Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Highlights from our Camping Trip

We spent most of last week on a camping trip. This was our longest planned trip – 5 days/4 nights, and we ended up coming back home early because there was rain in the forecast (and we were just plain ready to be home again). Incredibly, by Monday afternoon, we were unpacked, cleaned up and mostly recovered. We even stopped by the car wash and vacuumed out the van [gold star for mom}. I really thought that it would be later in the week before everything was back to normal.

We’ve more or less been on a mini-break from school this week; mama needs a couple more days before she’s up to full-scale lessons. We’re covering a little Latin and some math drills, and some literature and history. Plus, with our aforementioned spring cleaning and outdoors-y activeness going on, there are plenty of unschoolish ways to accomplish our lessons right now. Next week should be back to our normal workload.

This is our second camping trip with friends PB&JMom and SFK and their kiddos. No daddies again; I’m feeling quite outdoorsy with all this camping experience under my belt now. I might have to look more into the Texas Outdoor Woman program if this is going to continue. We took our first back in October, in the same park, but a different unit. This time, we were a bit better prepared – I think that camping is going to be come a regular thing for us, so I’m all about containerization. My mother was the Queen of Camping – everything in bins ready to go at a moment’s notice. I’m following in those uber-capable footsteps and making up our own containers. So far, I have 2 Sterlite containers (just like this one, only WAY bigger and not clear) that house our camping gear, and the interactive list from Gander Mountain makes packing a cinch. I love those containers. I have them in all sizes to house my crafting supplies, the kids’ toys and all kinds of other stuff.

Contrary to my nature, I left most of the packing to the morning of, which put us several hours later than I’d originally planned on leaving. That worked out well in the end though as PB&JMom and I ended up catching up to one another on the way. We were there and set up by 1PM or so, which was nice. That left the entire afternoon for relaxing and playing. SFK and her girls joined us later in the afternoon.

When we got finished unloading and setting up the tents, the four boys asked to start a fire, and being the responsible mothers that we are, said ‘Sure’ and handed them lightsticks. That kept them occupied for the next four or so hours, and like the heathen children that they are, danced wildly around the fire ring as they finally got it to catch and stay lit.

Friday was off to an early start. My early risers are even more-so when we’re close to Mother Nature. With birdsong, beams of sunlight and the roar of glittering fishing boats on the water, there really was little chance of sleeping in to begin with, yet I always hope and am ever denied. The boys spent much of the morning off and away – biking, fire stoking and wood-gathering, hanging out at the pier and running off to the play area.  With their absence, you’d think that it would be very peaceful but you’d be wrong. The girls were much more interested in mommy-convos than in exploring the great outdoors and consequently had to be chased off (often with a huff and a stomp away) multiple times. We did take the kids hiking Friday afternoon, and got some good pictures of our little adventure.

Saturday morning called for a trip into Jasper for some extra supplies. My little air mattress had a couple of pin-holes in it that I repaired before we left, but apparently I missed one and was waking up ass-on-the-ground. That’s extremely unpleasant, so I bought a new mattress (a double height one – yay!) and a cushy mat for PeaGreen (since a mattress will not fit inside his little elephant tent. We have a bee tent like this one, too, for LBB. I found them at Target when the boys were itty bitty and we’ve used them more than I ever thought we would. (I don’t know that I’d pay $40 bucks for them now though…)

We were supposed to have a repeat performance of the SOAR program that we saw a couple of weeks ago, but apparently their plans changed and we got to see Ms. Catherine feeding her snakes instead. The kids all thought that was equally (if not more) fascinating. Look at their faces! When I was little, my dad kept a rainbow boa and a king snake – we fed them live mice. Ms. Catherine’s were frozen, then placed on a heating lamp to warm them up. The kids were both disgusted and enthralled by the whole process.

Our original plan had been to stay until Monday, but with the weather threatening to rain Sunday evening and just plain missing our daddy-shaped person, we decided to pack it up and after a brief stop to visit my much-missed brother, SIL and kidlets, we headed home.

If our camping trips will get easier as we get more used to them, and we can expect an even smoother set-up and take-down next time, then this will get progressively more enjoyable as we go along. This trip was much easier, I think. We planned a little better, and opted for less cooking (more finger foods and sandwiches) and less ambitious activities. The children were largely out of sight, which was both nice and worrisome. I stayed in my tent and read a great deal Sunday, and while I fretted occasionally about them, I made myself trust that they were capable and as they had demonstrated a propensity for following the rules we set, that they would continue to do so. I was in no way disappointed. They all returned safe and sound, and I think better off for being allowed the freedom to play without much adult interference. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.




2 responses

  1. Wow! We love camping here, but it is a lot of work, isn’t it? It does get faster the more you do it… and I love the photo with the ranger. Though I can’t get over heating up a dead mouse. :O That image would be stuck in my brain for a while. lol

    March 4, 2011 at 9:14 am

  2. Sounds like lots of fun! And good for you, getting things put back together so fast after you got home. Sometimes it takes me a week to recover!

    I love that streaming sunlight photo–very cool!

    March 5, 2011 at 10:43 pm

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