Planning and Organizing Field Trips, Mama
Summer seems to be the time many of us do more field trips than usual. A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me some excellent questions about field trips, and these were my answers.
If you go with a group, do you organize the field trips or do you prefer to let someone else do it?
Organization is very important. We have a wonderful group of moms who take turns organizing the field trips. Organization can be tricky and time-consuming so if I had to organize them all, I would probably stop having them! Get help!
Do you prefer trips to explore nature or the many good things that man has made?
Both! But my preference is nature because it is easier and you can go in a group or with just your own family. We live in the city so one of our favorite little family trips is this: a nature treasure hunt. We write down ten things to look for, such as a pine cone, a red bud, a bird’s nest, an animal print, etc. and make a copy for each child to mark off as we set out on a nature walk around the neighborhood and the nearby creek. The kids become very observant of what’s around them and love marking off what they find!
Do you have any warnings about going on too many field trips?
Yes! If you are already involved in co-ops, sports, music lessons, etc. and find yourself out of the house too many days a week, you may want to reconsider just how many more outings you want to add in. Our group does one field trip a month which works out great for us. If you are having a hard time knowing how to balance everything, the March 2013 Editorial is a good read: How Much is Too Much? The Overwhelming Choice of Outside Activities.
How do you prepare your children for a field trip?
I have friends who are much better than I at bringing out the best in field trips. They prepare in advance. For instance, when our group went to a Leonardo da Vinci exhibit, my friend checked out library books on da Vinci, researched him on the web, studied his paintings and his inventions with her kids, and watched a movie about his life. Then, the day of the field trip, she and her children were more than excited to see what they had just been studying the last couple of weeks. They had a great time cementing all that information (while my own children were saying “Who’s da Vinci?”).
Do you encourage those who fear setting aside academics and allow a field trip to rejuvenate their schooling?
Definitely. It doesn’t have to be far away or expensive. But just like we get itchy to get out and do something different, so do our kids.
Parents: you know what your kids need. God has given you that wisdom. I want to remind you, too, that God knows what you need. Take a field trip into His Word, seek Him first, and all these other things that are pressing in your mind will fade in the shadow of His glory. Now, that’s a field trip worth taking!
Deborah Wuehler is the Senior Editor and Director of Production here at The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. She would say she is a very ordinary homeschool mom–with one exception: she has an extraordinary God Who provides all she needs for life and homeschooling. She has eight children aged 11 to 29. Deborah’s mission is this: to point other homeschoolers to the Lord in all they do, think, and feel—and to confirm that they, too, can find everything they need for life, godliness, and homeschooling in their knowledge of Him (2 Peter 1:3-4).