Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Homeschooling- The Ultimate Field Trip

field trip

a trip by students to gain firsthand knowledge away from the classroom, as to a museum, factory,geological area, or environment of certain plants and animals.
a trip by a scholar or researcher to gather data firsthand, as to a geological, archaeological,anthropological, or other site.


Homeschooling is the ultimate field trip. 

When I was teaching in public school, I had to jump through hoops and bend over backwards just to schedule an outing with my class.  

For example, one year when I was teaching kindergarten, I wanted to go to Chuck E Cheese with my whole class and their parents at the end of the year. It was a very large production between getting permission slips signed only after convincing my principal to even let me do it.  It was to Chuck E. Cheese for goodness sake!  It wasn't even so much educational, but celebratory.  In fact, I am a bit embarrassed to admit now that THAT was my idea of a field trip!  

As an, my children have not been to Chuck E. Cheese's yet, but you KNOW I can't wait to take them!  My dear husband cringes at the idea!  Ah...Jasper were such a good friend to me in my lonely, confused years of childhood... 

The point being that scheduling a field trip was a huge production.  I haven't been a classroom teacher for going on 9 years now, so I have no idea what it is like now.  My guess is that it is even harder now.    

In a traditional school setting we are confined by four walls and in the home school, the world is our classroom. 

I am so struck by the dictionary definition of field trip.  In fact, I am struck by one word; "firsthand".  On a field trip, one "gains firsthand knowledge" and can "gather data firsthand".  What a colossal departure of the four walls of the classroom!  

So, in the home school, every experience the child/student has is FIRSTHAND!  How rich.  How beneficial.  How completely exciting.  

This week, I am pondering this topic of field trips because my children and I just returned a few days ago from a "vacation" in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Was it really a vacation? After all, vacation means:


  [vey-key-shuhn, vuh-]  Show IPA
a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel;recess or holiday: Schoolchildren are on vacation now.


It was most definitely MORE than a vacation.  It was an opportunity to explore, create, enjoy, live and learn in a completely different setting.  Is was an opportunity to grow closer as a family while we continue to learn and grow together.  Yes, it was a vacation from our every day life, but the actual word, "vacation", doesn't do it justice.   

Here is a list (if you can't tell by now, I like lists!)  of our field trips or just plain fun outings.  

  • Huntington Beach State Park
  • Murrell's Inlet Marsh Walk
  • Chapin Park
  • SkyWheel
  • Children's Museum of South Carolina
  • Ripley's Aquarium
  • Treasure Island Miniature Golf
  • The Pool!!! 
  • Beachcombing and exploring tide pools
  • A store called "I Love Sugar" where Emmett helped himself to 8 giant gumballs which would have cost me $15 if I hadn't left them in the store by accident.  ;)  That was educational, though, because he learned how you can pay for things by weight. 
Each night, they wrote a reflection in their journals about something they did that day and something they learned.  They experienced the world first hand and it was so meaningful to them.  
Emmett LOVED holding the snake.  He saw so many creatures in real life that he has learned about in books! 

We were so excited to find a sea urchin because that was one of the creatures we learned about in our book that we read about the seashore before our trip.

On our way to the beach, we observed how the land forms changed.  We live in the mountains so as we traveled, we noticed the land got flatter and the fields looked different.  I like how he labeled the field.  

Carmen's FIRST sentence that she wrote all by herself!  She was very proud.  She had help spelling, of course!

I often imagine what it would have been like to live with my students and travel with them.  This is what this teacher turned mom gets to do every day now!  It is a joy to discover, wonder, learn, laugh and love with little humans that soak up knowledge like the sponges soak up water on the ocean floor.  

So whether in the classroom surrounded by four walls most of your day, or out in the world as a homeschool family, enjoy every second of the wonder and joy of your children.  Just as they are walking away from me in the picture below, so do their lives lead them onward to new and exciting journeys.  I am so happy to be along for the ride.

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