St. Louis Park family makes the world a classroom

SAINT LOUIS PARK, Minn. — A day in elementary school can be an adventure all its own, but in St. Louis Park, two Peter Hobart Elementary students have stepped away from their desks and made the world their classroom.

Third grader Jamie Kraft, and first grader Jason Kraft are siblings on a year long adventure traveling to five continents and 14 countries.

Their parents, Larry and Lauri Kraft, have long loved travel and traveled extensively before they had children. So in a time of job transition, the couple planned and saved to embark on an environmentally focused worldwide tour. Larry Kraft recently left his job as a marketing executive at Digi International.

"It was something we had talked about wanting to do with them for a long time and the timing was just kind of right. The idea of taking them on the road so they can experience other cultures and learn about the environment," said Lauri Kraft. "In some ways taking kids on a year long trip like this is a little daunting, but one of the things we've learned is really how adaptable kids can be."

It's more than a vacation. The Krafts are turning their travels into a global curriculum. Technology has become a passport to share what they've learned with other students. Both parents and kids maintain separate blogs, where Jamie and Jason showcase extra writing and video assignments beyond their homeschooling. The kids decided are also raising money for a rain forest in Central America.

"A lot of times the biggest barriers are mental to doing something like this. Our kids have surprised us. We had them traipsing through rainforest in pouring rain and getting absolutely soaked and they are loving it," said Larry Kraft.

The Krafts are also sharing what they have learned with The Wilderness Classroom non-profit organization, and with Peter Hobart and Breck Schools. They returned to both schools to give presentations on a brief Thanksgiving break.

In a video presentation to their classmates, Jamie and Jason said some of the highlights of the trip so far include the Amazon rainforest and visiting Macchu Pichu. And already, they have advice for other globe trotting kids.

"You should have a brother or sister, so you have company," said Jason.

Their new bond is a necessity at home - or half a world away. Currently, the family is traveling through Australia and is headed toward Vietnam and Asia.

Follow the Kraft blog here:


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