, who toughed it out in the 1950s like a true explorer, but that is another story for another day)
After lunch and some more
visiting, we were back on the road about 4:30 in the afternoon. We drove
through the iconic Dawson Creek, and took a photo of the 0 mile marker of the
Alaska Highway. As we drove into British Columbia, we noticed the roads
becoming more steep as the landscape became more mountainous. I am glad that
Matt is driving, he’s a pro.
We were within 5 miles from
the Pink Mountain RV park when we looked over and saw a beautiful gray wolf
sitting up straight and tall along the highway! So cool. When Matt went to
register at the RV park, and tell the guy at the desk about the wolf, this guy
knew all about it, and he had pictures to go with his wonderful hunting
stories. Apparently the wolves had been quite the hunting prize in that area.
Monday, May 13th – Pink
Mountain, British Columbia to Muncho Lake, BC
This day has been our most
spectacular driving day so far. We saw 12 black bear, 1 lynx, 1 moose,
and lots of elk and caribou! We did not make great time, the road was winding
and sometimes scary, but the views were breathtaking – all day! So many
pictures, but I will just share my favorites.
After all those winding roads,
we were able to stay the night at a pull over spot right next to the beautiful
Muncho Lake. It was a great day.
Here is a video view of our awesome boondocking
Tuesday, May 14th –
Muncho Lake, BC to Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
We left our most beautiful
boondocking spot and drove west towards Whitehorse. Today we were blessed to
see wild wood bison. I lost count, there were herds of them! I think they look
a bit taller and skinnier than the buffalo we had seen in South Dakota.
We drove past Laird hot
springs and decided against the idea of walking the mile and a half board walk
to the hot springs after reading about a black bear that killed two people in
1997 and about the more recent “predator bears” that are known to frequent
the area as recently as 2013 or so.
We were making good time
today and we made it to the iconic Watson Lake for lunch. Watson Lake is home
to the “sign forest”, a man-made forest where people have been
hanging all sorts of signs with their hometown/family name on them. There is
also a visitor information center behind the sign forest. One very sweet worker
there loaded us up with free travel workbooks/info books for the
From Watson Lake we drove
further northwest to the town of Teslin, it was our fallback destination if we
didn’t make it all the way to Whitehorse. Teslin is home to beautiful Teslin
Lake and a large population of Tlingit (Klink-it) First Nations’ people. There
were a few museums and heritage centers in this small community, but they did
not open until June.
We made it all the way to
Whitehorse tonight and stayed at the Caribou RV Park. This RV park was very
nice and clean and had a quaint “woodsy” feel. It finally got
dark around 11:30, we are so glad we bought those blackout curtains!
**A helpful resource for us on this leg of
the journey has been The Milepost! You could do this trip without it, there is
basically one main road the whole time, but it is nice to have the Milepost. It
is a very detailed map/guide book that gives descriptions about the area.
It is very updated and accurate, a new addition comes out every year. There is
little to no phone signal so I cannot rely on the navigation apps on my
phone. I am enjoying pretending I’m back in the 1990s, before my phone told me
what to do, when to turn, etc.
That is the end of this leg of our Epic Road
Trip to Alaska! Thank you for reading along!
If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org
We are embarking on the longest road trip
of our life to date! This journey will take us from Indiana to Alaska, then
down through the Pacific Northwest states and then heading east from northern
California back to Indiana. We are estimating it to be about 10,000 miles
over 3 months. We are super excited to go places we have never been, learning
how life is for people we have never met, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus
Christ along the way. I will be posting weekly, (Wednesday to Tuesday)
documenting where we have been and what we have done along the way if you care
to follow along.
Week 1: Jasonville,
Indiana to Miles City, Montana (1398 miles)
Wednesday, May 1st –
Jasonville, Indiana (0 miles)
We have been parked at Shakamak
State Park this week. We arrived Saturday night and have been enjoying full
hookups and the beautiful scenery inspite of the rain. This state park is
super nice, it offers swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, and reasonably-priced
We are at Shakamak because
it is less than five minutes to Jasonville, Indiana, and we have been holding
revival services at Jasonville Assembly of God Sunday-Wednesday. If you come to
this campground, or live close to Jasonville, I would highly recommend checking
out this church. We love coming back here, the pastor and his wife and the
whole congregation are super friendly and loving and they always make us feel
like familly. This is the last night of the Revival meetings and it was focused
on kids and teenagers. It was a really fun night and 11 kids made the decision
to follow Christ.
