Camp Schooling

Guest Post by Heather Drake owner of High Country Excursions

Punxutawnie Phil has made his prediction …spring is on its way! Which means I’m in full throttle campout planning mode!! Do you have any plans for camping this year? No? Well, perhaps I can convince you to reconsider…. You’ve probably heard of Car Schooling, well let me encourage you to try Camp Schooling.

It can be an amazing and rewarding learning and bonding experience for your whole family! Research indicates that early exposure to natural spaces is crucial for developing a lifelong love and respect for our priceless wildlands. Some Doctors even believe that many of our children suffer from “Nature Deficit Disorder” with symptoms such as depression, anxiety, decreased long-range focusing ability of the eye, allergy, and autoimmune conditions. All caused by spending too much time indoors and in front of screens.

The good news is that we just happen to live in a wonderland of outdoor adventure opportunities that are available YEAR ROUND! There is always somewhere in Southern California where it’s camping weather! From the pine-dotted peaks of the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains to the magical night skies and wildflower explosions of Joshua Tree NP and Anza Borrego Desert SP, all the way down to the Badlands of Death Valley NP or the ethereal (all-be-it stinky) beauty of the Salton Sea... and that’s just to name a few that are inland! Factor in the coasts and you have an astonishing array of Camp Schooling opportunities all within a few hours drive!

So, now you are thinking “Yeah, yeah… I know all this stuff, Campy-lady…” But, maybe the idea of camping is daunting to you (or perhaps even scary). A lot of people think camping is just for the “extreme action adventure” type and they are just not cut out for it, or it will be too difficult to manage, or you will need to buy a ton of expensive gear. This is particularly true for beginner campers. But let me assure you that there are tips and tricks to learn that can go a long way to ensure a safe, sane and amazing Camp Schooling Adventure!

I’ve been a camper my entire life. I spent weeks on end camping near Big Bear every summer with my Great Grandparents as a child, and as a result, have been an avid camper and lover of the outdoors ever since. Do I backpack overnight? No, my back prefers that I not sleep directly on the ground. Do I rock climb? No, I’m actually afraid of heights. Do I enjoy extreme hiking? No, I enjoy leisurely strolls with frequent breaks to admire the plant life or vistas, more in line with Shinrin Yoku's Forest Therapy. Believe me… if I can do it, you can do it! Yes, YOU!! Camping is for EVERYONE!

In recent years I’ve had the new experiences of planning large campouts for homeschooling families. I’ve also taken my own homeschooled daughter alone on many “Just the Two of Us” Camp Schooling adventures during the week (while my husband was working and the campgrounds were not crowded). I’ve compiled a lot of camping related knowledge over the years that I’d love to share with homeschool parents who are intimidated with the idea of camping. So I’ve put together a list of tips, tricks and common concerns along with some suggestions to manage them.