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Knoxville family sells everything, buys RV, heads west to home school

Paige and Chip Severance always joked about living in an RV, and now the joke's over. It's their reality, and they're ready for the adventure.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — One Knoxville family is about to take the move of a lifetime that won't stop once they roll out of town.

"We would regret it if we didn't take the opportunity," said Chip Severance. "You know, if we were talking about this in 20 or 30 years, it'd be like 'oh I wonder what would have happened if...'"

"What if" is exactly what the Severance family is about to find out.

This school year, some kids will ride the bus and some will stay home.

The Severance kids will do both at the same time.

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"If school's gonna be a little bit weird this year we're gonna do something a little different," said Chip.

Chip and his wife Paige joked for years about selling everything, buying an RV and heading west.

That joke's over. It's now their reality.

"We sold everything that didn't have any sentimental value and used that to cash flow the funds on renovating this RV," said Paige.

Credit: WBIR

The family of seven went from a 3,000 square foot home to a less than 300 square foot house on wheels.

Scout, 11, gave us a tour of the RV, including the driver's seat and a future sitting room with a fold-out bed.

That's where Chip and Paige will sleep.

The bench along the wall of the RV perfectly fits all five kids with a little room to spare.

There's a kitchenette, which removable countertops that reveal a sink and stovetop burners.

The RV has one toilet, one good-sized standing shower and a closet that will be interesting to see stuffed with seven people's clothing.

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The one-bedroom on the RV is full of bunk beds for the kids.

Scout; Tate, 9; twins Jack and Rynn, 6; and Hank, 3, will share a room. They think it'll go alright because they plan to spend most of their stationary time outdoors.

Scout was a little sad to sacrifice her first year of middle school to hit the road, but she and her siblings are ready to give this alternative school year a try.

Credit: WBIR

"I thought I was gonna miss out but I mean you kind of have to give up something for something else and I feel like this is the better one," she said.

Paige said she'd never home school her kids.

"Many times I've questioned my sanity, our sanity," she said.

With Chip able to work remotely and COVID-19 concerns shaking up the school year, this opportunity was too good to pass up.

"Just stepping out and doing something new is always a risk, but the benefits I"m sure will outweigh the risk," she said.

They hit the road in August and will be gone for about a year.

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There's no planned route. They want to see places like Montana and Washington before it gets too cold, and they'll head south from there.

Paige said she's getting encouragement from friends, family and other families already living the RV life.

For all parents getting ready for a weird school year, she hopes this gives them some hope that families can figure out what's best for them.

"At the very least, I just hope that families facing this school year will approach it with creativity," she said.

You can follow the Severance family's journey by following Paige's Instagram page.