Thursday, May 2nd
– Jasonville, Indiana to Urbana, Illinois (120 miles)
Matt took all the laundry to
a laundromat because he is a stud and does all the laundry on the road – some
laundromats are a bit shady and we figure he is more intimidating than
me. While he was there, we did our schoolwork and prepared the RV for
departure. As we left Shakamak State Park, the dogwood trees were simply
beautiful and seemed to be giving us a fine Indiana farewell.
We met some sweet friends at Bogey’s in Terre
Haute and the kids had a blast playing games, eating pizza, and playing
We left there about 8:30 or
so and drove a few hours to a Walmart in Urbana, Illinois.This Walmart allows
overnight parking for RVs so that is where we went and stocked up on supplies.
We have never driven to Alaska, but have heard rumors that the prices on
everyday products are much higher than what we normally pay. Boondocking (or
dry camping, basically parking and sleeping) not only help to keep our costs
down, it is a way to save a little bit of time whlie traveling.
Friday, May 3rd –
Urbana, Illinois to Clinton, Iowa (206 miles)
Today we left our Walmart
home from last night and headed north and west towards Iowa. We have friends in
Clinton, Iowa (right on the Mississippi River) and we were glad that we could
stop in for a short visit. We love that we have made friends since we have been
on the road that we can go back and visit. It is neat to see the kids pick
right back up where they left off.
The Riverview Park in
Clinton is a great stop over spot, it is very clean and well maintained, it has
a great little playground, and is fairly inexpensive. It is a self-pay system
and you fill out an envelope and drop your payment in the box at their
restroom/laundry facilities. The only negative would be the very loud train
that runs right next to the campground.
Saturday, May 4th –
Clinton, Iowa to Storm Lake, Iowa (296 miles)
Today we left Clinton Iowa
and headed west. We stopped off at a propane place just outside of Clinton on
Highway 30. We drove across a large portion of Iowa today and we didn’t do the
interstate, instead we took a smaller highway, and it was a beautiful day for
We stopped off in Cedar
Rapids to check out a local camera shop, my old camera had a problem and I was
hoping they would have the solution. Unfortunately the parts are no longer made
for that model. I also had been looking at new models, something small
that would be convienient to take along, and something that could shoot videos
as well. We found a great little camera, but they didn’t have any more in
stock, so we walked next door to Best Buy and they had it. I have been LOVING
my new camera, and told Matt it could be my Mother’s Day/Birthday/Christmas
We drove to Storm Lake, Iowa
and parked at The Church of New Beginnings, where Matt will be preaching
tomorrow. We noticed on the drive that the sky did look bigger. I don’t
know if that has something to do with the altitude difference or because there
is less population and more wide open spaces, but it seems like we can see much
farther across the landscape than back in Indiana.
Sunday, May 5th – Storm
Lake, Iowa to Plankinton, South Dakota (236 miles)
Matt preached today at The
Church of New Beginnings in Storm Lake, Iowa. After church we enjoyed getting
to know the pastor and his wife and kids over lunch at Pizza Ranch. It was fun
to talk about ministry life, parenting, and homeschooling.
Leaving Storm Lake, we drove
north, so that we could drive through the southwest corner of Minnesota and put
the Minnesota state sticker on our window map. We then hit Interstate 90 and
went west towards South Dakota.
It had been about 14 years
since we had stopped at the World’s Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD and it was
time for another visit. We arrived at about 7 or 8 so all the little tourist
shops and the corn palace were closed. Even though it was windy and cold, we
were able to get some fun pictures and see the Corn Palace exterior up close
From Mitchell we drove west
to Hill’s RV Park and Campground in Plankinton, South Dakota. It was a quiet,
inexpensive spot right off the interstate with full hookups and a laundry
Monday, May 6th –
Plankinton, SD to Rapid City, SD (251 miles)
Back on I90 heading west.
