by Michelle Caskey
Do you need some great homeschool camping ideas? Are you planning a camping trip and have no idea what to do with your sons while you’re out in the great outdoors?
Camping is one of the best ways to teach your sons without them even realizing it. Homeschooling your sons while out in nature is lots of fun – but you’ll want to be prepared with lots of camping ideas before you go. The most natural way to learn is to teach from situations as they present themselves and not to try to force specific events to happen.
While camping, it will be obvious to you that you aren’t in control of the weather or your environment. If you are prepared with many possible homeschooling ideas beforehand, you’ll be ready to teach your sons regardless of the circumstances you might encounter.
Here are some great camping ideas that you can try with your boys on your next family trip:
Animal Tracks – Finding animal tracks can be so much fun. Identifying them is even more gratifying. Depending on your own skills, you can attempt to follow them and see how far you can track the animals – be careful which animals you attempt to locate. Raccoon and deer would be safer to track than coyotes or bears!
Bird Watching – You can identify birds by sight – or sit quietly and try to identify them by sound.
Campfires – Roasting marshmallows and hot dogs is a favorite past time for our sons. Also, take this opportunity to instruct your sons in the proper art of campfire building. They’ll love it!
Field Guides – You can get amazing field guides on everything from mammals to birds to flowers to frogs – and you can get guides that are specific to your area! We have found the guides by Stan Tekiela to be very helpful. Get the guides with the audio CDs if you can. You will be amazed at how quickly your boys will learn the sounds of the frogs and the birds. And they’re great to listen to in the car on long rides.
Fishing – What little boy wouldn’t want to learn to fish? Whether you cook your catch or throw it back, they will learn a lot from this experience. And let them hunt for their own bait as well.
Hiking – When you choose your camping location, make sure to pick one which has hiking trails. Most state parks and national parks have many trails – pick up trail maps at the office so that you can explore them all.
Maps – Speaking of maps, let your sons be the navigators when you are hiking. Bring along a compass and let them learn how to use that as well.
Mushroom Hunting – Depending on where you camp, you may be able to hunt for edible mushrooms as well. If you decide to give this a try, make sure you know what you are gathering before you eat them!
Nature Journals – At the end of every day, have your sons write about their experiences and draw pictures in a nature journal as well. If they are interested in photography, they can leave room for any pictures they may have taken throughout the day instead.
Scavenger Hunts – Boys love scavenger hunts. It helps them to practice their reading skills as well as their deductive reasoning. Write your clues so that it will help them to practice many of the other skills they’ve learned while camping as well.
Sports – Bring along Frisbees, baseball gloves and balls, footballs, and other sports equipment that your sons enjoy. Downtime at the camp site can be a wonderful time to practice these skills as well.
Stars – Bring along a star map for your area and for the proper season. The more remote your location, the more easily you will be able to see the stars.
Survival Skills – Boys love to learn survival skills and camping is a great time to try these out. Some of the more useful skills would be:
- Making a fire without matches. Try a flint and knife, first, and once they have that mastered let them try it with two sticks. There are several methods for making fire this way. This will be an adventure for the whole family!
- Looking for edible plants and bugs
- Tying knots
- Signaling for help
- Purifying water
- Building shelters
- Drying out wet wood & grass
Swimming – If your boys haven’t taken formal swimming lessons, this is a great time to teach them. At the very least, teach them how to tread water and how to float on their backs. That way, if they ever fall out of a boat, then can hold their own until they are able to be pulled out of the water.
Tents – If you and your sons are going to get the most learning out of a camping experience, you need to use a tent. Leave the RVs and trailers at home. Also, leave behind the TVs, hand-held video games, and anything else that might distract your sons from nature. Yes, this type of vacation is less relaxing for the parents; but, you need to remember what your reason was for getting your sons outside in the first place!
Weather Wisdom – Identify the clouds and what weather they usually precede.
Nature is the best classroom for your sons – and homeschooling is something you can do with your children whether at home or on vacation. We hope you try several of these homeschool camping ideas with your family. When you make lessons relevant for your sons, you will be amazed at how eager they will be to learn.
Michelle Caskey has been homeschooling her sons for five years. Michelle graduated from the Western Michigan University with a degree in English and Computer Science. Read more of her homeschooling articles at http://www.homeschool-your-boys.com