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It’s Field Trip Week, and I’m so psyched. The oldest and I have been toiling away for eight weeks straight. Read on to find out about our first Field Trip Week and for ideas on creating your own.
My goal is to make these weeks enriching without the added pressure of lesson plans and projects. Minimal parent involvement. Minimal.
It’s incredible to have this amount of flexibility. We are required to complete 180 days of school, but we are not on a school schedule. We started early in July. He was excited, and I was happy to “do school” when we were stuck inside during the hottest parts of summer. The five day/week schedule is working for us. It keeps our days short. 1-1/2 to 2 hours at the most.
Three and four day weeks used to drive me nuts as a teacher. Just when you got into a groove it’d be time to smush five days into a four day week. Thanks, Labor Day. Plus, then we can’t wear white pants? Or shoes? Who cares, I live in Florida now. Tacky is the new black. Hook me up with socks and sandals.
I’m looking forward to having fun with real experiences. Not fabricated ones from lesson plans. Those are great, too, don’t get me wrong. Study Canada and have pancakes for dinner? Sign me up! But after weeks of planning all of our amusement, it’s time to take a step back, relax, and have a good time.
Day One – Nature Center & Planetarium
Butterfly garden, nature walk, and then it started to pour. Of course we are getting tropical weather during field trip week. No problem, our Nature Center has a planetarium attached. We were super excited to see an old-timey film about stars from the 1900’s, but we got a surprise.
A new film was just in: Incoming! narrated by George Takei.
This was really cool. I can’t remember the last time we saw a planetarium show that was actually up-to-date. The best part was learning about New Horizons and the Pluto flyby from 2015. There’s something about seeing it in a planetarium that is so much cooler than watching Facebook footage on an iPad Mini.
Then we watched the NOVA episode: Chasing Pluto a little later on in the afternoon. It’s nice that we can enjoy some shows that aren’t cartoons. It helps that I’m a wannabe science geek.
Of course I made him a playlist about the solar system for tomorrow morning. I gotta get a shower every couple’a days. Know what I mean?
Day Two- Children’s Museum
The “Going on a Bear Hunt” crafts at our local children’s museum wrapped up our North America Unit with a perfect, little, brown, bear-shaped bow. Our big project was an animal study of the grizzly bear. Today we had a hands-on experience with crafts, sensory play, and role-play in “Alaska.”
This is my favorite part of the children’s museum. They make all of the adorable Pinterest-y stuff that takes an hour to set up and five minutes to play with. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
For ideas on how to create your own Field Trip Week
see my guest post on YearRoundHomeschooling.com.
Day 3 – Eric Carle Storytime
Our week wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the library. Well, at least one.
Ten a.m. storytime was Eric Carle books and activities. Our amazing, energetic librarians provided some color, spelling, and body awareness activities and a surprising amount of practice with fine and gross motor skills.
They loved it so much that they wanted to stay for the second story time at eleven, which was a continuation of the activities and books by Eric Carle. This one they did without me. Perfect. Fits right in with my week of minimal parent participation.
After reading the book, identifying colors, and sounding out and spelling color words, the kids pinched clothespins to identify animals by their description.
“I’m thinking of the animal that can gallop.”
“I’m thinking of the animal that says ribbit, ribbit.”
The librarian read the book and the kids acted out all of the movements. I might add this one to our morning basket.
Camels bend their knees.
Monkeys wave their arms.
Gorillas thump their chests.
First the librarian made a long alphabet caterpillar while the kids sang the ABCs (like the pin below). Next, they fed the caterpillar by tossing bean bags labeled with fruit through a big caterpillar mouth. It was adorable. Finally, they each had their own letter card with an animal on the back and shared the animal, beginning sound, letter name, and other words with the same initial sound.
I love our library. Our librarians were the first people I told that we were planning on homeschooling. We were already frequent flyers with the preschool program. This year we are excited to crash the 5 and under activities as well as the kindergarten and up stuff. We might as well just rent a room and live there for the year.
Day 4 – A Whole Lot of Errands and a Special Lunch
Yep. That’s right. I worked an errand day into field trip week. My poor kid. I dragged him to Target, the thrift store, clothes shopping for me, the grocery store, to pick up his sis and the bank. You can imagine how thrilled he was.
To soften the blow I took him to a surprise lunch at Chuck E. Cheese. Chuck is still pretty special when you’re five. Today was cool because we had the whole place to ourselves. He climbed the jungle gym, rode the rides, played the games, and ate nearly an entire pizza. Hey, errands make you hungry.
After so much fun with just him and Chuck, he was excited to see his friends at his old preschool. My pickle-in-the-middle is in the 3-year-old class this year, and it was her first pot luck night as a student. They had so much fun playing with friends that we had to drag them off the playground. Since we are alone a lot of the day we are happy to see some of his old buddies and Pickle’s new friends in the middle of the week.
Day 5 – Bounce Around Town
We are being hammered with rain from a passing tropical storm this week, and today was the worst. Normally, I’d be happy hunkered down in our pjs all day, reading books, and watching movies. But this is FIELD TRIP WEEK! There will be none of that.
The oldest is getting a too big for most of our local indoor playgrounds. Chick-fil-A and the undercover mall playgrounds used to be in the regular rotation, but he’s getting too big to play with the toddlers. It’s park playgrounds or pay-to-play. With torrential downpours predicted all day we opted for the latter. Boy was it worth it.
We haven’t been to our local bounce house place in the last two years. Back then it was just okay. Not worth it for a three-year-old with gross motor issues. Today, it was perfect. The two bigger kids got their exercise climbing, sliding, bouncing, and swinging back and forth on a rope zip line. The baby even had fun, and at 10am on a school day it was safe to let him roam. This rainy day turned into a Fox Family day of Fun. Love it.
Prepping for Back-to-School
We are back to it next week. I’m looking forward to it; I know the oldest is, too. To get him ready I’ve been dropping hints about what we’ll be learning and strewing a few items and books just out of reach to spark his interest. He’s already been bringing me books about South America and the five senses – he thinks he outsmarting me. He’s most excited about digging into our new math basket. More about that to come.
Now it’s time for a relaxing weekend of hanging out at the house, reading about dinosaurs, and hopefully getting some fresh air if this rain ever lets up.