Today is an exciting day, we have The Badlands, Wall Drug, and Mt. Rushmore on
the itinerary! It was hard to describe the Badlands, so the kids didn’t know
what to expect, and the younger ones weren’t so excited about a place called
badlands and they didn’t know why we would want to take them to a drug
So maybe we should always
downplay new destinations, because the kids were all pleasantly surprised and
amazed at the Badlands. I had forgotten how big of an area it is. The scenic
loop through the Badlands National Park is 35 miles long, and there was
something amazing to look at the entire time. Even though it was cold and
a little rainy, we loved driving through and getting out for a few photo
ops. Someday we will have to stay at the campground and hike some of the
We had a short visit at Wall
Drug where we explored the fun western displays and picked up some magnet
souveniers and postcards. We wanted to keep moving because we were determined
to see Mt. Rushmore and we heard that they do a nightly lighting ceremony.
We arrived at the Cabela in
Rapid City about 5 or so, I went in and bought a much-needed rain jacket before
leaving in our tow vehicle towards Keystone and up to Mt. Rushmore. Fog, crazy
dense fog, covered the roads as we made our way up the mountain. We hoped that
maybe it would pass over. When we got to our destination, we thought that maybe
it was a bad sign that there were no parking attendants, but at least we did
not have to pay $10 to see nothing. There were a few other dissapointed
tourists walking to their cars in the parking lot – no views of Mt. Rushmore
tonight. Back to Cabela for our overnight stay.
Tuesday, May 7th – Rapid
City, SD to Miles City, Montana (289 miles)
We woke up today to more fog
and a dense fog advisory alert on our phones. Did I mention that
apparently, in May, it is still winter in South Dakota(at least by my Indiana
winter standards). I think, that maybe these people in South Dakota are a bit
tougher than me.
By the time we arrived at Mt. Rushmore at about 11, the fog was
lifting and it had stopped raining. Yay! We could see it! You could almost
argue that the bit of fog gave them an even more majestic look. It was
wonderful for us all to see, and the museum was interesting and educational. It
is inspiring to see what people can do if they put their minds to it. We
took a scenic drive around the mountain and through some cool tunnels on our
way back to Rapid City.
We left our Cabela home and
drove north into the southwest corner of North Dakota so that we could put the
North Dakota state sticker on our window map. Highway 85 north turned out
to be a very lovely, scenic drive but also a bit bumpy. We stopped at a
truckstop just inside North Dakota and I made dinner in the RV and Matt bought
us both a coffee from the truck stop.
Our last stop for this leg
of our journey is Miles City, Montana. We took highway 12, going west, and even
though it was cloudy and getting dark, the scenery is changing again, and we
notice pine trees dotting the landscape here in Montana. We parked the RV at
the Walmart in Miles City for our overnight stay.
Thank you for reading the first in our blog series “Epic Road Trip to Alaska”!
If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org.
** A helpful app I use when planning our
overnight spots is called RVParky. I would highly recommend it. It is free and
it shows rest stops, truck stops, RV parks, cracker barrell, and any Walmart,
Camping World, or Cabela spots. Users of the app add reviews as to whether the
locations allow overnight parking.**
Roadschooling is homeschooling on the road. I have also heard of a new term for traveling families, called “Worldschooling” which sounds pretty cool, but we are primarily traveling in a motorhome in the USA, so I will stick with Roadschooling. I love that we have the freedom to homeschool/roadschool our children. We actually homeschooled before we moved into the RV, and there are so many things I love about homeschooling in general. Homeschooling on the road is a bit different though, and as you might have guessed, roadschooling does come with its own set of challenges and benefits. In this blog post, I will give a general overview of How We Roadschool Our 5 Kids.
Where does everybody sit? Where do we store our stuff? Is it too noisy in that small space? Obviously, we do not have a classroom in our RV that resembles the typical schoolroom, complete with 5 student desks and a large teacher’s desk at the front.
When we are parked, with the slides open, we have our two oldest children in the front part of the RV at the dinette, the next two are in the back bedroom at a folding table, our youngest is at a small folding table in the front. When we are driving, and our space is much more confined because the slides are closed, two kids are at the dinette, two are on the couch, and one is in the captain chair. Driving school days are a little more difficult, but a benefit is that it passes the time if we have to cover a lot of ground in one day.
