The beginnings of Campfire can be traced to a homeschooling dad (my husband), who envisioned a family fellowshipping around a campfire, faces lit and hands warmed.  This was a dream not just for education but of family togetherness, where children and adults could enter into life learning, passing down of skills and stories, and the nuances of various professions, at once… regardless of prior skill level, know-how, or experience.  Impossible, you say?  His wife agreed with you (if I remember correctly, my words were actually, “impossible” and just “no”)! 

He, who was already carrying weight upon his shoulders, wanted a place where learning wasn’t just tailored but transformative—approachable for the curious minds of our littles, yet challenging enough for our ambitious teens (and—of course—ourselves).  Enter stage left: job or skills shadowing from home.  Enter stage right: the whole family—any age or skill.  Pull back the curtain: see the rest of the school subjects covered at the same time.  And he wanted the play to be complete within ~30 minutes at a time, so working dads like him could use it to embrace this together time with their children… if desired. “Impossible!” was the word his ears heard from his wife (ahem… me, again), though he found himself stubborn undeterred.

See, his vision was kindled by our son’s request to go fishing when my husband did not originally share the skill.  He was no great fisherman.  It was a simple and innocent request from our son, really.  It didn’t stand out in the moment he asked it any more than the hundreds of other questions we often received on a normal, sunny day as we drove from point A to point B.  It was a typical week of chaos—the kinds that ensue when you have a large family and happen to homeschool.  Yet, it was that one single moment that blossomed—or perhaps, sparked—into the reality of what is now Campfire.   

Eager as he always is to please his children, my husband set to work fulfilling our son’s request to learn more about fishing, so they could go fishing together.  The time it took him to learn about fishing, because of how he always puts in 200%, was time that was unintentionally and ironically stolen from our very eager child—delaying their togetherness… and, ultimately, their fishing.  And this is when he realized that he probably should have instead asked an experienced fisherman to take them out on a boat so father and son could have learned together.  

Not surprisingly, he wanted to offer the same for our older children and their career interests or hobbies, too!  Considering we have a TON of kids (haha), you can see how this idea would quickly fall apart.  He wanted job shadowing and trade skills and dads and moms and kids and school… wrapped up together in a nice little package.  But then came the caveat that would disrupt this concept, and it’s what was already mentioned five breaths ago: his shoulders were weary with the weight he was already carrying, and a work week of 80+ hours wasn’t going to disappear like fog on a cool morning, in order to allow such a luxury.  No matter how much of a Superman he was to our kids, he couldn’t actually fly.  

So, he set to work thinking of a way families could learn together—skills, stories, passions, careers… all of it—right from home, as if the expert was sitting by their side, around the campfire with them.

In this little idea of his, he needed the professionals and experts to come to him… all of them.  He needed a way for his children and him to learn together.  He needed to cover it on his time–his little time–and with 100 other requirements that flew out of his brain and onto our whiteboard.  But he needed to do it from the comfort of his own home.  See? I was right…“Impossible!”  Now who’s with me on saying, “Um… no”?

But this is when his wife of “no” became a wife of “yes” and realized she could support his idea by merging an age-old concept in homeschool (unit studies) with this one dad’s desire to give the homeschooling world (and busy dads) something that had always been missing. 

We continued to extend our vision together as we interviewed and worked with experts, and Campfire can now serve as a single-subject only (extracurricular/job shadowing/science/history/social studies) or it can be used as an all-in-one.  It is perfect for the dad (or mom) with little time after a hard day’s work who still wants to connect with children in their passions, and it is also perfect for the family that wants to use it for their core school work while learning about different life skills and careers that are out there.

I’ll spare you the rest, but this… is the foundation of Campfire. 



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