The main attraction of going to the homeschoolers retreat at Camp Lake Fire was the opportunity for our older two girls to participate in some structured activities run by Sports Tuition. Although the activities weren’t well communicated to all the participating families, Brioni still got to do everything she wanted to — and Aisha opted out.

Brioni waiting with other kids, Homeschoolers Camp, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
Brioni waits with the other kids at the shelter until Sports Tuition's Steve herds them down to the storeroom where they gear-up for their first activity.

Building a milk-crate tower, homeschoolers camp, Sports Tuition, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
The kids start with a milk-crate stack and climb. They are helped by a rope on a pulley as they build a dual tower of crates.

Building a milk-crate tower, homeschoolers camp, Sports Tuition, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
Steve helps Brioni get suited up in a full body harness when it's her turn to go up.

Building a milk-crate tower, homeschoolers camp, Sports Tuition, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
A hard-hat is worn in case any milk crates fall down on the kids working around the towers.

Building a milk-crate tower, homeschoolers camp, Sports Tuition, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
As she helps other make their towers, Brioni learns how to hold on properly while still stacking the crates so they sit firmly in place.

Building a milk-crate tower, homeschoolers camp, Sports Tuition, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
She builds her towers confidently but still keeps one hand firmly on the rope.

Building a milk-crate tower, homeschoolers camp, Sports Tuition, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
After she builds her towers over two metres tall, Brioni decides that she doesn't want to go higher and asks the "donkeys" controlling the rope to let her down gently.

Brioni in a kayak with two boys, homeschoolers camp, Camp Lake Fire, Maroon Dam, October 2012
Later, the kids go out in kayaks. Brioni was surprised that she had to row — all her previous canoe rides have had a friendly adult rowing for her!

Calista and Aisha playing in the lake, Lake Maroon, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
While we wait for the kids to return from their kayaking expedition, Aisha treats Calista to a mud spa.

Brioni learns archery, homeschoolers camp, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
Brioni takes tuition from Nick as she learns how to hold an arrow and bow properly. Her best shot makes it into the blue ring.

Brioni learns archery, homeschoolers camp, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
Although she appreciates learning how to hold the arrow, Brioni later says that she would have preferred to take more independent shots without Nick also holding the bow and arrow.

Building a raft, homeschoolers camp, Sports Tuition, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
When it's time to build a raft as part of a team, Brioni listens to the instructor carefully and is one of the first to respond.

Building a raft, homeschoolers camp, Sports Tuition, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
She grabs a barrel and pushes it towards the water.

Building a raft, homeschoolers camp, Sports Tuition, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
When it's not immediately clear where the barrel goes, Brioni waits for the next set of instructions.

Building a raft, homeschoolers camp, Sports Tuition, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
The barrels go *under* the poles.

Homeschoolers camp, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
Parents congregate on the edge of the lake to watch the action.

Brioni swimming in the water, Lake Maroon, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
Brioni is not allowed to ride on the raft because she isn't wearing a life-jacket, so she swims alongside it instead.

Brioni opted out of other planned activities like abseiling and fishing. However, the group activities weren’t the only formal learning experiences our girls enjoyed. We brought along vinegar and baking soda for our own experiments.

Aisha experimenting with baking soda and vinegar, October 2012
Aisha spoons baking soda into a bottle.

Aisha experimenting with baking soda and vinegar, October 2012
The resulting carbon dioxide is strong enough to start inflating a balloon.

Brioni experimenting with baking soda and vinegar, October 2012
After Brioni watches Aisha's experiments, she wants a turn.

Brioni experimenting with baking soda and vinegar, October 2012
The gas that fills the balloon is actually a secondary reaction. Baking soda and vinegar combines to form carbonic acid, which is so unstable it rapidly deteriorates into water and carbon dioxide.

Brioni showing off her treasure map, homeschoolers camp, Camp Lake Fire, October 2012
Our girls have recently enjoyed creating treasure maps. These are getting more and more details and also representative of true paths and orientations. Brioni shows hers to the other kids before deciding it needs a bit more work.

Brioni making a treasure map, October 2012
Using an aromatic Bengal Spice teabag, Brioni stains the paper to a lovely shade of brown.

I’m thrilled that Brioni got to experience great activities as part of a group, and I’m thankful that we were invited to participate along with the other homeschooling families. Aisha didn’t feel like connecting — sometimes it takes her longer to feel comfortable in new groups of people — but she still had a good time. Calista and Dell were happy to play at the playground and around our bus. It’s been a good camp, and we hope to meet up with some of the other kids in the future!