One thing that is great about an RV is the storage space, I might not have a large storage closet, or a desk, or a filing cabinet, but I do have a ton of cabinets. In the large cabinet above our captain chairs, each child has a magazine holder where they store their workbooks. In a smaller cabinet towards the front, I store the answer keys, tests, and extra workbooks. In a lower cabinet below our tv, we store books, mostly smaller books for enjoyment. In our “basement” (the underneath storage of the RV) we keep our “filecabinet” (a large tote with our student records, extra answer keys and workbooks) I also keep a tote with extra books and a large tote full of art supplies. I have actually found myself saying “I’ll be right back, I have to go to the basement to get some score keys”. 🙂
I have been to homeschool conventions and been homeschooling long enough to know that there are enough curriculums out there to make your head spin. It can be a daunting decision. Some roadschoolers/homeschoolers don’t use a curriculum at all or use several and pick and choose different subjects. The beauty of homeschooling is that there are several ways to do it, and families can pick what works best for them.
We use the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum. Matt and I are familiar with this curriculum because we used it growing up in Christian Schools.
Here is what we love about it:
Flexible – This is a high priority for us, our schedule is not always the same. We aim to start at 9 and end at 3 every day. Some days, though, we sleep in because we were in a Revival service until 10pm. Some days, we are close to an amazing natural wonder or fantastic historical site, and so the 9-3 school day may be interrupted. ACE is flexible in that it is mastery-based, and the kids work at their own pace, so if they love to read, they might fly through their reading assignments, but if they struggle with math, they can take some more time with it.
Christian based – It is important to us that we raise our kids with Christian values. In each workbook(a full school year is 12 PACEs (workbooks) in each subject) the student memorizes a scripture and character trait. I love that the kids are not only learning excellent math and reading skills, they are also learning about compassion, respect, friendliness, tact, and patience – those are important life skills!
Simple – I don’t mean simple as in easy and not thorough, I mean simple as in it is easy to set goals and accomplish them. I am not naturally organized, so I love that this curriculum is laid out for us. We can easily see what each child needs to do and we can easily see what they might be struggling with. There isn’t anything wrong with large textbooks and writing down assignments on separate paper, but honestly, that system is very cumbersome for a small space, and we love the simplicity of these workbooks.
The best for last! There is so much to see and so much to learn about! I love history, and it is so fun to be able to research the area we are in and tell the kids about it, and then go and see it for ourselves! Sometimes they are amazed at what they see, and other times they make comments like “I don’t get the big deal with this rock, mom” (Plymouth Rock).
There are so many beautiful natural sites around America, and it is wonderful to be able to experience these things first hand. There is a sense of awe and wonder that can only be felt, not described. Our world seems smaller the more we travel, and the influence this has had on our kids’ understanding of geography has been awesome.
Another benefit of exploring, that I underestimated, is how we have experienced other cultures. It is really interesting to meet people who live differently than you. To see that cold and hot are really relative terms, depending on what climate you are used to living in. To hear expressions, the way people talk from different areas, and to try new foods. These are all things that we couldn’t teach our children without experiencing it. I am forever grateful for these experiences.
Thank you for reading “How We Roadschool Our 5 Children”!
If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org
We have enjoyed visiting many campgrounds/rv
parks over the past few years all across America. Some have been amazing and
some have left us disappointed, but rather than just listing the top ten, I
thought it might be a good idea to just talk about what we did and didn’t like
at the places we have stayed. As a disclaimer I will add that amenities and
public bathrooms are not that important to us, we spend most of our time
exploring outside the campground, and our bathroom is in the RV.
This campground is located on the
Mississippi River in West Memphis, Arkansas. I was super excited to stay at
this campground because of its name. Tom Sawyer is of course, the well known
title character in one of Mark Twain’s classic books. He also is my dad! Yes,
my dad is named Tom Sawyer. For as long as I can remember, my dad has been
having a wonderful time with introductions:
Dad: “Hello, what is your name?”
New Person: “My name is _____________, what
is your name?”
Dad: “My name is Tom Sawyer” (pause
for laughter and amusement) “and this is my wife Lisa, and our daughters,
Nadine and Celia.”
So, I was excited to stay at this campground and
you might say that this review will be biased because I was already pretty
impressed with their name choice.
We were not familiar with
the city of West Memphis, and so finding the campground was somewhat difficult.
