Sunday, October 28, 2012

School + Camping = Scamping

Nature.  Fresh air.  The smell of acorns and dried leaves. These things were calling to my soul—as they always do when I’ve been away too long. Being in a spiritual funk for a week or so now, I felt my girls and I needed to do something a little different to mix it up a bit. Some serious schooling, cleaning, preparing for a house appraisal, and just being plain tired (a habitual state for me) had us caged up in the house for a while like gerbils. We needed to break out and get into the great outdoors.

Glamping, heard of it? It’s the idea of Glamour Camping—camping with style. It's a MaryJane Farmgirl term. Well my girls and I decide we would do our own variety of camping—“scamping” (school +camping). We would school outdoors. So we loaded up our schoolbooks, packed snacks, water bottles, a lunch and some of the other comfort items we felt we might need for an extended stay outside and away from the house, and drove up the road to a nearby park. Granted this park was only minutes from my house. However, for our first test run in scamping it was ideal just in case, God fobid, things should go awry---li.e. tantrums started flaring or we should have forgotten some vital item like diapers or baby wipes! We found a lodge towards the back of the park that was vacant. It had its own small playground, perfect for allowing the little ones to play while still allowing me to be close enough that I could work with my older girls.

We set up shop, preparing our food station and pulling out our school work.

I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out. You never do with 5 kids! Even the best made plans with the sincerest of intentions can be turned upside down when dealing with fickle, little people.

It was phenomenal!

It was a special experience that made memories for my girls. Anna and Cailin were tickled pink with the idea that they were doing their learning outside at the park. All I kept hearing from them was, “This is the best school day ever!!” We had relay races on the playground. We enjoyed our little picnic basket lunch. Watching the leaves "rain" down from the trees, we decided, was heavenly.

This is an experience we will definitely be repeating. We have ideas for perfecting our scamping skills--like making a "Packing List" of all the items one would need for a day of scamping so as not to forget anything and make these outings easier to prepare for. Perhaps, keep some handy "extra" educational tools and camping items in the car in a Scamping Emergency Supply Kit  (i.e. an extra supply of pencils, bottles of water, a diaper or two, etc...). Our scamping day held out a beautiful temperature for us but with the weather on the brink of turning uncomfortably cold we decided our scamping season might be cut short--we needed to fit in as many as we could while we could! Before our season is through our goal is to scamp on Sky Line Drive. We have a season pass and it is only a short distance from where we live. Our dream is to take our scamping supplies and hit up one of the numerous yet gorgeous picnic posts along the route. How awesome would that be?