Photos courtesy of Sara Logue
BY ANNA JENSEN
Imagine life on the road—one day in Florida on the beach, the next in Georgia on a balcony overlooking a peach tree while eating peach pie. Finally, traveling to New York, marveling in the evening glow of Times Square.
Recently, single mom, Sara Logue had the same thoughts. Soon her house was up on the market. After multiple garage sales, donations to the Salvation Army, a ton of research and an RV later, she and her two sons were on the road.
Through her research, she found an online school that worked with the K-12 public schools in Des Moines and realized that many families with children are out on the road and learning by what Logue called “education by immersion.”
“Around 1,500 families are out doing this,” Logue said.
Along the way she has met up with other families through a website called “Full Time Family.”
“Our first stop was along the East Coast and I would look out and see 157 kids running around outside on the campsite,” Logue said.
Her two sons, six-year-old Tristan and three-year-old Jasper are taking classes through Iowa Virtual Academy.
The online school is tuition free, and has real teachers that call in via Skype. Logue says the best part is that the boys lessons are synced up to their travel schedule.
“When we were in Niagara Falls, the boys were learning about nature and climate,” Logue said. “When we were in Vermont, they were learning hands on how to make maple syrup, and when we were in Washington D.C. we got to tour the White House while the boys were learning about the government system.”
Logue has found her boys being much more engaged with the material they are learning since they have been on the road. She believes children learn best in interactive situations as opposed to the classroom.
The boys are learning so much more about the world than they would be learning in Iowa, Logue said. They are biking and hiking, using maps to understand the geography of the US and many activities that aren’t taught in a normal classroom.
The family’s excursion ends in August after a little over a year on the road. Logue is nervous to re-enter her boys into the structured school environment after such an interactive education.
“Academically, the K-12 academy has absolutely prepared (my sons) to jump back into public schooling. I don’t think that will be the problem,” Logue said. “The hardest thing will be the structure because I don’t think it is as conducive to kinetic, hands-on learners. But I am not trying to shelter them from reality.”
Beyond her sons’ education, the trip has helped Logue become more confident in her mothering skills and more laid back in her personal and professional life.
“I have learned to handle life better,” Logue said. “I’m less stressed out because this trip has helped me realize what’s really important, and that’s spending time with my kids.”
Before the trip, Logue had recently gone through a divorce that came as a bit of a shock.
“It made me question if I was being a good mom,” Logue said. “I was checking all the boxes … We had our first beautiful new home and I felt like I was giving everything I had and then life blew up in my face.”
Logue wanted to do something that would help her find herself again and prioritize what mattered, while also giving her sons the unique opportunity to learn unconventionally. She quickly realized that this trip would check all her new boxes; it was her year’s purpose.
“Before the trip I was spending my weekends shopping and stockpiling items from Costco, and I just wasn’t finding any of it fulfilling,” Logue said. “Right now, we’re in the midst of a minimalist movement. I don’t want or need all the stuff I had before. I want a small house when we come home.”
The family has been to Florida, Arizona, California and is now headed east to finish up their yearlong RV trip around the US. Logue hopes to do a similar trip in the future, when the boys finish their high school years.
“Above all, the greatest gift I could give my sons is a love of learning,” Logue said.