You could blame it on our navigator app, it decided to take us the fastest way
possible, which meant driving through back neighborhood streets and industrial
areas, we really thought we were lost until we saw the sign pointing us to the
campground. Driving along the road toward the campground was only a
little better, their campground sign could use some refurbishing, or else they
were just embracing the rustic look, it was a bit swampy and if it had been
dark out, we(ok, probably just me) might have felt scared. At last we found the
campground and there was a little cabin building where we checked in. A
friendly worker helped us out and we noticed they had a small gift shop with
Tom Sawyer swag.
The grand Mississippi River could
not be missed, and I would say that all the campsites had a pleasant view. It
was an overall peaceful setting.The Campground appeared to be well maintained –
grass mowed, plenty of trashcans, clean public areas. There were small
cabins in the camping areas with restrooms on one side and a laundry area on
the other- small but efficient. Bonus! It was FREE to do the laundry!
The RV sites:
The sites were set at an
angle and felt spacious to me. We were not camped directly by the river, but it
was not crowded so we had a lovely view. I would think that even if it had been
full there, it would not have felt crowded. I think they offer wifi, but
honestly, we didn’t use it, so I cannot comment on the quality or speed. We
have a small antenna from Walmart that attaches to our window, and in areas
like this, next to a large city, we pick up a lot of channels. The sites were
level and had full hookups.
A Special Surprise:
There was not a playground,
but they had something quite unique – treehouses! What?!?! So, as we came in we
noticed there were two treehouses. We didn’t know if these were a rented out
thing, or just for anyone to explore. I asked the lady at the front office
about the treehouses and she said they were remodeling them. She gave us permission
to go inside them and asked us to be careful – they were pretty laid back I
The first one had a ramp that we walked up, and
it looked like a giant tin can, but more awesome. The second one was a more
traditional tree house, and I guess you could say it rekindled our fear of
heights! The treehouse adventure was such a memory maker, and I am curious as
to whether they are renting them out now.
We really enjoyed staying
here, it was not super cheap, but about midrange for the area. I am sure we
will return again someday. It was a good spot to stay and explore the city of
Memphis. And of course, I brought my dad back a t-shirt and some other
random stuff with their logo on it.
Thank you for reading this Campground Review by 7Nomads!
If you would like to find out more about our
ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org
I am not a naturally organized
person, I actually prefer a little bit of clutter to be honest. My husband
likes to say that I am a “nester” – collecting little bits of clutter
within arms reach (books I am reading, snack options, my earrings that I’ve
taken off, half-finished projects that I can’t seem to put away…) I gather
these items mostly around my captain chair in the RV.
Why am I confessing my
clutter problems to you? Because I think it is helpful to know that these
organizing ideas have helped someone like me, someone who struggles with
organization. I am not naturally organized, but our RV is organized and
1. Organize by Category
Divide and Conquer! In a
regular house, this is somewhat implemented, the kitchen stuff goes in the
kitchen, bathroom stuff in the bathroom, etc. In an RV, this is done to the
extreme. We no longer have the luxury of throwing stuff in a closet when we
don’t know where to put it. Everything has a specific place! Our board games
are all tucked away in the small cabinet above the couch. We reduced the space
they take up by combining several games in one box(an idea we saw online). When
items are organized by category, it helps to keep things neat and tidy and it’s
easier to find things quickly.
Once items are organized by
category, evaulate if you have too many of one thing. For instance, we have two
brushes, one for detangling, and one for thicker hair. Both brushes go in a
hanging basket in our bathroom. We have one large skillet and one small
skillet, both fit under the kitchen sink. Coffee mugs are easy to collect, and
we recently had to eliminate a few. Taking inventory and evaluating our
belongings is an ongoing process. We did a huge minimization process before we
moved into the RV, but it is something we have to do often. Every now and then,
I go through the items in the various cabinets to see if we have collected
3. Use Plastic
Containers with Lids
Life savers, that’s what
containers with lids are in this RV life! This might seem like a no brainer,
but I was surprised at how many containers I needed after we had started life
on the road. I recommend the type of containers with the latch on the side,
bumpy roads will pop the lids right off of the cheap snap on lids.
Imagine the things that you
would normally put in a drawer, or small cabinet, those are the things we put
in these awesome containers. We use these containers as a “medicine
cabinet” in our kitchen, toy storage in the back bedroom area, and under
the bathroom sink to organize neccessities. We put crayons, markers, and
colored pencils in their own small containers, and coloring books, papers, and
craft kits in their own small containers. I found these at Meijers and Walmart
and they have held up under daily abuse by 7 people for 3 years so far.
