Old School to Roadschool: The Top Ways to Take Learning on the Road this Fall

Chris Smith | 08.31.20

If you’re like countless families across the U.S., you’re starting the 2020 school year behind a screen. Virtual school presents its own range of challenges, especially for families with no experience learning from home. It also offers plenty of advantages, like the chance to go from oldschool to roadschool!


While it may seem daunting, roadschooling has long been a way of life for avid travelers. Rather than following a rigid 8-hour, 5-day school schedule, roadschoolers blend traditional learning with invaluable life lessons and experiences you won’t find in a classroom. If you roadschool to Sisters, Oregon, your virtual school day will be complemented by thrilling outdoor adventures, rich area history, and priceless family memories. To get you started, follow our guide to the top ways to take learning on the road this fall! 


Get Hands-On


Sometimes, the best lessons are learned outside of the (virtual) classroom. After a morning of virtual learning, head outdoors to gain more knowledge the new-fashioned way!


Take a family hike on one of the area’s best fall nature trails to practice map reading and learn about the local ecology, or hit the Deschutes River on a whitewater rafting adventure to teach teamwork and dedication. You can even head to The Three Sisters to enjoy an engaging history lesson of the area as you explore their rock-and-glacier coated peaks. No matter how you choose to explore, Mother Nature has plenty of worthy lessons for the whole family! 


Do A Lunch N’ Learn


That’s right – even lunchtime is a chance to learn at Sisters’ roadschool! The Sisters Saloon & Ranch Grill is a family-friendly restaurant built inside the original Sisters Hotel of 1912. It’s careful restoration has maintained its Old West charm, from the beautifully restored saloon to the 2nd floor hotel rooms. Stop in for a delicious (non-cafeteria meal) and a tour of this historic local gem!


Take Recess To The Next Level


When it’s time to take a break, step away from the books and into the Central Oregon wilderness for a whole new way to recess. Sisters is surrounded by a variety of vibrant hiking trails like the Peterson Ridge Trail System that can be explored in a short break but pack a big punch of hands-on knowledge. Take a family scavenger hunt for specific species or discuss the chemical process that leads to the glorious fall foliage you’ll find along the trails. No matter how you explore, you’ll get the blood and brain pumping (and shake off all that screen-time energy).


Take A Field Trip


One of the best things about taking school on the road is the chance to see (and learn) new things around every corner. In Sisters, a variety of nearby attractions combine education and family fun for an afternoon lesson that’s anything but boring!


High Desert Museum


A short 30-minute drive from Sisters, the High Desert Museum takes you on a fun hands-on journey through the natural world and cultural history of North America’s high desert country. Visitors can explore rotating educational exhibits, living history demonstrations and recreations, interactive animal encounters, and so much more on this 135-acre adventure!


Dee Wright Observatory


This unique mountain observatory was built completely out of lava rocks in 1935 and sits perched atop a vast stretch of black lava flows that seem more suited to the moon than the vibrant Oregon wilderness. The open-structure observatory is the highest peak of the McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway and offers a panoramic view that spans over 65 square miles. A brass “peak finder” on the roof gives the names and elevations of the surrounding buttes and mountains (of which there are many). 


Getting there involves hiking a half-mile interpretive trail complete with educational panels explaining the history and geology of the area. Your student will marvel at how life peeks green and lush through the barren landscape!


Smith Rock State Park


Exploring the great outdoors teaches crucial life skills in critical thinking, patience, perseverance, teamwork, and more. Smith Rock State Park offers all of that and more on its 650 acres of mountainous desert country! Take a guided rock climbing tour to get hands-on with a volcanic clifface, test your balance (and nerves) on a perilous slackline walk, or spend the afternoon hiking it’s diverse trail system to get personal with the park’s impressive natural ecosystems. Be sure to stop by the welcome center on the way in to explore interpretive exhibits on the park and get some first-hand knowledge from the on-site park experts! 


Book A Great Roadschool Rental

Although the world is your classroom, you’ll still need a great place to rest your head (and your brain) on your roadschool adventure. Sisters Vacation Rentals has a variety of comfortable rentals in and around Sisters where you can privately learn in the morning and strike out on an outdoor adventure in the afternoon. In a rental like our Sisters Dream Inn, you’ll have the best of both worlds as you’re surrounded by the vibrant landscapes of explorers Lewis and Clark!

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