PLYMOUTH, Minn. (WCCO) — Carrie Sewald-Hester homeschools her kids during the day, but they’re also learning lessons at night.

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They’ve been sleeping in a box on the back deck for a week and a half, inspired by Messiah United Methodist Church in Plymouth, which holds a sleep out for the homeless every year.

Since Sewald-Hester couldn’t leave her 1-year-old behind, she told her three daughters they could do it on the deck instead.

“All three of us wear three layers, and we’ve got a bunch of blankets,” said 11-year-old Debra, sitting in the box along with 9-year-old Danielle and 3-year-old Savanah.

They started out trying to raise $100, but tripled that almost immediately — then $500, and now up to $745, with a new goal in mind.

“Since we keep hitting our goal and we keep passing it,” Debra said, “we figure we might as well just go as long as we can, and we might as well stop on Christmas Eve.”

Their mother said for a great cause, it’s hard to deny them.

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“You don’t want to tell them no to something like this,” she said, “because they’re helping others and their hearts are in the right place.”

Sewald-Hester posts nightly updates on Facebook, and donations have come from as far away as the Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, the kids learn about charity, and how hard it is to be homeless.

“The third night it was really windy and chilly,” said 11-year-old Debra, “and it had actually snowed a bit, and we had to get a new box because it caved in on us.”

Still, these kids are learning lessons that aren’t taught in the classroom.

“Something like this is so much more important than math or English or science,” said Sewald-Hester. “If everybody helps each other, the world will be a better place.”

They’re raising the money for Interfaith Outreach Community Partners, which helps 1,500 families in the Twin Cities, and is in the middle of a $1.8 million fundraising drive.

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You can donate through Carrie’s Facebook page or donate directly to their page on the IOCP website.