I spent one of the most memorable weeks as a family at a Homeschool Family Camp outside of Kerrville, TX this April. I took the kids to this HEB camp and got to spend time swimming, relaxing, reading, hiking, and getting to know several other amazing homeschool families. When the week was over, our kids had new friends for life and were counting down days til the next camp!
What I appreciated most about the time at camp was the culture of service and helping. Everyone was expected to help out with some part of the meals each day – either cooking and serving, or cleaning and washing dishes. Families took turns for different meals.
As it was something expected, the kids didn’t really mind it or complain. In fact, over time, I noticed an eagerness to ask, “What else can I do?” and own their task to completion. All of them loved cutting up food with big kitchen knives. My oldest son grew accustomed to using the powerful commercial dish washer. And my daughter learned how to wipe down all the tables well.
Among the many benefits I noticed was a productive collective energy as we worked toward the goal of a meal – it was even fun sometimes, just because we were all doing it together. The other thing I saw was a growing confidence in each of my kids because of the work they contributed. “There is nothing in the world better than good, honest, hard work.” (We read recently in a book called, Among the Farmyard People)
In our own home, they have all had a few routine responsibilities for a while, but after this week at camp, I was motivated to involve them even more in the weekly work routines, especially around meals. They are capable. It makes our family unit stronger, and practically speaking, the kitchen and dining room are sparkling clean in no time at all now!
We will look forward to family camp for many reasons now, and hopefully next time, Don can join us!