SummaryWhen the Maney’s a second generation Seton Family pulled up stakes and set out to RV school across America they had no idea of the bounty in store for them.
We are a new homeschooling family of 7, but not new to Seton!
Growing up, I (Mom) homeschooled with Seton from 8-12 grade. When it came time to choose a homeschooling program for my own children, it was not a difficult decision. We knew we wanted a thorough education, a very Catholic education and a flexible program for our 5 children (ages 4-12). Seton fit that bill!
Our children had previously been attending a wonderful conservative Catholic school for their entire schooling. This past year, we made a big decision for our family.
We decided to pull our children out of school, sell our home, sell our belongings and hit the road in an RV! Our purpose? To explore the United States for the year and experience all this country has to offer first hand as well as clear up some health problems that required a drier climate.
We set out on November 7th and have been going strong. Because of the craziness of selling everything we owned and figuring out this new-to-us lifestyle, we pushed starting school off until we got on the road (thank you homeschooling flexibility!).
We started in Massachusetts and fled to Texas to avoid the snow- which followed us the whole way! We explored Nashville Tennessee, many Texas locations, Santa Fe New Mexico, and now are enjoying the warm weather of Arizona.
We have experienced so many wonderful things! We were able to see a true-to-size replica of the Parthenon in Tennessee, dolphins in Galveston, Texas, the Alamo in San Antonio, the miraculous staircase that St. Joseph built at the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and even went to Mass at the oldest Church in the United States in Santa Fe.
We’ve learned about geography, land formations, local plants and wildlife, experienced museums on many topics, and talked with re-enactors of a few different battles and eras.
The beauty of homeschooling has been the flexibility! “School” can be learning all about the Alamo on the actual site of the Alamo. Learning how people lived during that time, who fought the good fight, why they fought, and what the outcome was. “Gym” can be sledding down the sand dunes at Monohan State Park in Texas or hiking in the Arizona desert. Our boys can learn woodcarving from other campers at campgrounds and our girls can learn sewing and beading.
Music can be Christmas caroling to shut ins and learning what a dobro is at the campground jam session. We typically try to keep a Monday through Friday school schedule and do our book lessons in the morning and use the afternoon for exploring or having fun.
During weeks that we are traveling quite a bit, we do math facts and spelling words in the car and look up information about things we see on the way. How does an oil well work? What is the history of Fredericksburg, Texas? Are scorpions really dangerous and what should we do if we get stung by one?
We have also made so many friends and met wonderful people in our travels! We’ve even been able to share about the Catholic faith with a few of them. Lots of pen pals creates good writing skills and local libraries are such amazing resources! Rainy days can be spent thumbing through books, playing new educational games, and learning local history. We’ve participated in a few fun programs as well.
Have we had some challenges along the way? Of course! Living in a sticks and bricks house also has challenges, just different ones. We have a much smaller area to congregate in, but there’s always the great outdoors! Sometimes schoolwork is done around our dinette. Other days it’s done at the picnic table. Some days people are spread out about the RV and outside—beds, couches, table, or a big old rock outside!
There is also a balance that needs to be created between book work/home assignments and having life experiences. We’ve been working on creating that balance and learning to be flexible.
Going from a structured school environment to a flexible homeschool traveling environment has been interesting. We’re all adjusting though. One of our favorite experiences has been watching the landscape and changes in the local way of life as we travel along. Seeing how different the many areas of the country are from one another—from the way homes look and the population of areas, to the weather and the friendliness and mannerisms of the people.
It really hit us while we were in Texas and kept seeing the words “revolution” and “freedom.” Being from Massachusetts, we related those words to the American Revolution. It dawned on us at the monument for the Battle of San Jacinto that those words referred to the Mexican-American war.
Another fun aspect of traveling has been finding signs of the Catholic faith. Our Lady of Guadalupe is so prevalent in the southwest. She can even be found in the grocery stores!
There are so many old mission churches. We’ve seen Mass kits on display in museums and a reliquary at the Cathedral in Santa Fe.
Being at the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe next to the miraculous stairs was a very moving experience, especially for our 9-year-old son.
We decided to start a YouTube channel for our family and friends to follow. It’s been fun giving them a glimpse into our lives and sharing our travels with them. You can only describe an experience so well in words; a video account gives a bit better insight. It’ll never be the same as first-hand experience, but it’s better than nothing for sure! We would love for you to follow along!
Check us out at Maney Roads of Life. Please feel free to subscribe to the channel and share with others!