Camp Ideas to Improve Homeschooling

We just got back from a weekend at St. Vincent de Paul Family Camp.  It was bliss in many ways I didn’t expect, but the most exciting things I experienced connect to homeschooling in a Not-Very-Julyish way.  Let me ‘splain.

dirty dancing

1) Be enthusiastic.  My mom has been a youth minister for most of my life.  She currently leads the Theology of the Body program at her parish and has a lot of wisdom when it comes to dealing with youth.  One thing she used to say when we were kids was “To BE enthusiastic, you must ACT enthusiastic.”  No offense, Mom, but I always found it kinda annoying.  I mean, you can’t rhyme a word with the same word!  I get it now, though.  The counselors at camp greeted us with smiles and cheers.  They enthusiastically led us to our cabin and helped us with our belongings.  They cheerfully (and tirelessly!) fed us our meals and cleaned up after us.  Each activity period was animatedly sold to us in the cheesiest way… and it worked.  The kids wanted to participate in everything.  They jumped at the arts and crafts, the sports activities, the family skit night.  If I want to achieve that same level of fun in homeschooling I need to stop dragging my own heels and ACT enthusiastic for my kids.


2) Transition songs and chants.  Before and after meals, between activity periods, first thing in the morning and at bedtime, we sang, we chanted, and we enjoyed the pure cheesiness of every lyric.  Of course, it helps that 30+ young adults were having the time of their lives leading us in these songs, but I think I could dig up some songs of my own from my days of teaching elementary age kids and it would wow my children.


3) Arts and crafts.  It was fitting that today’s gospel reading was on Mary and Martha.  I am Martha, and not even remotely Mary.  I am a do-er and not an enjoy-er.  While I enjoy having made things, I often don’t really enjoy the making of the things, and I certainly don’t enjoy cleaning up after messy kids who just don’t get the concept of keeping glitter on the stinkin’ project and not on the floor and walls.  Aaargh.  That said, my kids ate up every craft.  They desperately need me to add some Mary-time into our days, even if its just access to messy things.


4) Roll in the dirt.  Okay, not literally.  I know my limits, no matter how Mary-ish I hope to become.  But I need to let my kids dig in the dirt, explore outside, and be in nature more than they do right now.  They were so happy being dirty, playing outside, and hunting for pine cones to make bird feeders.  Plus, they were exhausted by bedtime, so bonus!


5) Hire a bunch of teenagers.  Not realistic, you say?  Fine, I say.  But it was so so so fun and refreshing to have help with the little ones all weekend long.  And let’s be honest, they have more energy to be more enthusiastic.  These tired old bones o’ mine could use a little post-adolescent assistance once in awhile.

6) Do a little dirty dancing of my own.  (A nod to the graphic at the top) As far as I know, there were no underground dance clubs going on at our family camp.  But Johnny and Baby from Dirty Dancing sure did have a romantic love story, didn’t they?  And in order to make sure our homeschool thrives, I have to make sure our family is thriving, and the way to do that is to make sure my marriage is thriving.  So it’s high time I spend less time on the computer and more time doing romantic and fun things with my hubby.  (Says the crazy lady who just committed to writing 7 posts in 7 days!)

Any more ideas on how to make a homeschool thrive?  Add them in the comments section below!

This is Post 1 of 7 in the Conversion Diary “7 Posts in 7 Days” Challenge.


  1. Micaela, I often beat myself up for not being more of a Mary-mom. 🙂 Key to letting me relax a bit in my homeschool is making sure we are reading tons of books that I love. Then I can play outside or a do a craft project more easily!
    Catherine recently posted…Starting out SundayMy Profile

  2. I totally agree with these tips! I especially enjoyed your last point about taking care of your marriage. I’ve been thinking the same thing. My mom always said one of the best ways to take care of your children is to take care of your marriage. When life gets busy and kids are demanding (isn’t this always the case?) it’s easy to forget to do the little things to make your husband feel special. It’s my goal to get better about that.
    Jennifer @ Little Silly Goose recently posted…The Good and the Not so Good of Our First Flight with KidsMy Profile