While most students are doing distance learning during the pandemic, an Encinitas couple has decided to do a different type of distance learning with their children.
The Keatings downsized from a 3,5000 square-foot home and hit the road in their roughly 100 square-foot RV. They've been on four wheels now for around a month.
“This has been on my vision board for a really long time,” Kari Keating said.
A wanderlust at heart, the 38-year-old mother said the pandemic is one of the things that helped her and her husband get their inspirational motors running. After reflecting on last semester’s distance learning experience with their three boys, they decided to embark on a new education adventure with a curriculum rooted in real-life lessons.
“They’re now a first and second grader, but a kindergartener and a first grader hitting zoom links and filling out their worksheets online, there was just so much stress. Not just on me but also my husband. Our days were filled with so much stress. I just couldn’t imagine doing that again,” said Keating.
Licensed to homeschool, the Keatings are equipped with workbooks and other materials to school their 4, 6 and 7-year-old sons.
Social media posts of their outdoor adventures in the Pacific Northwest show their learning journey.
Baking something, that becomes math. We are on a hike and we're doing problem solving," explained Keating. "As we’re riding on our way up to Glacier National Park there's a lot of signs where they have the Native American spelling of certain places. And we're talking about the heritage and how this is their land and you know, having those very relevant and very important conversations."
Keating, a business coach, and her husband are both able to work remotely while being "stay at roam" parents.
And they’re not alone.
There are 33,000 posts on Instagram tagged #vanlifewithkids.
A community of people, some of whom Keating calls friends, are able to sometimes help out.
“There's nuances of this, like in theory it sounds really awesome and it sounds really romantic, but there's also nuances that like, unless you're in it, you don't really understand," she said.
The Keatings say they don’t know yet how long they plan to stay mobile, but they say for now, with pandemic guidelines in place, it makes sense.