Roadschooling on the Rise for Families in Bradenton Area

Todays News

Choosing to be a homeschooling parent already encompasses its own set of unique challenges. And as of spring 2020, a record number learned those challenges, as well as the rewarding experiences homeschooling, brings to the kitchen table. Many have adopted the "new norm" of learning and living within their household. Even now, instead of sending their kids back to school as they normally would be this month, schools in the area are choosing to either stay closed or welcome only a number of students back on-premise. While there are a number of school districts that have welcomed students back for on-site learning with teachers in smaller classroom sizes, many parents are apprehensive still prefer to keep homeschooling going for safe social distancing while taking advantage of the newfound opportunities of digital learning. To keep children engaged and astutely active, parents are adopting new tactics, adding nature and travel. With options to go fully remote this school year, they're preparing for a fall filled with virtual learning by exploring what's in their own backyards, beyond the fence. As public restrictions ease, the classroom migrates outside. Whether renting a family RV or camper van to hit the road full-time or adventuring part-time on day road trips to local destinations, "roadschooling" is on the rise. Bringing lessons on the road brings the unique opportunity to work and learn in a more stimulating, explorative backdrop, rather than within four walls. Manatee County's beaches, recreational parks, family-friendly museums and art centers have so much to offer for young children, and contribute a subsidiary environmental and/or cultural learning experience for every subject. 

Kelly Clark, Director of Communications at the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (BACVB) shares that the destination’s tourism department is seeing an increase in families visiting the Bradenton Area to work from ‘home’ at their many vacation rentals or hotels. "We feel this can be attributed to more than just parents looking for scenic views and a more relaxed setting. They are truly seeking destinations where important lessons, beyond those being taught online or in a virtual setting, can be learned," she says. "The opportunity to experience hands-on art lessons, visit a planetarium or take a nature hike provides a supplementary education that wouldn’t necessarily be available if children were in school from 8 am to 3 pm five days a week."

For those looking for safe and accessible locations to take learning on the road, The Bradenton Area (Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key) has moved to the head of the class, offering “office” views of pristine Gulf beaches for parents plus activities and opportunities abound for hands-on learning (and plenty of fun too). Many city landmarks and cultural touchstones include The Bishop Museum of Science and NatureManatee Village Historical ParkRobinson Nature PreserveArt Center ManateeManatee County Agricultural MuseumRobinson Nature Preserve and Emerson Point PreserveThe Manatee Performing Arts Center and many more.

"Through our marketing efforts, we are fortunate to be able to highlight places like the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature and Around the Bend Nature Tours that have kept these roadschooling families in mind as they plan courses and safe activities for the further cultivation of students this fall," says Clark. "Without a doubt, we see a benefit to having and promoting partners who have developed activities and lessons for children learning from home."

For a local complete guide/resource to help with homeschool and childcare at home, check out Fun4SarasotaKids which includes many educational resources, virtual classes, programs, fun things to do around town and much more helpful information and services for parents in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas. 

Visit Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for more information.

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