4. Go to Ikea
Seriously, walk around Ikea.
That place has been a wonderful source of organizational inspiration for
us. The showroom area is great because most of the room layouts are on
the smaller size, like that of an apartment or small house. They are more
creative when it comes to storage ideas for things like clothes and shoes, or
books and art supplies. I love that their products are designed with efficiency
and style in mind. This shoe cabinet in the picture is compact, lightweight,
and works well in the kid’s bunks for storing their treasures. I love these
adorable gray baskets, we have them all over the RV, storing remotes, phone
chargers, brushes, and as pictured here, storing our teenage girls’ stuff.
5. Hide your Junk
This last tip also relates
to containers, but not clear plastic ones with lids. I think this idea really
helps me (and some of my clutter-loving children) to keep our clutter from
running all over the RV. Baskets, boxes, totes, hanging pockets, and totebags,
we can fill these cute containers with various treasures, and they don’t have
to be perfectly organized, they just have to fit inside. You could call it
I have this container next
to my chair up front, I put my journal, various travel brochures that I’ve
picked up, cards that I can’t seem to throw away, books I’m reading, kid’s
coloring pages, and whatever else ends up thrown in there. I picked up this
cheap container from Dollar General, and it is just the right size, it may seem
silly, but it helps me to feel at home and relaxed to have a place to throw my
Hiding our junk in cute
containers is a win-win situation. I get to keep small collections of treasures
and the RV still looks clean and neat. Plus, it gives me an excuse to
walk around Hobby Lobby or TJMaxx and look for cute containers.
Thank you for reading “5 Helpful Organizing Tips for RV Life”!
If you would like to find out more about our
ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org.
“You will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace, the mountains and the hills will break forth before you, there will be shouts of joy and all the trees of the fields will clap, will clap their hands! All the trees of the fields will clap their hands(clap, clap), the trees of the fields will clap their hands(clap,clap), the trees of the fields will clap their hands and you’ll go out with joy!”
Over and over we would sing this song in church when I was a little girl. I remember imagining trees with hands and thinking how silly that seemed, and also loving the idea. I remember loving that adults were singing this song that seemed silly, and it seemed to be such a happy, joyful time. I didn’t know until I was older that this was a “Scripture Song” – meaning we were singing a particular passage of Scripture. We sang many of these songs from scripture in the church that my husband and I grew up in, and I am very grateful for this. I love praise and worship music in general, but I have a particular fondness for Christian songs that sing the Bible verses directly, those timeless words are just as powerful today as when they were written thousands of years ago.
This particular Scripture Song is from the book of Isaiah, chapter 55, verse 12. The entire chapter is very quotable, and is full of hope and promise from God. This verse is very important to our family and is a promise to us for our life of evangelism on the road. “You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace…”
Before we traveled, my husband was a pastor. We loved the church where we were and had become quite content and settled. About a year before we resigned, my husband and I both felt that a change was coming, and through prayer and confirmation, we knew it was time to launch out into full-time evangelism. I honestly felt a little crazy sometimes, but I also knew that God was helping us to develop a plan. One of the confirming Scriptures that God gave us was Isaiah 55:12. It was such a beautiful promise for us, we were struggling with different worries, mostly that it would be rough on the kids.
Looking back now(3 years on the road), I can see that this promise has rung true. We do live a life of joy. This life on the road has its difficulties, and uncertainties, but what an adventure it is! I feel so alive, and it is wonderful to know that we are living out God’s plan for us.
As I think about our life of adventure, and what a joyful life it is, I understand that it is not all about me. God has given each of us this beautiful gift of life! It is not always an easy life, but it can be full of peace and joy! I remember reading a small book by Ann Voscamp and I loved how she related that she found a new joy in her life through being thankful. I have found this to be true myself. If I take the time to think about all that I have, and the opportunities all around me, I find myself being thankful, and then joyful. I think if you look at your life through thankful eyes, you can find new ways to enjoy your adventure, your life.
So what is your adventure? It doesn’t matter where you live necessarily, RV traveling isn’t for everyone, afterall. But wherever you live, it can be a grand adventure, and it can be full of joy and peace.
Thank you for reading this blogpost about enjoying your adventure!