Keeping the Fun Factor in Field Trips

 

Field trips should be FUN, right? Of course! But if you’re like me, sometimes the effort to squeeze every bit of educational opportunity out of a field trip also threatens to squeeze out the fun factor for the kids. It hit me years ago when my kids would say things like, “Mom, we’re supposed to be on vacation!” or “Why does everything have to be about school?” and I made some adjustments to my expectations of field trips.

Keeping the FUN Factor in Field Trips

If you need to refocus on the fun in your field trips, try some of these ideas:

  • Do you really need the worksheet or checklist? Or do you need to do it while you’re at the zoo or museum? Personally, I don’t even like juggling the notebook or the brochures while we’re on-site. I don’t want to miss seeing something because I’m looking at a handout to try and check something off the list. If you or your kids feel the same way, leave the papers for later. Chances are good that you can take everything in and remember it well enough to fill out a worksheet or make a journal entry later.
  • Plan ahead and review afterwards. Obviously you want to look at the brochures and the maps and know what you’ll be seeing so that you don’t miss out! Often that info is available on a website so you can check it out ahead of time. If there are brochures and maps that you pick up at your field trip location, skim through them quickly for anything new that you need to know and then stuff them in a purse, pocket or backpack to look at in more detail when you get home. Those will help jog your memories as you write those journal entries too.
  • Pick your educational activities wisely. So many museums, national parks, zoos, historical sites, and other destinations have a “For Teachers” type section on their website that there is an abundance of curriculum tie-ins to choose from. If you have the time to plan ahead, do look through those resources, but choose only what ties in well for what you are studying or is appropriate for your family. Remember, many of those teacher resources are intended for class trips and to accommodate public school curriculum standards, so they may not be relevant to your homeschool. Don’t overthink it and try too hard to make it work.
  • See it today – study it later. This works best when you’re on vacation or summer break. It’s tempting to want to use all the educational value of EPCOT, for example, but if you turn your once-in-a-lifetime family vacation to Disney World into one long science and geography lesson, you might regret it. Take pictures, have fun, and follow the kids’ lead. If they want to discuss it on the spot, go ahead, but let them start the conversation. Then next year when you are studying marine biology or American history, you can say “Remember when we went to SeaWorld and saw the killer whales? Remember when we were in Philadelphia and saw the Liberty Bell?” and you will be able to relate their exciting vacation experience to their schoolwork.
The whole point of a field trip is to have a hands-on experience, so give yourself every opportunity to see, hear, and touch as much as possible. Allowing it to be fun and exciting will make it more memorable, and will encourage interest and engagement. Keep it fun!!

 

 

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Kym (4 Posts)

Kym is in the middle of her 17th year of homeschooling her four kids, two of whom have graduated. She and her husband of 27 years are Canadians transplanted to Maryland. Kym loves coffee, history, and homeschooling, and you can join her for coffee break at her blog, Homeschool Coffee Break.


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5 Ideas for Gardening Fun with Kids

 

Guest post by Wren from finchnwren.com.

Have you ever considered that gardening is a wondrous way to introduce your children to the miracles of God’s creation—and family fun?

5 Ideas for Gardening Fun with Kids @hsbapost

We’ve been a gardening family for 4 years, when a friend gifted us with a small raised garden bed and soil. We purchased zucchini and yellow squash seeds, and were astonished at the harvest! Since then, our garden has expanded every year, with great rewards. And involving your kids in gardening is amazing on so many levels. Here are 5 of my favorite ways…and don’t forget, you can create unit studies out of all of these!

1. Choosing Seeds

Taking your children to the garden center to choose the season’s seeds is the perfect way to start. Seeing the seeds and the potential through their eyes can help us step way out of our comfort zones.

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Choosing Seeds

This is a moment where your vision and dreams for your summer garden can run wild. This year, we picked old favorites and brand new ones, like the mouthwatering mini-watermelon seeds! Of course, you’ve got to keep in mind the length of your growing season, but if you watch the planting dates for your region and stick to that, you can still reap a great and varied harvest.

We’re starting most of our garden from seed this year, and we’re planting beets, basil, zucchini; summer squash, sugar snap peas, and carrots; garlic, watermelon, cucumbers. We’ll be buying tomatoes to put in later once the freeze warnings are over.

2. Creating a Garden Plan

This year, we’re trying square foot gardening. We have 3 raised beds, plus two large containers to work with. I discovered that with square foot gardening, I can plant a LOT, simply by dividing our beds into 12” squares. For example, did you know that you can plant 16 radish plants in one square foot? Or 16 carrots? Or, 8 sugar snap pea plants? My son made a planting guide for our large raised bed in Paint. Great way to combine art and gardening!

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Make a Garden Plan

Your raised bed can yield so much more than you’ve ever imagined, if square foot gardening is new to you. You just need a bed plus wooden slats to place across it in grids, to segment all your square foot spaces. It is fun AND exciting!

3. Birds & Bees

There are some insects whose presence is integral to a garden’s success. And others which might not be as necessary, but will still add value and health. Bees, of course, are vital for pollination. I have several beds which run along our fences that are planted with bee-friendly plants. What’s even better is that they bloom over the course of the summer, so that the bees always have flowers to visit.

