Homeschool experts recommend camping as virtual learning tool

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With virtual schooling and family camping both skyrocketing as the result of COVID-19, Hip Homeschool Moms, a Parents magazine 2020 “Best Homeschooling Resource,” and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park have teamed up to help struggling parents create fun, educational learning opportunities.

According to Jellystone Park, reservations are spiking as many schools open virtually and parents work from home, allowing families more flexibility to travel.

“Whether parents are using online curriculums provided by schools or are homeschooling, it’s important that they find ways to make learning fun,” said Trish Corlew, co-founder of the website HipHomeschoolMoms. “Most kids need to do more than sit in front of a screen to learn, which is why we are such big fans of camping. It provides so many great, hands-on educational opportunities.”

Hip Homeschool Moms has these tips for parents on how to include a late summer or fall camping trip in their virtual or homeschool plans:

1. Look for family friendly campgrounds, such as Jellystone Park. They offer activities that entertain and educate kids, such as Bingo and arts and crafts, which supplement planned learning. They also provide socialization opportunities that are needed with classrooms closed and homeschool field trips and other activities on hold.

2. Involve the kids in planning and managing the trip. Part of the learning experience is allowing kids to help with researching campgrounds, setting the budget for the trip and buying necessary supplies. And once you’re at the campground, let the kids help take care of the RV or cabin. They love responsibilities like these because it makes them feel grown up. These are life skills they will soon need.

3. Check the campground’s Wi-Fi in advance.

Call the campground to make sure it offers sufficient Internet access. If not, rent or buy a mobile hotspot to make sure you have enough bandwidth for online lessons, movie streaming and staying in touch with friends, family and work.

4. Use online lessons and apps. Online lessons perfect for camping are widely available to help children study leaves, trees, rocks, flowers and wildlife. There also are apps designed for outdoor learning, as well as printable activities and games to take with you.

5. Read and walk together. Camping provides the ideal environment to spend time as a family. Read aloud together, taking turns on different pages to help reluctant readers improve their skills. Or have the kids read independently and share what they learned. Scavenger hunts with printed or app-based guides encourage togetherness and learning.

6. Visit local attractions. Many campgrounds are located near natural and historic sites. Consider stopping at some on the way to or from your campground. Museums and science centers can make for great day trips, especially on rainy days.

7. Encourage your children to share what they learn. Kids love to tell stories, take pictures and produce videos. Have them record the weather, plants and animals they observe, and their activities. Journaling and scrapbooking also are great ways to get the most educational value from a trip and to preserve memories.

“Even before the pandemic, fall camping had become extremely popular with families, especially with most Jellystone Park locations offering special fall events, such as Halloween weekends,” said Trent Hershenson, Jellystone Park vice president of Marketing. He encourages parents to book trips now and to consider weekday visits, as weekends book up quickly. Weekday rates also may be lower.

For more advice on educational camping and links to free lessons and guides, visit https://hiphomeschoolmoms.com/ways-to-make-camping-educational/

For tips on planning a family camping trip and to book a reservation at one of more than 75 Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, visit https://www.campjellystone.com/top-tips/

Hip Homeschool Moms, founded in 2010, is a nationwide homeschool community with 300,000+ social media followers. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts is the nation’s leading family camping and glamping chain with more than 75 locations in North America. It is famous for providing guests with amenities and activities, such as pools, wagon rides and gem mining; fun-filled theme weekends and interactions with Yogi Bear costumed characters. Jellystone Park guests can choose from a variety of accommodation options, including premium cabins, yurts, deluxe RV sites and traditional tent campsites.

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