Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ways Full-Time Camping Changes Children

Our kiddos have changed and grown so much since we started this adventure. They have blossomed in so many ways and amaze us at the character they are developing...sometimes! This experience has definitely changed them, for the better.

  • They have become so much more responsible and so much more of a help around the house camper. At home ("home" home, that is), chores were a battle. They really didn't do much around the house, and nothing without a fight. That, I know, is our fault. But, here, the kiddos wash dishes and clean up the kitchen. Every. Single. Night. Do they love it? No. Who does? But they alternate, even and odd, every other night. They know it has to be done, so they just do it, never  rarely ever complaining. They help with the laundry, they take out the trash, they clean up, they just do what needs to be done. They even help dump the poo tank! I think part of their willingness to help is that, even if the camper is an absolute disaster, it will only take 15 minutes max to make it sparkling clean again. It's not such a seemingly insurmountable task. 
  • They are more financially responsible. They've understood why we camp instead of going to the beach or on a "fancy" vaca (other than, of course, we love it) for a while now. But, part of our roadschooling is discussing finances, economics, and opportunity costs.  We're not lottery winners or anything like that, unfortunately. We're like most families. Money is tight. We have enough, but we have to be relatively frugal with what we have. These are life lessons. And, apparently, they are making an impact. The other day, Brian and Hunter were on their way back from an errand. Brian asked Hunter if he wanted to stop at McDonalds' and have a biscuit. Hunter replied, "No, Dad, we are almost at home. I can just eat a Pop Tart there, and that will be much cheaper." A year ago, that kid would have jumped at the opportunity to go to Mickey D's. They compare prices when we shop, and frequently turn down the offer of an ice cream cone or  treat so we can save the money. 
  • My children are sweeter to one another. We tell them they are the "Two Musketeers: All for one and one for all". If they fuss, we remind them that they are the Two Musketeers and should be each other's best friend. Most of the time, they are. They have become much closer as siblings and choose to do kind things for one another without being told to do so. Case in point: Madison was bringing some friends home last night for a slumber party for her birthday. On his own, Hunter cleaned up the camper, folded and arranged all the blankets and pillows on her bed/ the couch, cleaned up outside under the awning, and even put the TV on Gnomeo and Juliet, which is Madison's current obsession  favorite movie. How sweet is that?? He has really learned the sweetness lesson. He buys snacks (with his own money) for "me and Maddie" when he goes to the store, without one word about being paid back. He will spend his last dollar on something they can share. We're still trying to get Madison to learn to be so selfless...
We are so blessed...

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