Russian sage is super-low maintenance, and bees swarm ours every summer. Our peonies don’t last quite as long, but their sticky nectar and heavy fragrance draw the bees beautifully. Last summer, I needed a little extra on one side of our garden, so I planted catmint. It’s very pleasing to the little pollinators as well. You can also try bee balm, lavender, basil, mint….just Google “plants bees love” and see what will work in your area!

One of our summer joys is watching the hummingbirds in our backyard. Did you know that hummingbirds also do some pollination? I was pretty surprised at this, but I know they love the Russian sage and find our tomato cages a wonderful perch. You can find inexpensive hummingbird feeders at your local discount stores, and make your own nectar at home. (Just heat 1 part granulated sugar with 4 parts water over medium heat til sugar dissolves. Let cool, then pour into feeder.)

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Hummingbird

 

4. Creating and Cooking

We know that kids who grow their own vegetables are much more likely to eat vegetables than those who don’t. I don’t know if your children are veggie-lovers or not, but how cool would it be to create and cook recipes with your kiddos, right out of your garden? We’ve made zucchini pizza rounds, zucchini-tomato gratin, zucchini breads and cakes, squash casserole, stir-fried beef with sugar snap peas…the list is endless! And that’s not including just eating veggies out of hand. My son even created a pasta and squash recipe several years ago that we still eat, which you can find here:  “Jackson’s Amazing Fettucine with Sauteed Squash and Parmesan

 

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Cooking

5. Sprouting

This is more of an indoor activity than an outdoor, but our family loves growing sprouts. This time, not to plant…but just to eat! Sprouts are a wonderful snack, and make a lively addition to sandwiches and salads as well. We have a kitchen seed sprouter, but you can sprout with just a mason jar! My son loves these and I love the fabulous antioxidants and fiber they provide. We’re currently sprouting alfalfa, radish and clover.

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Sprouts

There’s so much to love about backyard gardening. You can do it even if you have a teeny tiny space. And involving your family in it…priceless!
How do you involve your family in your gardening? This summer, Kemi from Homemaking Organized http://www.homemakingorganized.com/ and I are hosting a garden linky! Come and link up at Garden Party!

 

Finch n Wren

Wren blogs with her sister Finch at finchnwren.com. She and her husband met on the mission field and still love hearing about God’s work around the world. Wren has homeschooled their only son since the beginning. They love family fun, the beach and great comic book heroes.

 

 
Build Your Bundle 2015 Pre-Sale
 

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Homeschool Curriculum in the Digital Age {plus a giveaway!}

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for ways to save in our homeschool budget.  I try to use whatever thrifty resources I can, which often includes digital products. I was an old school holdout for years before I came to accept digital homeschool curriculum and books, but the practical side of me (read: frugal) won out.

Homeschool Curriculum in the Digital Age ~ 6 Advantages of Using Digital Homeschool Curriculum

 

Advantages of Digital Homeschool Curriculum

There are some advantages to digital homeschool curriculum that I’ve come to appreciate in the past few years:

  • it’s available instantly when you need it
  • it doesn’t take up room on your bookshelf
  • it’s easily portable (we like to read on our Kindle)
  • you can print what you choose when you choose
  • it can be used for more than one student and printed multiple times (depending on the particular copyright permissions of the material)
  • it is generally less expensive than print materials

One of the great resources I discovered last year is the Build Your Bundle -Homeschool Edition. Not only does it offer great prices on digital curriculum, it’s very customizable to suit your individual needs! I love that! There are bundles for Charlotte Mason, copywork, math, science, history, language arts, middle school, high school, preK and elementary, just for boys, and just for girls. If none of those meet your needs, you can build your own bundle with selections of your choice. Does it get any better than that?

Yes, it does. Why? Because they’re having a giveway right now! You can enter to win three bundles of your choice PLUS get an exclusive coupon code to use when the sale begins next week.  Win-win!

 

Build Your Bundle Giveaway Details

The 2015 Build Your Bundle Sale is almost here! To celebrate the upcoming sale, they are doing a pre-sale giveaway for 3 bundles of your choice AND offering you a special coupon code.

Enter to win 3 bundles of your choice!

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win any 3 of 19 individual bundles. We cannot tell you what products are in the bundles just yet, but just know, THEY TOTALLY ROCK!

There are several individual bundles, priced starting at $10. The 2015 Build Your Bundle Sale will consist of the following bundles, plus, of course, the BUILD YOUR OWN OPTIONS!! These bundles are full of products from popular publishers!

  • Preschool-Kindergarten
  • 1st-3rd grade (2 bundles!)
  • 4th-6th grade (2 bundles!)
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • Charlotte Mason
  • Notebooking
  • Copywork
  • Unit Studies
  • Just for Boys
  • Just for Girls
  • Character Bundle
  • Just for Moms (2 bundles!)
  • Fine Arts
  • Special Needs Bundle
  • Non-Faith Based/Secular Bundle

Grab a Coupon Code

You can receive a coupon code, just for giving us your email address! Refer friends for additional savings.  Enter your email address to get a coupon code you can use when the 2015 Build Your Bundle Sale starts!

 

The Build Your Bundle Sale is ONE-WEEK ONLY – May 25th – June 1st 2015.

Don’t miss the BIGGEST homeschooling sale of the year. When you enter the giveaway OR enter your email for a coupon code, we will be sure to send you a reminder email so you do not forget.

Do you use digital homeschool curriculum? Why or why not?

 

Happy homeschooling,

 

Sara (62 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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