I am so excited to have Anna-Marie here posting today! Her family has the unique opportunity of living in the UK right now, and homeschooling with all the great stuff over there in Europe! Be sure to check out her blog for great pics of so many awesome things across the pond!
I was thrilled when Tiffany asked me to consider doing a guest post about home schooling on Sweet Phenomena. However I wondered if I was really qualified. I have only been homeschooling my kids for 3 years and I am still figuring out my way around. I try new ideas and read tons of “expert” books all about home schooling, trying to find that one idea that speaks to me in every way. Still haven’t found it, but continuing to look. So my schooling approach is very eclectic in nature. We use work books, lap books, unit studies, limited box curriculum and whatever else comes our way. I will use anything that I think will inspire my children to learn, think and create. You can find my blog at http://lifesadventures-amb.blogspot.com/.
One of the things we as a family love to do is go on lots of field trips. I find doing hands-on activities really helps to bring the topic to life for the children (and for me). Recently we were studying WWII and had the amazing opportunity to go to Normandy, France and see the five WWII beaches, the German defensives, and visit the American Cemetery. We had read about all of these things in our library books but to see it, touch it and explored the museums was the icing on the cake.
But field trips don’t need to be expensive, as many can be done in your own home town. Calling up local businesses and asking if you can stop by is often all that it takes to open the door for you and your children to have an amazing fieldtrip opportunity. You can do this with just your children or invite others to join you. One of the home schooling groups I belong called up a pizza restaurant and was able to set up a pizza making activity for 30 kids for free! It was great fun for everyone. On another group trip we went to a local farmer and learned all about farming, again the activity was free.
I also use my own back yard or park for field trip opportunities. Identifying flowers, trees, or look for signs of wildlife (tracks), identify birds, or build a den. It can tie into what you are learning or not. This summer while studying lifecycles the kids found frog spawn and brought them home. We watched them turn into frogs. It was amazing to see and even my husband was amazed to see the transformation.
There have been many occasions when an amazing field trip was being set up thru a home schooling group or just by someone we know and we stopped what we were learning and joined in. We have been able to see some amazing things because of it. I believe learning takes place every day with every experience. Book work will always be there but how many times will you get an opportunity to visit somewhere unique like a recycling center, art gallery or just splash in a creek and catch some frog eggs.
So how do I make it educational? I have the kids keep a field work journal. After visiting a place my kids draw a picture and write about what they did. My youngest (age 7) is required to write about what he saw and at least one thing that he learned. My oldest (age 9) is to write a paragraph about one aspect of the trip that meant the most to her and why. I often find my kids looking back and reading through their old entries reminiscing about the things they have seen and done. Sometimes we keep a journal and document what changes we observed (like with the frogs) but we have also done this with plants in our garden.
Because I love going on field trips with my children and I think they are very beneficial, starting July 1st I will be hosting a monthly Fieldtrip hop. You will be able to post all month where you have been and what you have learned on your fieldtrips. It might inspire someone else. I hope you will stop by join in at http://lifesadventures-amb-fieldtriphop.blogspot.com/