Finding our way at REI

One of the hazards of homeschooling is that you spend a lot of time with your kids. I know that outwardly sounds like a benefit…it is. But it has a flipside. And that flipside is that when you spend that much time together, they tend to tune you out. I mean more so than your typical school-going young ‘uns.

Fred and George hard at work practicing their mapping skills.

So what’s a granola homeschooling mom to do when she really needs her kidlets to absorb some important knowledge but they probably won’t from her? Well friends, that’s when you farm it out. Fred and George spend enough time exploring for some map and compass skills to be essential. And they’re old enough to begin to grasp the concept. So the time had come for them to put together the skills they’ve been building on our little adventures (geocaching, hiking, etc.) with some practical instruction. While it was within my capability as Super Granola Geologist Mom to regale them with my own version of map and compass…I actually wanted them to enjoy and digest the concepts. Like I said, given our outdoor tendencies, it’s crucial they really know this stuff.

And that’s how we found ourselves at the REI Fundamentals of Map and Compass class. It was a first for Camp Granola, to attend a class at REI that is. You’d think, considering our rabid love of all things REI, that it would have occurred to us to take a class there before now but alas, we were apparently too busy munching on granola to have thought of it. At any rate, we finally tried an REI class and of course it gets the Val in Real Life Completely Uncoveted Seal of of Approval. It is REI after all.

Fred and George with Daniel, their new map and compass guru.

Our leader extraordinaire, Daniel, was highly qualified, engaging, and deftly handled a group filled with a wide range of ages…and I mean w.i.d.e. As you can imagine, George was the youngest. Seems to be a theme for him. (Sorry Georgie!) Fred was next youngest but there was also a group of teen testosterone as well as a handful of folks that exceeded even my advanced…um, wisdom shall we call it?

The course covered all the basics I would have expected and, even as a knowledgable critic, I really have nothing to nitpick with the class. It was well planned and executed. And my little granolans made some great leaps in their maps and navigating skills. Great class, totally worthwhile.

So if you’re in the market for an outdoor class and you have access to an REI, then check it out. The member price was perfectly reasonable, especially for the high quality of the class, and I would say our experience is likely very indicative of the quality of all of REI’s offerings in through their Outdoor School. Camp Granola will certainly be back for more.

And now for your moment of green…

Here's to trying new things...and having them work out wonderfully.


  1. […] courses set the stage for exploring the natural world. REI’s outdoor school and Leave No Trace are great places to start. Take it to the expert level by sending your child to […]

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