4th Grader Prepares for "Homeschool Across America" Tour

Businesses Across America Consider Homeschoolers an "Emerging Market"
By: Amy Haroldson/Homeschool Across America
Aug. 15, 2007 - PRLog -- Lake Oswego, OR--Like millions of other children around the  country, 9-year-old Caroline Haroldson of Lake Oswego, Oregon will start school the day after Labor Day. But unlike most fourth graders, she won’t enter any school doors. Instead, Caroline will begin a six-week trek homeschooling (or “travelschooling”) across  
the contiguous United States in a quest to learn about our nation’s history, geography, and government.

Amy Haroldson, Homeschool Across America’s founder, hopes the  adventure will inspire families of the over one million  homeschoolers in the United States to take advantage of the freedom to travel homeschooling offers. “I can’t imagine a more enriching way to learn than through travel to the actual places where history  took place,” says Haroldson, who is also Caroline’s mother and   travel companion for the journey.  “Homeschoolers can travel  anytime to learn.  We avoid the holiday break crowds and long lines and can take advantage of off-season discounts.”  In addition to  tracking Caroline's travels, the website, HomeschoolAcrossAmerica.com,  highlights opportunities for homeschool families seeking educational experiences through travel.

Many in the travel industry think Haroldson might be on to something and recognize homeschooling families as an emerging niche market. After attending a mini convention for homeschoolers in New Jersey, Sales and Marketing Director for Great Wolf Lodge, Pocono, Christopher Salerno said, “I came away seeing a great potential for our resorts to generate incremental business during our traditional  slow times.”  The lodge will launch a promotion specifically geared  to homeschool families this fall.
National destinations such as Colonial Williamsburg, Disneyworld,  and Hershey Park have already developed special programs  specifically for homeschoolers. Williamsburg’s event, “Home  Educator Week” is held each fall and spring. Attendees are treated   to discounted rates on lodging and passes as well as specially   scheduled educational activities and programs.

In planning Homeschool Across America’s Itinerary, Haroldson has been amazed by the amount of support businesses have provided. Many  museums and tours, including the The Mark Twain Boyhood Home,  Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Boston Duck Tours, and Hershey Park have offered free passes. The Great Wolf Lodge and Colonial Williamsburg have both offered to host Homeschool Across America’s  visits to their area. “They definitely realize that the homeschool  movement has created a new audience.”

Homeschool Across America’s itinerary will take Caroline through every geographic region of the U.S. highlighting destinations appealing to families seeking enriching educational experiences. The website, homeschoolacrossamerica.com, encourages visitors to   learn along with Caroline with educational activities, games and  links. When the adventure begins, the site will track Caroline’s travels on an interactive map and through pod casts, a blog and  video postcards. “The site is also a great resource for families looking for educational travel experiences,” says Haroldson.

Haroldson is interested in helping other homeschoolers see the benefit of bringing the classroom to locations that inspire  learning.  Those who would like more information about Homeschool  Across America can visit homeschoolacrossamerica.com

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HomeschoolAcrossAmerica.com is a website that highlights and promotes educational vacation destinations for families seeking edifying and enriching travel experiences, and encouraging homeschool families to take advantage of the travel benefits offered them.

Website: homeschoolacrossamerica.com

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