If you are new to Roadschooling you might be wondering how you can make sure your kids are spending enough time around other kids. So how do you find these other families?
Before I really get into this, I need to tell you that you will not run into families on the road. You need to proactive. We were on the road for more than a year before we found other RVing families. We had assumed that we would meet them in campgrounds, but we were wrong!! Most of the families at campgrounds are there to spend time together after a long week of work and school or this may be their yearly vacation. We have had some really disappointing moments trying to hang out with other camping families. We have had the most success finding other RVing families on social media. Instagram and Facebook have been the easiest way to connect with other families. RV social groups are another great way to make friends: Fulltime Families,
Toddlers & Preschoolers
Yep, playgrounds are an amazing place for kids to socialize and learn some fantastic life skills. Nearly all campgrounds have playgrounds, but don’t forget to hit local ones. Public playgrounds are a great place to meet locals and ask them for recommendations on where to go with young children. If you are really brave, you can make plans for playdates!
Every library has a storytime. Some are specifically for littles and others are for all ages. While kids might not be able to socialize during the story itself, it is an opportunity to meet others with small children and make plans while you are in town or get recommendations on other places for little ones to socialize. After storytime, chat with the children’s librarian and see if there are any crafts or events planned for toddlers and preschoolers while you are in town.
Mom’s groups in local area
This is a fantastic option for those of you stationary RVing or planning on staying in the area for 30 days or more. This is not to say that you can’t find a local group if you are staying only a short time. It just might be a little tough to integrate into the group, but it could definitely be an option if you are really in need of hanging out with other moms with littles.
Check out the local events and festivals where you are camping. There are lots of kids events and even some other events aren’t specific to kids, but will have activities just for kids. Be outgoing and make friends – maybe reach out to other families and find out what are some good places to hang with small children and go together!!
The library is your friend.
They often have after school classes and events that are free or nearly free. Weekend programs are sometimes available for the entire family. Let’s not forget homeschool classes. Not only will your kids get to spend some time with other kids, but it’s yet another opportunity to find out other events in the area or plan playdates or other activities with other families.
Local homeschool groups.
This is always a great option. While homeschool groups are better suited for students that will be in the area stationary or for a month or more, you might be able to get involved with groups on field days, social activities (holiday events), or field trips.
Nature centers, museums, art museums, children museums, zoos
Many of these places offer summer camps and homeschool classes. Rethink all of this, you probably won’t be participating in long summer camps or a full homeschool grouping of classes, but you can attend a week for camp or pick a la carte classes. The main focus here – activities with other kids. Some of these classes and camps fill up quickly. If you are able to plan in advance, do so. We are not planners and were unable to participate in some spring homeschool classes. They were full with a waiting list.
Remember those social groups I mentioned before? Well, nearly all of them have rallies and convergences. It’s really a great opportunity to meet other families and make friends. And of course, it makes for a natural place to meetup again along your travels. “Hey, let’s meet up at that convergence up in Utah in the spring!”. Rallies are also a fantastic launching point for caravans!! We met some families that were traveling from the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, to NomadFest, and then off to boondock in the desert. They traveled together for months!!
Even the smallest towns have Rec Centers and they are AMAZING!! Wanna go swimming? How about rock climbing? Do you bowl? They will probably have that at the local rec center. They are family friendly and an interesting way to meet local families. While chatting with the locals, you may find other family friendly activities and social gatherings that are great for your kids.
Not only do YMCA’s have childcare and “after-school” care, they also have summer camps and other classes. It’s another great opportunity for your kids to be around other kids, but you can meet the parents and see if you can schedule meetups and other times to hang out. This may work best for RVing families that travel less or plan to be at their “home” YMCA 50% of the time. Click here for the details.
Many of the activities listed under school-aged kids can apply to high schoolers, but they also have some very specific needs that won’t be met in those suggestions.
Travel to meet friends
Of course I have already mentioned caravanning with other families and meeting up at later times, but you might want to consider allowing your teen to travel and meet their friends on their own. Whether it’s flying them out to stay with their friends or just a sleepover while you are in town, find ways to facilitate your teens established friendships. Send them off to summer camp with other teens or get together with other families with teens and coordinate camping trips or have them go to camp together!
Yeah, they have dances for high school students. It’s a fun way for your teen to meet new friends. The best thing is that there are usually a lot of homeschool groups that get together, so the kids don’t all know each other, so your child would not be the “weird out-of-town-kid”. Besides, most homeschoolers are accepting of others…
Let your kids use technology to maintain their friendships!
Let them video chat, play online games together, etc. I’m not suggesting anything crazy, just allowing your kids the ability to communicate with their friends online in some way shape or form. Do what’s comfortable for you and your kids. Even our elementary school-aged kids are able to video chat and play online games together. We are right there and can hear everything anyway. Use that small space to your advantage on this one.
Birthdays for All Ages
Ok. These can be tough. We have had birthday parties back home (literally traveling back home to celebrate birthdays), impromptu campground parties (knock on doors and invite families with kids), celebrating in the RV (just the 4 of us), and celebrating birthdays at a museum or aquarium or other location as chosen by the kids. The celebration in the RV was a total dud. The kids hated it and we felt super guilty about it all. We did it one year and haven’t repeated it. The other celebrations were wins though. It’s really up to you and your family to decide how you would like to celebrate birthdays on the road, but I would really like to encourage everyone to make every effort to accommodate your child’s wishes on their birthday. These are super special days for them and they didn’t choose to go RVing. They deserve consideration and to have the best birthdays they can.
Obviously I think it is very possible to maintain old friendships, make new friendships on the way, and make strong connections that can last throughout the miles. Do you have any hints for finding friends along the way?
Still concerned about your Roadschool journey? Find out how easy it can be by reading this blog post!!